Jump to content

Earth Victoriana: Beyond Bedlam (IC)

Recommended Posts


1st July

London, Earth Victoriana

"I see..." said M, soberly, and gently put down the phone.

He sat down heavily.

"Cup of tea, please, Wilkins..." he said to his excellent butler, an efficient man who was also one of the deadliest fighters in the empire if M ever needed protection. The tall, thin man with slicked back black hair and shining green eyes nodded, and went off to brew the requested beverage.

Normally, of course, Scotland Yard would deal with murders. Even high profile ones. But Contessa Erika Von Lichtenstein, daughter of the German diplomat, Karl Von Lichtenstien, was beyond "high profile"...and Germany had taken to a lot of Sabre Rattling recently. He doubted that the Germans could seriously take on the Empire, but their engineering and manufacture was on a par with their own country, and whilst small, a war with Germany would be costly and bloody.

He drummed his fingers together.

Normally, he would have considered calling in Lord Steam to the affair. The damn fool was probably the best detective in the Empire. But unfortunately, the idiot had a dalliance with Erika five years ago. Helpful enough, since they now had a dossier on the girl, but one whiff of Steam being involved would have Count Karl firing the first cannons of war himself.

Besides, there was something...extraordinary...about the murder. And that was the ministry for extaordinary affairs was for.

One possibility did present itself. Somebody who could not be traced back to the Empire. Or even the earth. She had proven herself extremely capable in the past. A hero of the realm. But not from the realm.

He opened up a cabinet behind him, and picked up the red iron phone....

Link to comment

The Silver Dragon was a locally owned chinese place that offered a buffet with their lunch special, said offer was like to be revoked in the near future. Carrie walked out of the line with a plate full of stir fried vegis and various seasoned chickens and set it down on the table where Zeke sat. This was her third plate, his fifth, both appetites seemed to make the local staff a bit in awe, but they either did not care nor notice as they laughed about and chatted about a movie they were planning to catch after. It was a good thing they did not purchase tickets in advance for said move because there was a beeping from Carrie's purse that made her drop her fork mid bite.

Zeke would watch Carrie look at her bag for a few seconds before reaching into the bag. She covered what she held with both hands so he didn't get a good look, but she held it like a phone,


Her voice was a little annoyed, but not loud, kept to a whisper as she listened,

"What, now?"

She asked,

"What happened that's so important?"

It was a few more seconds before she put a hand on her face,

"What about Lockwood, he...."

She was cut off it seemed and she began to tap her fingers,

"Of course he did, well where does that leave me I'm a bit..."

She was cut off again and she openly scowled,

"No I don't want that to happen but,"

She glanced up at Zeke,

"No, don't send one, I just ate, anyway can't it wait I'm busy."

She heard the voice on the phone and her scowl deepened. Pinching her nose she waved up her hand for the check,

"Okay, okay, I'll go, but goddamnit, I'm getting extra for this..... No, I'll just go to Lockwoods for transport."

Putting down whatever she was talking to into her purse with a click she looked at Zeke,

"Looks like we're gonna miss the movie. Well I guess you could still go, but I need a ride to a friend of mine. There's this job, that I really can't pass up. So, have you ever been to North Bay?"

Link to comment

Zeke had been munching on a truly staggering pile of chow mein and fried rice - the idea of seeing the new Raven movie with Carrie having put him in an incredibly cheery mood. Actually, strike that, just being with Carrie had put him in an incredibly cheery mood.

The phone call made him raise an eyebrow, though; and he'd listened quietly while demolishing the plateful of Chinese food. That was curious; a lot of funny things being said, there. Getting extra? Being paid? What was she doing? The image of her folding Madame Marvelous like a cheap suit struck his brain, and a few more uncharitable thoughts snuck into his brain...which he promptly squashed. She was too nice to be a thug-type or anything like that; maybe she was a bodyguard or some such? Either way, if she needed a ride - "Hey, no problem; if the lady needs a chariot, mine's all hers." Warm smile. "North Bay, though...once or twice; had a gig up there, and I busk in that area every so often. You need a hand with anything?"

Link to comment

"Hopefully not, but something tells me I won't be so lucky."

They left the restuarant and Carrie gave directions to Lockwoods mansion. After the first couple visits it wasn't hard to find it from really, anywhere. You couldn't pass the place without seeing the billow of steam that came from the back. When they pulled up the butler saw them in, as always, and as always Carrie sort of had the feeling her companion wouldn't leave it at that. Plus being outside was just as suspicious as inside, it looked like a normal house but if you mozied you could just spot some of the large wonky contraptions Lockwood liked to drive around in that looked less like they were designed by him, and more like they'd been designed by Agatha Heterodyne‎.

The inside of the house was a decided class of old and new, some modern conviniences thrown in with some really old ones, and a bunch of inbetweens that likely existed no where else on earth. Carrie was numb to it as she was lead to the sitting room where as always, Lockwood had tea set up. M probably called him, she rolled her eyes at the thought but was able to produce a half smile at the eccentric (by Earth Primes Standards), and brilliant (by any standards), detective whom she'd be filling into.

"Hey Lockwood, I'm sure you've been told I've gotten your job because you can never pass up a pretty face. Anyway, this is Zeke, he'll be needing gas money cause he was my ride."

Link to comment


"Ah, my dear... and who is this...gentleman..." said Lockwood, giving a polite bow and a careful scrutiny of Carries escort.

"Yes, that old rascal did give me a toot" he said, escorting them to through Steam manor. Blakely, his first class butler appeared, as if by magic, serving them tea and cucumber sandwiches en route, despite the brisk pace. He even through in a rather hefty cheque for Zeke for the "gas money". More than thrice the required amount.

"Here we are..." he said, tapping his cane on a large elegant grandfather clock that promptly opened, to reveal a slight shimmer and an identical room through it.

"Go right ahead!" he said "we have made considerable improvements you know. That young lady Ms. Wells is really rather a devil with this stuff. I can only just follow the stuff myself, and I am no fool when it comes to this stuff..." he added, tapping his head with his cane.

"Much as I would love to delve into this mystery myself, I am afraid that old tyrant M has expressly forbidden it. Touch of politics I am afraid, the old past catching up and biting me, what what" he said, shrugging with faux shame and a little smirk.

"In any case, you can can consider my mansion on the other side at your disposal...yes, bought a humble little abode there, just like this one, connected by this jolly little clock. Plus M has all his little tricks and scallywags crawling around if you need them I expect. That old battle axe Madam Redpowder is still terrorising the halls, I should imagine..."

Link to comment



...That was a lot of money. He started stammering that there was no way he could accept it, but the two shifted gears and left him well in the dust. Schizo technology - lots of steampunk stuff...okay, this was awesome. Seriously awesome. His head had been going every which way since he walked in behind Carrie. Wait, mirror. Glowy mirror. On the 'other side'. Well. That was...interesting. Ms. Wells. Who was...wait, politics? Who was M? Madam Redpowder? A truly staggering number of trains of thought crashed together in his head, program zeke.exe has suffered a fatal error and must reboot - press any key to continue.

He shook his head, focusing on the salient one. Namely, that his girlfriend...girlfriend? Okay, focus now, ask word later - that Carrie was going through some weird glowy portal that this guy (who was clearly loaded beyond all belief) had just opened up, and she was being asked to do something regarding politics. Okay. He could deal with this. The Fastest Fighter Alive coughed loudly behind them, trying to garner attention.

"Oy, Carrie - you're not just leavin' me behind, are you?" He gave an amiable smile, and tapped the check. "And Mr. Lockwood, this is way too much for gas money. I'd rather earn my pay, if you'll permit. Car, I dunno what's going on, but you might need some muscle along; I'd be happy to assist."

Link to comment

Subtly, thy name is not Lockwood.

She had to hold a sigh, and another sigh, she did blink a little as she looked at Lockwood with her mouth open for a second, and then she closed it before looking at Zeke,

"You, wait,"

She put her hand on her head as she tried to formulate,

"Okay, you don't know whats through there, you don't know who's through there. You just followed me down the rabbit hole and now your just gonna jump through the looking glass just like that."

She pushed the hair back with her hand,

"I'd call you, you know what, I'm not sure what to call you. I did the same thing, so long ago, I went somewhere I never went because I was asked too, to be the booster seat of all things to another place. Now, I'm a freaking go to cause apparently I'm the only one to answer the phone."

She let out a sigh,

"This isn't like a day trip, I'm kind of contract bound, they pay me for this, but you don't want to go there on a whim. It's a different world, the rules are different, the physics are different, and Mr. Subtle there should be the one going cause that's where he's from, except that he's pretty much shagged every high class woman on his side of the thymes. By the way, probably going to Britian cause they're the ones who hire me."

Link to comment

Zeke put two hands on her shoulders and looked her right in the eye - still smiling warmly. He seemed to be taking the situation with remarkable equilibrium, actually. Really, there wasn't much else he could do, though.

"Hon, trust me. I've seen weird, and I can deal with weird. I'm a Freedomite born and bred, after all." Grin. "And I know enough to get in trouble anyway. Besides, if we're going somewhere where people dress like him..." He thumbed at Lockwood. "Well, that'll just give me an excuse to wear my waistcoat and not feel self-conscious."

He'd left his busking outfit and sax case (with hidden costume compartment) in the trunk of the car outside, anyway; and he had his bandanna in his pocket if any...emergencies...should crop up. That, and he had the confidence of the rookie hero in his ability to put anything dangerous flat on it's arse in a pinch. His amused expression softened when he registered her concern for him. "And it's not a whim, Car. It's...me. I'm just not game to letting a person I'm fond of get into all kinds of trouble without me there to at least hold doors open for her."

Link to comment

Lord Steam repressed an urge to boot the Zeke in the rear through the clock. He admitted the portal was somewhat quaint, but he had been rather taken by the works of C.S.Lewis in this dimension.

"A Waistcoat would be spiffing" he replied "feel free to use my dressing room. Ah, well not the silk of course. Finest Indian Silk. Custom made. Still the tweed should suit, and is easy enough to replace..." he continued, eyeing up Zeke's frame.

He took out his copper and silver watch from his own waistcoat and peered at it through his monocle. The little device emitted a tiny but beautiful chime and emitted a similarly tiny delicate puff of steam.

"Chop chop" he concluded. "I wouldn't want to keep M waiting. He will be half way through his afternoon cigar by now and he gets a little vexed when he finishes it...." he winked at Carrie.

He tapped the Grandfather Clock, or rather, the interdimensional portal, which gave a solid DONG on command.

Link to comment

"No need, mate. Just give me a few seconds..." He shot Lockwood an amiable grin, the bad vibes not seeming to find any purchase on smilin' Ezekiel Irons. He stepped out of the room, a bit of adrenaline making his movements somewhat faster than they should have been; imperceptible, almost. He dashed out of the house, and popped the trunk of the car - yanking out the sax case and the suitcase with his costume. Okay...quick dive into the back of the car, a bit of a whirlwind, and he clambered out a minute later clad in a far better outfit for travel.

When Zeke jogged back into the room (far too quickly, actually), he was carrying the case and clad in an outfit familiar to Carrie, and one that might have been more pleasant to Lord Steam's sense of fashion - smart black slacks, a white button-up shirt with the cuffs rolled up, a very sharp dark green (nearly black) waistcoat with silver buttons, and a rakish fedora perched on top of his head. He smiled at both of them.

"Thanks, Mr. Lockwood. I'll follow your lead, Car."

Link to comment


A few minutes later...in another Dimension...

"Ah there you are, Lady Wendle" said M, stubbing out his Cigar meaningfully on the Pool table (leaving a ghastly mark) and picking up his tea.

"Ghastly little place Lockwood has bought himself here isn't it?" he sniffed, running his hand along the side of the pool table, and flicking of some non-existent dirt. "The man simply has no style, despite his brains..."

He caught sight of Zeke.

"Ah, I see you have acquired a manservant. Quite appropriate, given your status. I suppose I shall have to throw in an extra sterling coin on two for his expenses, hmmm? no matter. Given your track record of services, I am sure his majesties coffers can stretch sufficiently..."

He gestured to some seats, already furnished with tea, champagne, caviar, and cucumber sandwiches.

"I helped myself to the rascal's larders, courtesy of his staff. I am vexed to say the man is irritatingly well stocked..." he said, tapping his foot and sniffing his nose.

"In any case, to business. We have a murder on our doorstep madam, and a very sensitive one. A miss Erika Von Licktenstein, daughter of the German Diplomat, Count Karl Von Lichtenstein. And if we don't solve this quickly, we are looking at some very irrate Germans rattling some very sharp sabres...."

Link to comment

Carrie sat in a plush chair across from the pool table, she didn't look in the best of moods, but then again she wasn't,

"Right, clarifications, first off, this is Ezekiel Irons, he's a musician, not a manservant. I didn't prompt him to come, he volunteered, and if he gets dragged in, he gets same commission as I do."

She crossed her legs in her long purple cotton skirt,

"Also, M I do believe it's good manners not to badmouth someone after you've raided their fridge, or when your asking for favors from a liason that used his personal portal to come here. Cause otherwise I would not have come at all. I know you likely have never used the dimensional pods but it's not something one does on a full stomach."

Leaning forward she put her elbow on her leg as she looked at M,

"I know about the Germans, I their industrial force is one of the best in the world, and that they're one of the best armed countries in this world. What I want to know is what's my in? If you've been doing your job right, even with a ladyship no ones supposed to actually know anything about what I've done and who've I've done it for. I need a cover, a good one, because if they're really at arms any new person to the equation will be under instant suspect."

Link to comment

The manservant comment had rolled off him with a big old smile, and he nodded at the lady politely. His mind was rather gibbering for a brief bit at the whole dimensional transition, and the idea that his girlfri-...Carrie was an interdimensional troubleshooter/super spy (he thought) was still floating in the back of his head to be addressed later. Compartmentalize, compartmentalize, compartmentalize. He tipped his hat to the gentleman.

"Ezekiel Irons, musician, martial artist, and man-about-town. Pleased to meet you, M."

His eyes drifted over the food presented, but he remained beside and slightly behind Carrie's chair. For once, he kept his mouth shut and his ears open - soaking up the information.

Link to comment


M coughed, not without a note of irritation.

"I see. A music hall entertainer are you? I am sure that skill set will come in most useful for a murder investigation..." he said, his voice both supremely polite and dry as a desert, with a thin, perfect smile.

"Irrespective, if you vouch for him, ms. Wendle, he will of course be handsomely recompensed. Gold sterling is our standard rate sir...." he continued, producing a leather strip with in-sewn coins of that very sort.

"But of course, the real motivation is here, at our department, is to stop bloodshed. War, ladies and gentlemen, whilst arguably good for business, is not good for people. Or nations, come to that. The German nation is, however, somewhat prickly at the moment. Load of nonsense about the greatest nation of earth, finest people, bestest, smartest, noblest, etceterah, ecterah. Heavens, one would think they were English..."

One could not entirely tell how cynical, ironic, or sarcastic he was being. But one thing was for sure. M was not stupid.

"So, Ms. Lichtenstein. The doubly sensitive thing was she was touched with a bit of head illness" he said, rather stiffly, stirring his tea somewhat too fast.

"She was being treated at Bedlam. Our foremost Psychiatric Hospital. Now, we have come a long way in the treatment of lunatics. But it is still far to say that treatment is still somewhat experimental. I have no idea...yet...if she was killed by one of the lunatics, by one of the treatments, or even suicide. And to be honest, I don't know which avenue is more palatable to either us or her father."

He put his tea down.

"There is no particularly savoury way to solve this. But seeing as you have at least a veneer of independence, you present me with the least-unsatisfactory way of investigating and resolving the matter..."

Link to comment

"He's probably as qualified as I am, I am after all just a tailor."

Well at least that's the occupation she could claim that made the most money,

"Anyway, you don't know anything, and it the psychiatric hospital probably isn't on the best terms. I don't fancy being treated like a looney, so, nurses. I could probably fake it. At least a little, otherwise look around. I'll need papers, and such, and well yeah Redpowder to do up my clothes."

She looked towards Zeke,

"What are you thinking? Kitchen staff perhaps? Something on that grounds we don't want to actually be treated as patients if it was a procedure that killed her, especially if the staff doesn't know we're there to snoop. Which is usually the case when you pull me in at all. I can pretend I'm from Madrid, as long as there's no native Madrid speakers there, that'd make Zeke from the colonies, hope that's not too conspicious."

Link to comment


A While later...at the Ministry of Extraordinary Affairs...

"Here is our lady of disguises, Madam Redpowder" said M, jovially, tipping his rather extravagant top hat.

The lady was as old as leather, as twice as tough, but seeped in elegance. Her gaze could have split Iron, which was, incidentally, what her will was made of.

"Ah, the young lady. And her...companion..." she said, upon seeing Carrie and Zeke.

"I see fashion in that colonial dimension has maintained its particular qualities" she said, eyeing up their clothes with an upturned nose.

She strode off, marching down the corridors of costumes and disguises that were her abode, beckoning M, Zeke, and Carrie to follow her.

"So what is the facade of the day?" she asked "as you know, my skills and resources are without equal. I can conjure up any mask you wish!"

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

He shrugged, looking at Carrie. Wasn't like they hadn't already given him the perfect cover; even though it kinda made him want to deck M head over heels. Ah, well - price of thrilling heroics, occupational hazards, the whole nine yards. Besides, he could cook. Sort of. Mostly his own meals, but he had every confidence he could pull off hospital food.

Though the thought of the massacre he'd be inflicting on those poor helpless vegetables and meats made him quiver with disgust. Nothing deserved that treatment. Nothing whatsoever.

The idea of decking Madame Redpowder for disrespecting the waistcoat didn't even cross his mind. He chose a more subtle method.

"Female rodeo clown martial artist from the Far East with two inches more neck, five inches of makeup, glasses, a fake beard that looks fake but is actually real, and no eyelashes." Zeke said. In a perfectly deadpan voice.

Link to comment

Carrie snickered as she looked shifted through the outfits,

"Don't tease Zeke, she's the expert."

She stopped at a big puffy blue dress with a white apron as well as a hat with a red cross on it. She looked under it to see how many layers.

"Ugh, forgot how impossibly feminine this place was with it's female uniforms. Can you give me a hand Madam, I've never worn a petticoat and this thing looks like it has at least three."

Glancing over at Zeke she pointed to the other rack,

"Go thumb through and find what you like while I'm changing, if you peak I'm gonna deck you."

She said the last bit in a playful enough voice for it to not sound like a valid threat as she slipped into the curtained area to changed.

Link to comment


"Female rodeo clown martial artist from the Far East with two inches more neck, five inches of makeup, glasses, a fake beard that looks fake but is actually real, and no eyelashes."

Madam Redpowder raised an eye brow.

"One suspects, sir, that you are either ill-advised about the degree of my talent, or ill-aware of the degree of your wit... or quite possibly both..." she answered in cold steel, drier than the desert sun.

She dutifully tied up Carrie into a petticoat and nurses apron. It smelled strongly of starch and was a crisp as one could imagine. She then dutifully applied make up to Carrie's face, giving it a fresh faced look, and then proceeded to tie her hair in a more hygeinic fashion.

"Excellent" applauded M from the sidelines, half distracted by reading an inexhaustible supply of memos and documents that kept being thrust into his hands.

"Is there anything else you would like before setting off? I can make the arrangements for references and so on, get you employment in Bedlam..."

Link to comment


Carrie wheezed out, the dress was a bit constricting on her person, which was in fact to give her the illusion of a bust she did not in face possess. She sliped her hands into her sleeves and began to try unlacing the restricting botice Madam redpowder game her, looked quite strange honestly before she let out a breath and it looked like it loosened.

"Names of all those who were advising the girl, especially doctors and nurses. Also a lists of any deaths that didn't get as much of attention because of lack of status and who were advising them as well. Need to be thorough."

She popped her hands out of the sleeves and sighed,

"Also, does Miss Wells have any headsets we can use, probably something to hide in our gloves, so we can communicate cause we can't be seen spending all our time together when we radevoi to exchange information."

Link to comment


"I am sure that can be arranged" smiled M, with full confidence.


Later, outside Bedlam Infirmary...

The hospital was actually very nice, an old victorian building, with elegant and green grounds, a proper sanctuary. It was walled, and gated, but every effort had been made to make its exterior at least as pleasant as possible. Several patients were walking in the grounds, some escorted, some not, and an exercise class - a game of cricket - had been organised for some of the patients.

From what they could see the state of the patients varied considerably, from entirely normal looking, to terribly dishevelled, to muttering and shouting, to shuffling and thin. But the people escorting them, for the most part, tried the best they could.

"Here you go then" said the Cabbie, dropping them off. "Good luck to you in there. It's a right nuthouse!" he commented, before driving off.

M had supplied the heroes with said radio devices, a fresh and subtle invention from the Royal society of metaphysical engineering, courtesy of Ms. Wells. And a envelope stuffed full of documents, proof of identity, references, and the lists Carrie had asked for.

The reception office was a little dusty, but otherwise unremarkable. A couple of large porters greeted the two.

"What can we be doing for you today then?" grumbled the deep voice of the Head Porter, a Mr. Wessex, an exceptionally tall and large man, with a close cropped head of hair and a somewhat intimidating stare.

Link to comment

"You weren't expecting us?"

Carrie blinked and adopted a tone had a slight pang of surprise as she handed over her papers,

"We're new staff, I understand the confusion, what with all this dreadful business but it does not change the jobs. If you want to be sure, you could consult with your boss to see if they think any different. There should be numbers and references if you would like to confirm otherwise."

Her tone was otherwise cordial, she didn't have an accent, but she didn't sound improper or angry. The snark or edge that came with her voice was gone too. It was probably a little strange to anybody who's used to her normal tone.

Link to comment


"New staff, eh?" said Wessex, eyeing up the two new recruits.

Carrie wasn't sure, but she had the slight feeling that Wessex had taken a romantic shine to her, somehow. Not in a lecherous way, but his face softened a little.

"Well now, I guess you will be wanting to report to the Nurses station. Head Nurse Gulley is the lady in charge, in the main ward, top floor. And mind how your courtsy. She is a bit prickly, old Gulley, means well, but a bit set in her ways, bit old fashioned, if you get my drift. Just a little friendly advice..."

He turned to address Zeke.

"And what have you come for?" he asked, snatching their documents and examined it.

"Cook eh? well, our food can't get any worse, thats for sure" he laughed. "But you will be with us, my friend. The people who keep this place running smoothly. The orderlies. We aint doctors, we ain't nurses, or anything like that. And we certainly ain't patients, well excepting Murphy the gardener hahaha, leastways, he should be one. We get our patients to help with some of the running of the place. Aid's in recovery, they say. Seems honest enough to me..."

"Anyway, you join us, my friend. Probably need you down at the kitchens. McCarthy runs them, decent man but can't cook much...."

He scratched the back of his head.

"Of course, you may want to settle into the Staff quarters first, show your rooms. They ain't much, but they are free. And there is a friendly mess hall if you don't want to go to the local down the road..."

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

"Thank you kindly,"

She didn't smile so much as nod as she went where instructed. Walking in she got a look around, and it was a hospital. The same as most it was clean, smelled steril, and generally creepy to be in. Appreciation of Victorian arcitecture be damned, she really disliked hospitals. Didn't matter how you dressed it up, it was still a place about constant containment, sometimes for good reason, sometimes not, and a murder had happened here and she knew why. Rooms had heavy locks, windows were either too high and bolted, and a lot of other little things that made this place safe and preventive against guests hurting themselves could also allow the staff to hurt them just as well. Heck, one could do it for fun and argue against the persons sanity, who would they believe afterall. It was a chilling train of thought held behind a nuetral face as she got to the top level and met with the main room. Looking around she assessed and approached the person giving directions to other nurses,

"Good afternoon, I am part of some new staff transfering in. Is there anything I should be doing?"

Link to comment


The tired man looked at Carrie with rather bloodshot eyes. He was drinking a mug of extremely strong tea.

"Doctor Meddows..." he said, stifling a yawn.

"I guess you are new here, huh? well welcome to Japsers ward. It's where we keep, I mean treat, all the neurotics. Place is a bit of a mess right now. We had a suicide here a few weeks back. Aristocrat too. Erika Von Lichtenstein, I may as well say, seeing as everyone is talking about her right now..."

He stretched out and then scratched the back of his neck.

"Crazy. I mean really crazy, even for here...oh don't mind me, I'm new here. Only been here a few months, come to study under Doctor William Janus. Bit of a genius, actually, despite being a touch eccentric. Still, work here long enough, eh?" he smiled.

He finished off his cold, strong tea in one glurp.

"What's your story then? what brought you to Bedlam?"

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...