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The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
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Kíeros
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #26
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> Find some cool people to interview.
05-03-2016 11:16 PM
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Whimbrel
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #27
 

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Let's go find Henry, assuming he's up this early

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05-03-2016 11:46 PM
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AgentBlue
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #28
that escalated quickly

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It's another beautiful, perfect day outside when the porters open the Tremont House doors for you. You give a friendly wave to Eugene as he descends the steps from the servant's area; he waves back. In Albion you would have been snubbed for such familiarity, if you hadn't already been snubbed for being a southerner. Elitist bastards.

The sun is already shining high when you make your way down to the East Side Machine Hall. A curious, repetitive clacking fills the air, an undertone to the usual groans and squeaks that mark the use of heavy machinery. Every so often a loud hissing marks the quenching of casted parts.

Heavy, rhythmic footsteps come up behind you, along with an unsettling whirring. You step aside just in time; a tichman, carrying a heavy-looking crate in its four metal-clad arms, comes stomping past. The automaton neatly stacks its load on a pile of identical crates, lining up the square edges exactly, before stomping away for more. Before long, two workers trudge up to the crates and crowbar one open, arguing the whole time. You sidle closer to listen:

"...unnatural, Richard, unnatural and wrong." The first of them has his head in the cratel; his words come out a bit muffled. "We should put them back in with Gloriana where they belong."

"You're not goin' to be marryin' one," says the one called Richard, "and metal doesn't move itself. They don't bother you, why bother them?"

"But they do move themselves, great hulking monsters walking on our streets..." He catches sight of you mid-complaint. "Oh hello there, miss. I wouldn't stand there if I were you, we've a shipment coming in, lots of going to and fro. Someone could get hurt by one of those things, get trampled on someday, then we'll all see..."

Richard mercifully interjects. "Anythin' we can do for you, miss?"

"I'm looking for a Henry who works here."

The one in the crate cocks his head. "Lot of Henries around here."

What had Lleu said? "Mad about alcohol engines?"

The crate worker beams with recognition, and Richard visibly rolls his eyes. "That's me, miss. Henry Ford, at your service."

"I'm a writer. Rachel Hsobel. Would you care to have a chat, and perhaps a walk down to the Hall this fine morning?"

Henry tosses a pleading glance at Richard, who sighs.

"Oh, all right. I have a package goin' that way anyway, you can take it along."

---

A few dead leaves go skittering along the road. A cool breeze has picked up, flicking strands of your long hair into Henry's face; you're forced to employ a complex series of hairpins to keep it all held back.

The effusive young man seems ready to plow into a conversation about power sources and alternative energy and internal combustion engines. You're sure that if you want to ask anything important not related to those topics, you're going to need to open with it.

Let me out Stay safe inside | You're not kind | Ethics are overrated | What is life | Men are pigs | I'm so drunk | EAT ME NOW | Click clack fuck | Is this right Only money matters | Change my clothes | Little sun rising | One cat's future | Wax and wane | Dark times ahead
----
So very British / But then again | People are machines Machines are people | Oh hai there | There's no time
----
Superhero 1920s noir | Multigenre Half-Life | Changing the future | Command line interface
Tu ventire felix? | Clockwork for eternity | Explosions in spacetime
05-15-2016 03:52 PM
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Whimbrel
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #29
 

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Well while that's all very interesting, we're looking more for the human angle than the technical specs of his idea. What's his background like? Family? Work? Education? What gave him the inspiration for an alcohol powered autocar?

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05-17-2016 12:03 AM
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Kíeros
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #30
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> Ask about what he thinks about the big expedition.
05-19-2016 01:16 AM
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AgentBlue
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #31
that escalated quickly

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(05-17-2016 12:03 AM)Whimbrel Wrote:  Well while that's all very interesting, we're looking more for the human angle than the technical specs of his idea. What's his background like? Family? Work? Education? What gave him the inspiration for an alcohol powered autocar?

"I always thought we weren't focusing enough on alternative energy," Henry says, "always focusing on the Source, always centralized around the Source. We don't live in an age of artisanal, bespoke works anymore. Industrialization, mass manufacturing - that's the way of our future, and the future of the Empire. But, well... you can't build a reputation on things you're going to do."

You agree, tentatively. Don't most politicians build their reputations on promises?

"Well, they all answer to the Crown in the end. Better to be down to earth, better to be people of things you can hold and make work. You asked about my family?"

You nod, though you've done nothing of the sort. You realize, far too late, that Henry is the long-winded sort, and the chances of stopping him are about as high as that of you stopping Gloriana from turning.

(05-19-2016 01:16 AM)Kíeros Wrote:  > Ask about what he thinks about the big expedition.

You try anyway. How about McCloud's expedition? What does he think about that? This, surprisingly enough, cuts him off short. His face darkens.

"McCloud is a politician. McCloud, McCloud..." He stutters. "McCloud is not down to earth. McCloud is..."

He lowers his voice. He glances up to the great Hall, which you've approached much faster than you'd expected. When he speaks again, his voice is a whisper, barely above the noise of the cool wind.

"McCloud is a traitor."

He is reticent to speak after that.

Let me out Stay safe inside | You're not kind | Ethics are overrated | What is life | Men are pigs | I'm so drunk | EAT ME NOW | Click clack fuck | Is this right Only money matters | Change my clothes | Little sun rising | One cat's future | Wax and wane | Dark times ahead
----
So very British / But then again | People are machines Machines are people | Oh hai there | There's no time
----
Superhero 1920s noir | Multigenre Half-Life | Changing the future | Command line interface
Tu ventire felix? | Clockwork for eternity | Explosions in spacetime
05-13-2017 07:20 AM
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AgentBlue
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #32
that escalated quickly

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What do you mean? You try and start a conversation about this particular topic.

"He's... he's done something. That's what I heard. He's run unchecked too long."

Sounds pretty vague for an accusation of treason.

"Do the inquisitors care? The tichmen absolutely don't."

---

The majestic main doors to Harrison Hall are open, as they always are, to catch the Arctic breeze. They are almost too tall, you feel. Everything about the Hall is too big, especially when viewed from the outside. The wrought-alloy walls, shaped into an angular, twisted hexagon, catch the early morning sunlight. They shine as white-gold bars of solid color stretching up into the sky. Here and there you see cables stringing up along crevices in the walls, powering weather instruments and other mechanical contrivances, along with windows that presumably lead into the offices of men and women you will never be deemed worthy enough to speak with face to face. Class-wise, they are about as far above you as the Glass Gear is.

---

Henry can feel it, too. He seems to regret his earlier outburst, and shifts his delivery package in his hands uncomfortably. "Then again." His palms leave sweaty marks on the dural casing. "I suppose I'm a hypocrite."

How do you mean? You try very hard to phrase the inquiry in such a way that an inquisitor for the Crown would not.

Henry stops short. He is visibly nervous. "I've done nothing wrong," he says, with the air of someone who has definitely done something wrong, "but." He stops. Glances about again. "I've had a letter. From Edison."

Your eyebrows must have shot up hard, because he purses his lips. "Don't you say it."

I'm sorry, but everybody knows Edison died a traitor.

"You're wrong." He lowers his voice. "Thomas Edison is alive, and he wants to hire me. The Crown may have exiled him, but he's- he's building a new Empire. Chemical energy. Electric power. Freedom from Gloriana."

Hate to say it, but it sounds like you're getting rooked, Henry. You try to put it in as kind a turn of phrase as you can, but you can see the hurt in his eyes.

"Maybe some of us still want to have some hope."

---

Henry Ford leaves you soon, taking his conspiracy theories with him. He promises to meet up again to show you his fabled Edison letter, which you highly doubt is genuine, but declines to visit the Archives with you. You suspect you haven't made the best of first impressions on him.

The Hall holds the Pole Isle archives: by no means the most varied or fascinating library in the Empire, but definitively one of the most comprehensive stockpile of engineering texts in the world. Your eyes skim over the embossed plaques hung above the shelves: METALLURGY. PHYSICS. HOROLOGY. HYDRAULIC CHEMISTRY. HISTORY. FLOW THEORY. DYNAMICS...

Right. You are standing on a balcony overlooking the entire library, rows of metal shelves spread out under you. Stairs descend to the main floor, where an empty semicircular desk grins hollowly. You realize it is the reception desk, sans librarian at the moment.

There are glass cases, here and there, showcasing particular gearwins or splines. Some hold ingots of strangely-colored alloys, and some hold exquisite clockwork displays that tick quietly in the silence, and some are apparently empty. You approach one of these and find they are for discoveries currently in progress, and a list of supervising professors.

The archives are utterly silent, except for the faint, everpresent ticking.

Let me out Stay safe inside | You're not kind | Ethics are overrated | What is life | Men are pigs | I'm so drunk | EAT ME NOW | Click clack fuck | Is this right Only money matters | Change my clothes | Little sun rising | One cat's future | Wax and wane | Dark times ahead
----
So very British / But then again | People are machines Machines are people | Oh hai there | There's no time
----
Superhero 1920s noir | Multigenre Half-Life | Changing the future | Command line interface
Tu ventire felix? | Clockwork for eternity | Explosions in spacetime
05-17-2017 06:34 AM
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Pharmacy
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #33
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Is there anyone nearby? Look in the reception desk, maybe you can find clues or keys to steal.
05-18-2017 12:15 AM
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Tuesday
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #34
 

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(05-18-2017 12:15 AM)Pharmacy Wrote:  Is there anyone nearby? Look in the reception desk, maybe you can find clues or keys to steal.

If there is someone nearby, engage!
05-20-2017 05:40 AM
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AgentBlue
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #35
that escalated quickly

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HISTORY is your goal for today. If Newton's Principia is here, that's where it'll be, or maybe it might be under PHYSICS. Alternatively, you could ask the librarian, when they get back, if there's a section for rare books and the like. It begins to dawn on you that this search, for an original, annotated edition of the Principia Mathematica, might be a little more involved than walking into one of the largest libraries in the world and picking it up off the first shelf you see.

You wish, at this point, that you could say that you did exactly that. But reality is, as it so often is, unforgiving on this point. In the story of your life, perhaps a neat autobiography published a decade from now, once you're rich and famous from the spoils of this expedition and off the reflected fame of being associated with Daniel McCloud, you'll probably leave this whole bit out.

It's a lot of searching - an hour of ultimately fruitless searching, up and down the history aisles. There are a lot of tomes about the Empire and its Glorious Manifest Destiny Quest and how it's gone so far. The more recent volumes are practically encrusted in gold foil and delicate scrollwork, as if compensating for the increasingly dull, and in places dire, history within. Aside from these, precious few of the books are about anything before the rise of Momentum, as if some aristocrat up top had decreed such happenings beneath notice, interest or public access.

Speaking of public access, you sneak another glance at the reception desk. You've not seen any evidence of a restricted area, but every library, in your experience, has a rare book section. You would ask for directions, or even a pass, but there is still no sign of the librarian. For that matter, you haven't seen anyone else in the archives at all - though judging by the history aisle's contents you were probably in the most disused section out of all of them. It just sort of seems as if this is not a particularly frequented area.

Passing by the hydraulic chemistry aisle, you nearly trip over a midsized automaton. It skitters away from your feet on four multi-articulated, spidery legs, its burnished grey carapace glowing in the light from the Geissler tubes above. You suddenly realize why no one ever comes here: the automaton clambers up a shelf, plucks out a book with a beak in its center, and carries it away.

Damn it all to the nameless place. You approach the front desk, which remains tantalizingly deserted. No eyes are on you, save perhaps the ones(?) on the tichman at the front entrance, but it doesn't look like it's equipped to do anything other than stop unauthorized books going out the door. Just to be sure, you duck behind the counter: no response. You seem safe so far. A quick scan of the desk reveals an "out to lunch" notice, sitting faceup behind the counter. It looks as if it fell off the countertop at some point. Another calculating machine, like the one you saw at Tremont House, sits above a massive ledger for, it seems, recording late fees. McCloud has a lot of red ink in there, you see at a glance, though a lot of these entries seem to have been crossed out, aggressively, without record of payment. Being Daniel McCloud seems to have its perks, though the librarian doesn't look to have been all that happy about it.

You have a closer look, and hit pay dirt. A drawer sits slightly ajar, and the glint of brass catches your eye. You pull it open and reveal a sawtooth-shaped slab of black velveteen, the kind used for clockmaking, and a bounty of keys in key-shaped depressions. Labels, neatly handwritten, are tied onto the keys with string and laid in more appointed places on the velvet, perfectly aligned. It almost feels like a crime to remove the 'Rare Books' key from its position, leaving a hole in the brass ranks that screams like a missing tooth.

The Rare Books door, it turns out, is around the corner from the front desk. It's an imposing edifice, built from black ironwood and inlaid Eglin steel. The key slides in with an oiled click, and the door slides open soundlessly. The room within is dusty, though tracks on the marble floor betray a semi-frequent and recent splurge of visits.

The Principia Mathematica is missing from its labeled shelf.

Let me out Stay safe inside | You're not kind | Ethics are overrated | What is life | Men are pigs | I'm so drunk | EAT ME NOW | Click clack fuck | Is this right Only money matters | Change my clothes | Little sun rising | One cat's future | Wax and wane | Dark times ahead
----
So very British / But then again | People are machines Machines are people | Oh hai there | There's no time
----
Superhero 1920s noir | Multigenre Half-Life | Changing the future | Command line interface
Tu ventire felix? | Clockwork for eternity | Explosions in spacetime
05-23-2017 03:20 AM
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Dragon Fogel
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #36
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With your luck, McCloud probably has it.

Well, might as well make the most of things. What other rare books have they got?

There's no reason for this | Or this | Death is inevitable | You can't challenge fate | The smallest change | I'm overwhelmed
I'm serious | It makes perfect sense | Easy as ABC! | I can't even explain it | Cleaning up someone else's mess
I suck | I rule | I've got it made | Really, I'm serious | This bugs me | It's all lies | I want to believe | Beauty is a curse
05-23-2017 04:29 AM
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Pharmacy
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #37
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Well, shit. Is there any sign of a break in? If not, ask the librarian who is the last person who got the book.
05-23-2017 04:30 AM
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asciiheart
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #38
 

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check the ledger for any mention of principia mathematica, scope out the rare books section for more seditious literature
05-23-2017 04:37 AM
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AgentBlue
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #39
that escalated quickly

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You look around for clues. No sign of a break-in, though you suppose since the door was locked any potential thieves would have had time to clean up after themselves. The librarian remains conspicuously absent.

You have another glance around this little room. Neatly stacked on shelves, in box files, dusty tomes are labeled and organised in a system so esoteric you barely recognise it as such. In fact, one such may not exist at all. It bears the hallmarks of a few generations of librarians: some box files are organised alphabetically, but then abruptly jump into a decimalised subject-based system, which then moves into an aesthetically pleasing but organisationally disastrous system based on book heights. Interestingly enough, most of the history books discussing events outside or possibly critical of the Empire's dominion are piled in one corner, lying there in a seditious heap. Their box files seem to have been abandoned in favour of one ageing wooden crate. Upon the topmost volume rests a worn, sweaty bottom-print, and a dried-up apple.

They also have a fantastic collection of adventure novels. "Adventures". You know the sort.

Blushing furiously, you close the door behind you and replace the key to the Rare Books room. As you bend down to close the drawer, you notice an odd smear near the bottom of the late fees ledger. It almost looks as if someone has tried to smudge this fairly recent entry out. You can't tell what book this is, but it's clear the borrower was Daniel McCloud himself.

You close the drawer with the keys in it, and it shuts with a very final 'click'. You suddenly realise that this drawer must usually be locked.

Let me out Stay safe inside | You're not kind | Ethics are overrated | What is life | Men are pigs | I'm so drunk | EAT ME NOW | Click clack fuck | Is this right Only money matters | Change my clothes | Little sun rising | One cat's future | Wax and wane | Dark times ahead
----
So very British / But then again | People are machines Machines are people | Oh hai there | There's no time
----
Superhero 1920s noir | Multigenre Half-Life | Changing the future | Command line interface
Tu ventire felix? | Clockwork for eternity | Explosions in spacetime
05-26-2017 12:56 PM
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Pharmacy
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #40
Dragon of Garf

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Is there a sign in paper which talks about who got keys? Or an employment security thing?

...also borrow some of these adventure books.
05-27-2017 12:09 AM
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asciiheart
 RE: The Gravity Escapement (TWS)
Post: #41
 

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report the neglect of this fine institution to the relevant authorities.

purloin the adventure novel with the most enthusiastically illustrated cover.
05-27-2017 11:45 AM
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