Colts, Crinolines, and Conspiracies

The Second Life and times of Jedburgh Dagger

[NB] News from New Toulouse




Jed read the telegram, and scowled slightly. Last year they managed to arrive after the storm, but fought tooth and nail to make it inshore. She walked to the map, and looked at the last known positions of the fleet. It would be tough, but possible.

*flash traffic*

NBS Scylla

NBS Charybdis

NBS Haven

NBS Barracuda

NBS Hestia

Hurricane landfall New Toulouse eminent. Move to position off coast until safe to conduct inshore assistance operations. Marine Detachment to land soonest to assist local authority.

Dagger, CDRE


She looked out the window, hoping that this would be enough.

[NB] Paperwork
(private journal)

26 July NByr5

It's been a long month. Since I managed to get myself out of Bump, I have spent a bit of time trying to get the Naval Squadron in fighting trim. I mean it wasn't like I was doing much else. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was still healing. Spending more time down at the docks ended up paying more dividends than I could have expected-it was a chance to get back to work, a chance to get the canal gunboat project back on track, and to be seen out in public doing what I do. Someone had started saying I was broken and bedridden. True, I was still not all the way back to 100%, but far from being beaten or done.

Apparently something else has been going on while I was indisposed with our friends to the north...Mr Underby has been acting as Mr Tenk's clerk and 'man Friday' for a few weeks now, but his demeanor and his involvement in city business has gotten a bit too deep for my liking. This was brought home today, do a fine point. I had been out with a training crew on one of the 'Ducks', exercising the guns and basically getting the little ship ready to take up duty on the canals. We put into the City Pier in Clockhaven, and after coaching the coxswain on his approach, I did what I normally do when we put in for resupply in Clockhaven...stop by Chief Coster's office, grab a cup of coffee and leave my maintenance instructions. The Chief had an exceptionally foul look on his face when I walked into the office. I did manage to get my coffee poured before he lit into me like a green ensign.

Needless to say, after he calmed down and ran out of expletives I found out that the collier had not come by in quite some time, and the coal bunkers were very low. Very low. I knew that all I ever had to do was drop off the forms by Tenk's office and the colliers came. The story was that it was some deal with his cousins in the mountains, others said it was some contract he had written up that was some exclusive deal with his family. Whatever the case, I didn't care. My fleet runs on coal, so coal I must have.

The elevator to Tenk's office was locked. As I cut around to the upper landing, I found Underby parked in one of the offices, busily working on a stack of papers.

"Underby." He looked up and smiled that painful smile of his.
"Commodore." I nodded slightly.
"Looking for Tenk, is he around? The coal bunkers are getting low."

He looked contemplative for a moment, and tapped the pen to his lips.
"I wasn't aware he took care of that. Oh of course." He smiled again, and held out his hand. It was a good thing I still had my dark glasses on.

"normally I see Moss more, so I get him to sign them. I left the coal requisitions on his desk, and he hasn't signed them yet." I watched Underby shift in his seat a little. Nervous bastard. He cut me another look, this time he was beginning to get a little annoyed at my insistence. Good for him.

"He is still indisposed, but I can get him to sign them for you. That's what he hired me for....Perhaps the memo didn't reach Militia HQ." He smiled again. I clenched my fist hard enough that my knuckles cracked, and somehow that little auditory reminder of the night last September made him jump just a little. He caught himself, but I saw that little annoyance that I still had a little bit of space in that big shiny head of his.

"I also have a report for him that is confidential, eyes only. You understand, rather urgent, matters of National security." This time I smiled that old sphynx-like smile, and he frowned that old pasty frown he used to wear at the Gangplank.

"The other reports will have to wait then. Of course, I understand the importance. I will mention it to him. Good day Commodore."

I turned and walked out of City Hall. Of course, I'd be back later.

[NB] Darkness, Hope, and Surprises
She had to figure out what to do next.
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[NB] Interlude in a Dark Place
The bathwater was warm, and scented with lavender. I slid back, and let the water wash over me as I stretch out and relax. Stepping out of the tub, reaching for a towel that is warm and soft, I dry off. The floor is cool to the touch as I walk over to the bed. There is a freshly laundered silk chemise on the foot of the bed, and I slip it on, the fabric cool on my skin. I slip onto the bed, stretching out on my tummy, the sheets crisp and fresh. I hear footfalls on the floor, and smell jasmine and cherry blossoms...


The handle of the broom came down on Jed's back again. She hung there, breathing raggedly after the latest series of beatings. The cycle in the basement was very routine, feedings in the morning, the mucking out in the evening, the handlers checking on the living and the dead, the culling, the trying, darkness among the moaning and the gibbering. She could only see on the right side of where she hung, as her left eye was still badly swollen from the initial beating that saw her here. They hung by their wrists, and rested on their knees. The shackles held her feet apart at nearly shoulder width, and at least once a day they were hoisted up onto their feet. She couldn't be sure of how many others hung there, beyond Screaming Girl and The Reverend. The Reverend sounded like a middle aged man, and he was constantly repeating the litany to the Builder, non-stop. Screaming Girl was just that, and Jed reasoned after listening to her last exchange with one of the handlers that begging and screaming was what he wanted out of his girls, so she hung there enduring all his whippings until he moved on to someone else. The room was small, and stunk of sweat, waste, and despair.

The other thought that began to weigh heavily on her mind was how she would get out of this place. There were only 2 ways out, from what she had gathered in the last few days. Alive in chains, and dead....and dead was not the easy way.

Apparently Bump has a reputation for barbecue.

[NB] On the road and off the train
Private Journal

2 July NByr5

It must be that time of year again.
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OOC: a bit of housecleaning
When I started this LJ to record the stories of mine from Second Life, I never expected for it to last this long, or for there to be a need to start a second blog for stories that happened outside of the steampunk world I was in at that time. 
Nearly 3 years later, I am in need of a bit of tidying up.  I will be going through all the posts in the blog and retagging and fixing titles, so that I can start adding in the stories from the world of Seraph City and tales of the pulp noir “dieselpunk”  Jed. 
To accommodate the new posts, the tags will be adjusted, and the titles will have the friendly tags up front:
NB-New Babbage ‘Steampunk’ stories
SC-Seraph City or Adventure Brigade stories, set in the 1920s/30s ‘Dieselpunk/Pulp Noir’ genre
OC-Out of Character or “other crap”
I looked at the profile on the journal, and it will get a makeover as well, to include the short bios from each era and a few other bits.  I haven’t touched it in forever…
I had considered a retitle, and that is still up in the air. 
I will work on the format and display. So, those of you who are still out there reading this…just wait, there’s more to come.

Quiet times after a busy week
10 April NByr5
Our return from Cala Mondrago was quiet, and it was marked with a certain degree of restlessness on both our parts. In spite of Kimika’s normal predisposition to fly ourselves, I opted to get passage on the Air Packet back home, since it would give both of a little time to relax before returning to the normal pace of life. I’m not sure how many times I nodded off during the trip, but I do know my new copy of The Army-Navy Journal spent more time in the floor than in my hands. Having managed to break the point of my last sharp pencil, I absently fished in the pocket of my traveling coat for my penknife, and instead came out with a lovely piece of silk cloth, the cloth that had so recently contained the prize money from the fencing tournament. Rolling the cloth between my fingers, I recalled my feelings from earlier in the trip about even bothering to enter. I hadn’t been back on the piste since Dr Dayafter left town, and perhaps I wondered if my lack of practice would put me at too great a disadvantage. I found my answer written in weathered ink on the flyleaf of my journal, “Fortes fortuna adiuvat”. Fortune favors the bold. As if to add punctuation to my thought, Kimika stirred in the seat, leaning her head over onto my shoulder. The dance contest had been an ever greater gamble. Granted, I had watched my step-mother dance, and have had the opportunity to see others dance while I was working for the Foreign Office, but it was wholly another to do it myself. I hastily repointed my pencil and made a note to check on the workshop when I returned home to New Babbage. It would be nice to have a space of my own to work on things, and the looks of the new place would give us the room to work on whatever things we had in mind, given the ceiling height of the factory and the various shops I had been borrowing for my sundry few projects. I put everything back in my travel case, and tucked myself in for the rest of the flight. Given the pace of my life, I expect a little quiet time is not a bad thing at all.

Down amongst the Mer
The disappearance and rescue of Miss Beq Janus from the Darkmer of the Vernian Deep

(this is the account of an RP adventure that was partially documented on the Primgraph blog in September of 2009. My thanks go to the other members of the RP who helped make this possible)

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Home again
(Once again, work conspired to delay the blog entry. So, if you were curious where I was, here you go)

The “Deerhound” rode quietly at anchor in Clockhaven, the gangway packed with departing passengers headed ashore. The crew was especially pleased with the departure of one particular passenger, one that raised such an unusual level of fear none dared speak her name, simply referring to her as 'Stateroom 5”. The Purser and the Chief Steward watched as the black-clad lady walked quietly towards the ramp, her pale skin in sharp contrast to the raven braid on the back of her head. The tulle veil shaded her features, but they knew the icy eyes could cut as well as her thin cruel mouth. The Purser mustered up a cheerful greeting, even though just being near her made the hair stand on the back of his neck.
“Good day, Miss...”
She turned, smiling.
“It’s Mrs.”
The purser stood transfixed for a moment, as she glided down the ramp, valise in hand. He watched her walk off into the crowd, to be swallowed up by the back alleys of Clockhaven. He shifted a moment, then headed back to his cabin for a rare morning drink.

The woman slid quietly into the back entrance of the Aether Salon, and moved with a silent swiftness in spite of the heavy fabric of the gown she wore. She moved along the rows of shelves in the long hall, and came upon the lone occupant of the office. The redhead sat at the desk, making entries in a well-worn bound journal. She wrote with a deliberate slowness, so as to insure that each word was perfect and correct. Pauses were interjected with a finger tap or a quick sweep of her hair at the temple, and a return to the measured cadence of pen to inkwell to paper.

“Well, well, what have we here?”
The pale woman’s voice reverberated with a shrill rattle, like a cat’s claws on a chalkboard. The redhead leapt to her feet, fluidly drawing the dagger at her side and dropping into a fighter’s edged stance, the bare steel of the blade lying ready against her forearm.

“What are you doing here Un…” the redhead questioned, her voice rich with malice.

The dark clad pale woman slowly raised her right hand in front of her, and reached up with her left to remove the veiled hat. She began to chuckle, the voice changing to one that the redhead was much relieved to hear…
“Easy there chica, you don’t want to cut the boss do you?”

Personal Journal
16 July NByr4

It feels good to be back home.

Of course, I’m lucky that Sky has a sense of humor.

The airship ride out of REDACTED was not bad, but being the paranoid soul that I am…it was time for a little track coverage. So, before starting the final leg home, I made a stop in the station’s lavatory. Where a comfortably dressed ruddy skinned redhead entered, a pale raven-haired spinster exited. I even took the time to cobble up a set of travel papers, to complete the illusion. Hopefully, if official inquiries are made, our favorite baker will have a few irregularities in her background. I played it up, even going so far as to parrot her voice. I’m sure Star wondered why I spent so much time imitating Phaedra while we were sitting in the Gangplank. Too bad she wasn’t there to see all that effort bear fruit. Of course, I may have overdone it a bit, because I’m sure the crew was fairly traumatized by the gaunt visage I displayed on the transit back to Babbage. Poor blokes. Knowing what I know about your average sailor, and how superstitious they can be helped me to draw just enough attention so they left me alone.
I suppose it was a good thing, as I needed more time to decompress after the mission. Damn those bastards at the Ministry for dragging me back in on their problems. I’m sure that this may be over, but I also know that this may not be the last time they pull the Queen and Country bit back out on me.
We made landfall in Clockhaven, and after the last parade past the staff, I cut back across the old familiar alleys of home. The Gangplank was unusually empty, but I decided that showing up there would be pushing my luck a bit too much, so I cut back across to the office.
I slid up the back entrance, and saw Sky at my desk working on some paperwork for the agency. I was relieved, and it made me happy to see that I had called that one correctly when I took her on as an associate. Of course, I wanted to see just how good I had done on the dye job and the make up, and lucky for me I didn’t end up having to fight my new employee.
I used the voice on her while she was engrossed in writing, and she reacted as I expected she would. Sky shot out of the chair like I had electrocuted her when I used the Phae voice. I so wanted to go one more step at that point, but I was so amused I broke back into my normal tone and pulled off the gloves, so she saw the scars on my forearms.
I went up to the loft, scrubbed off the makeup and changed back into something a little less severe. The only thing that bothers me now is that the hair dye was a touch stronger than I expected, so I may be a brunette until it grows back out. Sky wanted to know what I had been up to and what I had done. I couldn’t tell her all the details, other than it was business. Somehow that managed to placate her for now, but I know that eventually, she’ll ask again.
For now, it’s time to get back to Babbage business.

Auld lang syne
Personal Journal 4 JulyNBy4

It seemed like a nice enough morning. Deciding that I felt far too lazy to make my own coffee, I dressed and walked up the block to the Cocoajava for my normal morning repast. Near the entrance of the Brunel, I saw a young man that appeared to be looking for someone. He was dressed in a plain but well-tailored suit, and he had a single flower in his hand. As I approached, he smiled at me and doffed his hat. I smiled briefly and continued to walk. He cleared his throat and offered me the flower. Before I could refuse, he smiles and said something I hoped I wouldn't hear.

"Good morning miss. This is for you" He smiled again, and offered the rose to me. "I hear that the roses in Covent Garden are very lovely this time of year."

I subconsciously cursed.

"The gardener is a singularly talented man, but the topiaries at Hyde Park are very large."

He smiled again, and offered me his arm. I took it and we walked toward the Academy.

"Hello Miss Dagger. Your aunt sends her greetings." He had the pleasant airs of a young up-and-comer, and that, plus the fact that the Ministry sent someone with the recall code after all this time did not make me any more comfortable. Plus, I hadn't had my coffee.

"It was my impression that my dear aunt was no longer speaking to me. It must be a pressing family matter for her to send someone all this was just to exchange pleasantries..."

He stopped, and the smile fell away like an autumn leaf.

"It is, and it was felt that this was a matter that your particular talents would be best suited for. Need I remind you that you do have an obligation to..." I cut him off, mid-sentence.

"Do not presume to lecture me about duties and obligations. I've paid that account a few times over, while you were still in grade school."

"You have a train to catch. Good day."

He stopped, handed me a matchbox, doffed his hat, and walked away. Bastard. He knew, and damn that scoundrel at the director's office for knowing I wouldn't walk off. The box contained a locker key, and a slip of paper. It simply read Caledon Victoria City Station.

I returned to the office, and packed my bag. I wrote a note for Sky and left it on my desk, quickly wrote two postcards and headed for the station.


I have been called away for business out of town. I am not sure when I will be returning, so please keep an eye on things at the agency. The open casefiles are in the upper drawer of the file cabinet, and please take care of any relevant correspondence. I will get word back to you as soon as I can. If you don't hear from me within the month, feel free to assume the worst, because you're probably right in thinking so.

Take care of yourself.



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