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(Dark Aether) – Knowledge is…….

Gadget picked his nose absent mindedly as he stared out from the Freak House steps, lost in thought.

“Hello Gadget”

He swung around startled to find Lisa Fargazer before him, a determined look on her face.

I…I have been thinking a lot” she stammered out frowning

“Did it ‘urt?” Gadget quipped with a smile “Oooohhh…um….you mean about operation Jar’ead… better follow me”

He led Lisa to the secret entrance and down into to the lab.

“This…” said Gadget with a proud sweep of his arm “…is Unit 8”

Lisa shivered as she gazed suspiciously at the machine “I…I have the notebook Ambrose wrote about me.” she said as she clutched the leather-bound object to her chest.

“You do?” Gadget’s eyes lit up as he took a step forward “can I see it?”

Lisa held up a hand … “I’ll…I’ll give it to you. But I want you to promise me something.”

Gadget frowned as Lisa continued.

“Promise that you will use this information only on ‘him’.…..and promise that you will not share this with *anyone* else.”

Gadget looked into her eyes and thought for a moment before he answered “this unit is only for ‘im yes…..but….I mean…..”

Lisa stared at Gadget intently as he held out both arms pleading “think of the good we could do with this!….its our chance to turn around soles otherwise lost!….a condemned man…..about to be….offed!….’e could be turned into a productive fellow again!”

Lisa stood her ground “But it wouldn’t stop there. You know that. There are far too many ways this can be used–most of them….evil.” her face turned from defiance to sorrow “Just look at me!”

Gadget sighed ” ‘ow many folk ‘ave been run over by trams?….will the mayor stop them cus of that? Do you yourself use ’em?”

Lisa ignored his question “I didn’t ask for this! Neither did the girl who used to be in this body!”

Gadget’s face softened “yes…that were…wrong” he looked down at his shoes, unwilling to look Lisa in the eye.

Her confidence growing she spoke with determination The man who did this wanted to prolong his life at the expense of others.” 

“but if I dont give ‘im this chance ‘e gets killed..and that makes us as bad as ‘im in my book!”

Others would want to do that….if they knew..and”

“Then I shall patent it!” Gadget interrupted, but then noticing her frown he waved his arm dismissively “its a way to stop any bugger from stealing yer ideas”

“From stealing…but not from knowing?” she questioned.

“They would ‘ave to come to me if they wanted their brains put in one of our clanks….or those of criminal types”…Gadget paced impatiently…”but why should folk not ‘ave the chance to prolong life?….the brain dont age as fast as the body does!…..cant you see? *exasperated* this is man transcending the bounds of mortal flesh!…wots wrong with it?… to cheat the grim reaper!….to live beyond the grave!..its..its..” he spun round to face her his eyes wide with passion “the gift of life itself to the dying!”

Lisa stepped back, a slightly molified look on her face “Oh! You mean putting others in other metal bodies like this?…no killing?”

Gadget look bemused “Yes! Of course not killing! I aint putting brains in no unwilling victim!…I built this receptacle!…with Miss Falcon and ‘er clockwork ‘elpers” his eyes softened and his voice returned to a more conciliatory tone “we is on the verge of a great breakthrough for humanity…for our species….our bodies are frail and weak” he pointed at unit#8 “his aint!…..dont force people to be a prisoner of their decaying flesh when they have another chance for life!….yes it would be a…” he hesitated “different…kind of existance…..but it would still be their minds in there and they would be alive!”

Lisa looked at the machine again and shuddered “Would anyone really become that willingly?”

“When the choice is this or death yes! I think many, most even would.” He said calmly. “First this is about offering that…thing…. an option of life ‘e would not otherwise be given….but after…just imagine the potential!…the choice is simple….death….or life!” Gadget pleaded again with open arms “can’t you see???…this is life OVER death!…I can see a day when nobody ‘as to die! …and on that day Unit#8 ‘ere and better, smaller, more ‘uman versions will be the norm….they might not even look different to you and I!…folk will just shed their rotting body and gain a new existnace in one of our advanced clockwork ‘osts!”

Lisa frowned, and said softly, “Life…is not always preferable to death.” She shook her head, and redirected her attention back to gadget. “Besides, you don’t know yet whether this will work, do you?”

Gadget folded his arms looking offended “Of course it will work!….thats if I can get the bloody brain into it!”. He looked towards the notebook.

Lisa sighed, and said firmly “I will let you have it for this work on the original target. Afterwards…well, we’ll discuss that if there *is* an afterwards.”

“But this is just the Mk.I! I shall improve the design….ones fer children….women….beloved pets! With this technology we shall shed ourselves of this pathetic organic existance…..a new age…a new era…..Man and machine in perfect harmony!” gadget raised his hands and looked to the sky grinning “Death a thing of the past!…..It will be the rebirth of mankind!” He stood there for a moment, his imagination painting a vista of a city full of his clockwork creations before slowly returning his attention back to Lisa and stepping forward to accept the notebook. “I shall think favourably about shares in the profits Miss….but this aint about the money…it is about science ….and what it can do for all of us!” Lisa somewhat reluctantly handed it over and he took the notebook. “I shall honour your terms Miss Lisa….I shall treat that monster as a prototype….after that, if it is the success wot I hope….we shall talk again.”

Gadget spat on his hand and offered it as Lisa tried not to show her disgust as she took it.

He smiled “Now lets get out of ‘ere…I got some reading to do!”





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  1. Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin November 16, 2011

    Slipping into the secret hideout and the lab below, Tepic gazed at the mechanical monstrosity before him. Gadget was wrong, it was time Moriarty went to whatever rest he was to get in whatever afterlife would accept him. Giving him the choice of continuing to live, even in a device that was supposed to stop him doing anything bad was a mistake, certain to go wrong if not straight off most definitely sometime in the future.

    But it was worse than that, how could anyone be content to live in something like that, not to feel the wind around them, smell the air, taste and touch? Sure, there were clockwork people in New Babbage, some great people, but their clockwork was a delicate and intricate, and matched their thinking units. A person, even like Moriarty, would surely feel bereft and unhappy in this, this … thing!

    It was simple with voles, you trapped them, then either knocked them off quick and painless if they were to be dinner, or cared for them and looked after them if they were for milking. No hate, no ultimatums. This didn’t feel like care to Tepic, he wasn’t sure what it was, but it worried him. The problem was, he had promised to help Gadget, and couldn’t think of any way to change his mind.

  2. Avariel Falcon Avariel Falcon November 16, 2011

    Avariel Falcon shared many of Gadget’s feelings about improving humanity through augmentation with clockwork, after all she was clockwork and perfectly happy so why would a human not be happy if they had a clockwork body?

    Probably the clockwork unicorns only real concern was with the sparseness of the body that had been rather hastily constructed for the task at hand. She suspected that a human would want a more detailed body with an aesthetic more like that of a human body. But in this case the body was in many ways intended as a prison for the target entity, and from that point of view it did not seam so bad. If the ‘prisoner’ behaved well then it could always be improved and upgraded later.


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