A train, or perhaps more specifically, a steam locomotive. Used very rarely.

In this meaning, the Zephyr is the official mascot of St. Mary Central High School. It was originally portrayed as a real steam engine driven locomotive, but with the move to the new location of the school it was updated to a more modern, streamlined design.

(This is part of an experiment in hypertext fiction. See Bridgeborough, New Jersey for more information).

Winston Brooks first met Clara Danvers as a fellow classmate at Bridgeborough University. By the summer of 1972, they were inseperable. Before that, he was arrogant and she was suspicious. It took a witch doctor to bring them together. Despite Winston's early attempts to catch her eye or ask her out, she always acted aloof and stiff. She was quite the mystery, and there were rumors buzzing the campus about her strange quiet quirks and eccentricities.

One night Brandon stumbled across Clara. She had fallen just outside the Bridgeborough University library. It appeared she had lost control of her motor skills. Prior to this Brandon had never gotten very close to Clara, and was too caught up in his studies and daily life to pay her much attention. He already had a fiance at the time, and unlike Winston Brooks and most other men on campus, he hadn't been sexually attracted to her. However, because he's a relatively bright fellow, and had a natural talent towards things mystical and paranormal, Witcher was able to ascertain that Danvers was not exactly human. He helped her make it back to her apartment. There were a couple witnesses to Danvers and Witcher being together that evening, and gossip circulated the school, but thankfully no one was able to deduce the truth. Clara Danvers was simply not what she was pretending to be.

Because due to her present condition she had little choice, she allowed Witcher access to her apartment, where Witcher discovered she had a makeshift cybernetic and robotic laboratory, coupled with a stash of drugs he came upon by accident. She had borrowed some equiptment from the engineering department of the school, and apparently also was selling the drugs in order to pay for other supplies. She was trying to fix herself, without any assistance. He surmised she had been unsuccessful. She asked him to assist her in replacing one of her limbs with a duplicate she had managed to put together. Witcher knew it wouldn't pass for human in daylight.

So he offered to assist her with his ESP. She instructed him on what was wrong with the leg she had been using, and with telekinesis, Witcher managed to reconnect some misfiring synapses near her knee, without having to open her leg up from the outside. It took much of the night, but he was able to get her to a point where she could function indefinitely on the leg she was already using. However, Witcher knew it was only a temporary solution. The equiptment she had managed to beg, borrow and steal was not sufficient enough for her to survive on her own.

As he operated, and during breaks as the work was quite taxing to his brain, she explained to him that her real name was a codename from a private corporation that had been funded by the government. They called her Zephyr, and she was the prototype for a project that was to create the perfect soldier: an android capable of passing as human but with incredible strength, dexterity, mental acquity and other abilities. However, her inventor somehow accidently infused within her emotions. Or so they thought. The project was scrapped, and everything about it was supposedly destroyed. Except for her. Her inventor made it appear that she had been destroyed, but managed to sneak her out of the military complex. In the process they were detected, and he gave his life so that she could live, and escape completely.

She changed her appearance with some equiptment found at her inventor's home, grabbed what she could from there, and made her way to Bridgeborough, New Jersey. She was able to forge documents passing her off as Clara Danvers, and decided to try living as a human being, but her recent ...medical problems were making it dangerous for her to continue doing so. If it was discovered that she was not human, it wouldn't take long for the government to track her down.

Witcher didn't have the capital required to assist her, but he believed Winston Brooks did. So he set up a meeting between the two of them, and after a fashion, cut a deal with him. Brooks would get to date Danvers in exchange for helping her out of her financial situation, but Witcher endeavored to keep her secret from Brooks. Witcher was also able to help Danvers get out of her ..agreement with a local drug pusher, and got her to promise to stop selling drugs for money.

Eventually Brooks did find out who she was, but by then he was in love with her. The fact she was an artificial life form was irrelevant to him. He had started accumulating wealth through some business dealings (Brooks was a double major in psychology and business, and had quite a knack for such things), and though it was difficult at first, he managed to help her pay for a private laboratory where she could operate on herself without detection, and perform routine self-maintenence. They both eventually graduated with Masters degrees. Danvers studied engineering and the Arts; primarily painting, music, and architecture. She also helped Brooks discover what would become his two passions in his adult life: photography and saving endangered species.

By 1972 the two of them were inseperable, and he even asked her to marry him, but she declined knowing she'd never be able to bare him children. Before graduation, the government did learn about Zephyr, but Brooks and Witcher managed to convince them to leave her alone. The corporation had scrapped the project but they insisted they owned her. Witcher was able to prove to important brass from the Pentagon that she was alive in such a way that melted the hearts of even the hardest ass among them. Brooks convinced the corporation that claimed to own her that if they persisted in trying to take her, he would take the entire story to the press and bring the whole sordid affair out into the open. They backed off for a time, with the quiet added threat of the government supporting Brooks and Witcher. For a time, Danvers was a free woman.

Though the three of them remained friends, Witcher would soon have less time to spend with either Brooks or Zephyr, as he had his own wars to fight. The three of them did make a point to stay in touch, and Witcher made a point to visit them at least once a year.

Within a year or two after graduation, Brooks was already a wealthy man. He purchased some property just outside of Bridgeborough, and built what is now still the Brooks Estate. There they lived in relative harmony, considering all the other things which happened in their lives, like The Belonging, Jumping Jack Limited and the proliferation of Rhaspody which Brooks became obsessed with keeping off the streets of the city they called home. Danvers even occasionally functioned as a vigilante or super hero, assisting The Belonging as well as performing solo. She would wear a mask and costume concealing her identity, and went by the name of Zephyr during this time period when she did so.

This proved to be an error. The corporation took it as an indication that Brooks would soon break his promise and tell the world what they had done. They eventually redoubled their efforts to take Danvers away from Brooks, and many terrible, near-tragic adventures ensued over the years. Eventually, Brooks managed to buy controlling stock in the corporation in question, absorbed it into his own companies, and managed over time to stop any further attempts on their lives and Danvers' liberty. During these events however, the truth about Danvers came out, and the world eventually learned that she was not human at all, but an android, and her true name became public knowledge. She dropped Carol Danvers by 1985 and began to be known as Zephyr. This was not a problem at first, but Zephyr discovered people treated her differently now. This realization caused her to appear in public less and less, and both she and Brooks became more reclusive as the years continued. She functioned officially as the head of security for Winston's Estate, and though they never married they might as well have been. Brooks discovered after a time, to his relief, that Zephyr was for all intents and purposes a fully functional android.

Brooks' disappearance in 1995 caused Zephyr much pain, and she made attempts to find him but was unsuccessful. However, during this period of time, while trying to find Brooks, Witcher returned and assisted her in yet another discovery. Zephyr's emotional cadence was not due to anything that was manufactured in the laboratory. Somehow Zephyr did in fact possess a soul. Witcher believed her soul to be that of a deceased lab technician who died during the skirmish that destroyed the government funded labs but freed Zephyr. Not only was Zephyr physically artificial, but she was also in essence haunted by a ghost. Being among other things a detective, Witcher assisted Zephyr in discovering her prior identity, and coming to terms with herself. She did not try to contact anyone from her past, but this discovery did somehow bring her to terms with both her robotic nature and her inner humanity.

At last report, Zephyr had returned to the Brooks' Estate, and reclaimed her position there as head of security. Though all attempts to find Brooks had failed, she still held a hope that the man she loved was still alive, and would someday return.

From the zephyr man page:
Zephyr is a notice transport and delivery system developed at MIT.

Zephyr is an instant messaging system with several components.

zephyrd is the server application which maintains a database of subscriptions for every user. Redundant servers maintain duplicates of the database in the event of failure.

zhm (Zephyr Host Manager) is the application that runs on each end user's machine, and is responsible for communication between the end user applications and zephyrd.

zwgc (Zephyr WindowGram Client) is the end-user application which receives notices the user has subcribed to, and displays them. By default, each message is displayed in its own X window, as specified in the .zwgc.desc file in the user's home directory. Messages can also be handed to another client application, such as vt, or via a gateway to IRC or jabber.

zctl (Zephyr Control) manages the addition and deletion of temporary and permanent subscriptions, as well as managing other zephyr variables.

zwrite is the enuser application for sending messages to the zephyr servers, for subsequent retransmission to subscribed users.

Each message is sent to a triplet <class,instance,recipient>. Thr recipient is either "*" (sent to anyone subscribed to the class and instance) or a specific user (these users may be Kerberos principals), who will recieve it if they are currently subscribed to the class and instance specified. Users may subscribe to the wildcard instance ("*") for a given class, which will subscribe them to all instances on that class; however, they may not subscribe to the wildcard class.
Note that traditionally, messages to indivicual users are sent to class MESSAGE, instance PERSONAL, recipient user@realm. Class and instance subscriptions are not case sensitive.

Messages also contain an opcode, which is canonically used to send "ping" messages to check for a recipient's subscriptions prior to message composition. Opcodes have also been used to:

  • Specify PGP encryption
  • specify complete recipient list
  • specify original sender when using a gateway

Zephyr is in widespread use at MIT, CMU, Duke, and companies that are spawned by their alumni/ae.

Zeph"yr (?), n. [L. zephyrus, Gr. , akin to darkness, the dark side, west: cf. F. z'ephyr.]

The west wind; poetically, any soft, gentle breeze.

"Soft the zephyr blows."


As gentle As zephyrs blowing below the violet. Shak.

Zephyr cloth, a thin kind of cassimere made in Belgium; also, a waterproof fabric of wool. -- Zephyr shawl, a kind of thin, light, embroidered shawl made of worsted and cotton. -- Zephyr yarn, ∨ worsted, a fine, soft kind of yarn or worsted, -- used for knitting and embroidery.


© Webster 1913.

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