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 was...is...will 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 now...now 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.