Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Evening Flight (July 20)

Star smiled as New Babbage rolled away from the the stern of her airship, The Ulysses. The steady, soothing thrum of the engines was already doing wonders to improve the foul mood that had settled onto her of late. She checked her gauges, satisfied that the airbag was tight-full and put a clamp on the steering column, charting a course out over the deep ocean. She thought she might visit her family in England, how long had it been since she had seen her brother? Or visited her husband's grave?

She moved back through the small ship with a smile, double-checking the hatches and ensuring everything was stowed in case of foul weather.

She was certain this was going to be a marvelous trip.

((OOC: Stargirl's typist is going to be seeking a look at the wilder parts of the world. She will return, eh, in a few weeks (three-ish). She'll miss you all terribly and looks forward to reading about everyone's adventures while she was absent.))

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Journal July 2


Am I my Clockwinder’s keeper? Goodness, according to most it would seem that I am. Though I’ve not laid eyes on the chap in some time, I have heard the rather disturbing news that his Thursday games with Mr. Underby continue, and that he was indeed seen helping to renovate Mr. Underby’s new piece of property (and I could swear that Mr. Tenk had once said he’d never allow Mr. Underby to own land inside New Babbage!). No good could possibly come of this.

Yet, the reason I haven’t leapt into action and taken to haunting his doorstep is quite simple: the man, the few times I have laid eyes on him, has been more than polite. He’s even offered assistance the one or two times I’ve been caught unawares at the pub and he’s, evidently, had a bit of a chat with the misses, as she’s become suddenly tolerable of late. She’s even allowed Pocket back into her bakery (though, as Maggie grumbled, or rather, as Maggie shrieked in frustration, no good will come of that).

I am sorry that my two bartenders have announced their intention to leave my employment and seek adventure in America. I am caught up in a bit of envy myself, as I’ve had the constant urge to take to the skies (fueled, no doubt, by my complete inability to sleep properly of late, as those peculiar sounds I keep hearing are continually keeping me up at night). But with the Gangplank having been open barely two-months since the fire, and the loss of two employees, I can hardly justify the sudden absence for any length of time that would make taking to the skies a reasonable option. Something truly spectacular would have to draw me away from the city at this point.

I have, at last, laid eyes on the peculiar Mr. Slenderman (as I believe I’ve heard him called). As expected a creature which goes about attempting to possess others had very little interest in me. I was surprised to see it in Clockhaven, given the, ahem, troubles which affect most spirits there. Still, It has been known for its ghosts (there’s a resident one just down the way, in fact), and I suppose Mr. Slenderman is hardly a man, per-se, but some sort of creature. Naturally, I feigned total ignorance as to its nature and kicked myself inwardly for not having gone to find the creature before it arrived on my doorstep!

I told them all I thought it was a new sort of kraken. See? Even when completely exhausted I am still capable of a good joke.

Unfortunately, no one was laughing.

Ah, well. I think I hear some rustling downstairs, must be the first of the evening patrons. I’d bet attend to them now.

~S. MacB.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's So Fun Living with the Underbys (Journal Entry June 15 188X)

My mind is chaos, which I why I have not written in you for some time.

Gus continues to be missing. I suspect it is time I now took the hint from fate. A dead husband and a missing fiancé. Whatever is in store for me, I clearly must go it without a partner.

Thankfully I have good friends to make-up for that lack of evening confidant. And Kaylee, as always, is a charming roommate and most evenings Jeddy is around too keep my spirits up. I can say I certainly do not lack for love in my life.

Somehow, though, it doesn’t quite fill-up the dark hole that has formed. But I’ll get through it. Perhaps I should put Kay in charge of the Gangplank for a while and take to the skies, I always feel better when the ground is rolling away from my feet.

Another spot of trouble is this: I cannot sleep.

Well, I could sleep, if the banging would stop. Every evening, just as I’m falling asleep, I’ll start hearing knocking on the walls. It gets louder and louder until finally I am sitting up, wide-awake, trying to figure out what it is. It’ll fade away once I’m awake and later, when I’m just starting to drift-off again, it’ll start all over. It’s happened for the last week at least and the lack of sleep is starting to give me a headache. Perhaps I should have someone check the steam-pipes beneath the Gangplank? Or could it be rats running through the walls?

I cannot imagine what it is. But it is troublesome. It does seem to be another good reason to take to the skies for a little while. I’d say I’ll sleep on it but, dear journal, sleep is rather limited.

In the meantime I've got my hands full with my business. It would appear that something is going on over at the bakery. Mrs. Underby has had a number of poor batches come out and she has come to me demanding restitution in the form of Mr. String being sacked. I've told her that that was a ridiculous notion. Mr. String is a fine employee, reliable, timely and the customers seem to enjoy him a great deal. Also, she could produce no proof that it was Mr. String who had done anything to her bread, particularly when I pointed out that he cannot set foot in her Bakery at the moment.

That woman has quite the temper on her, I'll say that much. But I'll not bow my head to ANYONE, especially an Underby!

One thing which did make me nervous, however. One evening when I was having trouble sleeping I came down to the commons room to have a cup of tea and perhaps read a book and I found Mrs. Underby standing over Mr. String, who was quite asleep and she had something in her hand which, it appeared (as very strange as this sounds),that she was about to put in his mouth. When she saw me she pocketed whatever it was and turned her cold eyes on me.

I loathe her.

"Whatever you were doing, I catch you at it again and I'll take a sledge-hammer to both your ovens without hesitation, got it?" I hissed at her, if I'd had my fur on, I can assure you, It'd be standing on end.

Her reply was the usual snide comment which I cannot even be bothered to write here. It was a mistake to allow her to invest in the Gangplank, however badly I needed the assistance. I don't know why i didn't consider asking Jed or Kay to help me, or even Mayor Tenk, I know he'd've been happy to make a deal with me. But when she spoke to me about it, it seemed the most reasonable answer.

A moment of temporary insanity, surely.


Preparing for the Voyage Out

Star signed one last sheet of paper, folded it over and sealed it in an envelope and put it with the stack to be taken with the morning mail, then rolled the door of her desk shut, locked it and started talking at Kaylee, "Okay, I’ll be back Sunday evening, or Monday afternoon at the latest. That’s only if the weather is bad. Ulysses is a fine old bird, but she doesn’t do well in a headwind and I can’t tell what the weather is going to do.” She looked to the west, frowning, “Sky was red this evening, so that’s a good sign…Mr. Pocket, I’m sure, will do a fine job for you.” She cast a glance around the pub, as if looking for something she was missing.

Finding nothing, she turned back to Kaylee, “Should be enough ale for now, I’ve got a large order coming in Monday or Tuesday. Mrs. Underby is supposed to have workers in. Don’t let her workers on this side of the archway, they’ve got no business here of any sort.” She pointed at the archway, the view beyond was obscured by the closed curtains, though a soft tapping of heels and the faint sound of tuneless humming indicated that the woman was in residence.

“She gives me the creeps.” Star muttered.

“Me too,” Kaylee whispered, “Why is she building her bakery here?”

“I…” Star paused, squinting her eyes in thought, “mmm, I can’t explain it. I would have had the old ovens torn out and that room turned into storage, or a damp sort of apartment, but she was…ah, convincing I suppose in arguing for their restoration. That whole conversation is a bit blurry…” she shook her head and swung a short-cape around her shoulders, pinning it at the throat. It was certainly warming toward summer here in New Babbage, but the nights could still be quite bitter, and it was a long walk to the air dock.

She picked up her bag and turned just as a bleary, freshly-woken Mr. String appeared, “Ah! Hullo Mr. String, I have the utmost confidence in your abilities. Do remember what I said, sir,” She lowered her voice and leaned close to him, “Though, of course, if anyone bullies Miss Kaylee in my absence, I give you permission to toss them out on their ear. In fact, I encourage it.”

She started toward the door, paused to straighten a chair and eyed the wood stack next to the fireplace, “The wine isn’t in yet, but there’s plenty of absinthe. I’m sure there’s enough wood in the building, and, ah, I expect the masons will be round to repair those windows upstairs, I gave you extra keys, yes? Bills should all be paid, the last of them are with the mail, do be sure that the courier picks those up in the morning, a lot of creditors are not happy to be doing business with the ‘Plank again and I don’t want anything arriving late. Do you suppose we have enough…..”

“Star!” Kaylee interrupted with a laugh, “You’re only going to be gone three days, I think we can handle this.”

“Right,” Star sighed, “Right, sorry, just anxious.” She pulled the door open, “Oh, Kaylee?”


“Try not to burn the place down.”

Kaylee laughed, “No promises. Now go!”

With a final wave Star snapped the door shut behind her, took a deep breath, and started walking toward the air dock.

((I am going on a minibreak holiday with my husband this weekend and will not have access to internet, so will be doing some of those writing projects I’ve been ignoring. Have fun at the ball and Music Appriciation. And, Oh! There’s a new resident at the old Macbain plot in Palisades, do give him a warm welcome! {yes, ladies, quick! Get to him before he joins the New Babbage “Men who don’t dance” club!}))

Journal March the Third

Dear Journal,

Yesterday I was up quite early, making my tea and breakfast and when I went upstairs to eat it who should I discover in my flower box but Pip!

Oh! It was good to see him, though the poor thing is hardly more than skin and bones. Pip was very straightforward with me as to his reasons for being there: he had been sent by Mr. Underby to spy. Granted, he told me that after he had asked me a very curious question about my other half, but I’m sure I didn’t give him anything too useful.

Of course, I shall take his warnings to heart (I wonder if the Underbys are quite aware of his little habit of undermining them? I shan’t ever tell.). Though, I cannot see, with Mr. Underby gone, how much trouble that wife of his could possibly be.

Never-the-less, I shall let Kaylee know what Pip has told me. It’ll only make her more nervous, I fear, but it’s better than letting something catch us off-guard.

~S. MacB.

Refueling (Journal Entry April 14)

Dear Journal,

I'm afraid i've not written much in the wake of the "Underby Incident" as I'm starting to think of it as.

You'll have to forgive me.

Spring is always terribly busy for me. For one thing it means de-mothballing Ulysses and making contacts with my summer employers. This year the Ulysses required more work than usual. The hard winter had driven mice into her and it made a royal mess of the wires. Fortunately I know my ship like I know my favorite pair of shoes, so I managed to get it all repaired in good time.

What was amusing was how little the shipyard workers trusted me to be doing the work. I have, it turns out, managed to maintain exactly the reputation I was hoping to have. Granted, dockside tongues wag like no others, so I expect some of the veneer to wear off as a result.

But there is no stopping it if it happens, and I cannot worry about it. Fortunately very few actually look at me very closely so they are unlikely to notice the grease which has gotten stuck beneath my fingernails. Even the Clockwinder has scarcely been around and my roommate is quite busy on her own various projects.

I went on the first deliveries this weekend, all were quite successful. Daniel says he is setting aside some delicate matters for me to handle. I'm quite looking forward to the work.

Well, I've finished my tea so I'd best get on my way again.