Once again, something mysterious is occurring in New Babbage. News trickles slowly from New Babbage to Caledon, but I received multiple accounts describing what seem to be a connected set of occurrences.
As I related last year, a Mr. Jason Moriarty was responsible for the mayhem befalling Babbage. When Moriarty's laboratory was destroyed, some thought Moriarty died, though others, having no evidence of a body, were more skeptical. It turns out the latter had a right to be skeptical.
Last week, Mr. Orpheus Angkarn had an unexpected encounter with Moriarty - though the exchange was never short of polite, there seemed to be an underlying menace to Moriarty's words.
Then young Myrtil Igaly described what she called a vision of the future, and young Master Nat related similar events. (See also the account in Miss Felisa Fargazer's journal.) Briefly, Clockwinder Tenk received a cylinder with an encoded communication that directed New Babbage citizens to meet at the City Hall on Saturday evening. Thus assembled, the crowd saw a swirling vortex from which an airship appeared. An old, apparently ill man emerged from the airship, demanding to talk to Mr. Tenk. The old man handed Tenk a box and said not to believe "him," whoever that might be, before returning to the ship, which to all accounts exploded on takeoff. The box contained some sort of automaton which, once assembled, wrote the ending of a book that told of a future Babbage in its final days - in flames, utterly destroyed. The manuscript (as well as the recollections of the urchins who met the old man) seemed to imply that the "old man" was none other than young Jimmy Branagh.
With the automaton safely in the Hall of Records inside City Hall, Brother Riddle sat guard during the night. Near dawn, the automaton reactivated and wrote another page in the book, saying that Jason Moriarty was responsible for the destruction of Babbage, and that the ship they saw was built by Mr. Vic Mornington, and indeed it was Jimmy piloting it.
After these alarming events, the urchins met Moriarity himself in the Hall of Records, where Moriarty urged the children not to meddle in his business.
Mr. Angkarn, a Time Lord, came to the conclusion that there were now two versions of New Babbage history - and that one was slowly rewriting the other out of existence! He returned to New Babbage in our time, only to find that he was temporally trapped there...as fellow Time Lord Mr. Mornington also discovered.
Adding to the mystery, Mr. Percival Gedge, the undertaker, made a startling discovery of a machine in his cemetery, the purpose of which is still unknown.
And then it appears that citizens of New Babbage are coming down with a respiratory malady... is it connected to the other events? And has it already infected Steelhead?
I had to set off to New Babbage myself to investigate further.