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.