The workshop of an officially sanctioned researcher was, in many ways, limited only by the imagination and personal funds of its owner. Some of the more successful (or, as their less successful counterparts would put it, mainstream
) had vast complexes with dozens of research assistants, countless experiments going on at the same time and even a decent security-force to ensure that none of their discoveries would be misappropriated by even more ambitious, and less conservative colleagues.
The workshop of Dr. Adannaya Brearley, however, was hardly what you would consider big. The young woman, despite having earned the title of Master of the Fourth Ring of Applied Science within a year of graduation, had thrown herself into the research of electricity
, a field so dead-end most hardly considered it worth the while. If having chosen an impoverished field of study was not enough, Dr. Brearley also had this strange inclination not to use her knowledge to earn more than her yearly allowance of state. Most technocrats were encouraged to aide the masses in whatever ways possible, but unless the masses were in a desperate need of a set of spinning metallic half-circles the size of a small room, emitting electrical discharges enough to throw people off their feet and make their hearts race (and kill small animals instantaneously), then Dr. Brearley didn't have much to offer them. Nor did she have any inkling to, for that matter.
Electricity, yes. Her entire laboratory was filled with gadgets of electrical nature, with a very small, but relevant, collection of steam-powered apparatuses that no researcher could be without, in particular the Babbage Analytical Engine (Still a prototype, but then the grandchildren of the man still kept arguing they could improve the design). The Order of Technological Progress for the Benefit of The Royal British Empire had issued a statement that at any given time, only 5 individual researchers would be permitted to study the field of practical electrical application and electronical technology, independently or in unison. No one really believed much in the whole thing, so Dr. Brearley and her colleagues were left mostly to their own engine. It was, in fact, a pity that the young scientist, despite her obvious racial handicap (she was, after all, a half-breed savage on her mother's side), would let her talent go to waste on such a dead-end field of research.
Dr. Adannaya Brearley. Yes. The young woman was currently in the process of removing a panel of the quite life-like ivory on her left arm, one of many pieces that seamlessly melded together with ivory to make a frighteningly realistic limb. the sleeve of her high-collared shirt (greasy and stained from last-night's tinkering with the spinning half-circles) rolled up and a small screwdriver rested in her mouth. Her face was a mask of impatient focus as her green eyes stared fixatedly at the revealed panel, the machination of her arm laid bare to her eyes, metallic pistons and cogs whirring and clicking inside as the pinkie of her left hand, ebony-black and smooth, was twitching ever so slightly. Her right hand went to her mouth, the small mechanisms inside barely audible through the cover, and she took out the screwdriver, bringing it to her left arm as a pair of large, multi-lensed goggles slowly slid down over the tip of her nose, the many glass pieces rotating and shifting around as she brought the tool to work on her limb.
Dr. Brearley made no large matter over her peculiar physiology, and neither did any one with manners. She had been born a congenital amputee, missing both her arms and legs, but had miraculously survived to early childhood when her father, a clockmaker, had fashioned the first mechanical limbs for her to use. Years later, she was still using the same basic mechanism, but augmented by years of personal research.
For some time she tinkered with her arm in silence, but slowly she began to hum along with the clicks and whirrs of her laboratory. She continued to do this until suddenly a sharp and high-pitched sound cut through the murmur of machines and the young researcher stood up, letting the small panel close by itself (she'd have to press on it for it to close properly, of course) and the screwdriver fall to the floor. She hastidly pulled down the sleeve of her shirt, ignoring the increased twitching of her left pinkie as she tried to brush herself off as best she could, correcting her shirt, vest, checking her vest and her hair... her glasses! She quickly turned a wind-up key and the large goggles on her face exhaled a small burst of steam, bellow-like leather pouches on each end sagging and sliding the heavy goggles dangerously far down her ears and nose before she hauled them off her face, quickly wiping out a pair of perfectly circular spectacles from the same pocket as the one that held her clock.
She did all this while walking into one of the less frequented parts of her laboratory. She passed a room where the servants of the family had had their quarters (she'd had to let most of them go, keeping them around was taxing her already strained purse), and then finally into her fathers' old office.
Inside things looked exactly as they had when her father had passed. A thin, thin layer of dust indicated the disappearance of Madam Bouffroue, the housekeeper, but everything from the inkwell to the tomes on her father's bookshelf remained untouched.
Everything, except two things. One was a machine creating the sound that had bothered her in her work. A pencil-lead was tracing along a continuously expelled piece of paper that was already pooling on the floor. She looked at the wavy line drawn and hurriedly went through it all before taking a deep breath.
After clearing her thoughts she looked to the second thing in the room. It was a doorframe without a passageway, standing propped up against a wall. The alabaster white of it made it seem incredibly unreal, as meticulously polished and bleached ivory...
Dr. Brearley had only gone through the door two times before, and only once had she activated it herself. No one else knew, no one else was aware of how important electricity was. No one else understood the temptations she suffered when she became witness to the potential of the spark.
But no one else could do this job.
She unhooked a small hinge on the side of the frame and let the cover fall aside, the panel inside the machination allowing her to enter the coordinates. She'd not made this thing, but had found it. No one she'd spoken to on the other side knew why her world had it, but she knew her father had been involved somehow.
As she entered the last piece of coordinates she took a step back, regretting that she'd not have time to clean herself up. But this always took precedence, so she had been told.
She stepped through the doorway and left The Royal British Imperium behind her...
...and came out on the other side in an instant. She fought the urge to fall down to her knees and empty out her breakfast on the polished floor. She'd already done that twice, and she would not do it again. As her stomach settled she got up and brushed herself off, looking around at the many other arrivals and departures.
" she muttered, eyes wide as she took a few jerking steps towards the direction of Chon-Marshak's office, nodding her head politely to the receptionist. She knew the way only barely, and fell in behind a man wearing all white of a cut she was not familiar with. She'd not been in the employ of the Precinct before, having just received the most basic instructions in how to respond to calls and where to go, not to mention the rules of dimensional travel, so this was... something new.
She grabbed her left pinkie and cracked it in place, tired of the twitching. The finger gave a creak, but then stop moving about.
Sometimes violence was the only real solution...
(OOC: ...looong... anyway, here's a picture