Vol I Issue vi ~
- Letter from the Editor
- Two L$10,000 Winners in Elevator Contest!
- Air Kraken Attack in New Babbage!
- Town Hall Reconstruction Begins
- Cogs, Cogs, Everywhere Are Cogs
- Prominent Men & Women of the Day
- Literary Corner
- Events & Announcements
- Classified Advertisements
- New Babbage and Steampunk FAQ
- Contact, Circulation, and other Essential Information for the Reader
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
It was bound to happen sooner or later. This issue of the Cog didn't go out anywhere close to a week after the previous issue. There were a variety of intervening factors, the least of which wasn't that your dear editor has several other projects cooking. Please forgive the delay!
In your service,
Mrs. Junie Ginsburg
TWO L$10,000 WINNERS IN ELEVATOR CONTEST!
On Thursday, March 15, the final judging took place in New Babbage's elevator invention contest. There were only two entrants. The grand prize winner was Mr. Pumpkin Tripsa, for his unique design wherein two giant metal hands acted as the lifts. Mr. Tripsa received a $10,000 award. Unknown to entrants, the Mayor had intended to split an additional L$10,000 between the runners up. However, given that there were only two submissions in the contest, the second-place elevator inventor, Miss Kaylee Frye, won the entire consolation pot of L$10,000. In his announcement of the winning design, the Mayor declared that the final elevators to be placed on the walkways would be hybrids of the winning designs. However, shortly after construction began, the project was completed instead by Reitsuki Kojima, whose design is now in use in New Babbage.
Mr. Tripsa's winning "hand lift" design was a testament to the innovation and creativity inherent in New Babbage. The entire project was textured with rusted metal, and the script was a cooperative effort between Mr. Tripsa and Miss Frye, whose design, unfortunately, has not yet been photographed for the Cog.
When asked how it felt to win L$10,000 in the contest, Mr. Tripsa replied that as a relatively new resident in SL and in New Babbage, it was overwhelming but ultimately encourages him to do more building. In his interview with the Cog, he was modest and praised Miss Frye's skills as a builder and scripter. Mr. Tripsa's long-term plans in New Babbage include a steampunk art and fashions shop much in the same spirit as his elevator design, as well as a digital taxidermy. Here at the Cog, we are confident that New Babbage will see great things to come from Mr. Tripsa.
AIR KRAKEN ATTACK IN NEW BABBAGE!
This humble reporter was out and about in our fine City of
I couldn’t let out a scream, for I was in shear shock! When I managed to collect myself, I found myself in the grips of a horrible, gargantuan Air Kraken’s tentacles! I didn’t understand why this beast was resting on top of Mr.Tripsa’s roof, for I thought Krakens were only sea dwelling creatures!
I started to squirm around, to see if I could break free from its sticky, ice cold grip. Its tentacles were wrapped too tightly around my body, and my struggle was beginning to fade. I had no weapons on me, for I surely would have shot or stabbed the beast to break myself free. The Kraken’s sheer size and fearsome appearance was indeed frightening me, I began to sob, pleading for my life, fearing that I was about to become its morning breakfast.
I believe it was at this point, that the Kraken may have took pity on me, for I then found myself, dropped down onto the ground, wiping slimy residue off my clothing. As I stood there, stunned and bewildered, the Kraken’s tentacles wavered loosely around me. My realization kicked in, that I was lucky to be alive! I composed myself, and high tailed it out of the area, fast!
Here all this time, I thought Krakens to be of sailor’s legends, but with what I had just experienced, this reporter now knows, that Krakens, especially airborne ones, are indeed, REAL! There was only the one, but, there could be others, so my fellow New Babbagers, ye be warned! An Air Kraken has been awoken, and is amidst in our city!
TOWN HALL RECONSTRUCTION BEGINS
On the parcel where our town hall once stood, once will find now only empty space and a small seed of a new structure. The old town hall was demolished last week in accordance with the decision made at the Town Meeting of Saturday, March 10th. Mayor Shaunathan Sprocket has begun reconstruction. At this time, to our knowledge, there is no estimated time of completion.
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COGS, COGS, EVERYWHERE ARE COGS
Yes, it's true, dear readers. New Babbagers love their cogs. Steampunks love their cogs. And apparently, everyone else likes them as well. Much like the phenomenon of purchasing an item of value (such as a horseless carriage) and then noticing many of them on the road simply because one is more aware, this writer has become much more aware of the popularity of the cog motif. In our world as in the outside world, the cog appears to be a universal symbol for industry, work, and the abstract concept of "mechanism." The cog is also becoming increasingly known as the symbol under which those of us interested in all matters steampunk have gathered. In a roomful of strangers, is it not true that steampunks will gravitate toward anyone wearing the cog motif? As in all subcultures, those involved have developed manners of recognizing their own, and if dress alone is not sufficient, the presence of a cog would certainly speak volumes in our community.
In New Babbage, our de facto symbol is the cog. In addition to this newspaper, The New Babbage Cog,
Be a cog watcher!
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ODE TO THE PRIM
Oh! Mad'ning and praiseworthy prim,
Who is sought out upon every sim,
You're more precious than gold,
Begged, borrowed, and sold,
Taunting builders who suffer from whim.
What we would give that you could be mined,
Or grown in lush vineyards on vines,
Perhaps dredged from the sea,
Or stolen from bees,
But the primless can do naught but opine.
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PROMINENT MEN AND WOMEN OF THE DAY
Albert Edward Prince of Wales
The heir-apparent to the throne of
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In this issue, The New Babbage Cog presents Chapter 5 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of The Four."
THE SIGN OF FOUR
THE TRAGEDY OF
IT WAS nearly when we reached this final stage of our night's adventures. We had left the damp fog of the great city behind us, and the night was fairly fine. A warm wind blew from the westward, and heavy clouds moved slowly across the sky, with half a moon peeping occasionally through the rifts. It was clear enough to see for some distance, but Thaddeus Sholto took down one of the side-lamps from the carriage to give us a better light upon our way. Pondicherry Lodge stood in its own grounds and was girt round with a very high stone wall topped with broken glass. A single narrow iron-clamped door formed the only means of entrance. On this our guide knocked with a peculiar postman-like rat-tat. "Who is there?" cried a gruff voice from within. "It is I, McMurdo. You surely know my knock by this time." There was a grumbling sound and a clanking and jarring of keys. The door swung heavily back, and a short, deep-chested man stood in the opening, with the yellow light of the lantern shining upon his protruded face and twinkling, distrustful eyes. "That you, Mr. Thaddeus? But who are the others? I had no orders about them from the master." "No, McMurdo? You surprise me! I told my brother last night that I should bring some friends." "He hain't been out o' his rooms to-day, Mr. Thaddeus, and I have no orders. You know very well that I must stick to regulations. I can let you in, but your friends they must just stop where they are." This was an unexpected obstacle. Thaddeus Sholto looked about him in a perplexed and helpless manner. "This is too bad of you, McMurdo!" he said. "If I guarantee them, that is enough for you. There is the young lady, too. She cannot wait on the public road at this hour." "Very sorry, Mr. Thaddeus," said the porter inexorably. "Folk may be friends o' yours, and yet no friend o' the master's. He pays me well to do my duty, and my duty I'll do. I don't know none o' your friends." "Oh, yes you do, McMurdo," cried Sherlock Holmes genially. "I don't think you can have forgotten me. Don't you remember that amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison's rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?"
"Not Mr. Sherlock Holmes!" roared the prize-fighter. "God's truth! how could I have mistook you? If instead o' standin' there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of yours under the jaw, I'd ha' known you without a question. Ah, you're one that has wasted your gifts, you have! You might have aimed high, if you had joined the fancy." "You see, Watson, if all else fails me, I have still one of the scientific professions open to me," said Holmes, laughing. "Our friend won't keep us out in the cold now, I am sure." "In you come, sir, in you come--you and your friends," he answered. "Very sorry, Mr. Thaddeus, but orders are very strict. Had to be certain of your friends before I let them in." Inside, a gravel path wound through desolate grounds to a huge clump of a house, square and prosaic, all plunged in shadow save where a moonbeam struck one corner and glimmered in a garret window. The vast size of the building, with its gloom and its deathly silence, struck a chill to the heart. Even Thaddeus Sholto seemed ill at ease, and the lantern quivered and rattled in his hand. "I cannot understand it," he said. "There must be some mistake. I distinctly told Bartholomew that we should be here, and yet there is no light in his window. I do not know what to make of it." "Does he always guard the premises in this way?" asked Holmes.
"Yes; he has followed my father's custom. He was the favourite son you know, and I sometimes think that my father may have told him more than he ever told me. That is Bartholomew's window up there where the moonshine strikes. It is quite bright, but there is no light from within, I think." "None," said Holmes. "But I see the glint of a light in that little window beside the door." "Ah, that is the housekeeper's room. That is where old Mrs. Bernstone sits. She can tell us all about it. But perhaps you would not mind waiting here for a minute or two, for if we all go in together, and she has had no word of our coming, she may be alarmed. But, hush! what is that?" He held up the lantern, and his hand shook until the circles of light flickered and wavered all round us. Miss Morstan seized my wrist, and we all stood, with thumping hearts, straining our ears. From the great black house there sounded through the silent night the saddest and most pitiful of sounds-the shrill, broken whimpering of a frightened woman. "It is Mrs. Bernstone," said Sholto. "She is the only woman in the house. Wait here. I shall be back in a moment." He hurried for the door and knocked in his peculiar way. We could see a tall old woman admit him and sway with pleasure at the very sight of him. "Oh, Mr. Thaddeus, sir, I am so glad you have come! I am so glad you have come, Mr. Thaddeus, sir!" We heard her reiterated rejoicings until the door was closed and her voice died away into a muffled monotone. Our guide had left us the lantern. Holmes swung it slowly round and peered keenly at the house and at the great rubbish-heaps which cumbered the grounds.
Miss Morstan and I stood together, and her hand was in mine. A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two, who had never seen each other before that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. I have marvelled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us. "What a strange place!" she said, looking round. "It looks as though all the moles in
"Come into the house," said Holmes in his crisp, firm way. "Yes, do!" pleaded Thaddeus Sholto. "I really do not feel equal to giving directions." We all followed him into the housekeeper's room, which stood upon the left-hand side of the passage. The old woman was pacing up and down with a scared look and restless, picking fingers, but the sight of Miss Morstan appeared to have a soothing effect upon her. "God bless your sweet, calm face!" she cried with a hysterical sob. "It does me good to see you. Oh, but I have been sorely tried this day!" Our companion patted her thin, work-worn hand and murmured some few words of kindly, womanly comfort which brought the colour back into the other's bloodless cheeks. "Master has locked himself in and will not answer me," she explained. "All day I have waited to hear from him, for he often likes to be alone; but an hour ago I feared that something was amiss, so I went up and peeped through the keyhole. You must go up, Mr. Thaddeus--you must go up and look for yourself. I have seen Mr. Bartholomew Sholto in joy and in sorrow for ten long years, but I never saw him with such a face on him as that." Sherlock Holmes took the lamp and led the way, for Thaddeus Sholto's teeth were chattering in his head. So shaken was he that I had to pass my hand under his arm as we went up the stairs, for his knees were trembling under him. Twice as we ascended, Holmes whipped his lens out of his pocket and carefully examined marks which appeared to me to be mere shapeless smudges of dust upon the cocoanut-matting which served as a stair-carpet. He walked slowly from step to step, holding the lamp low, and shooting keen glances to right and left. Miss Morstan had remained behind with the frightened housekeeper. The third flight of stairs ended in a straight passage of some length, with a great picture in Indian tapestry upon the right of it and three doors upon the left. Holmes advanced along it in the same slow and methodical way, while we kept close at his heels, with our long black shadows streaming backward down the corridor. The third door was that which we were seeking. Holmes knocked without receiving any answer, and then tried to turn the handle and force it open. It was locked on the inside, however, and by a broad and powerful bolt, as we could see when we set our lamp up against it. The key being turned, however, the hole was not entirely closed. Sherlock Holmes bent down to it and instantly rose again with a sharp intaking of the breath. "There is something devilish in this, Watson," said he, more moved than I had ever before seen him. "What do you make of it?" I stooped to the hole and recoiled in horror. Moonlight was streaming into the room, and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance. Looking straight at me and suspended, as it were, in the air, for all beneath was in shadow, there hung a face--the very face of our companion Thaddeus.
There was the same high, shining head, the same circular bristle of red hair, the same bloodless countenance. The features were set, however, in a horrible smile, a fixed and unnatural grin, which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. So like was the face to that of our little friend that I looked round at him to make sure that he was indeed with us. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins. "This is terrible!" I said to Holmes. "What is to be done?" "The door must come down," he answered, and springing against it, he put all his weight upon the lock. It creaked and groaned but did not yield. Together we flung ourselves upon it once more, and this time it gave way with a sudden snap, and we found ourselves within Bartholomew Sholto's chamber. It appeared to have been fitted up as a chemical laboratory. A double line of glass-stoppered bottles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door, and the table was littered over with Bunsen burners, test-tubes, and retorts. In the corners stood carboys of acid in wicker baskets. One of these appeared to leak or to have been broken, for a stream of dark-coloured liquid had trickled out from it, and the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent, tarlike odour. A set of steps stood at one side of the room in the midst of a litter of lath and plaster, and above them there was an opening in the ceiling large enough for a man to pass through. At the foot of the steps a long coil of rope was thrown carelessly together.
By the table in a wooden armchair the master of the house was seated all in a heap, with his head sunk upon his left shoulder and that ghastly, inscrutable smile upon his face. He was stiff and cold and had clearly been dead many hours. It seemed to me that not only his features but all his limbs were twisted and turned in the most fantastic fashion. By his hand upon the table there lay a peculiar instrument--a brown, close-grained stick, with a stone head like a hammer, rudely lashed on with coarse twine. Beside it was a torn sheet of note-paper with some words scrawled upon it. Holmes glanced at it and then handed it to me. "You see," he said with a significant raising of the eyebrows. In the light of the lantern I read with a thrill of horror, "The sign of the four." "In God's name, what does it all mean?" I asked. "It means murder," said he, stooping over the dead man. "Ah! I expected it. Look here!" He pointed to what looked like a long dark thorn stuck in the skin just above the ear. "It looks like a thorn," said I. "It is a thorn. You may pick it out. But be careful, for it is poisoned." I took it up between my finger and thumb. It came away from the skin so readily that hardly any mark was left behind. One tiny speck of blood showed where the puncture had been. "This is all an insoluble mystery to me," said
He was still standing in the doorway, the very picture of terror, wringing his hands and moaning to himself. Suddenly, however, he broke out into a sharp, querulous cry. "The treasure is gone!" he said. "They have robbed him of the treasure! There is the hole through which we lowered it. I helped him to do it! I was the last person who saw him! I left him here last night, and I heard him lock the door as I came downstairs." "What time was that?" "It was . And now he is dead, and the police will be called in, and I shall be suspected of having had a hand in it. Oh, yes, I am sure I shall. But you don't think so, gentlemen? Surely you don't think that it was I? Is it likely that I would have brought you here if it were I? Oh, dear! oh, dear! I know that I shall go mad!" He jerked his arms and stamped his feet in a kind of convulsive frenzy. "You have no reason for fear, Mr. Sholto," said Holmes kindly, putting his hand upon his shoulder; "take my advice and drive down to the station to report the matter to the police. Offer to assist them in every way. We shall wait here until your return." The little man obeyed in a half-stupefied fashion, and we heard him stumbling down the stairs in the dark.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
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Your announcement could appear here!
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INVENTORS! As executive director of the New Babbage Conservatoire,
world or by aetheric-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss commissions and terms.
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STEAMPUNK LAMPS, in four styles, are now available at I.J. Ginsburg Dept. Store. Built by Mr. Intolerable Ginsburg, the four lamps are inspired by designs of Frank Buchwald. Lamps contain touch on/off scripts, and are sufficient to illuminate a desk in a darkened room. Prim count varies, please see vendors. Copy/mod. Available for L$100 each or all four for L$350.
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For anyone investigating air kraken, the following resource will be useful:
Brass Goggles: Air-Kraken Day - March 17th
NEW BABBAGE AND STEAMPUNK FAQ
Q. What is New Babbage?
A. New Babbage is a planned group of themed sims designed to promote a steampunk aesthetic.------------------------
Q. What is
A. The first, and to date the only, of the planned New Babbage sims is
Q. What is "steampunk?"
A. Steampunk is a genre of speculative fiction, usually science fiction, that explores the question of how past eras, particularly the Victorian period, would have looked if more modern technology had existed usingonly the tools at theirdisposal. Thus the steampunk aesthetic often makes use of wood, brass, iron, and steam-powered engines to construct fantastic machines that never were.
Please see the steampunk Wikipedia entry:
Q. Is New Babbage for role-players?
A. New Babbage is for anyone interested in steampunk ideas. Although many residents dress and role-play the part, all are welcome to participate in the activities here (period attire not required), and are encouraged to explore the technology made available to us in SL New Babbagers are builders, scripters, and texture artists, curious and experimental by nature, come together to invent, create, and commune.
CONTACT, CIRCULATION, AND OTHER ESSENTIAL
INFORMATION FOR THE READER
THIS IS A COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER, NOT A VEHICLE FOR EXPOSE. All reporters for The New Babbage Cog are obligated to inform potential interviewees when they are gathering data for a report on our behalf, or clearly identify themselves as a TNBC journalist. This is a community paper, not a vehicle for expose; all investigative reporting must be above-the-board. Deception is against the intended spirit of community embraced by this paper and will not be tolerated. If a citizen encounters an aggressive reporter claiming to work on behalf of The New Babbage Cog, they are urged to report same to the Editor.
The New Babbage Cog office is located at
-- Drop a notecard:
Notecard communications can be dropped in the postbox outside the Cog office at the address above.
You may contact Mrs. Junie Ginsburg or Miss Eggberta Echegaray by IM with any newspaper business.
-- Aethernet mail:
Messages sent to
The New Babbage Cog is circulated in three ways:
1. new issues are sent automatically to subscribers of the New
Babbage Cog group.
2. Issues are available from a paperboxes at the following locations:
-- Babbage Square telehub
-- Willow Tea Room
-- Undershaw Restoration Society
3. A reading copy of the current issue is always available at the newspaper office at
All back issues of The New Babbage Cog will be available free of charge. They can be found in the archive on the first floor of the newspaper office.
Volunteer freelance and column writers are welcome to propose stories. The New Babbage Cog also welcomes news tips, reports, and story ideas from interested parties. Please see our contact information above.
Advertising should be germane to subjects of greatest import to residents of New Babbage. Although our sensibilities are quite modern and liberal, The New Babbage Cog reserves the right to determine an ad's fitness for inclusion based on its pertinence to steampunk, Victoriana, retrotech, industry, anachronism, and other related concepts.
Advertising is L$50 to New Babbage citizens and L$100 for out-of-towners, per listing, per issue. For both residents and non-residents, space is limited to 500 characters per listing. Each ad may include one embedded texture and one landmark. File attachments must be delivered at the time of ad reservation. Please see our contact information above to inquire.
[There are no errors known to be in need of correction at this time. The New Babbage Cog is obliged to anyone who sends notification of a mistake, so that rectifications might be swiftly published.]
Copyright 2007 of the Common Era
The New Babbage Cog