Monday, 10 October 2011

New Babbage: A sinister stranger visits the Writer

A strange coded telegraph message told the citizens of New Babbage to meet at the city hall on Saturday night. We gathered nervously, fearing a trap, but it turned out our appointment was with something far stranger. Tepic called from outside, we rushed onto the steps of the building to discover him pointing at a strange, swirling circular vortex hanging in the sky. As we stared at the bizarre sight, a odd looking airship began to emerge from the vortex.

Once the ship had made a shaky landing, a very old and very ill man disembarked, demanding to talk to the mayor. He told told Mr Tenk not to believe "him", gave him a box and staggered back into his ship. Soon after the ship took off, it exploded, leaving wreckage but no trace of the man.

From the box, Mr Tenk was able to construct a sophisticated automaton with an mechanical arm that immediately wrote what appeared to be the final page of a story into a book. The story was very worrying indeed, telling of Myrtil in a Babbage in flames with many of her friends dead. It implied that the old man in the ship may have been our young friend Jimmy on some kind of desperate mission.

Moving picture record by Loki Eliot

The next day the urchins had a secret meeting to discuss what had occurred. We were very worried that the infamously evil Jason Moriarty might be behind the events we had witnessed, as he had returned from the dead last year when his brain was transferred into the immortal beast that had bitten my leg. He had been barely heard of since than; there had been a couple of sightings around the city and he had worryingly left a sinister note near our most secret hideout, but we still had no idea what he looks and acts like now. We agreed to all keep our eyes open and find out everything we could about Moriarty. It turned out we didn't need to look very far...

After the meeting, me and Gadget had gone back to the Hall of Records where Mr Tenk had moved the automaton, now dubbed The Writer. We had heard a rumour that a new page had been written in the book at dawn. Sure enough the new page was written and said that the villain behind the destruction of Babbage was electrical (as Jason Moriarty has always been), it also said that Victor built the time ship and Jimmy had piloted it!

We were discussing what this meant, whether the book is a story from the far future or whether travelling in time had made Jimmy grow old, when a sinister stranger walked into the Hall of Records and took an interest in the Writer and its book. "So this is the clockwork robot they are all talking about". The man was young looking, dressed in black with a frock coat, a top hat and a white frilled shirt. He walked with a cane topped with a miniature skull. I didn't think too much about him at first, but as he read the pages of the book, his hands began to glow with blue electricity.

"Interesting," he said.

I looked nervously at his hands and took a couple of steps back. "New in town mister?" I asked, carefully.

He turned to me, "no, I was born here."

"Oh right," I said "...I don't think I've seen you here before."

"Perhaps not, my name is Moriarty."

Gadget audibly gulped.

I stiffened but tried not to show my fear. "Oh are you, er ...interested in robotics?"

He smiled. "Not robotics per say, but I love a good yarn."

Gadget suddenly blurted out ""

Moriarty turned to the other boy. "My dear DEAR young fellow, you look slightly pale! Are you alright?" He advanced on him with exaggerated enthusiasm. "I have some experience in young children's health, perhaps I can take a look at you?"

Gadget shrank back. " NO!" He stumbled backwards almost tripping over the Writer. "I mean... I am fine thank you!"

Moriarty leaned forwards, "I have heard there is an ...illness going around. I would suggest laying off the absinthe."

"So!" I interrupted, "it's, er, Jason Moriarty is it?"

He turned back towards me, laying off Gadget. "Indeed. Have you heard of me?"

"A friend may have, um, mentioned you ...once or twice."

"Yes, my former master was a famous professor, so I would assume you have heard of my assistance."

"Ah, yes ...I had heard of that."

Gadget gained some bravado. "Last time I saw you," he exclaimed, "I were staring down the sights of Bessie at you!"

I kicked my friend, "sssh!"

Moriarty turned sharply, a glint in his eye, "Bessie? What is this you speak of?"

I backed away slowly.

"Er...nuthing," Gadget said, "my... cat!"

Moriarty scowled. His hands began to crackle and glow with blue energy. "I would have you know I do not take kindly to unruly street scum." He strode away, turning back at the door. "Now I bid you good evening and I hope nothing ...untoward should come to two such charming waifs."

"Er yes," I said, "good evening!"

As soon as he was out of the building, Gadget and I looked to each other, exchanged a few words then rushed after Moriarty. We split up and searched the streets, soon Gadget waved to me from an alleyway. He'd seen flashing lights and heard crackling from with upper floors in the Hotel Excelsior. We hid near the door and began to discuss whether we should go inside.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Moriarty grabbed us and our bodies were wracked with painful convulsions as we were surrounded by arcing blue lightning! Gadget cried out, I bit my tongue.

"Now you two listen very carefully," Moriarty hissed, "I will NOT have street retches such as you following poking around my business, you understand?"

We both squirmed and cowered.

He shook me, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

"Yes!" I spluttered

Moriarty turned to the quaking Gadget. "And you?"

"Y...yes!" Gadget managed.

The blue lightning abruptly stopped and we fell to our knees.

"Now GET OUT OF HERE!" Moriarty shouted. "SCATTER! GET OUT!"

We took some stumbling steps, Gadget fell. I managed to run, realising my friend wasn't with me, I turned and saw him running about twenty paces behind. Moriarty still stood on the pavement, as I watched, he crouched, put a hand to the ground and produced a glowing sheet of energy across it. I stumbled, turned and ran as fast as I could.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

New Babbage: A Very Memorable Evening

After my leg was savaged by the beast and stitched up by Blackberry Harvey, I was put under the care of Dr Watson at Dr Kaligawa's Free Clinic.

Due to the efforts of Dr Watson and Myrtil, I didn't become addicted to morphine or laudium, but unfortunately after hobbling around snowdrift filled New Babbage on crutches on the trail of beasts and mysteries, my wound became infected. By the 5th of December my wound was swollen and smelly and I was highly feverish.

Visiting hours at the New Babbage free clinic
Quite the crowd had gathered at my bedside when Gadget woke me up to say the doctors were coming...

The surgeons arrive to look at my infected leg
The doctors were very concerned about how feverish I had become, worried that the infection had spread into my body.

Amputation will be necessary
Removing my leg would be the only answer. They could only hope that I would recover once the wound had healed.

I'm feverish, weak and generally not feeling my best
Dr Watson reassures me by telling me that many men lead good long lives with only one leg, he should know as an army surgeon.

Watson prepares me for surgery
Tepic realises what the doctors mean to do with my leg and attempts to defend it with violence!

Tepic tries to save my leg attacking the doctors with his knife!
In the end Myrtil has to hold Tepic back and an adult decides to send him on an errand to distract him!

Doctors Kaligawa and Watson wash in preparation for surgery
I was so feverish that I wasn't really aware of what was going on. None the less, the surgeons needed to sedate me, so a pad soaked in chloroform was put over my face.

Chloroform pad applied to the face to sedate the patient
Dr K ties a tourniquet and Dr Watson removes the dressing and cleans the wound with alcohol.

A tourniquet is tied around the leg above the wound

Watson makes an incision and cuts away to reveal the bone
As the first cut is made, I started to groan and squirm, Gadget tells me it was quite scary to witness but I don't really remember it. Watson added more drops of chloroform until I stopped reacting.

Dr K begins to saw through the bone

Watson inspects the bone - a very clean cut!

Dr K sutures up the skin flap, covering the bone

Dr K continues to suture the wound closed

The surgery is almost complete

Watson dresses the wound, Gadget is shocked!
Everyone tells me I was very brave, but I don't really remember any of it. I think Gadget's the brave one for standing in the room while they sawed through me!

With the chloroform pad removed, I briefly realise what's going on!
 I do remember this bit - blimey!

The surgeons cover my leg while Gadget distracts me

Back in my sick bed, now dosed up on morphine
I was in bloody agony before they dosed me up though! And I threw up by Watson's foot while he was trying to inject me!

Gadget promises to watch over me 
Gadget takes over from Myrtil with the laudium rationing too...

What's all that commotion outside?
Suddenly there's excited shouting and even some screaming from outside, Tepic returns from his errand, pushes the food into Holmes' hands then runs off again!

It's the dreaded beast!
 The beast is in the street! Everyone's shouting for Gadget to get to the trap!

It's in the trap! But where's Gadget to set it off?!
But Gadget wants to guard me from the beast, it could come back for more and finish me off! Mr Holmes vows to protect me, so Gadget runs to the trap.

Gadget traps it!
It's a close thing, the beast goes through a few times, but Gadget finally gets it. But suddenly there's a loud blast and the beast appears to be gone!

But someone blasts a hole into the trap from below!
Someone must have used explosives to blast a hole into the trap from the sewers below, releasing the beast. The citizens of New Babbage debate whether this means the beast has been released once more or if some unknown person has captured the beast for their own nefarious means...

The Babbagers debate who could've broken the beast out!

Meanwhile I was going to require a week or two of bed rest before I'd be back on my feet. My wound will take several weeks to heal, during which my stump will require its dressing changing every day. After two or three months, my bone should become strong enough to bare my weight again and I'll be able to have some kind of wooden leg. Until then, I'll be getting around the streets of New Babbage on crutches.

(NB, These events took place on the 5th of December, after a week of RPing being on my sick bed in Second Life I found myself ill for a week in real life! I'm now out of bed in both cases, although on crutches in SL!)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Babbage: Hospitalised

After sleeping off my injury in the New Babbage free clinic, I awoke feeling sick with pain as the effects of the morphine had worn off. Mr Melnik looked in on me and decided my stitches could wait no longer. He could do it himself but he'd prefer a medical professional. My urchin friend Skyler Gant was visiting at the time, so he volunteered to head off to the hospital. Soon he returned with Mr Blackberry Harvey and a trolley stretcher. They lifted me on board and wheeled me through the streets of New Babbage towards the Vernian Sea.

Once at the port, I was loaded into a lift that took us under the sea to a underwater hospital, known as the Wilde-Huxley Center. It was a pretty grand place full of wood panels and tiling.

"Right in here," Mr Blackberry instructed Skyler, "let's put him on the surgery table".

Skyler nodded and helped to lift my stretcher. "Bloody 'ell Nat, you sure are 'eavy!"

I winced as they slid me off onto the table, but joked "That's all the mud!"

Skyler giggled "I must weight a bloomin' ton then."

Mr Harvey changes out his gloves and puts on a smock
Mr Harvey changed into surgical gear and started to thoroughly wash his hands. "Skyler, I'm going to need your assistance. Please wash your hands."

Skyler nodded and went for the sink.

"Do under your fingernails too!" I asked.

Skyler laughed "It'll take forever ta clean me nails."

Mr Harvey hurried him on, "Just a good washing is fine." While Skyler worked on his hands, Mr Harvey turned to me, "Now then, what happened exactly?" he asked.

Mr Harvey listens to my story
I began to tell the tale, somewhat distracted from the pain. "This monster thing, like a goblin or a giant baby all covered in blood, bit a chunk out the side of my leg."

Skyler shuddered "Cooor...Glad I didn' me' tha' beast."

"It bled and bled," I continued, "until the people who found me tied a tourniquet and bandaged it up."

Mr Harvey nodded, "Yes, it must have bit through an artery." He turned, "Skyler, sponge please."

As Skyler grabbed a sponge from the tray and passed it over, I turned to Harvey and added, "They gave me morphine too."

"Ah good on them," Harvey said as he began to cut through the bandages.

I winced, "I don't suppose you got some?"

Mr Harvey shook his head, "No, not until I get this treated." He paused and looked me in the eye, "I need to know where it hurts."

Mr Harvey working with the aid of Skyler Gant but without the aid of anaesthetic

I gritted my teeth, "Alright."

Harvey pulled away the old dressing while I grasped for something to hold on to.

Skyler cringed at the wound. "Jeez bloody 'ell mate! That looks awful."

"Goodness," Harvey exclaimed, "that's more like a tiger bite."

I looked away going pale.

"This will sting a lot..." He began to sponge the wound with alcohol, "be brave lad."

My knuckles were going white I was holding the table edges so hard.

"Tha' thing gotcha good Nat," Skyler said.

Trying to distract myself, I continued to tell my story. "We were trying to take a photograph and lure it into a trap, but it jumped at me really fast. We thought it was trapped!"

"I'd a 'elped ya if'n I wasn' ...drinkin'," Skyler said.

Mr Harvey turned to the urchin, "Skyer, you're officially a nurse now. Hand me the suture please."

Skyler looked around.

"It's the big needled and thread"

Skyler nodded and grabbed the suture, handing it to Blackberry.

He took it and turned back to me, "Here," he said, passing me a washcloth, "you'll want to bite down on this."

Skyler looked scared while I gratefully took the cloth and put it between my teeth. My heart was racing and I was starting to sweat. I don't mind telling you that I was bloody terrified of what would happen next!

Marvels of modern medicine
"Skyler, please be ready with another sponge"

Skyler nodded and grabbed a sponge, then paused for a moment and took out his flask of rum as well.

Harvey gripped my leg to hold it in place, he looked to me "I'm going to start on three. One... two..."

I tensed and stared very hard at the ceiling.

He inserted the needle into my leg, just above the open wound.

I grimaced trying not to squirm as the needle and thread went through my flesh.

Skyler pushed his flask towards me, while turning his head and cringing.

Mr Harvey started to tug the stitching taut.

I yelped and bit down hard on the cloth.

"Hold on lad," he said, "I'm told Babbage urchins are the toughest, isn't that right?"

"Tough as nails," Skyler nodded, "when we're drink." He pushed the flask towards me again. "Tha' stuff'll 'elp ya to no' feel pain Nat."

I turned away, remembering that the warning from the night before. The drink might make me feel good now, but my blood wouldn't clot right and I might end up bleeding out.

"Good lad, almost done," the surgeon said, tying off the suturing and sponging the bleeding again. "Gauze, please."

Skyler passed the gauze, then pocketed the flask in a hurry.  " tha' flask from some rich drunk bloke. 'Sposed ta be worth a fortune."

Explaining my post operative options
Mr Harvey wrapped the wound tightly and fastened the gauze together. Then straightened up to talk to me. "All right. Now, Nat, would you like a room in the hospital for a few days? If so, I can give you morphine. If not, only one dose."

I thought hard, I wanted the morphine badly, but I didn't want to get locked up in a hospital when my friends were in trouble.

Skyler poked me, "did you fall asleep mate?"

"Can I take a room tonight, and then see how I feel?" I asked.

"Very good then." Harvey said as he administered the morphine.

I thought some more. "How bad is it? Will it heal quick?"

"Looks awful, Nat," Skyler said. "Like some Tiger bite. Leas' it does ta me."

"Oh, it will take about a week, changing the bandage each day, but then it should heal up." Mr Harvey told me. "Unless it gets infected. You mustn't go for a swim, especially in Babbage waters."

"So I should come back every day? Even if I don't get a room?"

Harvey nodded, "Yes I'd like you to do that."

"And this place is safe from the beast?"

Skyler looked around, "It's underwa'er. Should be th'; safest place. 'Ell... If'n Mr. 'Arvey let's me, I'm gonna stay 'ere!"

Harvey chuckled, "It's fairly safe. The lifts can be locked to the bottom so nothing can get in if need be, and Tosh is on guard duty." He removed his gloves. "I'm going to help you onto your crutch. Don't put any weight on that leg though.

"Okay," I said as he helped me off the table and onto a crutch. Starting to feel the happy effects of the morphine, I took a few unsteady steps trying to avoid using my injured leg.

Trying my crutch
Mr Harvey turned and walked into the marble entrance hall. "This way," he said, leading us towards a door marked 'Patient Stay Ward'. "It should be very quiet down here. And you can shut the door for privacy."

I limped after him into a wood panelled room. "Will I get fed as well?"

"You're free to go down to Huxley Hall to lounge and have some pie when you feel up to it, and I'll check on you both regularly." He said, turning the corner. "I'll give you these two rooms."

I followed him into a curved room with fancy furniture and windows overlooking the deep sea.

My In Patient hospital room
"Wow look at that bed!" I cried, "fancy sheets."

"It's so big!" Skyler said, "Looks comfy."

Mr Harvey smiled.

"I bet they're worth a bit!" I said, running my hand over the golden embroidered design.

"Well, a bit..." he agreed.

I set down my crutch and crawled into bed, suddenly feeling weak and light headed.

"There's a bell by the bed that rings the office downstairs," he told me. "And I'll let Tosh know you're here."

Skyler went to the window, "It's go' a great view," he enthused.

Mr Harvey led him away and shut my door behind them. "You can use this one, Skyler" I heard him say.

I think I started to drift into sleep, but I still heard some snippets of conversation.

Sleeping off the adrenaline ...and the morphine
"So's they can bring up some"

"We've no nurses on staff currently, but there will be food for you."

And then I must've been asleep, dreaming of monsters, morphine and pie...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

New Babbage: The Monster Attacks

Recently a statue with a beating heart was dug up in the steampunk city of New Babbage (where I play a street urchin), on bonfire night we discovered that somehow it had been ripped open from the inside and since then my friends Jimmy, Zaida and Gadget had all been attacked by a monster they said looked like a giant blood covered baby. In hopes of stopping the monster from attacking anyone else, Gadget set up a trap to capture it. Since then we've all been guarding the trap waiting for the Beast of Babbage to arrive...

Waiting for monsters

We had been up for hours staring at the trap and nothing had happened. No sign of monsters or anything. It was quiet, almost too quiet. We were both falling asleep, but then I saw a mysterious cloaked figure jumping out of an alley way in the distance and ran after him...

A mysterious hooded man warns us of danger
 "What are you boys doing here?" he asked.

I told him we were trying to capture a scary monster that looked like a big blood covered baby shouting for flesh.

"So this is how New Babbage solve their problems, by sending boys out to capture monsters?" he asked.

"The rest of them don't believe there is a monster," I told him, "they're just playing along really. But I trust the ones that saw it, three of my good friends." I straightened up and made myself look tough, "We've got to look after ourselves!"

"You poor things, if only someone in this retched place knew what they were dealing with."

"You believe it then?"

"Oh I believe in it all right."

"Do you know what the monster is? If you don't mind me asking."

"It is a creature that feeds on flesh of others, it is a creature that cannot die."

"How do we stop it then? Can we cage it up?"

"Only the strongest of cages will hold the creature for it has the strength of 10 men."


"And boys like you should not be out alone on the streets trying to capture it."

"I'm not alone, Gadget's here! There's been a whole bunch of us, safety in numbers."

The hooded man turned away. "The sun is rising, and i have need to be somewhere else," he said. Then he started striding away from me.

"Can you tell us what we can do to fight it? Or trap it?" I shouted after him. "Does it have a weakness? Stuff it doesn't like?"

He turned back, "you would do well to heed my warnings children, you are not safe on these streets, nor any who have no fighting skills." And then he turned the corner.

"Wait!" I shouted after him, "Who are you mister?" But he was gone.

...and then I realised that my shouting had drawn something's attention... up above me in the ruins of Loki's old shop, directly above the mysterious statue, something pink and bloody was scratching around!

Gadget had fallen asleep, but I shook him awake and pointed to the beast.

The monster appears and chases me
Suddenly the beast dived right at me, moving like lightening! I pushed Gadget out of the way and ran! It was right behind me, gnashing its teeth trying to bite my ankles but I was managing to stay out of its reach.

It was bloody scary and I wanted to get far away, but I knew I needed to lure it back to the trap! Thinking fast, I ran around the block and led it back to the trip wire and bait!

I lead it back to the trap which briefly slows it down
It seemed to briefly get caught in the trap so we moved a little closer, Gadget went to the camera and managed to take a photograph, while I tried to trick it into going for the decoy puppy bait, getting tied up by the snare and caught in the net.

It seemed like we might have it, but then suddenly it pulled free, and before I could think to move it was leaping through the air!

It jumps the rope, ignores the bait and goes straight for me!
I turned to run but it was already on top of me, making noises like the lunatics shout from the windows of the asylum! I ran but it nipped at my ankles! I shouted to warn Gadget and kicked at it, but then it grabbed my leg and sunk its teeth right into me, ripping out a chunk of flesh!

I nearly passed out it hurt so much! There was blood everywhere, it was horrible! It was shouting "YUM!" Gadget ran at it and fired his slingshot and I think I passed out.

Gadget's slingshot drives the monster off but not before a big chunk is taken out of my leg!
Next thing I know I hear Gadget shouting for help over and over. I'm in a puddle of blood, my leg looks so bad, I don't want to look. Gadget is shouting, making a hell of a racket. I was just cold and bloody terrified. I don't know where the monster went. Gadget must've got rid of it.

Eventually help arrives...
After Gadget made so much noise, a whole crowd of people arrived. I don't remember much of it, I wasn't thinking right. I just remember lots of people asking what happened and being really really cold. That archaeologist bloke Mr Blindside was telling me not to bleed on his dig and blaming escaped animals from the circus. Mr Canis was trying to help me with my wound and my grammar. The others were trying to find a doctor or a hospital while Mr Canis tied his cravat around my wound. Bloody hell it hurt!

Eventually Mr Blindside left to talk to the mayor saying he was an archaeologist not a doctor and they should bury me for a thousand years if they wanted him to be helpful. Giving up on finding a medical doctor, Sky Netizen, Scottie Melnik and Maltheus Canis decided to take me to the free clinic and treat me themselves.

Emergency medicine in the New Babbage free clinic
Mr Canis cleaned and disinfected my wound, it hurt like hell. I had to be very brave. I'm glad Gadget was there. He put a proper dressing on it and tied one of those tourniquet things.

More people had arrived, Zaida and LaughtonMcCry were there asking how I was. I was nearly passing out from pain it was so bad. Mr Melnik went to the counter and came back with a needle. Gadget and Zaida were scared he might be hurting or poisoning me, but the grown ups said it was morphine, a wonder drug that would take my pain away and make me feel really good. So I grit my teeth and let him jab me with it.

I would still need stitches, rest and my dressings replaced, but until then I had morphine
Pretty soon I was feeling better, that morphine is good stuff but they wouldn't let me have any more right away! Mr McCoy gave me a cup of hot cocoa instead, which was alright. They told me I was going to need to have my wound cleaned and redressed and a proper doctor would have to stitch it up so it heals properly.

I remembered the monster and told them they we have to catch it! I told them all about it, how scary it was. Gadget and Zaida agreed and showed them the picture Victor drew. The grown ups were finally taking us seriously!

They told me that I had to rest though, that my leg was worse than it felt. I wanted to go back to the hideout and barricade the place up to hide from the monster, but they insisted I'd have to stay close, stay in the warm and near a doctor. I was worried it was so near to where the monster had bit me, but Gadget said he'd stay by my bed and guard me until the doctor showed up.

I had to rest and keep my leg dry and warm, so I slept in the clinic while Gadget stood guard
While I was drifting off I swear I heard someone saying he'd give me 12 hours to live with a wound like that. Maybe I imagined it though, I'm feeling pretty good! Can I have more of that morphine stuff yet?

( Gadget's photograph and his side of the story can be found here )