The Paddlewheeler, actual name unknown, is a ship that travels the Finnish waters between Pori and Keuruu carrying passengers while its mothership, the Timbercruiser, stays in Pori to load cargo. It is possible that the two ships split tasks in a similar way in other places (but obviously not at the Björköfjärden terminal).
Pre-Rash History Edit
It has been theorized that the Paddlewheeler has been inspired by an actual paddlewheeler traveling the waters around Keuruu, the Pw/s Elias Lönnrot, named after the Finnish physician who first compiled the Finnish and Karelian stories into the book-form Kalevala. Minna has family ties to the Keuruu region, and it stands to reason that she has been visiting even before her parents moved from Sweden to Finland.
If the Paddlewheeler is in fact a post-Rash retrofit of the 1986-built Elias Lönnrot, that would put it at a length of 31 meters, width of 9, and draft of 1.2. The pre-retrofit engine was a 300 hp diesel moving the ship's 90 metric tons at a max speed of eight knots and allowing up to 150 passengers. The weight and power of the new engine are unknown, but it seems to take up the entire aft deck, which used to be part of the promenade deck.
Like its mother ship, the Paddlewheeler is powered by electricity, but propulsion is done by lateral paddlewheels instead of propellers. No batteries are ever shown, but it is implied that both ships carry the required energy along and need only occasional recharges, indicating that the post-apocalyptic battery technology is actually far superior to that available pre-Rash. At least part of the Paddlewheeler's engine is openly exposed on the stern.
The passenger compartment - which seems to fill at least half of the hull, and to be divided into a bunk section in the prow and a mess further back - will be closed during travel, presumably by a single door (that isn't shown). Outside cleansed lands, the windows of the mess and the bridge are protected by heavy wooden shutters, flipped down by electric motors. The crew will also turn off the floodlights and instruct passengers to maintain silence so as to solicit the help of Vellamo.
The bow has been reinforced with outside plating so as to offer limited icebreaker capabilities.
When the Paddlewheeler returns to the Timbercruiser, it gets hoisted into a separate compartment through an opening that can be closed with a hatch, and lowered onto a platform therein for hull inspection. It is said that passengers aren't let out of the Paddlewheeler between Pori and Björköfjärden, thus making it double-serve as an isolation chamber, though the trip doesn't take long enough for the standard quarantine period.
The crew members that have been shown are one helmsman, one woman ushering Taru, Lalli, and (especially) Tuuri into the passenger compartment as they leave the safe area of Keuruu, a cook working in the mess, and at least two cats. One cat particularly supervises that passengers keep the silence, earning it the fan nickname of Shusher Cat.