** I’m none too good at remembering to update this blog..
Bit of a tough one this week given the established setting but hey, steampunk is technically science fiction.
The strings of random letters and numbers may seem familiar to any of you who have done some digital art – they’re not just technobabble.
Amidst roiling clouds of multicoloured steam, the top of a curling, leathery pointed hat bobbed and weaved of its own accord.
This latest extraction of ffd200 might prove receptive. Possibly, maybe.
Rough brick walls interspersed with copper paneling, consented not even the measliest tendril of natural light. Coupled with an atmosphere pregnant with humidity, the gloomy interior only exacerbated the low ceilings subtle intimation that this was below ground level.
The disembodied hat charted a ponderous course through the densest part of the hazy interior, as the figure it perched upon materialized as a murky silhouette. The figure moved between tables drowned beneath alembics, distillation regulators and receptacles in various sizes.
With a flourish of a flapping sleeve, the smog cleared enough to reveal him as an elderly man; be-robed in deepest blues, a wispy grey beard straddled his small chest, yet lost courage before the bulge of a mild potbelly. He raised a bony hand to the monoculium device strapped to his forehead, adjusted a small dial on the side of the apparatus to the tune of four clicks, then suspended a flask of vivid yellow liquid before his eye as four lenses of varying sizes slipped into position.
“Hrrrmm..” The man postulated, emphatically drawing out the syllable.
But the last of this substrain displayed signifiers of deterioration within 48 hours of its application.. He moved across the room to an inset alcove wherein lay a desk cluttered with a spread of mismanaged files.
“Ack,” the man cried, chewing his mustache with the yellowing teeth of his lower jaw, “Derman was meant to archive these records properly last week!”
A wet crash signaled the departure of a jar of sanguineous extract over the lip of the desk, followed by a colourful array of expletives. Eyes plumped by pickling, stared forlornly out of glass jars on the wall as the little man tottered over to a chromium monstrosity of metal, belching black soot into the ceiling.
“..Choleric colouring, needs a darker tint.. Putrefaction a possibility … Infernal dogsbody..” his muttering devolved into a dull croak, while he examined swatches of fabric hanging off the machine.
The brooding atmosphere shattered as a paneled door towards the end of the long room thundered open, bouncing off its hinges with an almighty clang.
“Gibberforth, Sir!” A panicked shape detached itself from the threshold, darting across the space towards the older man. “I-, there’s a problem sir,” he wheezed, gasping for breath, weathered hands resting on knobbled knees.
Gibberforth observed his manservant’s left cheek was flushed red, his bottom lip swollen and dribbling a line of spittle onto his tattered garments. His brow knitted in a mixture of frustration and consternation, but mostly frustration.
“Where have you been? Loitering in the streets, hoping for more handouts on the side, hmm? What about my files?!” Gibberforth pointed a quivering digit towards the offending pile of papers.
Derman gawped nonplussed at the jolting change of topic, until a high voice boomed down the corridor from the doorway making him recoil instinctively.
“What kind of man are you?” The frame of a small woman appeared in the doorway, casting a ghoulishly long shadow into the room, “You undress my granddaughter with your eyes and don’t even have the shame to acknowledge your lecherousness!”
Eyes agog with hysteria, Derman scurried away into the wispy folds of steam and cowered behind the a large, copper distillation vat. The figure in the doorway resolved into a grey-haired lady, her hands placed firmly on her hips and striding determinedly into the room. Another woman, taller and younger than the first followed her tentatively.
Gibberforth straightened his stooping spine, before intoning haughtily, “And whom do you propose to be, that you would disrupt my private facility?”
Yet his attention became diverted as the younger lady came closer; his eyes alit, bony hands flew outwards like fevered spiders as he approached her.
Such pigmentation, I’ve never seen such a concentration of 5e2846 before!
Entranced by the delicately stained linen of her dress, Gibberforth did not hear the forthcoming warning until the follow up sent him spinning away by the cheek.
“Scientists,” Edith looked down through her nose at the blue-robed lump on the floor and harrumphed, “they’re always lost in their own little fantasy, no manners to speak of.”
“Come Kliea, we’re leaving.”