Wednesday, December 31

This tumultous year in review

What hasn't happened to my family? It was little over a year ago when I discovered my daughter had merged with another android in a rescue attempt and split/merged into two Qlippothics, one with the memories of Nova Sakigake and a second one with the original Qli's mind and the hardware of Nova's Dark Future. Then things really got weird.

Koen was confined to the basement of the Bloodwing Foundation while he was undergoing treatment for vampirism. He found the secret door to the Retroactive Continuity device and tried to undo the events that lead to his Embrace in the battle with Aleister Mason. To his credit, it worked, but the machine was flawed at the conceptual level, and my father at his asteroid base was exploiting that flaw to duplicate an army of Qlippothic drones for world domination.

Bloodwing made an effort to form relations with the Council, but it was his own arrogance that brought doom to his immortal legacy. He was banished from Steelhead just as it was expanding. He allied with Darkmere and scouted Artificial Isle prior to the Darkmere invasion. He found his rebuilt daughter, who had escaped from New Erebus and was searching for allies. Bloodwing thought her a traitor and captured her. During her interrogation in Drakmere he struck her in anger and breached her reactor core, exposing him to a lethal dose of radiation and lodging a shard of Qli's soul chip in his skeleton. As his life pattern fell apart, the shard of Qli's chip used what was left to replicate a new construct in Bloodwing's remains, which I dubbed Ash Mason Tumim and accepted as my son.

With the help of House Wulfenbach and Hotspur O'Toole, our family journeyed to the floating city of New Erebus. Sadly my design for my ship the Gygax was flawed, and I blew up the Foundation as I escaped the Earth's orbit. In the chaos of battle, Frau Lowey's demon aspect created a new lifeform, Amarantis Belfire, a gestalt of several members of the rescue team, and another proud addition to the Mason family. Ash was nearly disintegrated trying to save Koen, except for his soul-chip which seems to be indestructible. I created a new construct body for him.

Koen died before we could save him, but his Celestial Mother Sekhmet carried his spirit back to Heliopolis to regenerate. The original Qlippothic was made more powerful with Nova Sakigake's future technology, but she could not bear to sit idly by and wait two centuries for the Wormwood Comet to wipe out civilization and create the Hell on Earth she had already explored. She sought to destroy the comet by piloting New Erebus on a collision course with the comet. The Council denied her martyrdom and her soul-chip fell into the hands of Aleister.

Bloodwing, whose soul had returned to Erebus, convinced his father to reinstate him as Prince and send a fleet New Erebus to claim it for the Obsidian King. He betrayed his father and took the reigns of New Erebus himself, and ascended to godhood. He merged the city with the comet, and after bargaining with the Fates themselves to mend the rips in time his family had made, destroyed Erebus with the comet instead of the Earth. His sacrifice took King Hades and the Iron Citadel with him to Oblivion, throwing the Underworld into chaos. Bloodwing's sister Lumina assumed the title of Regent of the Bloodwing Foundation, a title which no longer interest me as I sought to break with the shame of my immortal ancestor's follies.

Upon return to Earth, I journeyed to New Babbage to help with an epidemic stemming from eating the tainted meat of a monstrous severed hand that wasn't quite dead. Miss Lily Nightfire and Miss Lulu Seetan offered their space at Novem as an emergency laboratory, and our friendship has grown all the stronger. (Remarkable since I did later accidentally blew up the club during an experiment, but then I was still a boy at the time.) The greater threat to Babbage was not a crate from a distant island but a handful of selfish souls who cared not if their egos tore their community asunder. After finishing my work, I took my practice back to Steelhead and helped my new friends rebuild their venue in Winterfell Laudanum, where they were welcomed with open arms.

Koen had shown Kiralette the power of her immortal self, but that became a liability as tiny feline with a temporary case of vampirism infected her. Despite being injured in attempt to inject her with an antidote, I was successful.

Speaking of vampires, Aleister tried to blackmail me by cutting off his supply of bloodwine, which is the critical ingredient of my Reanimation Formula. I refused to submit and purged the reanimation serum from body after using my remaining supplies to regenerate my arm. Due to Bloodwing's dealings with the Fates, the procedure did not go as planned. I found myself regressed to body of a young boy.

In my young form I proceeded to track my Firstbuilt, who had been turned into a Blood Doll by Aleister and changed her name from Qlippothic to Gematria. I might have succeeded in breaking her addiction to the bloodwine, had my brother Marcus (who had been kept a secret from me all this time) not been reanimated and unleashed his fury on the Eastern Seaboard. Add to this the sole surviving ship of Bloodwing's fleet (the Midas) took Marcus on as their captain made him a threat to be dealt with by the Mason, the Caledon Wrath Fleet, and Frau Lowey's mysterious Sisterhood.

Aleister and my family formed a truce in the shadow of this greater threat. Koen returned in a new life to rescue his sister. Gematria regained her sanity with the psychic manipulations of Frau Lowey her sibling, who was trapped in her tortured mind.

Aleister's turncoat dolls were purged from the Midas after they had slain the demon crew and drugged Marcus. In the power vacuum of the ship, the ghost of Jeremiah Mason, along with the rest of my deceased family tree, escaped from the crystal prison on board the ship and claimed it for themselves.

There is a section of this story that has not been written. I may never have the strength to tell you how Gematria and Koen were killed. Ash found Gematria's inert soul-chip in the wreckage. I am still working on a way to bring her back to life.

Marcus called a truce as he came to terms with having a brother he never knew and a life outside my Father's absolute control. He worked incognito with me at the Hospital, the only breach occurring while we both worked to save Dr. Alter's life.

I found Koen's charred remains, and breaking my promise never to use the Serum again I resurrected Koen. But his immortal self, the Vortex, had already returned to a higher plane. In Koen's third body only the neko lifecode regenerated. He is now purebred Bloodtail, complete with hand-claws. His only magic now what I had trained him in alchemy when I first took him in. With none of my blood left in him and angry at not being reborn whole he...disowned me. Last I heard he had taken a job as Ship's Cat with Fuzzball's time-travelling relative Purdie Uggleh.

I took a bullet for Fuzz while trying to protect him from an unhinged Jobias Barthelmess touting diplomatic immunity. I helped defuse a riddle-bomb in the Steeltopian embassy left by a "Gamesmaster", only to get blown clear from the building by a secondary bomb.

When I learned that Hotspur was kidnapped by the Dark Ocean Society, I joined a rescue team of Steelheaders and Caledonians. That story is still in serial publication.

And now, a botched summoning of Bloodwing in Belhaven nearly brought the Hydra's true form into this world, stopped only by my brother Marcus who was summoned there as a side effect of the misguided spell. He took advantage of the situation and installed himself as a member of the oligarchy there. He seeks to mimic my efforts in helping promote Steelhead, but what sort of town will rise from an infamous pirate's port with a mad half-demon Spark as its leader?

Monday, December 29

The Curse of Belhaven - Part IV

The Countess found herself cowering behind Marcus as the great serpent spied upon them through the shattered window. Her arms wrapped tightly around him as they both held their breath. She winced in pain as she felt something sharp puncture the skin of her forearm.

The mansion shook from the roar of the Hydra as it smelled fresh blood. Marcus slipped the crimson-tipped fountain pen into her hand and wrapped her fingers around the implement.

"Sign it! Now!"

He guided her hand to the bottom of the parchment. A trickle of blood spread a red circle over the sleeve of her silks. The front archway of the mansion crumbled, giving way to rows of deadly fangs as the Hydra battered itself against the structure.

"SIGN IT!" Marcus screamed, barely audible over the din. Marcus freed both hands to gesture wildly, tracing glowing sigils in the air as desperation furrowed his brow. The serpent's head slithered through the shattered side of the structure, racing towards them. Marcus saw the beast's maw stretch wide to envelop him...

...and just as quickly disintegrate into ashes, swirling like a thick gray blizzard in the chamber. Marcus looked down at her trembling hand, the tip of the pen still pressed to the parchment where she had signed her name.

A silent gesture by the new Count Marcus, and the ashes picked up on a cold gust of air, spiraling out of the remains of the front wall. The Countess released the pen, letting it roll to the floor as she wrapped her arms around herself. The Count removed his ascot and wrapped it around the wound on her bloodied arm. He then removed his jacket and covered her in it like a cloak.

She did not remember dawn being so close, but the familiar shades of pink and orange tinted the heavy snow that had begun to fall, dispersing the thick heavy smoke that hung in the air all of that horrible night.

Seeing that the red ink had dried, Marcus rolled the parchment into a metal tube and secreted it into his satchel. "Go get some rest." he said. "I'll survey what's left of our island." He broke a smile as he stepped into the snow in his shirt and vest. The Countess could hear him singing as he vanished in the wall of white tinged with morning's gold.

At first light, lay proud Foundations...


Tuesday, December 23

The Curse of Belhaven, Part III

"You are MAD! I won't marry you, a stranger!" Countess Eve shouted as she slammed her fists on the table. "I don't even believe that my husband is DEAD!"

The stranger tapped his fingers on the table a few moments, looking back towards the door. "There would be nothing left of him, out there, by now."

The Countess covered her face with her hands, collapsing in an ornately carved chair, sobbing. He quietly knelt beside her. His arrogant tone faded.

"Listen...we are both trapped by your husband's folly. This broken spell must be mended, or all is lost" He took a deep breath. "Have you heard of the demon named...Bloodwing?"

The Countess looked up with a start. "Indeed! On this island, a bridesmaid pours a circle of salt around her bed before her wedding day, lest the demon..."

"Yes, yes, that was centuries ago...but more to the point your husband tried to summon him, for what purpose we may never know. But Bloodwing died when he rode a comet and crashed it straight into the castle of Hades himself! The portal opened at the spot where he was destroyed...which is now a pool of slag."

"But if the demon is dead, what was that monster we heard?"

"Under the Iron Citadel was a gate that kept a monster entombed that even the gods of Olympus feared...the Hydra. Even now the molten metal that was the gate keeps the creature submerged...but it will escape if we do not close the portal!"

The Countess trembled and shut her eyes, trying to make sense of the chaos that that has befallen her island. "Is a contract not dissolved when one or both parties dies?"

"Your Count opened a gate to forge the contract, but instead of finding Bloodwing he found the Hydra. Only the act of signing a contract will close the gate the Hydra is prying open. You are the inheritor of the Count's estate, and destined to be the new Bloodwing, an amalgamation of human and demon."

The Countess traced her finger along the lines of the parchment, silently reading the words. "Marcus Gabriel Mason...that is your name?" He nodded. "Must this be a marriage?"

"No." He drew a quill from his satchel. "We can have a power sharing arrangement. Grant me the title of Count Marcus and a parcel of land, and we shall rule together...that is, until your husband returns."

She was ready to spit venom at his smug certainty that her husband was gone, but she was startled by another roar and the din of snapping trees. Marcus winced as he drew blood from his hand with a wrought iron fountain pen and hurriedly scratched out lines and scribbled frantically in the margins.

"The Hydra's reach is long, Countess! If he reaches us the Earth is doomed!"

The countess screamed as the great stained glass window over the front entrance shattered. Scenes of an idyllic Belhaven past disintegrated in torrents of multicolored glass. A great yellow eye the spread of a man's length pressed to the shattered frame, its black vertical cornea narrowed as it rotated to gaze down at them.

Steelhead Presents Holiday Storytelling, 4PM Tonight @ Steelhead Hotel & Ballroom

At 7:15 I will be providing a short lecture on the story of Hanukkah. I won't go overly long, since a certain evil tiny kitty will be waiting for her recitation, possibly with a doom ray in her stocking.

Monday, December 22

From Songs in the Key of Hanukkah

My thanks to Eva Bellambi for introducing me to Erran Baron(!) Cohen and Y-Love.

Don't challenge these guys to a dreidel game, you'll lose your shirt!

Weblin - Who needs a grid?

If I understand Mr. Au's article correctly, it is possible to project your avatar self out of the Grid and into a website! I'll have to give this a try.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Herr Mason cloned for me...

TWELVE Jagers hunting

ELEVEN Geisterdamen

TEN Consuls meeting

NINE clanks a'clanking

EIGHT noses pinching

SEVEN Sparks a'scheming

SIX Bangs a'slaying

FIVE open sims

FOUR Mechanicsburgs

THREE Annechens

TWO Wulfenbachs

and the Heterodyne Family Tree!

Happy Holidays to all my friends.


Wednesday, December 17

In Memoriam: Kendra Bancroft, Kaiserin of Neualtenbug

Our commumnity has again learned of a tragic loss of one of our own. A biography of the woman behind the avatar can be found here.

The Curse of Belhaven, Part II

The Countess was stunned at the demeanor of this stranger, so exquisitely dressed and oblivious to the forest fire raging outside the mansion. She could only nod as she stared in disbelief.

"I'll take that as a yes. Thank you." The heavy door swung closed by itself with a slam that echoed through the home. "Now, Countess Eve, as I'm sure you must realize by this point, your husband was dabbling with powers far beyond his ability to control or understand."

He turned to peer out the window. The glass was nearly opaque from the smoke, but the orange glow of the inferno still shone through.

"This is a lovely island you have here. I was admiring the water tower, brand new by the looks of it. And the brewery! Belhaven's claim to fame." He turned and approached the Countess again, leaning in uncomfortably close as he stared her in the eye. "The flames haven't reached it yet...but I can spare it and what's left of your island..." His smile widened. "...for a price."

She turned her face away. "What sort of madman are you? I'll not spend my final moments suffering the advances of..."

"Let me get to the point," he hissed, "since you are rapidly running out of island to save." He pulled a crumpled parchment from his pocket, still glowing around the edges. She had ripped it from one of the unholy books and cast it into the firestorm outside. Again she stood dumbfounded.

"Your husband tried to summon a demon..." He pointed to the outline of the red winged humanoid hidden in the intricate designs. "...who existed for thousands of years but very recently met his demise. Magic is a very fickle Art, dear Countess. The gate has been opened, but there is nothing to summon." He threw open the door again, the fires outside too bright for her to stare at as she hid her eyes.

"So the gate remains open!" He shouted over the roaring flames. "And Belhaven is now officially Hell's Doorstep! And coincidentally you opened it to a war zone...a burning crater where the center of a kingdom used to be!"

The thunderous roar shook the earth, ending in a reptilian hiss that frightened Eve to the depths of her soul, even more than the fire. Even her guest seemed to be unnerved as he adjusted his cravat.

"That thing you just heard, Madam, is something far more dangerous than what your Count tried to summon. It is too large to squeeze through the gate, but it will batter its way through, and then the Earth is doomed! Unless..."

The countess sank into a nearby chair, and covered her red weeping eyes that smarted from the smoke.

"What must I do? What?"

"I am a mortal descendant of the demon you tried to summon. That is why I am here. By signing a contract with me that will fulfill the spell your husband cast and shut the portal!" He hastily pulled a scroll from inside his jacket unfurled it on the table beside her. His eyes met hers, and she shivered as she felt him stare into the depths of her soul.

"You must consent to my hand in marriage!"

Monday, December 15

In Memoriam: Sumie Kawashima

As relayed in the Caledon chat group by Gabrielle Riel:

Sumie Kawashima passed away in RL Friday evening, Dec 12 of complications from a bone infection. Sumie's rezday was Aug 13, 2007, & she became a Caledon resident soon thereafter. A designer, builder, and test pilot of various aircraft, she founded Kawashima Aero. Sumie was a Group Captain in the Royal Caledon Air Force, head of the Risen Demons, and demon-protectress of the Tamrannoch Sanitorium. Her friends will sorely miss her. Memorial service will be announced at a later date. Boing boing, Sumie.

Sunday, December 14

Goings On

Tensai found an archaeological site in Port Harbor. It appears to me that the aboriginals were successful at hunting the predecessor to the modern Steelhead Chicken.

It is not often one receives an invitation from the President of the United States, but I found myself at the White House enjoying the holidays with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. Apparently they've overlooked my brother's attack on Baltimore a few months ago.

Ash sent me a picture of his new uniform. A bit dated, but there's a powered armor version he's hoping to save his Linden dollars for. He'll be wearing this to the Officer's Mess tonight.

Saturday, December 13

The Curse of Belhaven, Part I

Along the western coasts of the Realm of the Roses, stargazers witnessed the red night sky in the direction of the setting sun. Not a crimson plume and distant thunder as in the fall of St. Kitt, but the ominous glow of an island consumed by fire. Sailors and pirates alike murmured as the watched the horizon. They knew it was Belhaven. They would reminisce, but their fond as well as frightening stories were such that one does not tell their wives and children after returning to port.

The dense forest of the small island was a cold, windy and rainy place. Yet inexplicably flames leaped from bough to bough and consumed the ancient trees like tinderwood, until they formed glowing blisters spreading along the mountaintops.

The Countess stopped to watch the conflagration from the balcony of the old mansion after tossing her husband's trappings over the rail towards the flames. Those outlandish blades and etchings, tubes and vials, mummified grotesques and scrolls as intricate in their diagrams as they were obscene. Some eccentricities a woman had to tolerate when marrying men of power, she was told by her mother. She didn't realize Count Diablo's eccentricities included witchcraft until much too late.

She cupped a red silk scarf over her nose and mouth to block the acrid smoke. Her reddened eyes wept lines of tears down her face, leaving clean trails down a face now dusted with soot. At the change in the direction of the breeze, the rippling of the air subsided enough to make out the flotilla of boats, hastily packed with the townsfolk's belongings until they nearly submerged from the weight, sluggishly evacuating the coastal town.

She looked down, trying to focus on the carnage below, but the flames of the burning orchards made her eyes smart. One tree in particular was burning white-hot, that hurt to stare at like the sun itself. Did she see a dark figure pass under it? For a moment she thought the person came from the tree, but she steeled herself against such hysterics and withdrew to her chambers, shutting the doors behind her.

She coughed into her deep red silk that matched the wrappings of her bed she had ripped the swatch from, and lay there sobbing. Her wails were interrupted the ring of the bell at her front door. Had one of the servants stayed behind to attempt a rescue? Or was it one of the townsfolk? No, she would not leave. Belhaven was her home, and now as a Dowager it was hers, even if it would only last another hour against the inferno. She would never abandon it.

The bell rang again. "What if someone had missed the last boat and was seeking refuge?", she thought. Still clutching her silk, she hurried down the marble stairs to the front door. She pulled her hand back with a start as she grabbed the latch, then wrapped the silk around her hand to pull it without burning herself. A well-dressed man carrying a leather satchel bowed calmly. Who was the gentleman? He stood quietly, as if unaware of the wall of flames behind him, edging ever closer to the mansion. The wave of heat that rushed through the door made Eve take several steps back. The man had a tall and broad stature, with long dark hair and a handlebar mustache, accented by piercing blue eyes.

"Countess Eve? Good evening, Madam. The weather is simply dreadful tonight...may I come in?"

Friday, December 12

On a happier note...

Mr. ThomasM Swindlehurst (and his close associates Sir ArthurConan Doyle and GeorgeWashngton Carver) have granted me space to set up an infirmary on the campus of YottaByte University in New Tolouse. They've also extended and offer for me to teach non-credit courses at said University. Since my M.D. is only in Avatar Medicine *cough* I would probably teach courses in RolePlaying and Character Development in SL.

So it all evens out doesn't it?

Belhaven Update

They wish to renegotiate. Fine. Let's do this Bloodwing's way. We'll write a contract.

Thursday, December 11

No Dolls for Drosselmeyer

[Location: Unknown]

The night was a horrid one. Heavy clouds splilled snow into the city street, the open gutters leaving water from previous rains as slick sheets. Heavy icicles as tall as a man loomed threateningly along rooftop edges over the walkways. Through this torrent a horseless carriage navigated its way through the evacuated streets. An extra layer of black canvas had been draped over its shell to hide the placards on the sides. A mustachioed gentleman sat in the front outside the carriage, holding an umbrella above his top hat. Hidden panels built into the footrest guided the chugging contraption, leaving a trail of thick white steam behind it that quickly dissapated in the falling snow.

The vehicle slowed and hissed as it ground to a halt outside the signless storefront. The man stepped down onto the street, his tall leather boots sinking into the snow with each step. He left footsteps behind him as he circled to the back of the wagon and opened the door. A bonnetted lady in a rust-colored dress opened a matching umbrella. She rested her other gloved hand in his as he helped her down onto the sidewalk. The snow melted instantly around the man as he lowered his umbrella and blasted a jet of boiling steam from the tip. The woman followed behind as the moisture refroze behind them into a smooth path of ice.

They approached the door of the nameless storefront. She stood to the side as he slammed the knocker of against the aged wood with peeling black paint. A tall, rotund man opened the door, his face lit by the gaslamps inside, along with the greenish glow of of more arcane devices. He wiped his hands down his greasy labcoat and grinned a ragged smile.

"Herr Drosselmyer?", the visitor asked, standing straight and emotionless.

"Yes, that is I!" He chuckled as he wrung his hands, rocking excitedly from one foot to the other. "You must be Herr Mason! Do come in!"

"Thank you. I hope you don't mind that I brought my own creation with me, Fraulein Qlippothic."

Dr. Mason stepped back as the lady in rust curtsied at the doorstep. Drosselmeyer bowed to her as he leered back the construct. She closed her white-dusted umbrella and stepped through the doorway as Herr Drosselmeyer rose, gently beckoning her with fidgeting hands.

"Fantastic, Herr Doktor! I have heard much of your creations! Perhaps we can arrange a trade of services..."

In a blur of movement, Qlippothic lunged at Drosselmeyer with her umbrella, thrusting with it like a sword. Her umbrella opened outward, ripping away the cloth as the steel ribs bent forward. The metal rods wrapped around his torso like a spider's limbs, pinning his arms to his sides. Qlippothic stepped forward as Drosselmeyer gasped. His back slammed the wall of his laboratory with a thud. Dr. Mason entered closely behind and locked the door behind him.

Dr. Mason calmly closed his own umbrella and hung it on the coatrack as the host cursed and gasped in outrage. The guest ignored him, hanging his coat and hat before approaching.

Dr. Mason leaned in to look Drosselmeyer straight in the eye. "Do I even need to tell you why I'm here? You Sir, and I stretch the term 'Sir' beyond its limits here...have single-handedly wrapped our entire Art in a cloak of shame!"

Qlippothic sneered at the captive as she twisted the handle of her umbrella, tightening the bonds and making Drosselmeyer scream in pain.

Qlippothic spoke with rising anger in her voice. "They're singing about you and your precious ballerina in the pubs!" She stared at him a few moments, her face turning into a scowl. "And what's worse, the rabble are mistaking me for her! I can't walk down the street in broad daylight without ladies hissing at me and cads offering me 'a tuppence for a spin!'"

"She creation", he sputtered defiantly. "A Child of Art and Science! Mine to do with as I..."

Dr. Mason closed in, wrapping his hand around his throat. "You DISGUST me! You call her your daughter and yet..." He swallowed hard. "If this were a simple case of Gallatea Syndrome we might have spared you and freed your daughter from your clutches! But you, Doctor, have squandered the Spark of Prometheus in a way I had never even considered!"

Qlippothic pushed the handle into his chest angrily and barked "WHERE IS SHE?" Drosselmeyer gritted his teeth and remained silent.

"One last time, we ask..." Dr. Mason drew a metal cigar tube from his pocket, opening it with a gentle squeeze to slide a metal syringe into his hand, "before I liquefy your brain to pour the truth out...all of it!"

Drosselmeyer shifted his eyes towards the door in the back of the laboratory. Darien nodded to Qlippothic, and she relased her grip on the umbrella. The metal claw retracted back into the shaft as Dr. Mason kept him from falling with a glove planted firmly around his throat.

"You may live, Drosselmeyer, but you will never use your Spark again."

Qlippothic snapped the umbrella in half and cast it aside as she scanned the equipment and supplies in the room. She focused her gaze on one of the tables and examined the contents. She picked up a life-sized ceramic doll head with loose blonde tresses in her hands, and turned the base of the skull towards her to peer inside. "We came just in time, Father! He was building another slave!", she snarled. She crushed the empty shell of a cranium in her hands.

As Drosselmeyer screamed in pain, Qlippothic charged the back door and ripped it from the hinges. She lifted it high to hurl it at his workbench, smashing it and the ceramic limbs strewn across it. As Drosselmeyer collapsed to the ground, groaning in the throes of violent seizure, Qlippothic entered the lightless room.

The construct covered her face with the handkerchief as the smell of the dank room nearly overcame even her cast-iron stomach. With a click, her left eye cast a spotlight beam through the darkness, and with a second click her right eye became a torch as well.

The narrow radii of illumination revealed unspeakable filth as her gaze drifted from one wretched sight to another, until she stopped at the shackles bolted to the wall. The chains clanked as they swayed slightly. The beams followed the links to a a pale wrist scraped down to the red porcelain beneath. Noting a gleam in the darkness, her light snapped to the face of a painted doll, staring back with emotionless eyes of green glass.

Qlippothic lowered her handkerchief, straightening herself as she adjusted the wideness of the beams to take in the full horror within. Dr. Mason stood in the doorway as Qlippothic finally spoke.

"We are here to rescue you."

Wednesday, December 10

Mazel Tov, Ash!

My son Ash has accepted a position as Commander of the Guard for the Emperor of Steeltopia! As a former lawman myself, I can tell you that keeping the peace and welcoming visitors can be a grueling task at times! I can't wait to see your picture in your shiny new uniform so i can hang it on my wall! (Which is ready to collapse, but that's another story.)

Tuesday, December 9

Dr. Alter's Minion Rescued

I arrived at the base of Mt. Steelhead in my steam carriage to give medical attention to Mr. Cato Quan, whom Dr. Alter had just rescued. I've never been one to look for Christmas Miracles, but this definitely fits the bill. I wonder if his short stint as a vampire allowed him to survive entombed for so long.

He was severely dehydrated and malnourished, and muttering something about not being a number. With sufficient bedrest he should be back to his old self soon.

I spoke with the talented young Spark nichus Berman about refitting the steam carriage for ambulance duty. As usual, he was enthusiastic.

Miss Easterman told me she plans on creating a new school for Minions. Perhaps remedial training is in order.

Sunday, December 7

We've Moved Again!

Across the street that is, to 414 Steelhead Port Harbor. Miss Skytower and her partner wished to consolidate their holdings. What's more, my abode is no longer slipped in sideways on my lot like a sardine in a can.

Qlippothic approved of the location, assuring me that an assortment of Spark equipment and enchanted curios will add color to the place.

Friday's magic Lantern at Novem was a riot, even if the audience was sparse. I think I'll show Captain Kidd again for those that missed it the first time.

Friday, December 5

Sarah Nerd (No Longer) Buys Land!

Due to the ongoing Open Sim catastrophe and other Linden gaffes, one of my first friend/patrons in SL, Sarah Nerd, is shutting down her inworld business and leaving the Grid for a certain other fantasy realm.

Linden Labs actually banned Sarah from the Grid for a week for swearing on the phone with them due to the frustration they caused, right before she was going to hold a seminar advocating the use of SL by educational institutions!

In my pre-Caledon days, Sarah hired me to dance at her club, the Angry Ant. I had just become a Deputy in Steelhead, and I (well, Bloodwing technically) would shoow up in his cowboy outfit. Very popular if I remember correctly. She threw the wildest all-night raves, with so many particles that they would cause my deva's box crashing several times in a row. He also won a huge lottery at one of her events, which he then spent at Acedia Albion's store in Bolinas.

That's also where he met a fellow employee, a lady dancing in an insectoid avatar named Flea Bussy, who had just opened a small parcel for selling monster avatars called Grendel's Children. It was then that they discussed what the Hydra would look like and what sort of backpack a "steampunk golem" would use. She happily built those avatars for me, and the rest is history.

As other members of the Mason family came inworld, the first place they'd visit was NineInchNerds, to stock up on freebies and pick from the money tree. She's also very good at trimming mustaches. *ahem*

Goodbye Sarah, I'll miss you!

Wednesday, December 3

Welcome to Mason Labs!

I almost went with this...

But instead I got this.

Just remind me to set it down in the right group next time so it doesn't vanish after I leave. *headslaps*

Echoes, Diagrams and Opportunities

There's a rather disturbing carnival in progress in Port Harbor. I can hear the calliope clearly through the wagon. Less sleep than usual, dreams recalling the garish booths of Crimson Falls in its dying throes. I'm keeping a vial of holy water under my pillow just in case.

I reviewed schematics with Lunar-san for Mason Labs. While one was more to his tastes for the region he saw the usefulness of the other. Also, the windmill grants me a power source for my experiments that is pollution-free, and hopefully the results will be as well.

My neighbor Miss Nightfire presented me a letter with the official seal of Belhaven. My eyes widened at the plea requested therein. Things should get much more interesting soon...

This Friday, Captain Kidd comes to Port Novem!

In the tradition of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 I will again be showing an old movie for your captioning pleasure, be it through text or voice. Last week we played that old Steelhead stanby Saddle Mountain Roundup starring Hotspur's favorite serialist, Crash Corrigan.

An audience member said, "Hey, this is a pirate's tavern, let's see a pirate movie!"

Your wish is my command! Dredged from the flotsam and jetsam of the Prelinger Archives is the 1941 classic Captain Kidd, who looks just like Jack Sparrow. Maybe after a couple barrels of rum and with two eyepatches on, but whatever. So dress piratey and help fight global warming! YARRRR!

The movie will start promptly at 7:15. Synchronize your movie streams!

Tuesday, December 2

Infectious Meme!

Contracted from The Ramblings of Violet

Put your music player on shuffle and take the first line of the first 21 songs. The first one is the title.

it's a cop goin' downtown

see the sun rise over her skin
the river is deep and the boat is long
be on my side or be on your side baby
I don't get left with judgment, a door left ajar
I am a child I last a while
take a walk down by take a walk down by the river
somewhere over the rainbow way up high
na na na na na na na
I was told a million times of all the troubles in my way
a police car and a screaming siren
la la la la la la la la
I went to school six years but never graduated
he got his work, she comes easy
child walks to the river
also the difference between moonlight and sunlight
underneath the bridge
long long long long time ago
I was looking for perfection and it found me
somewhere over the rainbow way up high

Monday, December 1

The Return to Steelhead

One busy doctor

Concussions, fractures, paralysis...I must speak to Dr. Alter about safety procedures for Minions doing roof work.

Triage following the ironclad bombardment of the Steeltopian Embassy. This must be the work of that Gamesmaster again. I should warn Ash to be on alert at the Emperor's wedding on Wednesday.

My latest creation ran away. I'm getting tired of this pattern! You'd think after giving someone a second chance at life they'd show a little bit of loyalty? My Qli would never...

Miss Easterman has referred a replacement, but I don't think she will be a good fit. She seems squeamish about hospital duties and apprehensive about my more esoteric experiments.

Word through the grapevine that my nemesis, the Ghoul of Babbage, has left for greener pastures graveyards. Perhaps Oahu and I should pay the town a visit. The matter of the Pirate's insult must still be resolved however.

Will park the horseless carriage on my Port Harbor property as soon as the paperwork is ready. Penalties for infractions in Steelhead can be swift. What would happen if a time cabinet blew up, anyway?