The Pride and the Passion: Counter Revolution in the state formerly known as New Babbage

7/1/09  at 1:48 PM
Since the start of the Recent Unpleasantness in New Babbage (now known as Obolenskidonia, our correspondent, Beq Janus, has been sending dispatches from the front line. In addition, Miss Saffia Widdershins has managed to obtain interviews with an individual known only as T, a leading member of the Resistance, and with the de facto ruler, Doctor Obolenski himself. Photographs by PJ Trenton

Part 1: The Resistance Fighter
We had communicated for several days through obscure means before our arrangement meeting took place. I wore white pearl ear-rings had we had agreed, and T unerringly made his way through the cafe towards me. A relative newcomer to the former state of New Babbage, T has nevertheless made the city his home, and the cause his own.

It was clear that he had been living hand to mouth. We both ordered coffees - and I added a tray of delicious pastries. While I nibbled delicately at a slice of Battenberg, he fell on the sticky buns and cupcakes like a starving man. His clothes were stained with soot and blood - something that is, perhaps, less worthy of comment in the industrial streets of the region fomerly known as New Babbage than elsewhere, but even by Babbage standards it was apparent that something had Gone Wrong.

There had recently been an encounter, it seemed, with some of the metallic robots in the likeness of Doctor Obolenski in the commercial streets, and popularly (or perhaps notoriously) known as 'smashitrons'. According to T, they had been engaged in an attack on a leading citizen, one which had not only failed, but had led to the destruction of some five or six of the coonstructs who had literally lost their heads.

"I imagine it will be discussed as a malfunction," T told me. "I do not (believe it) ... for they fought with too much intensity ... but I will maintain the ruse ... if nothing more to allow Dr. O to maintain a low level of respect for us citizens."

T went on to speak with some passion of a disrupted and angry citizenry, children enlisted as spies, streets filled with grotesque iron images of the new leader, commerce endangered ... but was concerned that there seemed to be little done to save the city.

"I am new to the city," he explained, "just a couple of weeks under the stewardship of this clockwinder....a fine fellow as I can tell....with an odd taste in drink - frequently seen laying accross that very hearth behind you ... quite lost in his sour milk dreams. Then the announcement ... that he had been spirited away ... and the dark curtain of oppression falling upon the city."

T may be a newcomer to the city, but vehemently denies the charge that he is acting as the agent of a foreign power. He is proud of the democracy that the old New Babbage formerly embraced, for he believes that the people are the state, not the leaders alone (a view that might occasion a raised eyebrow from the Doctor).

He took me to see the devastation in Loner's Lane, where the attack that he had spoken of had happened. There, while T faded unobtrusively into the background lest his secret identity be suspected, I was able to speak with some of the cituzens and see for myself the outrageous assaults on the citzenry that are apparently taking place without restraint, with young (and irresponsible) children being armed with dangerous weapons which they have not hesitated to use.

I was able to speak with one citizen who had, to her great distress, been shot by a young girl. The girl seemed to feel no remorse and - indeed - revelled in her status as one of Doctor Obolensky's Youth Movement.

What will happen in Babbage? Will Doctor Obolenski succeed in his plans for his new city state? Perhaps it was time for find out just what his plans are.

Read Part 2 tomorrow.

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