More reports from New Babbage:
Master Tepic Harlequin provides instances of materials disappearing from warehouses and machine shops - greased leather, scrap wood, oven windows, granulated charcoal, rivets, cotton wadding, spools of thread, pots of glue, and more. What do these items have in common, he wondered?
Upon hearing that assets of the Esoteric Order of Dagon are being seized and that the Order is under suspicion of being responsible for the part-organism, part-machine cylinders appears about the city, Master Stormy Stillwater notes that he is bricking up the entrance to the library of arcane materials at Miskatonic University, hoping to hide some of the darker materials of the Order.
Scottie and Sky Melnik spent an uneasy night with one of the machines. The longer they spent in the presence of the creature, the more ill they became - while witnessing an unusual transformation:
The machine’s tank started to sweat like a cold glass of water on a hot humid day. The ‘sweat’ appeared to be a translucent green slime that seemed to ooze from nowhere. It grew thicker until it covered the entire thing, the fluidic gel flowing around the machinery it encompassed.
Even shooting the thing caused no apparent permanent harm:
[Scottie] saw the bullet, lodged inside the strange ichor coating the machine. It floated almost weightlessly for a few moments before sinking slowly through the sludge. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity it reached the ground, shifted, and rolled free of the blob and into the dirt.
Mrs. Breezy Carver-Fabre also has an unusual interaction with one of the machine creatures.
Mr. Arnold relates several conversations.
An airship crashed well away from New Babbage, as Miss Jed Dagger reports. Miss Dagger considers the possibility that this tragedy is related to more local events.
Finally, young Miss Myrtil Igaly decided to find a ride on the next airship to Steelhead (despite that city's widespread illness, as Dr. Mason relates), in order to seek out the elderly (and not altogether compos mentis) Miss Margo December in the hope of learning more about the future destruction of New Babbage.
As for me, I am no further toward understanding the problem as I was before I reached New Babbage, much less any further toward a solution.
Strange days indeed.