By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology
17/7– Several months ago, the Gazette reported on an inventor from the small Crowndonian village known as Leadhills, Argathal Gladstone. At the time, Mister Gladstone claimed to be working on a perpetual motion engine to serve as an alternative to Blackwood, and that he would be unveiling a working model at this years IIC.
The Industry and Innovation Conference has come and gone, and Mister Gladstone was nowhere to be found. So what happened to him? After some searching, we heard tale of a man in the Nor Eastern city of Sau Le Frete who had been arrested for quackery after a demonstration for an invention he was peddling malfunctioned and injured five people.
We followed the trail, and sure enough found Mister Gladstone sitting in a cell in Sau La Frete’s small county jail.
“I tried making my way to the conference,” he told me. “I built a heavy auto, chained my engine to the back and set off two months in advance. I made it all the way to the mountains along the border, but the auto couldn’t handle the steep climbs. Also, no one told me there were no bridges across the canyon, so I would have been unable to drive across even if I had made it.”
Mister Gladstone says that he headed back down the mountain and found a freighter moored in the nearby town. The captain of the air ship was having issues procuring Blackwood. Mister Gladstone felt that providence had shown upon him.
“Here was a desperate soul that needed what I had to offer, and I was a desperate soul that needed what he could provide in turn, transportation over the mountains into Nor Easter. I told him of my engine, and the captain was intrigued. I led them to where it was stashed, we installed it on his ship, and within two days we were off. The perpetual motion engine worked! At least for a day or two.”
Mister Gladstone refused to indulge what exactly the malfunction was, but apparently the engine worked long enough to get the ship over the mountains before it failed and the Captain had to make a landing.”
“He wasn’t happy,” Gladstone said. “He ran me off, screaming curses and threats to have my head, and refused me my engine, the scallywag! As it turns out he was some big shot pirate everyone was looking for. I consider myself lucky to have braved such an encounter!
“I set out into Nor Easter, with the intention of rebuilding the engine as I went. I had a workable prototype as I made my way into Sau Le Frete, and thought it might be a good spot for a demo. I was wrong about that, and that’s how I came to be in here, locked away and at the mercy of these lesser brutes.”
Mister Gladstone gave us no first hand details of the malfunction and injuries. He just claims to be the victim of shallow minds. The town’s sheriff was willing to give us an account, however.
“That crackpot had constructed a churning maw of metal teeth held together with rusty scrap metal and twine, with a rotting rubber belt running through everything. The belt snapped, and hit five people. They had welts for a month. If I’d seen him coming down the road, I’d have barred him from entering the town in the first place!”
I asked Mister Gladstone what he intended to do once his confinement was over.
“What will I do? Why, what I set out to do, you silly moppet. I’ll rebuild my engine, and take it to Oeil de Fleur for the Conference.”
I informed him (with a small amount of smugness, I must admit) that the conference had already taken place. For a small moment he was taken aback, but he quickly steeled himself.
“Excellent! That gives me a whole year until the next one! Plenty of time to make improvements to the design and make it to Oeil de Fleur.”
I informed him that next year’s conference would not be in Oeil de Fleur, but in Monteddor City. That started him crying.
I left the cell, discomfited, and nervously wished him luck.