The Crossroads of the Aether
Date Recorded: January 25, 2999
We followed the police carriage for ages down the busy New York streets. The tall smokestack clad skyscrapers towered above us on all sides. Even with the invention of flying carriages the traffic in New York City never changes…
The carriage led us all the way to the outskirts of the upper west side where it stopped outside a very large factory with two massive smokestacks jutting out of its roof. The coppers dragged Pendergast out of the back of the auto and brought him inside. There were mechanized guards outside and an American flag waving above the gates… a government building. We landed the lifeboat on the roof between the stacks. The guards didn’t even notice us beneath the din of the factory and the veil of the smoke. Finding a maintenance staircase, we quietly crept inside and down the corridors. Following the sound of the machines, we found a large round door with an enormous hatch. So large it was that it would have only been designed to be opened by automatons. It took all four of us to open the cumbersome thing.
Pushing open the door, we found ourselves on a balcony overlooking what was obviously the factory floor. Running along the room in rows were conveyer belts carrying a multitude of what appeared to be mechanical appendages… identical to those which compiled a standard New York City Police Robot. On either side of the each conveyer were men and women covered in grease and oil painstakingly assembling the mechanical limbs with very large tools and miserable countenances. Standing like statues at the end of every conveyer were armed mechanical guards… it didn’t take a genius to work out what was happening… I made the men and women out to be the missing protestors. The police had imprisoned them in the robot factory and were forcing them to assemble the very police force that was oppressing them… brilliant! This was just what we needed to bring down Olvany.
The doors at the end of the factory floor opened and a pair of officers dragged Pendergast in. He was still playing the vagrant façade. One of the officers went off to find a place for Pendergast to work. My skilled and cunning quartermaster darted his eyes all about the room looking for us. Lifting his head, he spotted us and smiled. I gave him a nod, and turned to the rest of my crew, whispering to them to ready themselves for action.
With a thought, I sounded the siren on my hat. The din echoed through the factory, alarming the police officers and the mechanical guards below. “Allo you hollow-headed yanks!” I bellowed down to them. They took up their rifles and aimed them in our direction, but before they could fire, Pendgergast reached into his ragged vagrant coat and withdrew a magnesium flash bomb. He smashed it upon the floor and blinded all in the room not wearing goggles with the luminous flash. In the confusion, Else and Litton and Wendy and I leapt over the balcony with our weapons drawn. We hit the ground and set about to dispatching the robot guards. The machines were cheaply made and slow; not used to pirate battle tactics. I do wonder how the government manages to keep the citizens under their heels with such poorly made automatons. The two officers who had brought in Pendergast had drawn their pistols, but in the heat of the fray, the prisoners had taken hold of their tools and started bashing their captors as well. The uprising was quick and furious.
Just as New Yorkers would, the freed protestors didn’t bother to thank us as they rushed out the doors. “You’re welcome!” Wendy shouted after them. “How awfully rude.” Remarked Litton. Bad manners aside, this was the first step taken to toppling the Columbian Order. Now that the protestors were free, they would return to the People’s Front of New York and inform them about the factory. That’s a step… but to truly draw America’s attention away from the war, we needed to deliver Olvany to them.
Edward Von Arkham,The Mad Hatter