(Written and dispatched at Rhianon's request - KJ)
Sunday found my sister at the Aether Salon, which was celebrating Heroines in literature, with Miss Bookworm Hienrichs as speaker. Miss Serafina Puchkina introduced the salon (with Miss Jed Dagger on the right, below).
Mr. Jasper Kiergarten introduced the speaker. The "alumnae/i" of the Salon wore sashes to commemorate their status.
Miss Hienrichs begins to speak. She noted that the Bible contained several examples of heroines, and provided lessons that one could take from them. The prostitute Rahab saved two of Joshua's spies by knowing the back passages of the city (Lesson 1) and knowing how to lie well (Lesson 2). Deborah, a judge, provided Lesson 3: Use the authority given to you, while Jael, who killed an enemy general while he was asleep provided Lesson 4: Use any advantage given to you.
Miss Breezy Carver listens...
...as does Miss Sky Netizen...
...while Baron Wulfenbach stands in the background.
Miss Stereo Nacht and Miss Tricia Aferdita consider Miss Hienrichs' words.
Miss Alden Cortes watches.
Below, Mr. Sunset Quintess and Miss Ahnyanka Delphin.
Miss Rhianon, of course.
Two Babbage urchins, Master Jimmy Branagh and Miss Myrtil Igaly. Note the open doorway behind them.
Miss Hienrichs had just started to describe Scheherazade, heroine of the Arabian Nights tales, when the gathered crowd heard a loud clanging noise - then a second, and a third. Turning around, people saw that the gates had closed, locking them inside!
Everyone turned back around, only to see New Babbage's arch-villain, Doctor Obolensky, menacing Miss Hienrichs with a wand.
The Doctor touched her with the wand and she crumpled to the floor, remaining motionless. The fiend said she was not permanently harmed, but that the audience had all inhaled something poisonous. He would give us the antidote only if they listened to him explain why there were no such things as heroines.
The crowd was in an uproar, demanding to know the Doctor's intentions, expressing concerns over Miss Hienrichs' well-being, and drawing weapons. After a tense standoff, Miss Hienrichs awoke, grabbed the Doctor's wand, and destroyed the device - a very heroic action! The Doctor flew away on his propellor beanie. A number of people discussed how to release the crowd from its imprisonment - climb over the wall? bring in an airship? pick the locks or blow them open? Release eventually came, and Miss Hienrichs recovered, though she remained weak, and the Salon ended.