frau_lowey: (Default)
Mr Sawyer is apparently no worse for wear, despite being struck on the head hard enough to induce unconsciousness for a quarter-hour. One might say uncanny, but for the fact my family has some of the same traits. I was too weary to safely take the train back to my home, but found my way to my brother's house down the street without too much trouble. With most of the family either in meetings, class or on patrol, it was quiet enough for a rest.

When I woke, I sent a message to the construction brigade to see about repairing the damage to Miss Burton's house, and headed for the lab. The samples from the bloodstain Miss Burton's house confirmed scientifically what Kitla had indicated thaumaturgically - the one who was injured was indeed the attacker. The samples matched the ones from the night before, indicating it was the same attacker, but there was that odd blurring to the samples, very similar to the differences between Herr Baron and Niklaus. So this could be another issue of copies, or "clones", as Dr Mason called them. Miss marion might be most formidable, if we could find a fighting style that would help to keep her from being injured again. Mr Sawyer indicated he could make the repairs with what he had on hand in his shop. Curiouser and curiouser, I set that chain of thoughts aside for later consideration.

I then turned to the shuriken, finding fingerprints on it - how sloppy. From what I understood of the watchers in the garden, this attacker's sensei would be appalled that the student would leave such traces. I would have to cross-check this with the prints on file in the Sheriff's office from the booking, but there seemed to be more than one type. I would have to eliminate the known ones to find out if there were others.

The pellet was a surprise. I found it on the floor, and from its location, would have expected it to show a slight grazing wound. Instead, in the clear light of the lab, it showed that it was covered in blood, as if it had embedded itself in Mr Sawyer's shoulder. It had been loose, on the floor, with no evidence of how it was removed from him. I had inspected the wound, it was just a graze by the time I got to him. the blood sample was... surprising, yet not as much as it might have been a bare week ago. I completed my analysis and finished the related reports, making the relevant copies for Herr Baron and the Sheriff.

I sent a note through the pneumatic system to my assistant to check on Niklaus, reminded that he had not been back to visit Miss Burton since the attack, which was very odd. He had been given protective status in the Consulate, and released on his own recognizance months ago. This behaviour of staying away, even in cases of attacks on his creator, was not in character. Dr Mason had also been rather odd of late, working all hours in the lab, rebuffing the usual social contacts. Was the underlying issue there the reason why Amarantis had brought the journal to me, and not her father? Of her five parents, he normally would be the logical recipient of such material. More to consider, and evaluate.

As I filed the evidence and copies of the reports in the Sheriff's office, I was shocked to feel a return. Ash had convinced his captors to return him to defend Steeltopia! Knowing there would be fire as well as gunfire, I quickly returned home and changed into an old uniform. Builder bless Herr Baron for insisting the senior staff train with the Jägermeister for emergency procedures here.

I chanced a slip between planes to the office, and found him outside, trying to convince a citizen to return to his home. The plaintive answer of "What home?" was evidence of the destruction. The Emperor's people were divided in fending off the usurper's troops, and protecting the people from the damage wrought. It was not going well, even with Gematria and her cohorts fighting the fires and helping with the rescues. The usurper's soldiers had no scruples, firing on the rescue patrols as they worked!

The Emperor himself found us in the Acclaim District, and reported the fires were nearing the Guard Compound. He was intent on retrieving the guards and the usurper, and making sure the fires were contained. Ash had retrieved the experimental exoskeleton, as he was one of the few people who could use it - normal humans usually ended up with broken limbs trying to control it. It was helpful, as one of the zeppelins from the air guard had crashed in the parade grounds. Luckily, the gas mixture was a stable one, and had not ignited when the gasbags had been breached.

Emperor SteelCobra attempted to contact the loyalists in the main base, but the traitors had tried to sabotage the equipment before running. The repairs were quickly done, so we had minor warning when the naval attack came. We took cover in the detainment unit below the guardhouse, to find StormFront Aristocrat had escaped. On closer inspection, his cell retained a puddle of material the Emperor unscientifically categorized as "goo". I collected a sample, as best I could in the test-tubes from my pack, one for the Baron and one for Mr Glineaux.

We emerged from the guardhouse, and found most of the parade ground, including the communications shack, in rubble. We were preparing to fight through the streets to get to the Government House, when a silence descended. The gunfire had ceased, but it did not mean we were out of trouble just yet. Reaching the offices without incident, the Emperor found more sabotage, vandalism and outright theft. He and Ash managed to get one radio unit working, while I watched an empty and silent street. Reports form the outlying units were fantastic, there were large numbers of the enemy soldiers that were melting before competent witnesses. I suggested to the Emperor that Herr Baron's manner of dealing with the troops might help, with amnesty for the ones who surrendered quietly. He agreed, commenting, "The ones that take that offer are likely not the clones. Which reminds me, we need to check the mines."

Ach, mines - I am to the point that I detest mines. However, I did agree to accompany him, as this was not a Cavorite mine. We found a false wall that was not evident before; after all, those of us down there last night were not familiar with the layout of the mines. A few more twists and turns, and we found where the opposition had stored their prize. The shell radiated gas, which caused us to retreat to the surface. I am not sure what we encountered above, strange carriages, odd peacekeepers and loss of contact with those we knew. It was the last of these that prompted me to follow the Emperor back down, and concentrating on the bond-links, we touched the shell again.

When I came to in the theatre, Ash confirmed we were in the space/time coordinates of home. The Emperor's battalion had initiated the mop-up operations, with his orders to allow surrender. I asked Ash if he were all right, and he nodded, disengaging his sarcasm circuits. he will be about, but not openly, I think.

I returned to Harborside, checking in on Miss Burton, and the work the crew had done. Sleep overcame me, and rather than return home, I slept on the settee in the parlor at my brother's house. My continued lethargy in the morning caused me to wander next door to the Folly Garden, and simply laze in the catnip patch. An unfamiliar cat joined me, but as I skritched behind her ears, she identified herself. Kira reported her strange adventures of the past day to me. No wonder Dr Mason's actions have not been standard. He quite literally has not been himself. I took Kira to the office with me, to see who we could find for additional help.

frau_lowey: (Default)
I returned from Steeltopia with little information - the new ruler has a sham office in the Emperor's former workspace. It is naught but window-dressing, and the place the regular day-to-day city-state management is handled. He has not made it his personal workspace yet.

It is the same in the Emperor's Residence - all for show, nothing personal here. Not so much as a fingernail-pairing... the place has been sanitized of even the Emperor's presence. It means there is nothing here for me to track the background of the one who mysteriously appeared to take over. It also does not bode well for their plans for the Emperor, should they gain control over him.

No, I do not believe the Emperor is behind the actions placed on his doorstep. To be sure, he is quite mad, but not that sort of mad. I also find the timing of the attack on Ash to be suspicious. Not only was he a trusted member of the guard, he was our link to the inner workings of the city... was I wrong to suspect the Bane of the Foundation?

That one died - we had proof, and yet, and yet. There was that unsettling rift I felt at the meeting, oh so many weeks ago. My suspicions are still not allayed concerning the new neighbor. He has not been threatening, nor especially odd, considering the other neighbors, but he still makes my shields twitch.

I have not been able to speak to Dr Mason about it, as he has become increasingly immersed in his work. From the information I gleaned in Pvt Steampunk's debriefing, his work may be turning to the path of his predecessor. But if he does not stop wearing his gluteal group for a hat We must find a way to make sure he does not follow the same well-worn path.

My investigations to find Ash's soul-piece have been singularly frustrating. The dolls I have met have been ever-so-polite, but not particularly informative. I hope Gematria has had more productive contacts. I must remind myself, that he is a Mason, and I cannot protect him from the world, but the instinct to shield him is still there.

I returned to the office to file my reports, and check on any messages. I also had to check on the Baron's newest recruit, who seems to be determined to destroy herself in her efforts to protect him. I suspect I know why. It is a pattern seen many times over.

We still have had no word on the disposition of Frau Skytower... there are those on staff that hope she still lives. Casting herself in the sea at that point in the battle, there is little hope, considering the currents in the area. The merfolk the frequent the area have been blunt on that point, but that Mongfish cow has died many times over. If she does appear again, I hope the new additions to the staff can help.
frau_lowey: (studying)
I received the call from Gematria concerning Ash, and hurried to the Steeltopia office, arriving just in time to help put him in the stasis chamber. At least we can preserve the chassis for his return of his soul chip. My first question was "Can you sense him at all?"

Gematria's negative response was as emotional as I have seen her since her last transformation. As we moved him upstairs to the chamber Gematria murmured, "His robe is open." I blinked, and realized she was speaking of the protective cowling over Ash's central mechanisms. "Checking the log... 'maintenance'? He was tricked into offering access to his soul chip?" She was unable to access who was the one to request maintenance access, so we returned to analyzing the notes.



I turned my attention to the desk, where I found his notes. " Augh, his handwriting is neat, but I can make no sense of this outline." I puzzled over the fact that though they took the book, the notes remained. The handwriting was Ash's - or at least I recognized it as his style - very neat and precise, but written with a hand that first learned to handle reed and papyrus, rather than fountain pen and paper.

"Time travel?" she asked, reminding me of the family's braided Möbius history.

"Even so, that does not account for much of this." I shook my head, "Jeremiah must have had drugs stronger than normally available."

When she had fully scanned the notes, she handed them to me, and we puzzled over the contents. "Factoring out the journal outline... This... contradicts Jeremiah's personality profile." Gematria murmured, analyzing the content against the wealth of information stored within her memories. "Yes, he defeated Aleister... we know that... Mrs. Rachel Mason was his... sidekick...?"

"Assistant." I absently corrected, penning a note for the research division to search for evidence of her memoirs, if there were copies that were not in the Steeltopia Library. Perhaps we could cross-reference with the Council records concerning actions on the power nodes on the steppes.

She continued with her musings aloud, "...Rescued her family's village from Baba Yaga...?" Her confusion in trying to align these notes with what we knew of history caused some odd exclamations, "...power ring???" When she pointed out the section concerning the scientific explorations, she said, "Here it states he conducted the cloning experiment to free the family from Bloodwing curse...opposite of his own statements..." My conclusion was this was not the Jeremiah we fought in Avaria.

My eye caught the brief notation that Jeremiah had reported to the Council of Clans, arresting enough in the fact that this had never come to my attention before when Gematria commented, " The narrative falls apart after Rachel refuses treatment for ailment with reanimation fluid...due to...corruption factor..."

I said what first came to mind, "She feared him by then, and for him, perhaps, but we will not know until we have her first-hand account." Another hastily written note, "I am advising the Baron, he might need to do without me for a bit. Not a great task for him, but he should be warned." I checked the security devices in the building, and nothing registered as out of the ordinary, so the one who had been here has been cleared by Ash. No surprise if it was someone he trusted enough to allow maintenance access. I had no idea he had a contact of that security level, it was as if we were discovering he had a secret paramour. Then I was struck by the thought, "There is one witness that is still here." and I turned to Ash's pet Yog.



The poor thing had no idea why Ash had not romped about since the "little white spinny" had come to visit. I comforted it as best I could, but the information led Gematria to show it a doll key, taken from her satchel. When she twirled it in her fingers, there was a flash of dim recognition, and the Yog started searching for Ash again. Settling Yoggy with a treat, I turned to her, "That would seem to be the clue, but I do not know the Doll community well. Could it be one of Dr Steel's cadre?"

"Ash would be wary of peri after our past connections with her. I will investigate that angle as well," she said packing up.

"I must check the wards at the safe-houses, and set protections for the staff that might be affected... and avoid telling the Jägers , for they are needed in Steelhead now." I tried to hide may fatigue by shuffling through the papers at the Baron's desk.

Gematria paused before leaving, "The rumors that Jeremiah is in Steelhead? Would the Jägers who journeyed with us to New Erebus not recognize his scent?"

"There was scuttlebutt that they did scent Jeremiah in Steelhead, but the one they suspected has a changed scent. I still do not trust that one entirely. It is exceedingly odd for a blacksmith to smell of incense, if he has not just come from Mass...wrong formula for the churches and temples nearby, as well."

Gematria tilted her head to one side in an approximation of the human puzzlement stance, "Changed? Incense would be explained by his residing in the djinn's house."

I nodded, "However, she no longer holds the scents of the Mideast about her. I am worried, for it also seems a trial for her to even smile anymore. The whole situation smells wrong."

There was a pause, and Gematria finally said, "I thought I detected sage particulate from that direction."

"I have not smudged her house, though she was present for Madame Kitla's smudging of Frau Skytower's residence." I thought a bit more, "Augustus smudges the Station whenever he comes home, but both sources are across the Harborside district from Miss Burton's house. Could you take samples from the Station and compare them? I will check with Madame Kitla and Frau Skytower for permission for particulate sampling."

Gematria nodded and left, to continue her investigations.

Alone, I rested my chin on my hands. The worries were compounding. Miss Burton's thaumaturgical healing seemed to be arrested, by what I did not know. The stress of waiting to go to trial was also wearing on her, it seems. She fatigued so easily, still. I wanted to trust her farmhand would help, but he turned up at such a convenient hour. Mr Sawyer seems to be more than a blacksmith, but why hide other abilities in a town of Sparks and Mages if there were no other factors? Now the attack on Ash, and I have not been able to reach Amarantis. The last time I saw her was shortly before the death of Marcus, when she mentioned something about finding Koen.

A small flash before my eyes, and a courier tube landed on the desk in front of me. Quickly reading the note, I knew things were going poorly on more than one front. The note was from Mother, letting me know Augustus and Uncle Nico are in chambers, and have been for some days. She said the indications are the Council is gathering forces - all clans together. The one thing in that pulled them all together in a unified front once before was horrifying.

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frau_lowey

July 2012

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