Timeline

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

 

What To Do With All The Clocks

 

Several years since the introduction of Clockwork domestic labour the government has yet to come up with a convincing solution as to how it plans to manage what some now believe is a problem of epidemic proportions.

'Clocks' now roam the streets aimlessly, with many being illegally 'jailbroken' from their original safety programming, while irrepairable units piled high in junkyards across the country.

 The emergence of a group called the Machine Liberation Front calling for Clock civil rights has pitched government on a collision with the Church, while industrialists who were once championing the benefits of Clockwork labour, now face the propsect negotiating working practices with sentient machines.

Lady Frobisher Pilbeam, Queen's Emissary to Science, believes that new laws are needed to help regulate the use of clockwork automata.

In a statement released yesterday she mentioned that the government was drafting a new legislation to regulate the disposal of Clocks and ensure the survival of those that were repairable, while penalising owners who damage their clocks through illegal jailbreaking.

Lady Frobisher said she had met with representatives of the Machine Liberation Front, and that discussions to find a solution to the current impasse were continuing.

 

 

 

Clink Tock:
Police Issue First Clockwork Arrest Warrant

 

The police have issued arrest warrants for the prime suspects in the murder of a man last month at The Den, in London's East End.

The suspects have been named as Mei Mei, and Ming Cho, both Clocks working at the establishment, and belonging to its proprietor Christopher Hargreaves.

This is the first arrest of its kind, and police are appealing to members of the public for assistance in apprehending the suspects who have no fixed address, or paperwork. The investigation has also been plagued by delays over procedure, with Clockwork Watch claiming the case was their jurtisdiction.

It's not sure how the police will locate and identify the two suspects, as many of the Clockworks were imported into the country before the government's new registration laws came into effect.

A growing black market in Clockwork 're-skinning' techniques which changes the appearance of the devices, could also make it hard to apprehend Mei Mei, and Ming Cho. The process alters the appearance of Clockwork beyond recognition, while a program jailbreak would make them a different machine altogether.

 

Reader's Letter
A New Employee

 
 

Dear James,

I am writing to tell you the company hired its first clock last week? On your recommendation I got in touch with that Factory owner you said had an older model clock he considered defective. He turned up on Monday answering to the name of Gerald. I decided to employ him in bookeeping rather than manual labour as clocks seem to have something of a natural affinity for numbers, although that may be a gross generalisation, and I have no shortage of burly young men to do the loading and unloading for me.

I was a little surprised when he came to me at the end of the first day as we were closing up the office and asked if he might depart for the day, I hadn't expected him to remain working all night but at the same time I hadn't really considered where he might go at the end of the day. Of course I said he could do as he wished provided he turned up regularly and punctually.

The following day at the end of the work day he came to see me again and asked if he might be paid a wage, he said he didn't expect to be paid as much as a flesh worker but that he did have certain expenses to take care of and in return he would see to his own maintenance. He is able to concentrate harder for longer than any of my human workers, he calculates at a speed I find astonishing and he is always well polished and polite. I told him I would not pay him any less than any other junior clerk at the business and have had contract written up for him to sign.

I suspect I will get some stick about this in business circles but I say as long as he continues to turn up in the morning and put in a days work I shall be happy. He has already exposed an error in our accounting and saved us a run in with The Board of Custom's Commissioner's.

My thanks for the tip off.

Elizabeth