Thursday, December 6, 2007

Watching the Watchers

Father — or rather, the man whom I was raised to believe was my father — tried to instill in me the importance of journals and thorough note-keeping to any and all scientific endeavors. In that respect, I have failed the man. Here, I have made no entry since Monday, November 26th, 18--. A period during which much of note and consequence had transpired, and a period I do not presently have time or energy to recount. Instead, I will focus on yesterday, for I believe that yesterday bodes ill, indeed. I will note, though, that numerous residents of New Babbage have confirmed the "cuckoos'" interest in myself, and more alarmingly, in my daughter, Elenore. It began with a worried note from Miss Janus, and has been followed by warnings from such varied townspeople as Miss Alina Standish, Dr. Arkitekt Undercity, a young girl name of Pollyanna Nightfire, and the enterprising urchin Loki Eliot. The messages range from the vaguest of inquiries to a claim that the two twins wish to give myself and Elenore "a surprise."

Yesterday, after passing many hours over a particularly sticky chemistry problem at the Abney Park laboratory, I strolled south, past the Museum, on down to the Canal District and the skating rink across from Ruby Flanagan's public house. There I was greeted, once again, by the pale staring twins. Since I first mentioned them in my November 8th entry, the pair have made themselves increasing conspicuous, and I would daresay that, at this point, the majority of the city's populous has seen them at some point. Regardless, there they stood, on the avenue running north to south (bordering the skating rink on the west). They were on foot, without their usual bicycles. Determined to make some headway into this mystery, with Miss Paine at my side, I confronted them. It is difficult to convey in words the sense of dread they impart, even in one such as myself, who has encountered many dreadful beings. They spoke first.

"Good day," one said, and the other finished the salutation, "Professor."

I said that I'd been told that they wished with speak with me, and immediately one of the two informed me "That. Is. Mistaken. We. Not speak yet."

At this point, Miss Paine asked, " Do you mean to speak with her in the future, then?"

And, growing impatient and angry, I said something like, "I would have you know, though, I am watching you, and I have watched worse."

"We. Watch. Too." one of the cuckoos replied, but the other asked Miss Paine, "What is future?"

I told Artemisia to let the matter rest, that they would speak to me when they were ready and not before. But the twins continued to ask about the nature of the "future," inquiring as well what I might know of them. I replied, "I know that you, like me, are not of this world." They persisted with their question about the future, and I replied, "Time. Now. Before. Later," attempting to recreate something of their syntactic pattern. Their response? "All. Events. Are. There is no before later. Future is Before. Future is now." Fixing their stark, staring faces, I said, in all earnestness, "I have had times when I would tend to agree with you, yes. But there is a sort of...utility to the notion of future."

When I confronted them about Miss Beq's report that they'd said they wished to gift myself and Elenore with "a surprise," one of the two answered, ""Perhaps. Later." At my wit and patience's end, I left the two and walked across the skating rink to speak with young master Loki, busy assembling a fruit stand. The "cuckoos" stood on the street and stared at me for quite some time. Finally, I returned to the clock tower at the center of the rink and stared back at them. I was joined there by Dr. Undercity, and we spoke briefly of the twins. Soon, the two moved away north, towards Babbage Square. I confess I was relieved to see them go. The encounter could not have lasted for more than half an hour, start to finish, and yet it is certainly my longest meeting with them thus far.

A little later, Miss Paine and I were returning to Abney Park. As we passed the Imperial Theatre, Miss Paine paused and asked if I minded if she went inside. Though uncertain why anyone — and the two of us, least of all — should desire to enter that dreadful place, I nonetheless acquiesced and followed her down to the basement where the deactivated Eliot device is still stored, displayed for curious sightseers. And there, Miss Paine almost at once discovered an odd hemispherical mechanism, no larger than an orange. It pulsed softly, giving off a violet glow. Realizing at once its provenance, I told her we must go to the laboratory and search it thoroughly. I knew — and I cannot say how, anymore than I may explain how Miss Paine found the original device — that if a second mechanism was to be found in Abney Park, it would be in the loft where Elenore was born. And, indeed, I quickly located it beneath a stack of crates. I attempted to move the object, but discovered that it seemed to exist slightly out of phase with this reality, and I was unable to touch the thing, much less lift it from the floor. Later, Miss Paine discovered a third device, on the second level of Ogdred Weary House. The pattern here is undeniable, the associations with myself and Elenore, as well as the awful Porta Terrarum Device.

I have too many questions. Do the "cuckoos" merely seek some way of leaving this world? Are they merely stranded, as I once was? Or is some more diabolical force in back of their presence here? Most of all, I fear for Elenore's safety, and I am considering sending her away to be with Bellatrix Bracken in Steelhead until this crisis passes. Truthfully, I miss the now-disbanded League. Leon Susenko and the robotic reincarnation of Lucuis Sin are nowhere to be found. Little is seen of Gloriana Maertens. I have Miss Paine and the urchins. I have Miss Beq Janus, who seems almost as distrustful of me as she does of the twins, having accused me of knowing more of them than I have told. She is correct, of course, but I have learned from the episode with the Eliot Device and Jason Moriarty: few here are to be trusted, and panic is the likely result of shared truth. I am still seen as an outsider, and an odd one, at that, and I must not risk Elenore's well-being by drawing undo attention to myself. I cannot incite the sort of suspicion I suffered during the Eliot affair. I am very tired and will try to write more later.

Addendum: Shortly after dawn, Miss Paine located a fourth device, identical to the three mentioned above, in the Palaeozoic Museum. Is it the last?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Editor's note:

On the evening of the 26th of November, Prof. Nishi released the following general announcement to the populus of New Babbage:

This is an urgent warning from Prof. Nareth E. Nishi to the citizens of New Babbage. There has been an accident in my Abney Park laboratory involving a small but potent quantity of radium, and though the incident has been contained and poses not [sic] threat to surrounding structures, I ask that all persons stay clear of the laboratory until the deadly radioactive matter can safely be disposed of. Thank you.

Monday, November 26, 2007


It has now been four full days since the birth of my daughter, whom I have named Elenore, in accordance with her express wishes. I was alone at the Abney Park laboratory, Miss Paine having left to run an errand for me, when the contractions began. Or, rather, what I at first mistook for the usual sort of muscular contractions preceding a birth. Though I was unable to make it back to our rooms above the Museum, with great effort did I gain the loft in the laboratory, and there lay down, hoping that Miss Paine would soon return.

I have already made a more extensive and, I hope, a more objective and scientific account of Elenore's birth and posted it to Bellatrix at her home in Steehead. Here, I wanted only to write something of how the event has effected me, and of my fears of the days that lie ahead. I am still not fully recovered, and I tire much too easily. I have made a great show of being well for the benefit of both Artemisia and the people of New Babbage. I must do my best to keep the latter from finding Elenore, from seeing her, until she is ready to be seen.

I lay on the freezing floor of the loft, my breath fogging as my body was wracked with the paroxysms of my daughter's coming. Though I had tried my best to learn all I could of the reproductive biology of the Nebari race, the truth is that I learned very little, and I was therefore entirely, wholly unprepared for what next occurred. Having managed to remove most of my clothing, I watched in horror and amazement as a vertical slit opened from a point just below my sternum and extending the full length of my abdomen to a point just above the Mons Pubis. Beginning as a shallow furrow, it soon widened and started to excrete a clear mucosal substance mixed with my blue Nebari blood. Within a span of time that could not have exceeded much more than ten minutes, the furrow had grown to a width of at least eight centimetres. I could clearly see, through a thin membrane, certain vital organs, as well as the thick, distended amnion.

At this point, the pain became almost unendurable, and my observations of the events that followed are not to be considered reliable. I believe I must have lost consciousness for several minutes. I came around to the cries of Miss Paine, who had returned to discover me lying on the loft floor with that gaping maw where my abdomen ought to be. I believe I asked her to remain at the door and not come near me, but I am not sure. Regardless, she came to me and held my head as the birth proceeded, overcoming her terror to whisper such attempts at comfort as she could manage.

The amnion swelled until it simply spilled out of my body, at which point the furrow in my belly rapidly began to close again. Almost immediately, the ovum was discharged, a huge transparent thing, and I watched in disbelief as it sprouted numerous tentacles or arms and began to drag itself towards a corner of the room. I could, at this point, clearly see the foetus curled inside the egg. The whole thing continued to expand at an incredible rate, and suddenly it ejected some coiled and fibrous process which smacked loudly, wetly against the low ceiling. There they stuck fast, and the tentacled ovum or amnion hoisted itself upwards until it dangled approximately a metre above the floor. There was, at this tme, a hideous, squelching noise, and the egg "coughed out" a great quantity of some soupy reddish matter not dissimilar to a mammalian afterbirth. I later examined a sample of this tissue, and determined that it did, in fact, contain haemoglobin, and so I have concluded it must be Gallifreyan in origin and not Nebari tissue. As the egg hung there, my daughter dangling head-down above me, the waving tentacles sprayed something not unlike spider silk, shrouding the whole of the egg and adding, I suppose, another protective layer.

It is my belief that during my battle with the "Great Old Ones" invited into this world by Eliot's Porta Terrarum device, Elenore must have managed to secure hereditary molecules from those alien beings, matter she suspected would help protect her during this vulnerable period. The tentacles, ringed about on two tiers, bear a powerful neurotoxin (though I seem to have been granted immunity).

I am too tired to write any more now. I do not know how much longer it will be until Elenore emerges. Only Beq and Gloriana have seen her thus far, and my greatest fear is that she will be discovered in this interim. I cannot entirely blame the fearful attitudes of the men and women of Babbage following the events of September, but my first and foremost duty is to my daughter and my creator, Elenore. I will defend her however I may, and even unto my own death, if needs be. I hardly sleep now, and will remain here in the loft whenever possible, keeping this vigil.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Various and Sundry, and Elenore

As of my last entry in this journal, I had every sincere intention of forcing myself back into the habit of keeping it current. But the world has other plans, always, and too many dire matters vie for my attention, and the days slip so quickly by.

It is with tremendous relief that I report my attempt to restore Miss Paine to her proper age has met with success. Though I still only partly understand the forces at work in her unfortunate transformation, I suspected, after long hours of calculation, that I might reverse the process by sending Artemisia through the TTC, after having carefully placed one of the temporal "needles" where the mysterious carousel so recently stood, inside the auditorium of the dread Imperial Theatre. I think the greatest difficulty lay in persuading Miss Paine that this was, indeed, the correct course of action. I confess that I waited too long to try to reverse the effect, being delayed and distracted by other pressing things, and her mind had begun a regression in tune with that suffered by her physiology. But, afraid and doubtful and, I think, resentful, she passed through the cabinet at Abney Park and rematerialised but an instant later in the Imperial. I found her there, sitting alone in the theatre's front row, close to tears, but an adult once more. She continues to be afflicted by a melancholy which I attribute to these travails, and which I can only hope will pass with time. As for the tales of a spectre or phantasm named "Angry Jenkins" and the possibility that such a being played a role in Miss Paine's transmutation, I dismiss these rumours out of hand and the basest superstition.

Alas, I cannot dimiss the matter of the alien "cuckoos" who have come to New Babbage, but more on this problem later.

My pregnancy seems to be proceeding as expected, based upon what little I could discover about the reproductive anatomy of this body. I suspect the developing ovum will be expelled in less than another week, and we are making provisions for its safe keeping at Abney Park, as I cannot hope to attend it until it is mature enough to attend itself. Itself, I say, and see the callousness in my words. Some part of me still wishes to view this whole affair as completely apart from me, another experiment or problem requiring only the requisite consideration to solve. Which proves my resurrection in September did not entirely rid me of all my foolish ways. I have met this child, grown into a woman, more than a hundred years into the future of this timeline and across an unimaginable gulf on space. I have spoken with her in another time and on another world. Elenore Darwin. My daughter, and as I begin to understand, my mother, as well. I do not try too hard to comprehend this paradox. I am trying simply to accept it. That, long ago, a Gallifreyan woman made provisions for her eventual rebirth, once the weapon created by her master had been undone...but I get so far ahead of myself. I have stood with her, hand in hand, and looked into her eyes, and we have talked of so very many things. She be...a beautiful woman, and sane, and for that last part I am supremely grateful. The horrors of this past year have not been in vain! Ah, but there was fear on her face as well, and many things she would not or could not tell me. One paradox is too much a danger, and I must weather the rough waters ahead without the foreknowledge she might have given me. Above all things, I must keep this child safe.

She moves inside me. It is the most extraordinary feeling. I have existed in so many incarnations down the millennia leading me to this place, and I have witnessed such miracles and wonders. And though many are your equal, dear Elenore, not one yet ever has exceeded this sensation inside me, or the fact of so frail a life existing in the hostile, unforgiving, and more often than not simply indifferent void of this and every universe.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Return to New Babbage

Editor's Note: Following the Elliot affair, Prof. Nareth E. Nishi disappeared from New Babbage for a period of almost two months. Her whereabouts during that time remain a mystery. The story spread by her assitant, Artemisia Paine, that Prof. Nishi was at an undisclosed location in the tropics gathering cuttlefish, is best viewed with suspicion. What follows is her first entry to this journal following her return to New Babbage.

— Bellatrix Bracken

I have missed this dirty old town. I truly have. In my many weeks away, the terrible pall that seemed, in my mind, to lie draped across the city has dissipated. For so long after that terrible day at the Imperial Theatre, I could not even bear to think upon this place. But I feel I am returning home. Though, I must admit, returning home to new and terrible chaos. Through some mysterious contraption erected in the Theatre, Miss Paine has been reduced to an state somewhere between ten and eleven years of age. I suspect that Loki Eliot is innocent in this matter, and that the old carousel which rendered Misi thus was affected by a residual temporal flux. The Eliot device, on display is the Theatre's basement, remains inactive. I have re-examined it closely. After many days of studying the situation, I believe that I may be able to reverse the process of Miss Paine's unwelcomed re-adolescence. The Temporal Teleportation Cabinet has been unpacked and is running again in the Abney Park facility. I merely need to calibrate it to the correct coordinates at the Imperial and send Misi through. I believe she will be quite safe, and the process should be effective. I will place a small vortex at the other end, through which she will pass before re-materializing.

Also, I fear a new alien presence has manifested itself locally. I will write more on this later, but I have little doubt that this case is closely related to that of the "Midwich Cuckoos." I confronted a pair of these peculiar "children" outside the lab on Hallowe'en night, and let that entity know that I recognised it for what it was. They only stared back at me silently. There have been other sightings, before and after my own.

Finally, by some as yet unexplained means, I find myself with child. I have learned what I can of Nebari reproductive physiology, and I suspect I shall likely give birth to the ovum or "egg" in another month or so. I can hardly think of any development that would have been more inconvenient. There is much to be said on this subject, but I must say it another time.

Last night there was snow in New Babbage, the first of the winter.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shutting the Door: Part Three

The days rush past, a dizzy flurry of hours and minutes, and here I have allowed almost a week's worth of them to come and go since last I sat down to record my part in the events of last Saturday. Too easily and agreeably am I distracted from recalling this terrible affair, and I have welcomed the work the Museum has required of me. But I know that I must keep my promise, and so I will now make an end to this account, though I doubt it will satisfy you, Bella. What you desire is quite beyond my ability to recall, much less document.

I will also here note the arrival this past week in New Babbage of a physician by the unusual name of Akiteckt Undercity, a rather peculiar young woman whom I have taken into my confidence. I will admit that I find myself somewhat at a loss to explain this sudden trust, and I am wary of making another mistake of the kind and magnitude I once made with Molly Underwood. Dr. Undercity claims to have begun her own experiments in time travel, though I have come to suspect that she is not half so knowledgeable as she would have me believe her to be. I have done my best to discourage her from the path of her investigations, and I fear I have told her many things I would have been better off keeping to myself. Time will tell, of course. She did not witness the events at the Imperial Theatre, though it seems news of those events may have led her here.

Bella, I really must make my conclusion to this account as brief as possible, for my nerves cannot endure any lengthy or detailed recollection of that day.

As I have said, when the portal opened by Eliot's device parted the veil of space and time, allowing those beings some have called the "Great Old Ones" entry into this world, I opened a second vortex, one leading back to the universe of my birth and to the machine I have here called the Whole. Believing that I had decided to allow myself to be reclaimed, she welcomed me, and as those dreadful elder things began to fill the skies above New Babbage, I transmitted the extraction protocol. But I had managed to situate my vortex so that rather than pulling me to her, the Whole dragged towards her the creatures summoned by Jason Moriarty. Inside the theatre, I used myself as a sort of conduit, redirecting the energy flowing out of the Porta Terrarum mechanism in such a way that is was fed directly back into the device, almost immediately causing it to overheat. A terrific explosion followed, filling the auditorium with smoke and great billows of flame, and the delicate innards of Professor Eliot's contraption were fused and rendered useless. Moriarty's portal was slammed shut.

Immediately, the blue-white plume rising from the Imperial vanished, leaving only the three monstrous "Old Ones," which only moments later were claimed, one by one, by the vortex I had created. And then I sealed that doorway after them. It is at this point, in a final, vicious surge of power from the Whole, guessing my deception too late to forestall the consequences, that I fell, plunging back to earth, landing unconscious upon the bridge which spans the canal between Ginsburg's and the theatre. I am told I spoke a few words to Miss Paine and Gloriana Maertens, though I myself have no such recollection.

And here it is that I come to that portion of the tale, Bella, that I suspect you are most keen to hear, but also that portion which I am the least eager to relate. Though I have only just said that I was "unconscious," the truth is that while my body lay upon that bridge, my mind was occupied elsewhere. In a darkness so perfect and profound I found myself unable to even remember the very fact of light, I listened as someone or something spoke to me. And eventually I realised that the speaker was, in fact, the same voice that had called upon me to stand as a shield against the "Old Ones." I would name it the voice of this world, though in so doing I know I only raise more questions. But that is what is was, truly. And from it I learned that my automaton shell had been battered beyond all hope of repair in the encounter and could not now hope to survive. And the voice then offered me two paths, from which I might freely choose: I could "die," which I believe would have meant the merciful release of senseless oblivion, or I could return in a new body provided me by this world. I chose the latter, and from memories stored within my failing self was that new form constructed. Not a body of liquid metal as I had previously inhabited, but one of living flesh and blood, sinew and bone, fashioned after the race known as the Nebari, whom I encountered at the age of "seventeen" during that first accident in my father's time cabinet.

On the bridge, before the startled eyes of any number of New Babbage's populace, I vanished, reappearing shortly thereafter in the garret above the Museum. Briefly possessed of some vestige of my former telepathic abilities, I called out to Miss Paine, and she heard me. She came, bringing with her Loki Eliot and the orphans, and the sight of them gladdened my soul (if I ever may be said to possess such a thing). Though alarmed at my somewhat altered appearance, they were relieved to see me, as well, and I lay on the chaise lounge while they milled about and asked questions I could not ever hope to answer. Glory was there, too, and more briefly, Captain Susenko. But, as you may well imagine, I was confused and exhausted, and too soon found it necessary to end our joyful reunion. I fell into the deepest sleep of my life, then, and if I dreamt, I did not dream of the Whole and her burning seas and endless halls of blinding light.

Make of these words what you will. For now, they are the best I can do, but I will not be insulted if you dismiss them as a lie or as the raving of an unhinged mind. I must go now, for work calls, but once again, and hopefully not for the last time, I thank you, dear Bellatrix, and hope that these pages find you well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shutting the Door: Part Two

I am trying to return to the day-to-day business of managing the Palaeozoic Museum, reopened now since Friday. I crave the mundane work of science once again, though, I must admit that part of me is becoming restless, following the chaos and uncertainty, the fear and danger of the past month. Last night, Miss Paine and I wandered down to the Canals and sat a while with Gloriana and the orphan Jimmy Branagh, and I told her of Bella's decision. We were delighted when Lucius showed up, quite unexpectedly, for we see so awfully little of him these days. He was eager for news of Moriarty's defeat and, I think, somewhat shocked at my altered appearance.

I am not keen to continue the narrative I began yesterday, but, as I've said already, it is the least I can do for Bellatrix. For without her level-headed intervention in July, Miss Paine might never have "recovered" from the werewolf attack in Kittiwickshire, Caledon. Still, I hardly know how to pick it up again. By the hour, the details seem to fade, and my reluctance to recount them redoubles.

My first warning of the impending disaster on Saturday was Moriarty's sudden, sickening presence in my mind, while I attended a meeting beneath Babbage Square. Quickly, I discerned that Myrtil had kept her appointment, and, still passing myself off as someone working towards the same fiendish ends as Moriarty, I asked him not to touch her, to leave her to me, hoping in this way to at least spare her life. Truthfully, he was so elated to have Victor Wunderlich's piece of the Eliot device, I think Moriarty had lost any interest in murdering any single person. As quickly as I could, I rushed to the Imperial, sensing little time remained to forestall his plans. When I arrived there, I discovered Myrtil, along with Mckay Beck and one or two other of the urchins, all of them terrified and dashing about. In short order, I learnt that Moriarty had all the components and that he had retreated into some heretofore unsuspected subterranean chamber below the theatre. Soon, working together, we had located the trapdoor leading down to this chamber.

I am sorry, Bella, but from here, any straightforward narrative is not possible, not for me. I shall do the best I can, but already the proceeding hour or two have become a blur.

Still believing I was his confederate, Moriarty admitted me to the room where, I discovered, he had re-asssembled and triggered the Porta Terrarum device. I stared in horror at the machine, at its genius and in full knowledge of the damage it had already wrought upon this world. Moriarty talked, and I listened, responding only with such words as would not betray my genuine purpose. He informed me that, via alchemical and biological studies, Eliot had made of his own grandson the true third component of the device, and that young Loki's blood was the key. The man was insane, and I knew there was no hope of appeal to reason, of dissauding him from the course he had long since charted. I did my best to keep the orphans clear, shutting myself in that pit with Moriarty as the device thrummed and the very fabric of space and time began to bend about me.

There were many witnesses to the crackling plume of blue-white energy that rose from the center of the theatre, passed from the Porta Terrarum device up into the theatre's "projector," which them carried it across the auditorium to the "screen" — in truth some mechanism that magnified and redirected the beam heavenward. I shall not here waste my strength and patience in describing it, though I have heard some compare it to a gigantic flower of light and heat. Certain of his victory, Moriarty lowered his guard, as the sky was rent with the loathsome howl of the otherworldly creatures that had begun to enter by way of the vortex forming high above the Imperial. I did the only thing I was certain would give me any possible advantage. I opened myself to the Whole, dropping all my carefully built defenses, and calling her to retrieve me at last.

As the Old Ones emerged in the skies of New Babbage, I sent the codeword that had eluded her. My body responded, taking that truer form, casting aside so much of the illusion of flesh, and I shoved Moriarty aside. Furious at my betrayal, he demanded to know what I was doing, and so I told him. Whatever shreds of sanity the man might still have harboured were, I believe, lost in that instant. He transformed once more into wolfish form, but compared to the things he had invited into this world, even that fiendish visage seemed tame. I ignored him and set about attempting to contain the immense flux of energy the Eliot device was releasing. As the theatre filled with roiling balls of flame, I rose above the building and met the tentacled nightmares in the sky. And it was then that the Gallifreyan weapon, that entity I call the Whole and of which I was created to serve, opened a second vortex to claim me.

So near to the end, I would prefer to conclude this account now and be done with it. But it shall have to wait, as I am being called away by Miss Paine to attend to matter downstairs in the Musuem.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shutting the Door: Part One

This morning's post brought me a letter from Bella, bearing a Steelhead postmark. I have sat in my garret above the Museum's gallery, reading it over and over again, trying to imagine the response I will compose later. In the letter, Bella stated her desire to immediately resign her position in the League, and also that I please finish my account of the recent and terrible events here in New Babbage. I do not welcome either request, though I have decided, with considerable reluctance, to grant both. We will certainly be weaker in Bella's absence, but her order has agreed to take her back, on the condition that she immediately end her affiliation with the League. Under such pressing conditions, I could not possibly consider trying to persuade her to do otherwise and so remain among us.

In some ways, though, her second request seems the more daunting of the pair. Much horror and tumult has transpired since my entry of September 5th, and I am quite certain I am unequal to the task of setting those events to paper. Indeed, before I received Bella's letter, I had already placed the typescript, the wax cylinders, and all associated documents into a locked tin box and planned to hide them away at the Abney Park laboratory this evening or tomorrow. As I have said before, I am not the woman who began this journal. And if that statement held any veracity prior to Saturday, it holds a hundred times that now, to the degree I almost feel I will be concluding a tale begun by another person entirely. Perhaps, even, a tale written in several hands, spoken in several voices, as it seems "I" have been in a constant state of physical and mental flux since my arrival in New Babbage back in June. At times, I hardly can discern the threads of continuity linking these successive incarnations.

But I shall do my best, because I remain ever in Miss Bracken's debt, and she has asked. For my part, I would say that the Eliot device has been damaged beyond all hope of repair, and that the murderer and lycanthrope Jason Moriarty is gone from our midsts, and that would suffice. In the end, that is all that matters. But Bella would have the gory details, and so I will endeavor to set them down, what I can recall. Here in Babbage, I find there is considerable confusion over precisely what did occur, and in the streets I have heard no end of outlandish conjecture and supposition. Even those who witnessed the phenomenon cannot seem to agree precisely what it was they saw, and I believe that is likely for the best. The sooner the particulars of these foul days are forgotten, the better, and so I am acting against my best judgement in recording them here.

On Thursday, I learnt that one of the orphans, one of only two girl children among that ragged company, had left a letter in a sealed envelope inside the hidden room, the killer's lair, which Miss Paine and I discovered Tuesday last. Though I was unsuccessful in retrieving the letter before Moriarty, I was able to learn from its author, Myrtil Igaly, that she hoped to exchange a forgery of one third of the Eliot device for Victor Wunderlich, presumably still held captive by the werewolf. Though Miss Paine and I both begged her not to meet with the monster, assuring her that she could not possibly hope to trust him, there are few things more absolute than the will of a thirteen-year-old girl.

And so, on Saturday afternoon, Moriarty returned to Babbage and answered her request for an audience, and, accompanied by another orphan, young master Mckay Beck, she met him in the auditorium of the old Imperial Theatre. And, as it turned out, what she had to offer him was far more than a counterfeit component, but a genuine piece of the device, previously in the possession of Victor Wunderlich (but entrusted to Mckay prior to Wunderlich's kidnapping).

The sun is setting over the sea, painting the water red, and I find this new flesh is tired and hungry. So I shall set my quill aside for now, and return to the account as soon as I may. But, again, Bella, I say that only two things matter here — the nightmare begun by Professor Alexander Eliot has been ended, and the murderous campaign of his monstrous prodigy, Jason Moriarty, has been thwarted.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Occurrence at the MaYifu Arcade

I had still not recovered from the events of Monday, when Tuesday saw fit to deliver a fresh set of horrors upon us. If there is a pace to these events, then that pace must surely be quickening, for better or worse. For my part, I am still exhausted and unable to long endure the absence of a high-voltage source of alternating current. I can neither sleep nor eat, and I no longer seem to need water. My "physiology" seems to have abandoned all pretensions at the requirements of an organism. And I fear that my brief contact with Moriarty has left me somehow infected, and that this infection is the author of my inability to function free of an external energy supply. At least I am no longer dreaming, so I will count that as a silver lining.

Yesterday, Loki Eliot was attacked by Jason Moriarty, behind the opium den. This followed shortly after the reappearance of Victor Wunderlich, who led Loki and Jimmy Branagh from the absinthe house to the place where Moriarty's assault occurred. I am still uncertain of Wunderlich's role. Regardless, Loki was attacked. One or two of the townspeople reached him before I was able, and by the time I arrived, the pavement was red with his bood, though the wound would prove to be relatively inconsequential. I called for Miss Paine, Gloriana, and Captain Susenko, and I asked them to care for Loki Eliot while I searched the streets for either Wunderlich or Moriarty. However, Loki was extremely distraught and was soon rushing to and fro, calling for Victor, whom he believed stolen away by Jason Moriarty. Oh, this detail is no doubt important — Loki reports that Moriarty cut him, then pressed a handkerchief to the wound, as though to steal a sample of his blood.

I followed Loki, and soon we found ourselves in the dank alley between the absinthe house and Ordinal Malaprop's Babbage factory. Here I quickly spotted a splash of blood upon the street, and beside it a bit of paper with the word "arcade" scrawled across it. Though I have repeatedly searched the MaYifu Arcade on earlier occasions, and all to no avail (having long ago learned that Moriarty retained a stall there), Miss Paine and I dashed across the canal. She search outside, and I searched within. She was the first to detect something amiss at the southeast corner of the building, her keen senses detecting the coppery odour of blood coming through the wall. Inside, I soon located a panel that, when depressed, slid back to reveal a narrow, hidden room. The walls were heavily graffitied and cover with old photographs and suchlike, all of a particularly morbid nature. At the back of the room, we found Moriarty's journal, and Miss Maertens and I kept any sightseers at bay while Miss Paine examined this awful document, photographing all the pages so that I might closely examine them at my leisure. Also, on the north wall of the room, in blood, was scrawled the message, "Ready to Unveil the Truth," echoing the words Moriarty had spoken to me the day before. When we had thoroughly searched the area, Miss Paine and Glory and I left it to the clamoring crowd of urchins outside. I had grown so weak I could scarcely think clearly, and I was unable to close the secret doorway or find anyway to block it. That is, I suppose, Bow Street's problem.

Speaking of the latter, I did send a message to our Mayor and Chief Inspector, Mr. Sprocket, shortly after we decamped from the arcade. I related to him the discovery of the secret room and also the fact of my conversation (if not the particulars) with Moriarty. His response was customarily flippant, but at least I cannot be said to have tried to conceal my doings or the fruits of my investigations from our police.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Meeting the Wolf

I seem no longer capable of sleep. The electrical current appears to be all I require in the way of sustenance now. Though, since my meeting with Jason Moriarty, I seem to need a continuous supply of it. I feel, as I told Gloriana and Miss Paine yesterday, like a battery that can no longer hold a charge. Still, I am much improved from yesterday and will soon venture out again, hoping that I can locate the others and begin to devise some plan of action.

Much of yesterday was spent in the company of Miss Beq Janus at her house in the Canal District, attempting to answer as many of her questions as possible. It was a long and frustrating conversation, and, soon, we seemed to have reached a sort of cul de sac. Even now, far more at peace with the facts of my non-biological Nature than I was before my departure on the 31st, it is not easy to be seen as cold and distant, as only an unfeeling machine. I am not unfeeling, but I do understand why I may appear that way, even to those few people I have permitted near me. I am not human. And I do not act or respond as a human might, except by tremendous force of will and deception.

I should set down at least the barest bones of my meeting with Moriarty, if I am to bother setting down here anything at all.

Artemisia is one of the few I can reach with my mind, and while I was still mentally conversing with Miss Janus, shortly before dawn, Miss Paine called out to me. I do not think the call was even conscious, for she lay in a drugged stupor, dozing on one of the squalid pallets in the opium den behind the Imperial Theatre. I rushed to her, sparing only a few words of explanation to Beq as I took my leave. I entered the shadowy, acrid opium den to find Moriarty standing over Miss Paine, leering hungrily down at her. He appeared to me as a teen-ager or a young man of unremarkable countenance. He carried a jeweled cane, and his clothes were dirty and threadbare. Indeed, there was an air of dishevelment all about him. More than that, there was an air of insanity, and I immediately sensed some great power in back of him, some force like none I have ever before felt, nor here nor in any other world. He turned towards me, and in an instant was in my mind. There was no keeping him out, no profit in resisting.

Smiling, nodding to Miss Paine, he said to me, "She rests so sweet. You do best to keep your friends at bay if no harm is to come to her. I just want to talk to you, creature to creature."

When I asked outright if he were making a threat, the man replied, "Rather a plea for you to hear me out." To which I replied, "I am listening. Do not automatically consider me a foe, Mr. Moriarty."

He continued, "I sense you are different. I sense something old in you," and so I assured him that he must have keen senses, indeed. "I have been awakened," he said. "I know who it is that's beyond the veil, and you also know. Why don't you join me, and we can welcome the new dawn."

"Would it be that simple?" I countered. Truthfully, and somewhat to my surprise, my chief concern at this juncture was Miss Paine's safety. I heard Beq just outside the opium den, and struggling to keep my thoughts to her segregated from Moriarty's probing consciousness, I asked her to please be ready to enter and get Artemisia to safety, as I would attempt to lure Moriarty towards the stairs and to the landing above.

"Oh, yes," Moriarty replied, "glorious and raw, powerful and true."

"How much time do we have to talk?" I asked, and at once he inquired what need had one such as I to bother with the captivity of time. "The Old Ones have waited beyond time itself, and soon time will have no meaning anymore." I assured him that the form he saw before him, my physical self, was quite entirely subject to time. "You will not have to wait long, my dear," he promised. "You will soon be released."

By this point we had gained the stairs, I believe. I expressed feigned curiousity and dismay, that he could know so much of me, of my desires, but already he had begun to speak of other matters.

"Professor Eliot was like a father to me," he said. "He gave me abilities to see things no one else could see. To do what no one else could do. He created me, a conduit to the Old Ones. But I do not believe he realised my potential. Or the potential of his work. He did not understand what was at stake, and in his ignorance he shut down the project. And they tried to destroy any evidence of his work, including me."

And then he confessed to me having murdered Alexander Eliot. "I had to," he declared angrily. "He was ruining it all! I know where the three parts are."

Having at last reached the second story of the building, I called for Beq to go to Miss Paine, and soon the both of them were safe and clear of Moriarty.

"The parts," he continued, "I will retrieve them, and we will watch the veil be torn from off this world."

"Together?" I asked him. "You and I?" And he replied, "Of course. It's only a matter of days now. But, blood must be spilled one last time."

He stepped past me then, exiting onto the bridge of weathered planks the orphans have placed between that building and the adjacent structure to the north. Standing there, as the first light of dawn broke over the city, I watched as he transformed from the shape of a man into that monstrous and all too familiar hybrid of man and wolf. A great black brue, not so unlike the beast Lucius Sin once was. With a guttural cry, the monster leapt to the cobblestones below, and, stunned, sickened my the sensation of his mind upon my own, I was helpless to do anything but watch his retreat towards the eastern canal.

Somehow, I found my way back to the Museum, and there yet another horror was to be endured. It is nothing I can write of now, for the effort of making this entry has entirely exhausted me, and I fear I must rest once more. But I pray that the fiend sensed no deceit in me, that he believes I spoke true, that I am in league with him, working towards the same diabolical ends. Somehow, I must continue to elude the suspicions of this town, and of its police, and also elude the others who may hunt me — the 13 Club, the Vangreed Soc., and the Freemasons — and find some way of heading off the disaster that must now be very near at hand.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Strange Days

I have spent this last hour holed up inside the Abney Park laboratory, reading over and listening to journal entries I made almost seventy-five years ago. It seems incredible that I authored those documents, that I have just heard my own voice, recorded on wax cylinders three-quarters of a century in the past. But I know these things to be true. I have returned to New Babbage, and to its inhabitants, and to my colleagues in this place and time, I seem only to have been absent for the space of perhaps twelve hours, probably less.

Can I resume this journal? Should I? Certainly, I am not the woman I believed myself to be when I first arrived in here in June. Two months ago. Seventy-five years ago. I have become, instead, this paradox. This contradiction. Surely, I will not be speaking with the same voice.

I was blind when I left. Now I am only mute.

On August 31, according to my faded memories and to the ink still fresh in my ledger, I resolved to bring the Underwood woman back to Babbage, having come to understand the harm she could do, and the foolish decision I made when I entrusted her with such a terrible secret. I must have been in a panic, and I can even speculate that I might very well have been in a deranged state. That was, for me, so awfully long ago. She had become a problem to be solved, and I doubt I saw her as anything more. And, whatever else might have happened, I tried to get her to enter the temporal translocation cabinet at Abney Park. Knowing that it could only lead to her death, as the cabinet was not yet ready for tests on living organisms, still I bade her enter. In a flash, her molecules would have been strewn across the aether one hundred and fifty metres above the lab, and with her, the secrets I confided, of my true nature and the cipher I will not even here repeat. Artemisia arrived, though, and, from here, there are no notes to fall back upon and my recollections are too hazy to trust. But I have been told by Miss Paine that Molly Underwood escaped, and that I slit my own throat and entered the cabinet with a small weasel or ferret in my arms. It is almost too bizarre a tale to even credit as true.

As to what happened afterwards, well, that is something I may never fully write down anywhere. I left this world and entered yet another. One very near to this. And I lived a long life there, and in time, I understood that my affairs in New Babbage, in this universe, had been left incomplete and unfinished. And with great difficulty I returned, arriving in the city sometime late on Saturday, the day after my departure. Not even a full day had passed here, and yet for me, those seventy-five years came and went.

I am exhausted, and must rest. I will write more later, for this past evening, just before dawn, I did at last meet Mr. Jason Moriarty, the werewolf created by Alexander Eliot. And the meeting has left me weak and unable to regain strength without a constant application of alternating electrical current. There was a frightful occurrence at the Museum, shortly after dawn and my audience with whatever manner of hideous being Moriarty has become. He speaks of the return of the Old Ones, and he thinks me a compatriot in his campaign to ease their re-entry into this world. Am I? Is that what I have become? Even though I have only meant always the exact opposite? He has touched my mind. He has somehow stained me. I cannot get his foul reek out of my head. There will be another murder, one more he says, and soon, and I have no idea what I might do to prevent it.

I have sealed myself inside Abney Park laboratory. I pray my strength returns. The League is not strong enough to stand alone against what is coming, and Heaven help Bow Street and the bloody Freemasons and the 13 Club and anyone else who tries to hold back this rising tide.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Editor's Appendix C: Additional Evidence in the Eliot Case

The following images all have obvious relevance to Professor Nishi's role in the case of the "Eliot device." They are followed by a transcription of the letter discovered on the corpse of Mr. Giles Canning, based on a copy of the letter found in the Professor's predictably disorganized files:

Figure 1:

Detail of the magistrate's warrant nailed to the front and rear doors of Professor Nishi's Abney Park laboratory by Mayor Shaunathan Sprocket (20 August); this photograph is noted as having come from the front door of the blockhouse.

Figure 2:

It is believed that this is the only extant photograph of Professor Nishi's reproduction of the "Porta Terrarum" or "Eliot" device, the one for which her Abney Park property was sealed. Note the Professor in the background, right, near one of her plesiosaurs.

Figure 3:

The infamous "death list" found affixed (14 August) to Giles Canning's spine with the murder weapon and widely thereafter circulated throughout New Babbage. Note that the names of the Imperial Theatre orphans are separated from those of Jason Moriarty and Professor Nishi. The reader will recall, it was Dr. Nishi's belief that these names were not a list of intended victims, but rather a list of people Mr. Canning hoped to question regarding the whereabouts of the device's three components.

Figure 4:

The painting by Jason Moriarty that appeared among numerous others on 24 August at Loki Absinthe. Much of the symbology and imagery already seen inside the Imperial (see Appendix A) is repeated here. More importantly than the garish painting itself, is the letter inadvertently discovered attached to the back of the canvas by a Miss Indigo Li.

Figure 5:

The letter from Professor Alexander Eliot to Jason Moriarty, found on the back of Moriarty's painting.

Figure 6:

A curious document. According to Professor Nishi's notes, this records the loan of a considerable sum of money to Professor Eliot by Sir Edler Reifsnider, the man who would later try to destroy the Imperial Theatre. It was given to Professor Nishi during a meeting with Reifsnider at Abney Park, prior to her showdown with him at the theatre two days later (28 August). Reifsnider presented this loan agreement as proof of his authority to seal the theatre, evict the orphans, and have the building demolished.

Figure 7:

This painting was installed at Loki Absinthe on 29 August, the work of another orphan, Jimmy Branagh. Much more will be written on this image in a subsequent appendix. For now, I would note that young Branagh reported having painted this following a dream he had after the gathering at the absinthe house on 24 August. The child seen from the back appears to be Branagh himself. Note also Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat on what appears to be a stone altar, dominated by a sickly green monstrosity, something that seems a hybrid of octopoid and arthropod. According to Professor Nishi's notes, the painting was described to her in detail by Artemisia Paine. Later, the Professor questioned the artist about it, and later still, she asked Mr. Leon Susenko, Miss Gloriana Maertens (of Caledon Eyre), and Miss Beq Janus to render opinions. There was a general consensus that the woman's face, repeated many times in the upper left-hand corner, was meant to be the that of Professor Nishi.

What follows is a transcript, by Artemisia Paine, of the letter found with the "death list" and the "Sunrise cylinder" at the scene of Canning's murder:

Mr. Canning,

We have just heard grave news that Professor Eliot has been killed. It looks as though he had been living above his son[']s absinthe factory all this time.

We were fools to assume he would hide far from the theatre. It is our belief that even though he hid from the rest of us, he would not trust any other to his work and as you were the closest to him on the project I feel he will have sent a way to contact you.

The murder has brought attention to us. Even the mayor of New Babbage is involved now, so be careful. Be on your very best guard when it comes to Professor Eliot's first assistant and do please destroy any evidence in your possession of the Sunrise experiment.

It is imperative that we find the device before any of the others.

God speed

Your friends,

The Thirteen

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the disheveled effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, probably recorded during the morning of 29 August:

Times passes, and I lose track. [pause] I have been practicing humour, but that is not a jest. So many events, they slip through my fingers, through my mind's fingers. This journal, its purpose, if ever it was known to me, eludes me now.

Yesterday, the grim visage of Mr. Edler Reifsnider returned once again to the Imperial Theatre in the Canal District, despite Mayor Sprocket's refusal to permit its demolition. Miss Paine first noticed the commotion, and called for me. When I arrived, he was shouting profanities at the urchins, and, likewise, they were shouting back at him. I asked the man what business he thought he had being there, given the Mayor's decision, and I shooed the orphans outside. He seemed quite flustered, and refused to give me a straight answer, in part, I believe, because I am a women. I told him to leave immediately, before things grew any uglier than they already had. But as he exited the theatre, some of the bolder of the urchins, rightfully outraged at how this vile man has treated them, advanced upon Mr. Reifsnider. Before I could intervene, he had begun throttling them most cruelly with his cane. At once, I dragged the bastard back into the theatre [pause] We soon found ourselves in the moldering auditorium, and he began to make threats against my person. Moments later, and much to my relief, Mr. Lucius Sin arrived, and if I was not capable of intimidating Mr. Reifsnider, Dear Lucius was. Sometimes, I have found, there is great need of a reanimated soul trapped in the form of a Titantic steam-driven automaton. Lucius chased the bastard from the theatre, and I only just managed to catch up with him before he began firing off blue-white volleys of electricity at the man. It all sounds like some absurd penny dreadful.


I will say [pause] I should say [longer pause] blasted Reifsnider did not leave without first laying upon my head what I fear may prove a terrible curse, or perhaps what would more fairly be named a threat. "You have a choice. Continue down this road and perhaps you will end up with more than you can understand," and then later, "But I will tell you this...when it happens, and oh, by god, it will happen, there will be no one capable of stopping it." I will not now [pause] I will not dwell upon the meaning of these words, as I think I understand them all too clearly.


My mind is so cloded, and it is sometimes hard to place events in proper order by chronology. I had meant to begin with an account of my latest [pause] my latest episode [loudly exhales] and that was [pause] day before yesterday, I believe. Yes. In my garret above the Museum...the Museum has been so neglected [pause] There was another episode, as though the Whole fears I will forget how near she presses in upon this world.

After the nasty bit of business with the orphans yesterday, a sudden exhaustion overtook me, the sort of spell which often presages my, my episodes. I retreated to the Abney Park lab, where I found Miss Beq Janus waiting for me. We had planned to discuss the plight of the orphans, I believe. And has been happening again...I slipped. And she was there to see my vanishing and my returning, though fortunately Miss Maertens had arrived, and Miss Paine shortly thereafter. I am too weary now for this account, so I must condense. Soon, I slipped a second time, into that blackness between moments and stars, and this time, and this is most extraordinary and unsettling, Miss Paine was apparently dragged along in my wake. When we once again found ourselves in the laboratory, after maybe only thirty seconds or so [long pause] she described the experience as being smothered or suffocated [pause] she was quite pale and grew increasingly ill. And, of course, Miss Janus had seen the whole affair, after having witnessed the episode the day before, and she had too, too many questions to ever easily be set aside. I considered, for a moment, simply killing her. It would have been the wisest course of action, the most expedient. Instead, clinging [long pause] clinging to the shreds of my humanity, and after she had promised to keep any secrets revealed upon pain of death. And after both Miss Paine and Gloriana had agreed [pause] I showed her my truer face, that truer form, the navigator the Whole would retrieve, that thing Captain Susenko calls "the pilot." I showed it to her, and so Beq Janus has joined our odd fellowship. We are eight now.

My work on a new time cabinet continues. The field stabilizer is finally functional.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meeting with the Orphans

As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the surviving effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, probably recorded during the late evening of 25 August:

There are too many things I have never learned of life. Even blind, how does one look into the face of an orphaned child who has just asked whether or not his grandfather was a bad man and not lie? How does one tell the truth, when the boy's grandfather has visited so much grief and horror upon the world? I can not endure much more of this, Father. If I believed in any sort of god, I would swear upon that deity that I have come to the end of my tether. [long pause; static]

Miss Paine and I met with the orphans this evening in the Imperial, Loki Eliot and almost twenty of his fellow urchins. I learned almost nothing, and in truth I'd not expected to. I know that Victor Wunderlich is once again in hiding, and that he did indeed carry one third of the Eliot device to Caledon, but was too frightened to deliver it to Mr. Canning, which likely explains why Canning came to New Babbage. And I know that a notice has been posted on the Imperial Theatre where the orphans live, placed there by a Mr. Sir Edler Reifsnider, announcing that the theatre is closed pending demolition. Someone attached to this affair wishes, I believe, to destroy the evidence writ upon the walls of that place. Loki appealed to me to stop the demolition, but I am a loss as to how I might prevent such a thing. Supposedly, all the late Professor Eliot's effects have passed to this Edler fellow, and I have yet to discern anything illegal at work. I will see the Mayor and ask that he attempt to halt the demolition, and I will try to find alternate lodgings for the orphans, but beyond that [pause] beyond that, I do not know.

Loki asked another thing of me, and I wish that he had not. He told me that I am the only one in New Bababge asking the right questions, and to please not cease my questioning. What is the boy hiding that he can declare such a thing? What does he know that he and his comrades yet keeps to themselves? And how can I proceed with this investigation when I am blind and my mind buckles beneath the weight of so much [pause; loud crackle] Old gods. That is what the letter from Moriarty spoke of, the letter discovered on the back of his painting in the absinthe house. Old gods. How many terrors did Eliot's device unleash upon this unsuspecting world? From what black voids between the worlds have these atrocities come? And if the children knew, if they knew that they ask the aid of a monster [pause] a monster called forth by children to slay their nightmares, a being in back of me who will burn this whole universe to a smoldering husk if it must to be whole again. How can I be both damnation and salvation, Father? [pause] No, I did not expect an answer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Pact

As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the various effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded during the early morning of 25 August:

Exhaustion. [long pause] Since the affair with the Mayor and his inspector on Monday, all has been turmoil. Indeed, tumult has come to define me. It seems to follow me like a mist I cannot shake off. I will not attempt a summation of all that has transpired since my last recording. I am too tired. I have not even half the energy needed for that. [long pause] There was an affair at the absinthe house this evening, and an accompanying art instillation. And one of the paintings was the work of Jason Moriarty. The image itself is only a grotesque rehash of the graffiti I found more than a month ago inside the old Imperial. But, discovered on the back of the canvas was another letter. Breadcrumbs, that's what these are. Goddamned bread crumbs. Moriarty means to be found, or he only wishes to taunt Babbage, or he has yet some other purpose. Frankly, since I seem to have been cleared of suspicion of murder, I do not care how Babbage deals with Mr. Moriarty. I am sick of playing at detective. I am sick of the suspicion of men and women who cannot consider the fullness of this problem. They think it some macabre tale, something from Mr. Poe, possibly. Did they not listen to the cylinder found on Canning's body? Did they not hear what I have heard?


I believe I know who entered my lab and discovered Commodore's reproduction of the Eliot device, some woman named Chernov, a photographer who styles herself a sleuth. I confronted her and told her that if, in the future, she should wish a tour of my work place I gladly will indulge her utterly. She has only to ask. I am talking in futile circles. Oh [pause] also, Miss Paine has seen the copy of the Eliot device that has been placed on exhibit at Bow Street and purported to be genuine. It is only the copy which Commodore gave to Sprocket on Monday. Nothing more. But, as I say, this is not my problem. And, too, I should mention that, though still blinded, I accompanied Miss Paine on another search of the theatre. She located in the area where the orphans sleep, inscribed upon a tabletop, what she has described to me as a flaming X. I can say I felt the heat of it myself. We summarily scoured the place, above and below it, and found naught.

Captain Susenko and Miss Maertens have returned, and with their aid and that of Lucuis Sin, Miss Paine, and perhaps Bellatrix Bracken, I shall try to return to the problem of my own condition, to that solution which I have devised. This evening, I outlined my plan to the Captain and Miss Maertens. I showed them the sub-aetheric scanner and some of my computations and diagrams. They have agreed to help me find the others and to do what the laws of this universe will not ever permit me to do. They will [sudden burst of static, indecipherable speech] though I confess am loathe to have anyone else bloody their hands on my account.


It is such a comfort to have them back, no matter what black work lies ahead. The dreams are growing stronger again. She is so near. She, the Whole, all that has been reassembled of the Whole. I must work fast, and my hands must be sure in their endeavors.

One last thing. Tomorrow, I meet with Loki Eliot and the orphans. It will be, I think, my last involvement in the affairs of the late Professor Eliot. If these street urchins have any answers, well, we shall see.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Surviving Bow Street

As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded on the afternoon of 22 August:

For better or for worse, the dreaded confrontation with Mayor Sprocket and Bow Street is done. They came late yesterday, as I was taking the evening air just outside the Museum. Sprocket, accompanied by some nervous gentleman name of Steinbeck [pause] his first name eludes me. Again, I was asked to yield the device. Again, I asked that the issue be discussed beforehand, calmly and rationally, and that such discussion might best be undertaken at the Abney Park laboratory, then still barred to by the magistrate's order and seal. At this juncture, the Mayor grew greatly agitated. We walked the distance west to Abney Park, and once there, I was again ordered to hand over the device, and all my requests for explanation and discussion were summarily swept aside. Finally, I confessed to Sprocket and the inspector that my device was only a counterfeit, a clever copy of Eliot's made from the schematic I found at Sunrise. At first, he refused to believe me. He instructed Steinbeck to restrain Miss Paine and myself [pause] to shoot us if we made to enter the laboratory! I do not exaggerate! I fear I was not at my most articulate, as his manner had so angered me. While we waited outside, he once again, presumably, examined the device. At this point, I should say, that Mr. Steinbeck confessed he would not have handled the matter with such unwarranted force, that he would have preferred to listen to what I had to say, to hear me out. Shortly thereafter, Sprocket exited the lab and announced that these girls — his words — were not involved, that we were to be released as he had determined we were not involved. Indeed! He also said that he had learnt the location of the genuine device [pause; cough] He seemed confused as to whether the model at Abney Park represented the whole or a single element of the Sunrise contraption, and I suspect the man had not even made to review the evidence at his disposal. He and Steinbeck then proceeded towards the railway, and Mr. Commodore's factory, though I had not at any point mentioned Luciean's name in connextion with the counterfeit, choosing, rather, to let the men believe I had built it alone. [long pause] I was so angry. So furious. To be traeted with such disrespect, to have my life and Miss Paine's threatened at gunpoint, then to be summarily dismissed, still with no explanation and certainly no apology. When I tried to demand an accounting of his behaviour, I was told by Sprocket that I was in no position to make demands, and that he was aware I hailed from the Colonies, that he was not burdened with such liberal notions of justice or some such twaddle. I assume this is a reference to my previous residence in a mirror-image America, which Sprocket believes is the America of his world and time.

I was outraged and disgusted, that Bow Street seems to have no genuine interest in solving this mystery, but only in exerting brute force towards its own ends, an agenda I can only guess at.

Mr. Commodore was questioned immediately after me, and he confessed he had made the device. Sprocket was apparently reluctant to believe he had been duped, but Mr. Commodore provided him with a copy for Bow Street, at which point the Mayor took his leave. I gather his attitude was somewhat less [pause] We remained at Commodore's factory by the stockyards until sometime after dawn. There was another visit by the reincarnated Lucius Sin, and perhaps this is the strangest part of that awful evening. He has returned to us as a great mechanical thing, an iron automaton fully twenty feet tall, if Miss Paine does not overestimate, and I can not begin to guess what dark sciences and arts lay behind that survival of the grave. But, I confess, I rejoice at the presence of the man, despite his role in Miss Paine's death, and in spite of my earlier comments. Having him near, to my surprise, was almost as great a comfort as if Capt. Susenko was among us again.

Oh, the Beck child also found me while I was at the factory. A meeting with Loki Eliot and his gang has been arranged, though I know not yet when nor where.

Well, regardless, I have my laboratory again, and everything seems to be in order here. There is no evidence it was even searched and nothing was removed, not even my copy of the device. From here on, I shall trust in my own investigations and not in those of Bow Street, for these men seem inept, at best. I shall steer clear of them, as much as I may, though I suspect they watch my movements still.

Monday, August 20, 2007


As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded on the evening of 20 August:

This morning, just after dawn, I arrived at the Abney Park laboratory, and almost at once, before I could approach the blockhouse, I was waylaid by a Mr. Titanas Vella, who seemed only to want to engage me in small talk. When I finally freed myself of the man's attentions and turned from the train depot towards the lab, Miss Paine and I discovered that Mayor Sprocket was at the front entrance, boarding the door shut against us. The presence of the counterfeit of Prof. Eliot's device had been discovered within [pause] I will not bother to wonder who broke into my work space to make this find. I was told that, pending a warrant from the magistrate of New Babbage, the property was being seized. I was asked by the Mayor to turn the device over and refused, at which point I was informed that the conversation was being recorded and that I would be questioned later by Bow Street inspectors. I will assume, then, that I am now a suspect in the murder of Giles Canning, and perhaps also that of Prof. Eliot. By the sheerest luck, I had not yet transported the Edison recorder to Abney Park, though all of my journal, on paper and cylinder, save this entry, is now locked up there.

When the Mayor had done with me, as I was readying to return home to the Museum, I was once again confronted by Mr. Terry Collins of Caledon. I indulged him, as he did have the letter he had promised to show me. But, even if it is genuine, I can only say that it is proof that he is the son of one of Eliot's wealthy financiers. I refused to allow him into my confidence, which seemed to anger and confound him greatly. However, I did lead him to those dreadful paintings on the walls of the Imperial. I offered virtually no interpretation of the images, but merely showed them to him. He seemed grateful for that much, yet persisted in the claim that if I cared for the fate of mankind I would aid him, and that Prof. Eliot's device, reassembled and in the right hands, is capable of bestowing tremendous benefits upon humanity. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that such was not the case, and I left him alone in the Imperial.

Miss Paine had stood watch outside, and a small crowd had gathered, one or two inquiring about me, and at least one mentioning whatever events transpired in the absinthe house the other night. Some speculation of daemonic possession was made. I remain ignorant of those lost hours.

At this point, I await a summons from Bow Street. If I am arrested, this will likely be my last entry. [pause] Honestly, I cannot say how I will answer their questions. By proving the device a forgery, I can clear my name, but also shall I lose the attentions of those others, the Vangreed and the 13 Club, who seek the damned thing for their own ends. I have assured Mr. Commodore that I will not bring him into this affair. I mean to keep that promise, if at all possible.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Missing Time

As transcribed by Bellatrix S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded on 18 August:

I think yesterday might almost have been the end of me. The end of everything. The end. And there is little of it I can now recall. In the early evening, I was taking the air alone, even though Miss Paine frowns on my going out unescorted. I remember walking along the canal south towards the absinthe house [pause] What do I remember? What can I say now that is not now a lie? [longer pause; loud sigh] I heard a sound like bells. And then the queerest sensation, as though the very ground beneath me were sliding away. [very long pause] Then it was morning, early morning, and I was watching the sunrise from my old balcony above Ruby Flanagan's. Miss Paine and Mr. Commodore were with me. I gather I was the cause of some terrible occurrence in the absinthe house, and that there were several witnesses. I have no recollection of all those hours. She came again, that fraction of her capable of manifesting in this world, asking after the code. I won't say anything more than that. I can't. [pause] I can't. [pause] We left Ruby's and retreated to Mr. Commodore's airship, where I made some attempt at an explanation, as he evidently came to Miss Paine's aid, and I supposed he was owed that much. My secrets are possibly no longer secrets, and I wonder if it would be best if I simply left New Babbage forever. Not that it would save anyone. It wouldn't. Standing on the airship, I remember saying how peaceful the square seemed from that lofty vantage. That, from there, you'd never suspect the truth, that there were monsters in the streets. [long pause] I fear most for Miss Paine. Whatever is coming, I wish she had never crossed my path. I have cost her dearly. [pause] I have begun to think of nothing but revenge, against the memory of Eliot and all his associates. Against this 13 Club, who I guess to be his former financiers, against the Vangreed Society, and most of all, against the Gallifreyan bastard who started this nightmare ages and ages ago. [sound of breaking glass; end of recording]

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friends of Mr. Eliot

As transcribed by Bella S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded in the wee hours of the morning of 17 August:

It's late, and I will keep this brief. This afternoon, walking back towards the Museum from the Canals [pause] I have become quite self-sufficient and capable of long walks alone, yes [longer pause] Just before the stairs leading up to the Square, I was approached by a young man by the name of Terrance Collins. He knew me, knew of my name on the list [pause] Mr. Collins claimed to be the son, or possibly the grandson, I can not now recall which, of a man* who had invested some considerable sum of money in Prof. Eliot's Sunrise experiment. Also, he said that, though he now resides somewhere in Caledon, as a child he lived with his mother in New Babbage. He seemed quite determined that we should talk at once. By chance, Miss Paine came along, and I agreed to speak with Mr. Collins, if he would accompany me back to the absinthe house, just across the canal. He did so. [pause] He repeated his claim, that he was the son or grandchild of one of Prof. Alexander Eliot's financiers, and, despite my vocal skepticism as to his claims, proposed that we enter into a pact. That was his word, a pact, whereby we would share information pertaining to the deaths and the lost device. Using a pre-arranged radio signal, I notified Mr. Luciean Commodore that I would greatly appreciate his company and would not be adverse to a show of force. Nothing of Mr. Collins' story seemed genuine, nor could he offer any proof of his identity or his purported relationship to Eliot and Sunrise. [pause; sound of clinking glass] He spoke repeatedly of a letter in his possession from Eliot to his father, or grandfather, whichever, but did not offer to produce it.

Finally, after motioning for Mr. Commodore to cover the door, I drew my pepperbox, and said such things to Mr. Collins as I thought necessary to impress upon him my doubt regarding the veracity of his story and the gravity of my situation. Mr. Commodore, armed with his Tesla rife, guarded the exit to the street, and Miss Paine, I believe, even drew her pistol. The man was evidently mortified, and quite surprised, as well. I myself was surprised by my behaviour, but [pause] what can I say. Times like these. How would I know who to trust? How, Father? [long pause] Mr. Terrance Collins claims that he will return to Babbage in four days time with the letter he claims to hold, a letter from Eliot, that I might believe his tale. It hardly matters. Even with such a letter, I shall not tell him what I know. It would be the height of folly. He spoke of the Vangreed Society repeatedly, swearing they must not be allowed to gain possession of the
Porta Terrarum device and laying the murders [pause; sound of door closing] Well, we shall see. We shall see what we shall see. Isn't that what you always said, Father? Mr. Collins seemed to believe that this world might yet benefit from the work of Prof. Eliot. I don't believe that. I don't believe that for a moment. [pause] Goddamn it.

Later in the day, Mr. Commodore led Miss Paine and I down to the chambers far below the town hall, where resides the Mayor's enormous difference engine. The air was close and hot and sooty. I wish I could have seen the thing for myself.

And later still, as I worked in my lab, I was interrupted by the arrival of some friend of Miss Paine's, come around for a social call. Some silly girl. I believe she said her name was Holly Underwear**. That can't be right, can it? She said she was an artist, so perhaps the name is some bizarre Bohemian affectation. I can not say. She seemed skittish in my presence [pause] muttered several times to Miss Paine that perhaps she should leave. At any rate, no matter. It is good that Miss Paine have friends. After all she has endured and seen, and having to serve as my nursemaid and caretaker, I worry for her well-being. That's all. That's all for now.

* Stanislas Collins, whom Mr. Collins claimed to be his adoptive father.

** In fact, Miss Molly Underwood. This is the first evidence of Prof. Nishi's amnesia as regards Miss Underwood.

——— Bellatrix S. Bracken

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Eliot Device Redux

As transcribed by Bella S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded on 16 August:

My hands can not but tremble when I touch it, even knowing it for what it is. Even knowing the deceit, it still seems somehow a wonder. As I make this recording, it sits on the worktable of my lab, Eliot's contrivance remade, the device that Mr. Giles Canning died for and which I believe Jason Moriarty and the Vangreed Society or 13 Club are searching. The very thing which dragged me into this universe. When Mr. Commodore delivered it to me, when first I laid my hands upon its terrible angles, I could scarcely keep my wits about me. I sit here and curse my blindness, for how much more amazing would it be to look upon this device, the very doppelgänger heart of the ill-fated Porta Terrarum Experiment. Now, I must decide how it will be utilised in the search for those who are perhaps searching for me. And I must not decide in haste, no matter how little time might remain. I must be sure, for I suspect there will be only the one opportunity. And I must hope that Mr. Commodore can be trusted, for if Bow Street learns of this...well, I must not allow that to happen. If I am correct, no one knows of this but Miss Paine, Mr. Commodore, and I, and that is how it must remain.

I would also say that I sought out this man's services having reached a point of uttermost need, and having little hope of Leon Susenko's imminent return to New Bababge. I know Commodore is a pirate, which is why I trust he will likely not go to Bow Street, but beyond that I can not say. I have also enlisted his services in a third expedition to the atoll that is all that now remains of what once was Sunrise Island. I must find at least two others to accompany me, two whom I can trust, or at least who will be predictable in their potential betrayals.

I met with Mr. Commodore yesterday in his airship, and I told him as much as I felt safe telling — really more than that. He works fast. If only I could know that in him I might have the sort of confidant and confederate I found in Captain Susenko! How I yearn for the comforts of that trust again. This Luciean Commodore, oh I know he is a rascal and a smuggler and the gods know only what else. But what am I, Father? What have I become? Surely, something far worse than a mere privateer. In the weeks ahead, I fear I will yet become something still more abominable to all the sensibilities that once defined me.

Oh, I almost forgot. Late yesterday, Miss Paine and I were accosted by a coterie of the local orphans, though Loki Eliot and Myrtil Igaly, both of whom also appeared on Mr. Giles' list, were notably not among them. One of these children, a boy named Alloy Brooks, fancied himself something of a detective. He asked me questions about the list, the murder, the whereabouts of one of their number — Mckay Beck — who seems to have gone missing. Near the end of my interrogation, young master Brooks asked why I hide my eyes. I admit I was taken aback. But then, to my own surprise, I told him the truth, swallowing my vanity and pride and realising that should word of my blindness spread, it might lead my pursuer — if I have such — to think me helpless. Perhaps I can be bait for Jason Moriarty or whoever killed Mr. Canning and seeks the Eliot device.

The nightmares continue. She is still there, waiting at the threshold of my perceptions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Editor's Appendix B: The Eliot Documents

These four documents were first seen by Prof. Nishi on (or about) 31 July, more than two weeks before her name appeared on the list found affixed to the back of the murdered Mr. Giles Canning. Together with the "Sunrise cylinder," the provide some insight into the terrible experiments being conducted by Prof. Eliot before his murder. The papers here appear in the order in which they are presumed to have been written.

Figure 1:

This letter may be read as a parallel to the "Sunrise cylinder," as it surely was being written at the same time the recording was being made. It provides precise times for the development and failure of the experiment, though it is impossible to say whether these times are p.m. or a.m.

Figure 2:

Clearly written sometime after Figure 1, this document is notable for its mention of a "Jason," presumably the lycanthrope Jason Moriarty. I am uncertain how much time elapsed between its composition and the letter in Figure 1, and, likewise, it is not possible to say to whom it is addressed.

Figure 3:

Written shortly before Prof. Eliot's return to New Babbage, I presume that the case of lycanthropy mentioned herein is Jason Moriarty. This is the document discovered by Prof. Nishi, and later by the Bow St. investigators, at what remained of Sunrise Island.

Figure 4:

Finally, we have a facsimile of the incomplete letter found on Prof. Eliot's corpse. In this letter, we learn that one of the orphan's, Alley Wunderlich ("Wunder"; ?="Victor" Wunderlich), was to carry one-third of the Porta Terrarum device from Babbage to Caledon. We also have mention of the Caledonian contact and of a "Vangreed Society," which Prof Nishi's notes indicate she believed for a time to be synonymous with the "13 Club" to which the second murdered man, Canning, belonged.

——— Bellatrix S. Bracken

Looking for Jason Moriarty

As transcribed by Bella S. Bracken from an Edison cylinder found among the effects of Prof. Nareth E. Nishi, presumably recorded on 15 August:

As Plato writes in his Republic, a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem. So it was that yesterday, after my interrogation by Inspector Kojima, after the discovery of the corpse of Giles Canning and the list pinned to his back, and after I'd heard the "Sunrise cylinder," I devised a solution to the problem of my blindness. However, I must admit that I remain at a loss to explain how I accomplished this, just as I continue to be baffled by the appearance of the sub-ætheric scanner in my laboratory. This body and mind, whatever they are becoming after the brief but willing opening of my thoughts to the Gallifreyan entity, to the "Whole," seems at times to function entirely beyond and independently of my consciousness. Regardless, by the contrivance of a small crystal or screen mounted at my right temple, I found myself able to see again, though only with my right eye and only in shades of black and white. And, besides, it seems to have been no more than a very temporary respite from the darkness.

Hearing my own name read from off of that bloodstained list, I could not simply sit here and await the arrival of my murder. So, at sunset, Miss Paine and I met with Miss Kaylee Frye and Mister Lucien Commodore, to keep watch for the lycanthrope Jason Moriarty. To my surprise, we were joined by Inspector Kojima. I must admit, I do not trust these Bow Street people, and I suspect that the Inspector was there mainly for the purpose of keeping watch over us and any evidence in these affairs which we might uncover. Alas, it was a fruitless night, and I realize now that it was only my anxiety and restlessness, my desire not to feel helpless, that led me to hastily organize the night watch. I did not ever believe we would be so lucky as to find Moriarty with such ease. We broke up before sunrise, and by then my "mechanical eye" had begun to fail. By dawn, I was all but blind once more and this horrendous headache had returned, leaving me good for little else save bed.

But, for the record, I am no longer certain that the list found pinned to Canning's corpse is merely a killer's agenda. That answer seems too pat, too entirely convenient. Why warn the prospective victims? And if it is a list of marks, it must either absolve Moriarty of these crimes or point to a clumsy effort by him to draw attention away from himself, as his name appears on the list directly above my own! I have been playing this list over and over in my head, attempting to discover some cipher hidden there. There is but one thing I can say with any sort of certainty, that a single commonality is shared by all those persons: all of us have knowledge of or involvement with the
Porta Terrarum Experiment. Might the list have been a warning? Might it have been a document found on Mr. Canning before or after his death by his murderer? Had he perchance come to New Babbage from Caledon looking to find us? Was he the Caledon connextion to whom the Wunderlich orphan delivered one third of the device, the "man with a feather in his hat"? So many goddamned questions. If only Capt. Susenko were here to help me solve this puzzle.

Kojima mentioned the possibility of Bow Street obtaining a search warrant for my laboratory and the Museum. How will I explain the things they will find here? How can I hope to hide them?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Editor's Note 4

What follows is a transcript of the "Sunrise cylinder" discovered on the corpse of Giles Canning on 14 August. This transcript was presumably made by Prof. Nishi and found among her notes:

[crackle] [something spoken, indecipherable]
It's recording. Recording.
Yes, I have the green light... okay, I think. Okay, alright.
um... cylinder recording of advanced stages of the Porta Terrarum Experiment.
For those (of) the 13 Club who [?as yet not know] the device constricted by Prof. Eliot is of [?immense] power. The Power is such that we hope it can puncture a hole between our world and beyond. What lies beyond is a new world of discoveries of possibility and perhaps energies we've never dreamed possible.
[various noises here]
Leading the experiment here at Sunrise Island is Prof Eliot himself, aided by new assistant Giles Canning. All systems are at prime functionality, and the steam is really starting to billow.
[shrill noise]
Well. We've just heard the go-ahead to open the main valve. It all starts here. History is about to be made.
[signal noise continues]
[long silence]
It would appear everything is in order.
Prof Eliot has already given the signal to push all pressure gauges to above the normal. And, oh.. wait a second... uh.. Master Canning is...[ ? ] something about the distance energy flux. Um...
But not to worry. I'm sure everything will perfec-[alarm sounds here]
Okay, wait. We have a warning. We have warning signal. I'm not sure what it's about. [rumble... horn whistle]
Wait... Professor Eliot is indeed signaling an evacuation of the complex. We are now moving towards the exits. um... there's a lot of confusion.
[terrible rumbling, roaring sound]
... what is that? Oh my god! [that?]

Total time elapsed: 2.40 minutes (end of transcript)

———Bellatrix S. Bracken

Another Murder

The following was transcribed from an Edison recording made by Prof. Nishi, and is believed to have been made on the evening of August 15th:

A second body has been found, near the factory on the canal. I was working in the Museum when Miss Paine brought to my attention the crowd gathering at the edge of the square. She led me to what we soon learned was the scene of the crime. Another stabbing, and another note pinned to the back of a slain man. This time, though, the note was a list, and there upon the list were the names of a number of the street urchins, including Loki Eliot, as well as Moriarty, whom I know to be the lycanthrope I pursued through the streets of New Babbage at the beginning of August. And the last name on the list was my own. As the crowd swelled, becoming a panicked and horrified mob, I felt myself falling under suspicion. They do not know I am blind, for I have learned well to conceal it. Mr. Lucien Commodore offered to help me, should the mob turn against me, and Mr. Oolon Sputnik, who appeared (much to my surprise), has left his time cabinet, his ETC, docked in Babbage should Miss Paine and I need to seek refuge therein.

Damn Alexander Eliot, and damn these fools who do not begin to guess what they are up against. They worry about murders, and do not see that their entire world is in peril! I swore to wash my hands of this matter, and I also planned no more entries in this journal. But now...

I declared I would not stand accused without some evidence, and shortly afterwards, spoke with young master Eliot in the absinthe house. My guess is that this list is of intended victims, and that some agent seeks to cover up all proof of the "Sunrise experiment." I have offered Loki and his fellow urchins sanctuary in the Museum, should it come to that. Afterwards, I was briefly questioned by an inspector from Bow Street, a Mr. Reitsuki Kojima. I fear I said too much, for, shaken by what had just transpired, I spoke of the experiments of Alexander Eliot and my own arrival in New Babbage (and in this time continuum). Kojima had not visited Sunrise, and I bade him do so. Nor did be know that Mr. Moriarty is a lycanthrope. Besides the note, there was a recording found lying very near to the corpse, and Kojima agreed to allow me to examine the cylinder. Back at the Museum, playing it, I will freely admit what I heard gave me chills. It seems to have been made at the moment that Eliot's experiment failed, the moment of the eruption at Sunrise, the moment my father's cabinet was steered of course and splintered. The moment of my own damnation, captured on the cylinder.

I can not say what suspicions Bow Street may habour regarding me, but it is clear that I know far more of the work of Prof. Eliot than they. And, unless I miss my guess, someone here means to murder me. Oh, if my part in this could only end that simply! I would welcome such a fate, by god.

I do not know what my next move shall possibly be. I fear this latest murder will draw unwanted attentions, and my purposes and true nature must remain secret. If I were not blinded, Christ, at least I might continue my own investigation into this matter.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Editor's Note 3

The following passage has been transcribed from a voice recording which Prof. Nishi made on an Edison cylinder, the first of many such recordings made during the protracted period of her blindness, this affliction having begun suddenly on the evening of August 6th:

I can not see. I can not see to use the typewriter, nor even to write these words by hand. I have terminated the experiment. Last night, all was almost lost, and it was only through my own impatience, arrogance, and miscalculation. I must find some other path by which to reach them. But it can't be done with my own hands, not the deletions. There was something I failed to understand about the nature of time, about these parallel existences. Worse still, I underestimated it, the Gallifreyan device, the greater part of the whole. Last night, I opened a window through which it almost entered. It filled me. It filled me utterly. I shudder to think at the horrors Miss Paine and Miss Underwood witnessed. Now that it is gone [extended pause] God, I have never known such profound emptiness. I have never known such complete loneliness, now that I am divided from it. I see what I am. I see what must be done. I must make an end of this, of it, of her. Would that I could make that end without the aid of others, and yet, this is a war, a secret war, and all of them are fighting for their lives.

My own comments on the events of August 6th-7th will be set down in a separate note, to follow shortly.

———Bellatrix S. Bracken

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Game of Chess

The short days rush past me and so quickly melt into the sallow, yellow-grey haze of the past, and I am become quite entirely certain that I must, indeed, be a sterling example of Dr. Kraepelin's dementia paranoides. Forgive my weakness of character, dear Father surrogate. But I have turned once more to the blessings of the pharmacopoeia, the unfailing tincture of opium — which is to say, the damned laudanum — in an effort to calm my nerves and pray forget now the things I saw in the Imperial and above the absinthe house and in that small shed upon Sunrise Island. Whatever such sights might or might not have meant, I know I want no more part of them. I would, rather, believe that I only imagine connextions where none exist. Let that be some other's nightmare, some other's drama, and none at all of mine. Whatever the late and unlamented Alexander Eliot did, whatever he did not do, I only want not to think upon it anymore. Let it be lost. Let it be forgotten. Let that corpse rot away to only bones and dust, and I will struggle not to think upon it ever again.

And as for the new lycanthrope, that is none of my concern, either. I push these things away. I am here, and what has been done has been done — fait accompli.

And then there is Miss Molly Underwood, a young woman from the Row, newly arrived in Babbage. She asked yesterday if ever I have known comfort, true comfort, and I would not lie (though I have lied so many times before). I told her no, I have not. I passed several hours in her company yesterday, and no doubt spoke many things which should have remained unspoken between us, if only so that I would not know that I have drawn another into the web of my madness and, perhaps, if there be more here than mere madness, fixed upon another the blistering, flensing gaze of the one who watches me. It is still there, she is still there, always, at the edges of my perception and waiting in my dreams, hardly even daunted by the laudanum and alcohol. She is still there, always, calling me home. I told Molly Underwood a fairy tale. I told her some dim shade of the truth, what only a lunatic would take for the truth. The sight of Miss Underwood raises inexplicable, conflicting emotions in me, and I feel my strength that much more diminished.

I have not seen Capt. Susenko and Miss Maertens in many days. He has fallen ill and is convalescing, and she is away, traveling. Miss Paine is here with me, and I know that it should soothe the white fire seething behind my eyes to have her so near. But, Father, I feel there is some vast blackness laid between us now, a bitter void, something I would place squarely at the feet of that bastard Lucius Sin.

I have removed the last of my belongs from the flat above Ruby Flanagan's, and we are installed now above the Gallery.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Editor's Appendix A: Evidence in the Case of Alexander Eliot

Among the personal effects and papers of Prof. Nishi, I found the following photographs, which must have been taken on 31 July. I will here treat each one in turn, as they have direct bearing on her discovery of Alexander Eliot's corpse and the existence of his device. Also, their visual impact may help the reader to understand why she began drinking again:

Figure 1:

This photograph reveals the corpse of Alexander Loki, the body the orphans of New Babbage referred to as "The Sleeping Man." The location is in the attic of Loki's Absinthe. The scene is much as Prof. Nishi described. I assume this photograph was taken by Artemisia Paine, as Prof. Nishi is plainly visible in the foreground. Also visible here is a spectral image in the glass of the cabinet on the corpse's left, a face, which is not mentioned in the Nishi typescript until several days after her discovery of the dead man.

Figure 2:

Possibly the most horrific of these photographs is this one of graffiti on an interior wall of the Imperial. I have examined these images myself and can attest to their authenticity. Here we see a young boy on his knees, with some monstrous being crouched above him. The boy holds something bloody is his cupped hands. Was this image painted by one of the orphans? Does it depict one of their number making an offering? Note also the symbol that appears above the boy's head: a circle enclosing a triangle, which, in turn, surrounds an open palm bearing an eye. My own tests indicate that much of the reddish pigment, especially that to the right, is human blood.

Figure 3:

Detail of the symbol from Figure 2.

Figure 4:

This image shows writing on the same wall, located above and to the right of the image of the kneeling boy and the monstrous being. I believe this script was placed upon the masonry long before the more gruesome images. Most of it was obliterated by the later graffiti. The quote is from George Washington, and in full would read:

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."

I have placed in bold red those letters and words that may be easily discerned.

Figure 5:

Another grotesque and enigmatic image, which was located to the right (south) of the kneeling boy and the above quotation. The body of a man lies half in view, and half in, half out of a circle. The style here is markedly more realistic than that of the kneeling boy and the creature, and so I conclude it might have been painted by another hand. From Prof. Nishi's notes, I have learned that it put her in mind of the Ouroboros, if one sees the man's right hand as the head of the serpent swallowing its tail. More blood stains are present, as well. The man appears to be sleeping or deceased. Note, also, the peculiar dark shaft which enters or exits the circle's center. In her writings, the Prof. seemed to associate this aspect of the image with the Greek omphalos, or "world navel," and believed it a "symbolic interpretation of Alexander Loki's Porta Terrarum Device." Additionally, she writes: "Omphalos stones were said to allow direct communication with the gods."

Figure 6:

A mural inside the Imperial, located west of the Figs. 2-5, of obvious Masonic origin. I will return to this image in a later appendix.

Figure 7:

In Prof. Nishi's estimation, this was the most important image of these seven. Her notes indicate that it was taken on the nearby island of Sunrise, near Nemo Beach, in a lab that had belonged to Mr. Alexander Loki. Here we see his schematics for the "Porta Terrarum Device," and a list of its three components. The significance of the two images tacked upon the drafting table to the left of the schematic remain a mystery to me. The letter, visible below them, I will treat in Appendix B.