I have another story today, from our amazing writing team. This one takes place in the Second Era, when scientific research begins to make progress, and new ways of fighting the Anonassi are discovered…
It had taken years of constant change, upgrades, additions and even the building of a new section of the family home to support the modifications to the D’Aoust’s laboratory. Marcel D’Aoust had begun the whole thing with his investigation into the light rod from the Lost Land. Whilst the man was only a quarter as clever as he thought he was, there were those who came after that took his work, refined it and changed his concepts into reality.
Now Jillian D’Aoust was the next to inherit the family home and, more importantly, the lab. She was a woman of learning, refinement and wit, but most of all of science. The concepts that eluded her predecessors fell into place for her and she revelled in unlocking the secrets and marvels that her family recovered.
She put on her leather apron, adjusted her goggles to push against the silver-white hair which she kept in a short plait and descended the stairs to see what new joys awaited her in the newly renovated depths.
The old torches were gone, replaced by the soft gleam of glass-covered lanterns. These lanterns were fed by a copper pipe that ran through the wall, a feint smell of chemicals hung in the air as she stepped over to the workbench. A dozen new things caught her eye, machines that ran on a chemical reaction and things that worked using a system of chains, gears, levers, and cranks.
“Marvellous,” she exclaimed with a layer of glee. “I will be able to make wonders in here, but where to start, what to do first?”
She crossed over from bench to bench and studied them, then with a chuckle she lifted up a strange looking rectangular find from the Lost Land. “I wonder what you do?”
It had various small things pressed against it, things that looked like little rectangular insects. They in turn were resting on a brown coloured board that had small rivers of metal that wound all over it. It looked like a complex map, or some kind of blueprint. She put that back in the box for now and found a few other things to examine thoroughly.
Over the next few months she turned her hand to discovering more about these things from the Lost Land. Her lab (for it was in truth hers now) was a carefully organised, though chaotic, space that was rife with diagrams, new machines, designs, and all sorts of alembics that bubbled and gurgled with a variety of chemicals. Everything served a purpose and Jillian left nothing to chance.
During this time she recruited Carmela Romero, a young member of the clan who had been adopted when she had screamed of seeing creatures at night. The girl, only 13 years of age, had the same brilliant scientific curiosity as Jillian. Carmela’s task was to monitor all the reactions, keep copious notes, tidy up, clean, and maintain a strict distance from some of the more volatile experiments that Jillian conducted. She was also charged with operating the levers and cranks to maintain a source of power to the various devices Jillian had constructed.
“So what does this do?” Carmela asked Jillian as she slowly turned the crank in the corner.
“Ah, this, well – it is complicated. The short answer, you provide the power to the machine that allows me to begin to separate the metals from these so-called raw materials.”
“No, I meant the machine, but you have answered that question for me as well.”
“See, science, it answers many questions!” the woman grinned at him with a flicker of lamp-light caught in the dark green glass of her goggles. It made her look like a big-eyed cat.
Carmela’s eyes locked onto a large cylinder full of green liquid, it was back-lit by an odd chemical reaction from an alembic that stood nearby. Jillian winked at the girl and opened a valve. “As they say in our profession, the ‘moment of truth’ awaits!”
There was a puff of smoke, a sound not unlike a chime as another part of the machine engaged and then a few more whirring noises like excited humming-birds filled the air. In the chamber beyond the glass a reaction took place, followed by several patterns of light, bubbles as even more chemicals joined the dance.
“Oh this is good, this is very good!” Jillian moved around and turned a small dial, pulled a tiny metal plate back and pressed a button inside.
With a smell of burning, acrid smoke, another puff of coloured gas, and a growl the machine came to life once more and the object that the scientist had placed within vanished – broken down into its component parts. As the smoke cleared there was a clang, a clatter, and a soft bang as several round balls of metal rolled onto a nearby tray.
“Copper, yes, that’s copper!” Jillian exclaimed. “We did it!”
Carmela grinned widely and then said, “Can I stop turning this now?”
“Oh yes, yes. Eventually, we’ll remove the need for human kinetic motive power altogether. But then people will probably complain that their jobs are being taken by machines. Well done Carmela, well done!”
Carmela had no idea what she meant, but she smiled none-the-less at a job well done.