Sunday, July 29, 2007


The afternoon grows late. I have accomplished nothing today. Most of it was spent either in the Museum attic, rummaging aimlessly through old books and maps, or else passed sitting upon one of the benches downstairs, lost in contemplation of matters I would rather not contemplate, if that choice reminded to me.

I dozed yesterday afternoon, exhausted, I suspect, by so much work these past few days. And I dreamt of one of the strange, tall cities of steel and glass. But no one lived there. Nothing lived there at all. It was utterly deserted, as though the race who fashioned it had all recently walked off the face of the Earth. Or whatever I am to call these worlds. Not Earth. This can not be Earth. But I digress, wandering from one terrible subject into another. It seemed I strayed a long time in this city, through great towers and along shimmering black streets and even into tunnels and sewers far below ground. And then, later, I was in Caledon.

Though I have hardly visited the region since the night of the werewolf's death, I recall it well enough to identify some of the places I visited. At last, I found myself in Eyre, and as I wandered those lanes, I awoke suddenly and found that I was in fact in Caldeon Eyre! A man spoke with me, though now I have forgotten his name. Mr. Graggen? Groggen? He asked me if I were well, and I replied that I seemed lost, then took my leave at once, returning to Babbage Square with all haste. To my knowledge, I have not ever in my life sleepwalked, and to have sleepwalked at such a great distance over so short a span of time. To awoke and find myself so far from home. I spent the remainder of the evening hidden away in the Museum attic. By some fluke of this world's "weather" or the fluxuation of it æthers, which I only just begin to understand, Miss Paine had become stranded in a distant city, some place she had wandered off to see. So I was alone for most of the night. Alone with the shock of what had happened earlier.

I have tried to stay awake. I do not want to sleep. But I drifted off again this afternoon, only a few hours ago, while reading a volume on the Cambrian fossils of Wales. This time, I walked the streets of a frontier town that must have been situated in a part of the American West. The town was almost, but not quite, deserted. A gold-mining camp, I believe. At some point, I noticed a newspaper, and the year printed upon its masthead was 1876. I recall also a livery stable and a mule, and the whole place was surrounded by steep hills clothed all in pines. Were those the Rocky Mountains? I awoke in the attic, which was a simple, great solace. But in all these dreams, always have I sensed her very near at hand.

Miss Paine says that Bellatrix Bracken will be returning to New Babbage soon. I confess to feel ing no comfort or gladness at the thought. I do not trust that woman — I do not dare — despite all her assitance and Miss Paine's evident fondness for her. I hope that Capt. Susenko and Miss Maertens will call upon me tonight, as I would prefer not to be alone again, and, even with the Captain's odd belief's and strident insistence that his beliefs are somehow true, the presence of the two of them seems to soothe my nerves and comfort my disposition.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nemo, letting go.

As of today, it has been 58 days since I left Providence, 1887, in my father's time cabinet, on the foolish journey that would eventually lead me here to New Babbage. Though I know not why, the homsesicknes has been especially acute today, and I cannot look at the cobbles of the Sqaure without thinking of the cobbled streets of my beloved College Hill, which I must now assume has been lost to me forever.

The afternoon was spent at my work, of course. I have installed a three-panel exhibit devoted to "le Grand animal fossile des Carrieres de Maestricht," the original mosasaur skull discovered in 1770 at the subterraneous chalk mines below Mount St. Pierre near the River Meuse and so named by Prof. Conybeare Mosasaurus. The text remains unfinished, as exhaustion overtook me before I was done, and so I returned to my attic above the Gallery. Also, Miss Paine helped me to frame and hang our portrait of Cuvier, placed now alongside that of Mary Anning.

The dreams are growing worse again. Those blinding halls of white light and the blue-fire sea, the devouring entity. Glimpses of those scattered splinters of myself that have yet to be consumed, if mere consumption is the correct word to describe what is happening to them. She grows ever more vast. And now I begin to guess at some purpose in her mind beyond the reconstruction of the form her Gallifreyan creators disassembled æons ago. She wants them dead, all that race. This machine, this thing, seeks revenge. Yes, I believe this is so.

Last night, I dreamt I had journeyed into the "TARDIS" of a Gallifreyan Time Lord, the woman named Sen whose name has come to me in earlier dreams. No, it was not me there in her device, but, rather, I saw through the eyes of the entity that haunts my sleep. The TARDIS was empty, but she searched it thoroughly, all but one room which was locked against her, and which even she could not find some way to enter. I felt a peculiar thrill of victory as she tried to break whatever lock or charm or seal held those doors shut against her! This TARDIS looked quite different from that of Mr. Sputnik, and many of the objects I saw therein were mysterious to me, their purposes unknown.

Do you see? she asked me. My dreaming self — if a mere dream it was — did not make reply. I will find them all, she said. And I will find myself complete and whole, and so I will find you, Nareth. In time, and I have no end of time open to me.

I have not returned to drink or to the laudanum, but my will weakens before these awful visions, and I do not know how much longer Miss Bracken's cure and my own self-restraint will hold against the urges. I know some small measure of comfort rests in those spirits.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Moon is Always Full

My days sway between the mundane pleasantries of the Palaeozoic Musuem and an endless series of fresh atrocities and wonders. I seem always to be working, and Miss Paine is usually away on some secretive ramble or another. I dare not even guess where she goes and what she does.

Two large saurians from the Lower Lias are now installed in the Gallery: Mary Anning's Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus of 1821, and a fine German Stenopterygius specimen, displayed beneath Edouard Riou's illustration of these beasts. There was some confusion, initially, with the plesiosaur skeleton, and I mounted the Plesiosaurus macrocephalus before I had realised my error. Of course, the specimen had to be pulled down and swapped out, and the macrocephalus slab repacked and returned to the attic. I never used to make such silly mistakes.

We have spent much time in the company of Capt. Susenko and Miss Maertens since the recent matter of our mutual revelations. But I could write entire volumes and only scratch the surface of those conversations. His ideas are so bizarre and phantasmagorical to be at least equal to the impossibilities of this place, and he talks as though he possesses foreknowledge of my world and time. For instance, only last night, he described to me the life of a man yet to be born, a man named Alan Turing, who will try to build intelligent machines. Not mere automata, but thinking machines.

And is that not what I am, Father? Is that not all I ever have been? Capt. Susenko argues I am a spiritual being possessed of a mind and a soul, and his words would seem like truth, but for.... — I am too tired, again, to write these thoughts.

The nightmares, the visions, my physical metamorphosis...all these things continue. The entity that stalks my nightmares...

I bury myself in my work. It is all I have left of sanctuary.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Keeping Busy

Work with the Museum has consumed much of the past three days. Miss Paine has been a great help with these matters. New gas lighting fixtures arrived from Caledon and have been installed — one in the atrium, two in the gallery, so that nocturnal visitors may not have to squint so furiously. The floor has been laid a second time, after I decided the marble was unsuitable due to the frequency and severity of expansion cracks. Text has been written and printed for various exhibits. Frames for the first three portraits have been purchased. I believe the plesiosaur and ichthyosaur mounts will be next.

For the moment, I will say little about my entry of 24 July. It has become too familiar and too distasteful a cycle, first writing out my wild ramblings and then dismissing them. For now, I will say only that I do not like to look at what I have written upon those pages.

Word has reached New Babbage of a second "Martian" invasion, this time in Steelhead. Apparently, the mechanical tripods were accompanied by a steam-powered pachyderm. Babbage has no military, and it makes me wonder how we would weather or respond to such an incursion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Speculations 1

Once more I have proven I may not be trusted to keep this journal current, or even to finish thoughts I have begun. Days have passed since my conversation with Capt. Susenko, yet I have lost myself in work and not paused to write down more of what was said and what transpired. I have busied myself with the Museum and such small tasks as I could find in need of my attention. Hanging the portraits of Owen and Hawkins and Mary Anning (though I have yet to procure suitable frames), uncrating an ichthyosaur and plesiosaur and a number of ammonites, and planning exhibits I do not currently have the presence of mind to construct. But it makes for a perfectly serviceable distraction. I have hardly seen Miss Paine since Friday, and here it is Tuesday. I know she's keeping company with Bellatrix, but I do not know where they are spending so much time. Likely, it is no business of mine.

This morning, I awoke to find these words scrawled upon a sheet on paper on my desk, in my own hand, though I have to recollection of having written them:

"Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"

Hours later, I carried the typewriter from the flat at 24 Babbage Canal uptown to the Museum's attic, where I am now composing this entry. There are far too many bad memories in the flat, and I can think more clearly here in my attic. Father would laugh to see me so, my hands stained with ink, pecking away at this infernal device, and no doubt make some jest about madwomen and attics.

Rather than attempt to recount a conversation that is now four days passed, and that already I have begun to forget, at least in its many particulars, I have decided to try to record some of my speculations. I am uncertain if I possess as much courage as that. Can I put these thoughts on paper? Is it worse than recording the dreams? Is it half so terrible? No, I think not. I think I can not do worse than I have done. And perhaps it will help to organize my thoughts if I can write these things down, these hesitant bits of conjecture, these doubtful observations. If I may make of it something resembling a problem to be solved, instead of a maze in which I find myself imprisoned.

1. I was not born human. My "father" may have known this, or he may not. He may have been lying to me all along. I am, in a sense, what Mr. Yeats might call a "changeling." This brings me to the matter of the handkerchief, of which I have spoken with Oolon Sputnik, but I do not believe I have yet mentioned here. When Mr. Sputnik examined me, he found Nebari and Kalish DNA, though he said I had been born human. However, shortly thereafter, while sorting through some effects I had salvaged from the time cabinet, I came across a handkerchief. It is an unremarkable thing, really. White linen with pale pink at the borders. It bears a large bloodstain, a brownish splotch marking a winter's afternoon shortly before the accident when I was seventeen. I was helping Father replace a glass insulating cap in one of the aft turbines, and it broke apart. I sliced my hand, and this is the handkerchief onto which I bled. The matter is as clear in my memory as anything else that happened six years ago. The handkerchief was laid aside when he bandaged my injury, and apparently was forgotten and so became lost in the cabinet until I found it a couple of weeks ago. I have extracted a sample of the blood and compared it with samples of my own blood at the present time, as well as with the genetic material from a strand of Mr. Sputnik's own hair (which I, by stealth, lifted after he performed his tests). Though this branch of micro-anatomy is novel to me, I believe I grasp the principles and practice and that I have not mistaken the results of my own tests. The blood on the handkerchief matches almost identically with Mr. Sputnik's "genetic" material. It does not match human blood, nor the hybrid blood pumping now through my veins. It is, by all accounts, and unless I am sorely mistaken in my analysis, the blood of a Gallifreyan.

2. My father's stories of my mother having been a San Francisco whore are to be discounted. At the time I bled upon the white handkerchief, I was not human. Indeed, I was never human. I was placed with a human man — who may or may not have ever known the truth of my identity.

3. At some far distant time, or some far off future (I can not guess which), a Gallifreyan scientist created an inconceivably powerful weapon which then could not be destroyed. It could, however, be broken down, divided into its constituent parts, many of which were essentially organic, for the mechanism was both living and inorganic, as well as conscious. Those parts, which may have numbered in the thousands, were then scattered across the Cosmos by the Gallifreyans. By this route, it was hoped the device would be lost forever and its threat effectively neutralised. However, those who disassembled the weapon did not ever fully apprehend its will, or they hoped that will would prove insufficient to ever reunite the fragments. In either case, they were mistaken, and for ages the machine has sought to reassemble itself, slowly, ruthlessly, gathering itself together again. And the suspicion I have been led too, by the course of my "visions" and these empirical investigations, and by the things I now know my body to be capable of, is that I was never born. Rather, I was manufactured from a Gallifreyan being or beings, and hidden on Earth. It may be I was hidden there long centuries before I passed into my father's care and assumed the guise of Nareth Elenore Nishi. I can only guess. Sputnik has gone as far as to suggest my father might even have been of that alien race, and certainly it might explain his deadly obsession with time travel.

4. In the first accident, at age seventeen, when my body and mind was commingled with those of a Nebari and a Kalish, the essential matter of my original construction was diluted or broken apart. That one small part of the vast weapon was, at that time, most likely rendered inoperable and unfit to be reassembled with the whole. However, the entity which stalks me through my dreams — and which I now believe to be the weapon in the act of self-reassembly — is either unaware of this or knows or believes the case to be otherwise. The situation's complexity was exponentially increased by my second accident, at the end of May, when I sought to use my father's cabinet to travel backwards and change the events leading to his death. When the vessel encountered a competing signal and was pulled off course, to this world, this time continuum, I was split again, and this time into many more parts than I may even guess. This must surely have further diluted the thing I was at the beginning. Yet it is at this point that I became aware of the entity's attempt to reclaim me, and, indeed, I do believe it was at this point that it managed to locate me. Or, I should say, the many splinters of me created in the instant of the schism. It was as the sound of shattering crystal acting upon the tympanum of an ear, perhaps.

This is hopeless. There is so much more, but here I have typed pages, and my hands are shaking too badly to continue. I would speak of Capt. Susenko's belief that something fundamental to this universe is keeping the entity at bay, and I would speak also of my certainty that this cannot be so, that already it has collected many of the splinters scattered across this world.

The most terrible question is not what I might have been before my accident at age seventeen, but, at least to my mind, what I have now become? Some fraction of a component of some device so vast I cannot begin to comprehend it. Have I any that can rightly be called a mind? Have I a soul? How does the illusion of a mind differ from an actual consciousness? No more. Not now. I will not say more now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Such a day as this has been — as though a thousand days were squeezed all into the space of one — and now the hour is late. No, it has grown early again. I will say only a little, as I am too weary to write at any significant length, and, anyway, there are parts of it I would never trust to paper.

So much has passed unrecorded. How it was that the woman Bellatrix Bracken arrived from Caledon, and how she managed to aid in the resurrection of Artemisia Paine, her magic succeeding where my science had failed. How, after an absence of several days, Miss Paine returned to our flat at 34 Babbage Canals, and how Bracken followed her back here a day later. How, despite all my initial fear and trepidation, Bellatrix Bracken has not only saved Miss Paine, but cured me of my horrid reliance upon absinthe and laudanum. How Miss Bracken, a skillful surgeon as well as metaphysician, amputated my badly infected left arm at the shoulder (I had not tended the wound inflicted by the werewolf's bite, and it had grown morbid and gangrenous, and she feared the lycanthrope contagion). How I constructed a mechanical, steam-driven arm and hand to function in the place of the ones I had lost. And so on, and so forth. Days of terror and joy and pain and mystery, and yet today has managed to best them all.

While I was tending to various matters at the Museum this afternoon, I was visited by Captain Susenko, who I'd not seen in private since Miss Paine's death. As we stood on the Mezzanine discussing cephalopods and local politics and the like, he confessed a thing I would, even now, have scarcely believed, had he not then shown me the truth of his confession. I begin to believe I have found myself in a land where nothing and no one is what he or she seems.

Two months ago, I would have thought myself insane at the sight of Capt. Susenko's revelation. Merely to behold such a being! But I am not the woman I was two months ago. Indeed, I think I felt an odd delight, more than anything, the sort of delight that, previously, I felt only at far more prosaic....

I do not know how to explain these things. Despite all the ways that I have changed, I have not yet found the language to describe the simple, everyday facts of this world.

Emboldened by the Captain's disclosure, I asked him to accompany me to No. 34, where I meant to show him the truth of who and what I have become. Shortly after we arrived, Miss Paine returned home unexpectedly from one of her peregrinations, and, of course, what I meant to reveal to the Captain, these matters were still unknown to her, as well. I began simply, by removing the sleeve from my left arm to reveal the prosthetic device. I am a vain woman, I will admit, and in times past I never would have done even this much. And then...but there is so much that has passed unrecorded here. That my dreaming shifts through time and space have, lately, been augmented by the ability to shift at will, and how I now may also alter my body. I showed them. I showed the both of them. And they looked upon that abominable shape. That me which is neither machine nor flesh. And I did not see revulsion in their eyes, but only wonder and surprise!

When I had resumed this form, this countenance which I call Nareth Nishi, Miss Paine and I accompanied the Capt. to his home on the western side of the canals. The conversation went on well past sunrise, and wandered far and wide. From forestalled civil war to the fundamental nature of this strange world, from the Time Lords to my fears of the entity which stalks me still, and even then to so many things more. But...I must sleep. My fingers falter at the keys, and the words swim upon the page. I will write more when my head is clearer. I do not dare to even guess at all the implications, the consequences of what has been shown and said and seen. I will have another go at this tomorrow, once my work is finished.

New Days

I can hardly believe that only ten days have passed since I last added a page to this typescript. In so short a time, the Palaeozoic Museum has been built at 24 New Babbage Sqaure, and we have made a small start on the exhibits. It has been good to have my hands and mind busy with honest work. I hired labourers and artisans from Caledon and New Babbage, and the construction went smoothly, much more so than I had expected. However, the cache of gold coins I brought with me has been much depleted by this effort, and I worry at the future state of my finances. We shall see. I can not worry on it now, for there is too much joy at the sight of the Museum standing and open to the public.

I have begun the process of transferring my possessions and instruments from the flat in the Canal District, but may maintain that residence for some time yet.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Editor's Note 1

Here we encounter the first of several gaps in the journal of Dr. Nareth E. Nishi. And, for the record, I do attest that at this point, I, Bellatrix Shimisu Bracken, became personally involved in these strange events.

However, the trust that has been bestowed upon me by Miss Artemisia Paine and Others forbids my full disclosure of what dire misadventures transpired between July 11th and July 21st of that year. I will say only that it was necessary to attend to the matter of Miss Paine's resurrection myself, while there still existed some mortal remains from which to work. The "science" of Dr. Nishi had greatly corrupted the essential humors of the corpse. On July 12th, I did enter the building at the southeast corner of Babbage and discovered there Miss Paine's body, secreted in a cellar which opened onto the sea.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sleep Without Dreams

Father, I have lost track of days. The sun rises and sets at an unfamiliar pace.

I have not been visited by the author of yesterday's Telegram, whether she be named Bellatrix Bracken or be some other being. I have wished for it to be true, but I confess I spared merely half a wish. In my room before dawn, I allowed myself to entertain such a notion, though not wholeheartedly, no. That there was such a woman, and, by whatever "method," she might shatter the gates of Hades — and I would not "interfere" in her congress with spirits and shades. I imagined her Fay, perhaps, or more likely some sorcerer or alchemist, such as that coward Lucius Sin. I imagined, then, some invisible college of such men and women, weighing events, setting to balance the scales. I imagined justice done. Aided by the absinthe, I let my fancy run on this way until the northeastern sky begin to burn with day. And in that new light, my half wishes burned away like mist.

I would only have her alive again, and have my mind restored. Have I gone beyond recall? How does a woman trained to live a life of cold rationality and empirical inquiry objectively deem herself insane? Do madwomen ask themselves these questions? I begin to doubt I can distinguish my sorrow from my fear from my drunkeness from any real or imagined unhinging of my faculties.

Word has reached New Babbage that some civil unrest has spread in Caledon. I know not the detail nor even if these tales are true. Only whispers overheard from my balcony.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Taunt?

A Telegraph this evening from Caledon. It was delivered to me by one of the various parentless urchins who roam the streets of Babbage, and I paid him well. Even so, I believe this only a prank, a poor jest played upon me by some advocate of the late Mr. Lucius Sin, the beast who slew Miss Paine. Yes, I am not sober again, or still, and my words stray. Here is the message:


Is that a Death? and are there two?

I do not know how clear these words will be. I have lost I know not how many days in a haze of alcohol and laudanum and damned futile experimentations. Last night, I placed the envelope containing this typescript in a tin box, determined that I would cast it into the sea. And perhaps I thought I might throw myself in, afterwards. But, though I carried the box to the western sea wall on the edge of the Park, at the last my resolve faltered. The envelope is once again hidden away in its drawer, where only Captain Susenko and myself may find it. I have not written of having asked him to see to the disposition of these pages in the event of my death or disappearance, and of his kindly agreeing to see that they would reach Mr. Oolon Sputnik. How many days ago now was that? Shortly before Miss Paine's murder, but more I can not guess.

If there is some heretofore undiscovered secret allowing for the reanimation of the dead, I have failed utterly to find it, and I fear there is no time now left to me and the search must end. Although I have taken all imaginable precautions against the inevitable decay of Artemisia's body, and have stored it on ice in the cellar when not engaged in my efforts to revive the corpse...though I have tended it as well as any butcher ever might...deterioration was inevitable and is reaching a stage...I can not write these things. I simply can not. I am trying to find within myself the strength to surrender body to the undertaker and make an end to this.

I would try to write of the events immediately proceeding Miss Paine's death, for there are certain facts and comments I should like placed on record, even if the record is not public. There are things which I would say for my own good. To have them out, for they hound and gnaw at me. The worst of these was the reaction of some portion of the residents of Caledon's Tanglewood district immediately after Miss Paine's murder. Upon hearing that Capt. Susenko, Col. Scaggs, and others had called a hunt for the beast, with the intent of ending, once and for all, its predations, and of avenging Artemisia's death, there came an outcry in defence of the monster! Disbelieving, my hands and clothing still red with her blood, I confronted this rabble, and to my dismay was myself pronounced guilty of her death. I do not exaggerate these accusations. I faced the mob only briefly, a contingent of the Sidhe, I believe, who perceived the news that the fiend would be brought down as a persecution of their race. Presuming me human, I was cast as merely another intolerant and hysterical xenophobe. I did not bother to disabuse them of their misapprehensions, for my history is my own, goddamn it, and, at any rate, the truth would not, I believe, have swayed them in their blind outrage. But the irony stings me still. I have never suffered fools gladly, and if this marks me as intolerant than so be it.

However, it is also true that I must admit that I am not entirely blameless, and on that terrible night suffered hysteria of my own, though it was born of loss and the horror I had witnessed and not from misguided ideas of persecution. As I have heard reported, it is true that after I called for a doctor, as Miss Paine lay dying at my feet, that I would not allow anyone to approach her. But they were not doctors, those who claimed they could help, and I would not have her subjected to so-called magic as her life drained away into the snow. Yes, I held them back at gunpoint. Yes, that is true, though it shames me to admit such a thing. And I would also report that one among the crowd, a young Mr. EllisDee, assumed the form of a huge crow or raven and asked to devour her eyes while she still lived! In the face of such madness, is my own madness not comprehensible?

It is also true that, after the hunt had been called, I lay in wait at the dance, anticipating the arrival of Mr. Lucius Sin, whom I had previously determined to be the beast's human counterpart or host. I did so with the intention of killing him myself. I approached him with my derringer drawn. Before all assembled, I named him the werewolf and accused him of Miss Paine's murder. But never have I taken a human life, and I feared, besides, that the bullets in my pistol would likely have no effect upon the eldritch Mr. Sin. I retreated, leaving behind a bewildered crowd, and returned to Babbage, where I have remained since.

It was only small consolation to learn that the man...the murdering beast...met his or its end only scant meters from the spot where I accused him, brought down by Miss Gustafson's arrow and dispatched by blades wielded by Miss Gustafson and Miss Beaumont. No one else shall ever fall prey to the fiend, and I have endeavored to take solace in this certainty. I have read that its corpse was removed to the Royal Academy of Natural Sciences in Tamrannoch, to be preserved and studied, and I do hope that rational men and women of science may gain some knowledge to prevent similar depredations in the future.

Father, I must find some way to bring this to a close. I have sat with the muzzle of my pistol to my own head, but can not find in me the requisite courage even to pull the damned trigger. And through all these waking terrors, the dreams have not let me be. Whatever stalks my sleep, that other me, the doppelgänger, that demon of light and insatiable hunger, she haunts me still. Indeed, I begin to believe that my pain is making it all the easier for her find me. So, it may pass that she will do just that, and perhaps very soon she will come while I am awake to do what I am unable to do. I no longer believe this warped and tattered life worth living, and, beyond a proper burial for Miss Paine, I see no purpose left to me.

One last thing I would now note, as it confounds me and seems another irony. It is said that the blades that felled the lycanthrope were made by the Fay! Is this true? If credence may be lent to this tale, then there must be some division or schism within the Sidhe. I confess, these occult matters are unfathomable to me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Hole

This will be short. I hardly can find the heart to say anything at all. The beast is dead. It was slain last night by two brave women in Caledon. But not before it slew Artemisia Paine. In front of my eyes, it emerged from out the still and blackness of night and took her away. It was over in only a moment, and she died in the snow where she fell. I felt her last breath...

And now I am once again alone and lost in this strange world. My one light has been stolen. When the undertaker came, I would not allow the body to be moved. Miss Paine is here, with me. With science did my father bend the very fabric of space and time. Surely, then, with science I can conquer what must be a far simpler problem. I will not rest until I have exhausted all possibility.

I can not now write more.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Visions and Wraiths

Hardly an hour ago, I awoke screaming and in a cold sweat from one of my most horrific dreams since the wreckage of my father's cabinet and my subsequent arrival in New Babbage. I thought I was becoming at last inured to these phantasms. They visit every night, sure as clockwork, reliable as the beating of my heart. I have by now witnessed so many terrible possibilities and daemonic forms lurking within the bottomless vales of sleep that I believed myself benumbed. But now I fear this imagined steeling of my nerves against the "dreams" is, in truth, but the passing effects of the absinthe and laudanum.

I am alone. When I awoke, Miss Paine was nowhere in the flat. Despite my express wish not to be left alone in the night, and despite her responsibilities, she goes wandering, as is her way.
So, without the solace of her company, I will describe the dream, in some faint hope that by doing so I might rob it of at least a minute fraction of its power over me. I sit here at my desk, at the typewriter, the comforting clack of keys to keep me anchored to this room, lest my mind slip free again from the fraying tether of this world.

Within the nightmare, I wandered white halls. Walls composed of nothing more substantial that some indescribably solid manner of light. Indeed, even the floors beneath my bare feet were no more than that same dazzling white light. And the light poured through me, as well, and I bled out blinding, great gouts of it. I felt it burning me alive, seeking some treasure secreted in the furthest recess of my consciousness. Before a window looking down on a burning sea, a sea of blue fire, I fell to my knees, certain that the next instant must perforce bring to me the balm of obliteration. But this malign presence filling up my head and lungs and even the veins that had once carried only blood...this damnable thing...would not consume me. Whatever was sought yet eluded it, and even in my agonised state I understood it would not dare risk even the remotest chance of future discoveries by loosing its full fury upon me in that moment.

Father, at the last, is this what you glimpsed? Is this the same abomination that burned the eyes from your skull?

I lay there above the blue flame sea, upon my back, breathless as all the stars of Heaven whirled round above me. And though the devouring light had withdrawn for now, I knew that I was by no means alone. She stood very near me, near enough that I had only to turn my head the slightest bit to glimpse that monstrous countenance. Her eyes pulsed with crimson heat, and I understood without comprehending that she was neither living nor machine, but existed simultaneously in both states. She wore a black armor that, to my dreaming eyes, seemed oily and iridescent. But...the worst of it...she also wore my face. I have seen so many incarnations of me, I would not have imagined one more could ever hold for me any actual terror, but this one surely did. The other doppelgängers, as Miss Lightfoot named them, the most fearsome among them would have seemed but the merest wisp or whisper in the presence of this being.

She stood there above me, blotting out the sky, and in those eyes like pools of molten glass, I suddenly understood her purpose. And she smiled to see in me that cognizance.

"I will have you all," she said, speaking with a voice that was only my voice and yet also the voice of raging tempests and dying stars and the rumbling magma that flows beneath dark volcanic hills. "I am become the Collector of All Ourselves, and already have I claimed a million of the shards of us and consumed them. Slowly, piece by piece, we are growing whole again. "

I cried out then, in desperate hope that my cries might drown that voice. But there is no tumult nor pandemonium in all the universe to match even her most gentle whisper. She knelt at my side, and told me of the slaughter of entire galaxies that but one of the splinters of myself might be reabsorbed. And then for a time she grew silent, and I seemed lost in the void of that quietus, and took heart that perhaps she would lose me then and there. Ages passed, the ages of all Creation, and I lay still as Death in in that blissful, colourless, unbroken nothingness. But then she returned to me, dragging me back to those white halls and the shores of blue inferno.

"Why do you see me?" she asked. "None of the others have. All of them, they believed themselves entire. Every one of them knew nothing of the sundering of our soul. But you see me, Nareth Nishi, just as you saw them. How can this be, sister?" and seeking an answer, once again she poured the white flame into me, and. mercifully, I woke screaming in my bed.

How do I go on with these visions? Knowing what I know, how do I ever believe them only the dementia of an unhinged mind?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Perpetual Uncertainty

The decisiveness that seemed to have taken hold of me only day before yesterday has vanished, and once again I am at a loss regarding the direction my life will take. For one, the journey I'd planned, to a city where I'd hoped to learn more of the problem of "lycanthropy," became suddenly untenable, at least for the time being. For another, my night was once again occupied with tracking the beast, an occupation which has come to seem oddly futile. In Caledon, fear of this thing is waning, and why should it not? To date, no one has been harmed by the beast, save Miss Gloriana Maertens, and her harm was minor and appears to have been accidental. The peril begins to seem less perilous.

Just before dusk, I strolled across Babbage to Capt. Susenko's estate. Miss Maertens was there, as was Col. Scaggs and his betrothed. As was Mr. Sin. The latter took suddenly ill as the sun began to sink over the sea, just as he'd taken ill at my flat only the day before. He walked to the sea wall and was rather violently sick, then quickly took his leave. Already, I had confided in the Capt. that the gathering felt somewhat like a masquerade, as I was quite certain that Mr. Lucius Sin and the creature were, in some manner, one and the same being. When he had gone, as the moon rose and conversation turned towards the creature, I asked if I might speak freely. When Capt. Susenko said that I might, I told all assembled there what I had discovered, and the methods of my discovery. Miss Maertens seemed unable to accept this possibility, and when asked what my plan was, I confessed that I had no plan. Only the information I'd presented. How does one lay a trap for a "monster" that seems able to escape any and all traps? Later, we traveled to Caledon, where the beast was once again on the prowl, but at no point did I catch sight of it.

Miss Paine has become entirely obsessed with the creature, though I have asked her to please show more caution in her investigation. She is an impetuous girl, and I fear she will not heed my words. But what matter, if the beast should prove harmless?

And here I am, pretending my mind is seriously occupied with the problem of Mr. Lucius Sin, when so much else is at stake and when far more terrible and fantastic thoughts press in upon me. I have been once more visited by Mr. Oolon Sputnik, who I had almost come to believe I would never see again. I was taken into his fabulous cabinet, the time-traveling device Miss Lightfoot called a TARDIS and which he refers to as the ETC. I wished to record this in my last entry, but there was so little time, as I believed my departure from Babbage was imminent. And even now, I hesitate to record any particulars. He asked if he might conduct certain tests upon my person, and I was at a loss to refuse. I know, in my heart, that there is some strange convergence in our questioning of my identity, and I hoped that the answers to these tests might, in turn, answer questions of my own. He spoke of some substance or particulate called "DNA", which I suspect might not be so different from my own theory regarding an essential biological unit, some minute corpuscle which makes a living thing what it is (and which may even survive physical, outward transmutation).

His test, administered after I entered a sort of tank, which seemed both filled with liquid and entirely dry, and in which I was perfectly capable of drawing breath, indicated the presence of the alien "DNA" particles — the Nebari and Kalish, which came as no shock to me. This is the result of the accident I endured at age seventeen, and which left me as I am now. He seemed very preoccupied, and I left not long after the tests were administered. He promised that we would soon have a lengthy conversation about my heritage, and those words should have confused me, but they did not. I know that surely Miss Lightfoot must have relayed to him some details of our conversation, so he is almost undoubtedly aware of my questions concerning "the Eye" and Time Lords and the unknown entity, Sen.

Which brings me to truths I have not yet here spoken of, things I fear even to write down in secret for my own benefit. I feel as though I stand now at the lip of some bottomless chasm, tottering on the precipice, and any movement one way of another may be my undoing. But am I not already undone? Has that not been the problem all along?

I ask these questions "aloud" for the first time. Was Dr. Sadaaki Nishi my true father? Was my mother actually a San Francisco prostitute? What evidence have I of these things but a dead man's word, and the word of a man I have already confessed was not sane? Was the "accident" that stranded me in this world an accident at all, or was it only the next move in some pre-determined play? Was I splintered long before the age of seventeen, long before the more profound disaster of a month ago? Am I merely now the splinter of a splinter? Is the mind and body of Nareth Elenore Nishi naught but a convenient illusion? In my dreams, I have glimpsed and felt and known other versions of myself, versions beyond reckoning. Are they each as valid and whole as this me? And what secrets did my Father take to his grave? Perhaps the same secrets which drove him mad and led to his fatal obsession with time travel?

In the end, I am left wondering if I have ever known my true self, some elder, undivided whole, the memory of which I cannot quite ever seem to grasp. Am I some bizarre specie of changeling? Was the whole from which I might have been cut long ago so divided for a purpose beyond my present comprehension?

These questions would drive anyone mad. But now I have put them down, and soon, I hope, I shall speak of them with Mr. Sputnik. I pray he knows the answers, and that he will share them with me. But I would be a liar if I did not say, also, that the very prospect of those answers terrifies me more than anything ever has terrified me.

Monday, July 2, 2007

In Time's Corridors

What I am about to say, I have no doubt I have said these selfsame words before, and that I will always be waiting, somewhere and sometime, on the moment when they will be spoken anew. There is this suffocating, enthralling sense of falling, and of having found myself trapped in the skein of so many impossible, interwoven tales. Since the accident in my father's lab when I was only a human girl of seventeen...and then the second accident, seven years later and a scant thirty-two days ago, when I was torn free of the universe I so long believed to be the only possible universe...I have had this persistent sense of falling farther in, though into what I cannot say. I feel as though I exist somehow always only on the cusp of actuality. These words stream from me like the ravings of a madwoman, and it may be I am somewhere only a madwoman. I can not say. But I have chosen to act, here, in what seems a real world, rather than hide in the folds of my fear and confusion, thinking myself only insane or dreaming.

I have just passed an extraordinary, wonderful, and terrifying evening, and I must write something of it down, some scrap, though I must also soon depart Babbage for a fearsome city where, I hope, I will learn more of the creature — this so-called werewolf — that haunts this hamlet and all of Caledon.

A few hours ago, just before sunset, Mr. Lucius Sin — the alchemist and occultist — paid a visit to my flat here in Babbage. I asked him here, and he came willingly, though the man seemed uncomfortable the entire time he was in my company. I hoped only to obtain some meager bit of hair or flake of skin against which I might test the blood sample I believe to have come from the beast. It was my belief, my hypothesis, that despite transmutation some essential particle or compound would remain behind to always link the two. We spoke briefly and of nothing in particular. As the sky grew red with dusk, our conversation was interrupted by the fortuitous arrival of Miss Paine. And only a moment later, my faerie talisman, supposedly crafted by Mr. Sin, began to glow fiercely!

He wore one himself. Immediately, Mr. Sin begged our pardon, claiming to suffer from a sudden headache, and gladly did I excuse him. And there on my sofa he left behind a single strand of hair, and it has proven a positive match with the hemoglobin sample! I know now that Mr. Sin is the creature, even if he himself does not know this to be the case. I hastily composed a note to Capt. Susenko, informing him of my discovery and warning him to watch the man closely, though, it should again be noted, the beast may not have actually attacked anyone so far.

And there is more...oh, so much more...but I must put it down later, upon my return home. I may at last have met a man capable of unraveling the terrible mystery I have become, and I am not speaking now of the very peculiar Mr. Sin. I will return to the typewriter later and make a full account. My hands are not steady, but, by the gods, I will not drink to-night. My head must remain as clear as it may yet ever be.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Wolf

If I harboured any doubts as to Miss Paine's metal, I harbour them no longer. Last night, she proved herself more than capable, and she proved herself bravely. I do not have much time to write just now, as evening approaches, and I have business abroad this night. I have developed a means of tracking the "black beast" that has so haunted Caledon and now Babbage. Last night, with Miss Paine's able assistance, I put my method to the test, with results that far exceeded my expectation. While I remained in the laboratory in Babbage, Artemisia traveled to Caledon, to the moors, in anticipation of the "monster's" appearance. We were not disappointed. The creature did show, and its appearance attracted quiet a crowd and, according to Miss Paine, created a terrific stir among the locals.

Employing my system for tracking the fiend, and what I can only call a hunch, Miss Paine tracked it from Caledon, where it escaped capture, back to Babbage, to the estate of Capt. Susenko, very near my own flat. I had detected it in Babbage previously, and suspected that I might predict its return. Unarmed, Miss Paine approached it, and the beast did not attack, just as it had attacked none of the crowd in Caledon. I had equipped Miss Paine with a sort of hovering wet-plate ambrotype camera (I do not have time here to detail its construction). With it, she captured a single ambrotype of the beast on the premises of Capt. Susenko's estate. I am attaching it to this document. The beast is plainly visible in right profile (the photo was taken facing west). I should estimate its height at well over seven feet. Note that Miss Paine's fairie talisman is glowing brightly.

There is so much more to be told. I am quite certain I have discovered the identity of this creature, that it has a human counterpart. I believe I know that man's name, and shortly after this photograph was taken, I met with him on Miss Maerten's estate in the Eyre. He is an alchemist and claims his brother died at the hands of the creature he believes has pursued his from some distant Balkan state. But I believe otherwise. I must end this for now. I think this mystery very nearly solved, and yet, also, I believe that in its solution lies a far greater and, perhaps, insoluble mystery.