THEORETICAL INTERLUDE: Before I describe the workings of the Skyship, how about a little Fantasy Physical/Chemical/Engineering Theory. This vessel is driven and steered in the horizontal direction by the twin propellers located on outboard pods. These propellers are, in turn, powered by an engine at the rear of the ship. Of course, if we accept that we are in the "Steampunk" era, it should have a coal-fired steam boiler and engine. Only parts of the engine are visible; the rest is below deck.
The vertical movement of the ship is driven by the balloons, which are filled with an inert helium-like gas. This gas is produced by a secret electrochemical/mechanical method, developed by Italian Gnomes in hidden valleys of the Alps. They gathered all the existing information from Universities in Parma, Milan, and Bologna, andthen added their own special adaptations (and a bit of magic). Most of the gas production equipment is hidden below deck, but some of the hardware can be seen at the front of the ship; a large gas storage barrel, assorted controls, and a large tube leading to the control console, amidship, and on to the balloons. By adjusting the gas flow rate and direction, the ship can be raised and lowered quickly and precisely
The Control Console is the province of "Il Capitano". Here he oversees all the workings of the ship, utilizing the ship's wheel, gauges and switches, and several levers. Here, Il Capitano controls both the vertical and horizontal movement and direction of the skyship. He also communicates to the Crow's Nest via a two-way radiophone or telegraph.