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Dec. 4 – Disappearance and Reappearance (Dark Aether)

((Private journal entry, but feel free to comment!))

The week seems to have been book-ended by interesting events.  On Monday, I met Dr. Lionheart and several others in the graveyard, having been given the word that we might have the opportunity to rid ourselves of Metier’s presence.  He did come, and continued his usual refrain that he was trying to help us.  This time, he demonstrated it by…setting off explosives around us.

I swear, it *hurts* to try to think like him.

I’ll admit, though, he had some interesting things to say.  He, too, asked what our faith is in, and suggested that we should put our faith in hope.  Which, in some ways, seems like circular reasoning to me,  but we’ll see.

I kept quiet most of the time.  Tempting as it was to insert my own trenchant comments, I decided this was, ultimately, between Metier and Dr. Lionheart.  Though he turned the tables on us, in the end, and made it a matter between himself and Miss Hermit.

I’m…still not sure what happened then.  He walked into, or through, Miss Hermit, and then…disappeared.  From what she said afterwards, it seems as though something was indeed transferred to her.  I wish we could have spoken further, but I needed to leave, and soon afterwards, as I learned from the urchins, she also left for Steelhead, taking the ghost Tasha with her.  I do hope she’ll return soon, though–I would like to catch up with her.

On Friday, I joined Miss Falcon and several others at the Power Station, waiting for the disrupting influence of the solar flare.  With it, she was able to reestablish contact with Unit 9, which sent images back to her of Gadget and where he was being held.  He’d been moved, and thanks to glimpses through the barred windows, we were able to finally determine that he was in Caledon Stormhold.

With firm information finally in hand, Miss Falcon created what she called a portal to Caledon Victoria City.  Though I’d heard whispers of it, I’d never even seen it in action before, let alone used it myself.  It was…odd.  Quite disorienting, and almost nauseating, but it got us where we needed to go–or closer, anyway.

There were a number of folk with me–Miss Falcon, Mr. and Mrs. Melnik, Dr. Sonnerstein, Tepic, Nat, Cyan, Janet, and Mr. Canis.

I knew I needed to be there, as at least a semi-official representative of New Babbage, in case we ran into any issues with the Caledonians.  And more were needed for firepower, if he was heavily guarded.  I told the others to keep their weapons hidden until we got near where we needed to go.

We had to trek across a fair portion of Caledon to get to Stormhold.  At one point, we passed by an aerodrome, where Mr. Scottie Melnik borrowed an airship for aerial reconnaissance.  The rest of us continued on foot, until we finally met up again with Mr. Melnik.  At that point, he told us he’d found the place where Gadget was being held…which was on the other side of the snow-covered near-mountains before us.  Thanks to his reconnaissance, though, he was able to guide us up and through them, on a path I don’t think we could have found ourselves. Nat rode Miss Falcon up, which helped him keep up.

Coming over the hills the way we did gave us a less-obvious way to approach the building where Gadget was.  I sent Cyan and Tepic to reconnoiter, and they came back and told us that, strangely enough, the place was unguarded.  So we all rushed in, and found Gadget locked in a cell with Units 8 and 9.

We considered trying to shoot out the lock on the cell, but worried about a dangerous ricochet.  So Tepic deftly and quietly picked the lock, and we brought all three occupants out.  Gadget was drugged, and not very coherent, so we put him up on Miss Falcon’s back for transportation.  After searching the small building and taking anything that looked remotely useful, we left, taking the two clockwork units with us.

We went back to the aerodrome we’d passed earlier, and were able to make arrangements for airship transportation from there back to New Babbage.  It was not the most comfortable time I’ve ever had; the clockwork Unit 8, especially, gave me chills every time I looked at it, as I know the Van Creed clanks mentioned in the book probably look very much like it.  And yes, it looks fully capable of killing a human…

When we returned, I asked the Melniks to take Gadget in for a bit, to give him some rest.  I also had the two clockworks brought to Militia headquarters for safekeeping.  We put them in one of the lower rooms, so at least we don’t have to see them all the time.

In other news, the Writer automaton seems to have been repaired, and it’s added two more pages.  Those pages…worry me.  The style of the writing seems to indicate we might be approaching the beginning of the story.  And one of the pages says the Militia tries to raid the Van Creed building and take them by surprise–which is precisely what I was thinking we ought to do.  But now…now, I’m at a loss.  I wonder if Commodore Jedburgh–

One of the urchins just interrupted me with news.  A body’s been found, hanging from the rafters of the opium den.  I’d best go and investigate.

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