Timeline

Angels To The Rescue

 

A detachment of Her Majesty's Angel Corps, is on its way to Asia to protect vessels travelling along the trade routes, after several ships were hijacked by pirates operating in the area.

The all female regiment is believed to have sent some of its finest officers to the region, in the hope that they will not only secure safe passage for other ships, but also win back goods and vessels seized by the pirates.

A spokesperson for the regiment said they were "looking forward to the challenge, and they're the best team for the job". It isn't known where exactly they intend to patrol, but with several fast ships in the flotilla, they are capable of reacting quickly to incidents across a wide area.

 

A Letter To India

 

Dearest Uncle,

I trust that this finds you in robust health and spirits, and that life as a diplomatic delegate has not been too taxing.  Perish the thought you should leave the lavish court of your bosom friend, the Most Noble and Glorious Padishah, and get some real work done gathering information and resources.  Or was the IPA theft something to do with you after all?  The Family all send their best, as does Mr Stirling, that is, he would do if he ever spoke a civil word.

I do not know where father found him, but ever since that raving Lord’s daughter and grandchild went missing I haven’t been able to draw breath without being under Stirling’s watchful and disapproving gaze…  It most difficult to go about Mayhem general business, monitor The Harvest Initiative and play the role of dutiful (and noticeably unwed) Industrialist daughter without having a gruff behemoth with a highly misplaced sense of honour following me around day and night. It is most difficult indeed but I thank God for Stirling every day now.

The Fog has mostly cleared and daytime air traffic is slowly increasing providing precious airborne acids dutifully collected by The Reaper and her crew, now a public service provided by CBS (and heavily subsidised by the Government).  It would seem that the Midsummer Incident was a blessing in disguise; even if it did mean making public the designs for the Liquid Rocket.

In this respect, the London you left behind is much changed, but there is more.

The country is in uproar.  No doubt you are aware of the Clock situation. Anti-Clock violence is positively encouraged in some parts now while the infamous Herakles publicly attempts to appeal to humanity’s better nature while ordering high profile lynchings on the quiet.  Just like a flesh-and-blood politician.

If only that were all we had to contend with, in our little corner of the world.

More people are going missing. Their captors care little for class or background either it would seem.  News filtering up through The Network suggests that the only link between the victims is that they were breaking curfew; a curfew that the Powers That Be refuse to lift, I may add.

With the sudden appearance of men with mechanical arms and Clocks that look so human you would swear they had blood coursing through them, I am compelled to believe that sinister forces are plucking curfew breakers from the street and experimenting on them.   I would not put it past someone somewhere to chase the dream of immortality regardless of cost or consequence.

We edge ever closer to war, and I cannot shake the notion that the real fight will not be over Clockwork Emancipation.

Ever since That Night I have been plagued by nightmares of nefarious scientists attempting to harness and subjugate the greatest of all machines: the human mind.

I imagine uncountable lost souls prevented from dying a true death; their brains placed in clockwork chambers and sustained by Ranbir’s Clock Battery

Tormented and tortured, they do nothing more than pave the way for the rich, the unscrupulous, and the already too powerful to live past their time while as a collective, thousands of silent voices scream in fear and in pain while the world turns, and more and more are sent to this hell... presided over by a Queen living on time that does not belong to her. 

It chills me to the bone, Uncle. Not least because before That Night, I would have pondered on whether such technology were possible and appraised the potential profit.

I realise I may sound like I am unfit for anywhere other than Bedlam, but you taught me to peer into the darkness that surrounds chaos and I am not the only Mayhem to have such grotesque suspicions.  I cannot explain why yet, but I am convinced that gaining an audience with the Prince of Wales, wherever he may be, is a more pressing matter than ever.

Take care Uncle, and enjoy India. You may be needed at home sooner than you think.

EM

 

Clocks Demand Holiday!

 

Clockwork Servants deserve a 'day of rest', according to the Machine Liberation Front, a group claiming to represent the interests of all domestic automota.

They've issued a notice to the government asking to have one free day every week enshrined in law, so that Clockworks can tend to their own repairs, and learn more about civil rights.

The group's leader, Herakles, is planning a rally in London on Sunday August 18th, where he plans to launch a Clockwork Work Manifesto.

He believes the one-day vacation will help owners appreciate the role Clocks play in day to day life. In an open letter to the London Gazette, he asks owners to allow servants the day off to attend the rally, and wants to make this a permanent fixture in the Clockwork working week.

Early indications suggest the Machine Liberation Front has a fight on its hands, with many owners threatening to take the manufacturer of the Clockwork Servants - the Government - to court over breach of contract.

Religious leaders are undecided about how to respond to the choice of Sunday as a "day of rest" for Clockworks. Many are having difficulty coming to terms with sentient automata, and the implications for society.

Ever since the East End riots, violence against Clocks has increased in parts of the country, with gangs of vigilantes roaming the streets looking for 'jailbroken' devices, claiming they are obsolete, and need to be eradicated.

Now that the fog covering the country has cleared, community leaders have called on the government to lift the dusk till dawn curfew.  They believe once things get back to normal, people will find other things to occupy their time, and not take the law into their own hands.

Several Machine Liberation Front supporters have threatened to apprehend anyone caught damaging jailbroken Clocks.

 

Hodgson's Beer Shipment Hijacked

 

Pirates have hijacked several shipments of Hodgson's "Indian Pale Ale" en route to Asia. It is not known where the incident took place, nor whether it was by sky or sea piracy.

The drink, favoured by expatriates and locals around the world, is one of the few exports bringing much needed revenues to the Chancellor of Exchequer.

John Dwyer, an expert on piracy, suggested that the popularity of Hodgson's brew may be the reason for the hijack, "The beer is so popular around the world, people are using it as currency! In some places it is more sought after than money itself."

A spokesperson for the government believes it won't be hard to trackdown the culprits, claiming that "several ship loads of drink can't simply vanish into thin air," and has asked Asian authorities form a task force to protect trade routes throughout the region.

George Hodgson, owner of the brewery, said it was a sad day for industry, but assured customers that the incident would have very little effect on his delivery schedule.

 

Reader's Letter:
An Astonishing Invention

 

Dearest Sasha,

Do you remember I had told you about my friend Mr Edgar who works at the difference engine factory as an engineer? Recently I had not seen or heard from him for a significant number of days. As I began to become concerned I started trying to trace him through various contacts. Eventually I found a friend of his who worked at the same factory.

It turned out Mr Edgar had been the victim of an industrial accident. He had been fixing some machinery on the factory floor when something went wrong. His arm became trapped in the workings and the machinery started to run. Another worker was able to throw a lever and bring the machinery to a halt again then help him extract his arm again but it was mangled beyond recognition.

Nobody had seen him since and it is well known that such injuries often lead to fever and further complications. I got his address from the friend and hastened to his side.

What I found when I got there quite took me by surprise. Not only was Mr Edgar not lying in bed at death's door with a fever he was up and in extremely good sorts and in the place where lately had been his arm, gleaming metal and glass, gears and pistons, leather straps and only the merest glimpse of tettered flesh underneath. He waved with a hand encased in brass and leather. "Good isn't it?" he asked me.

As I am sure you can imagine I was quite flabbergasted. He explained to me that he had only given up one night after the accident to shock and despair before he had started tinkering.

He had already been making a study of the clockwork automata and their functions and parts. His room was filled with sketches and calculations of a mechanical enhancement for his crippled arm based on the arms of the clockworks. What he was wearing was just a prototype and he was already planning improvements.

The prototype had a miniature stam engine which required re-fuelling and had to be kept insulated and quite far from the flesh of the arm to prevent heat damage. He was talking about using the same power source as used in the clocks but on a smaller scale.

I was amazed. I can't help thinking this technology should be spread, there are many who could benefit from it, but I am not sure of the practicalities of getting more made and getting them to the people that need them. I wonder what else could be replaced or enhanced with similar clockwork parts? The possibilities are quite staggering. I am meeting with him again tomorrow night to discuss what we might do with his idea.

I will be visiting you soon. It has been far too long.

All my love

Elizabeth