Blackwood Gazette #243- Industry and Innovation Conference Opens with Military Applications

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology

14/6/282- In what is perhaps a sad reflection of our times, this year’s IIC opened not with an extravagant entrance by Rigel Rinkenbach, or the unveiling of some new intriguing consumer product, but with a presentation given by Crowndon’s head of Military R&D, Major Samuel Ford. Joining Major Ford was one Argathal Gladstone.

Several months ago, we reported that a military team had been sent to Mister Gladstone’s home upon his return to Crowndon. They discovered that he was working on a small aerial device, and the officer in charge remarked on its military applications.

Given the anecdotes about Gladstone’s incompetence and Crowndon’s notorious bullheadedness towards innovation, many, including myself, laughed this development off. But here we are, a few short months later, and the device sat before us on the stage, completely operational.

They had taken Gladstone’s flying ball and turned it into a partially autonomous aerial reconnaissance device. Boasting the smallest camera ever created (weighing at a mere five pounds), and an on-board wireless communications device (technology they said they’d appropriated from a top secret source), Major Ford boasted that the machine would be able to patrol an area of roughly four city blocks and alert nearby law enforcement of suspicious behavior.

The terminology used by the Major sent a shiver down my spine…city blocks, law enforcement…how exactly are they planning to use this device? My worst speculation was quickly confirmed.

“It is our plan to deploy nearly one hundred and fifty of the Gladstone A.R.A (Aerial Recon Apparatus, according to the two inch thick brochure we were given upon entering the auditorium) across the cities of Old Crowndon, Walsh, and Toring within the next six months. More will be added to the fleet and cities across the Empire over the next year. It is a part of a new initiative to use advanced technologies to better ensure the safety of the Crowndon citizen in the wake of the Summit attack last year.”

As horrific as this news was, my mind was equally concerned with several unanswered questions that we weren’t given the answer to. Questions like, how does the automation work, and how does it identify ‘suspicious’ behavior? We have only rumors and speculation at the moment (the most popular being that the automation is powered by technology reverse engineered from Rinkenbach R&D’s Clockwork Butler).

The presentation was followed by the requisite demo. I found myself praying for the sort of hiccup or malfunction that so often marks these occasions. Alas, the device worked perfectly, buzzing over the crowd, snapping a few pictures, and returning to stage. The pictures were developed and handed out as souvenirs as we left the auditorium.

It’s a memory I’ll cherish, I’m sure.

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Blackwood Gazette #243- Industry and Innovation Conference Opens with Military Applications

Blackwood Gazette #233- Quack Inventor Argathal Gladstone Raises Eyebrows with New Invention

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology

15/4/282- When Argathal Gladstone first began showing up in the news nearly two years ago, you couldn’t be blamed for not taking him seriously. His claims to take down what he called the ‘Blackwood Tyranny’ and subsequent failed attempt to cross into Nor Easter for the Industry and Innovation Conference, only to miss it by several months, are the things humorous scientific foot notes are made of.

Gladstone’s newest invention, however, is no laughing matter. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s still kind of a laughing matter, but has the potential to be something serious.

“We received word that the wayward inventor had returned to Crowndon at the beginning of spring,” said Captain Marshal Warden, an officer with the Crowndon infantry division responsible for policing the region known as the Middle of Nowhere. “I figured we should head on out there, to check and make sure he wasn’t building an anti-matter engine or some such thing.”

What Captain Warden found wasn’t anything of the like, but Gladstone was working on a new contraption.

“It was a little ball, with a propeller. Doesn’t sound very fancy, I know, and when he demonstrated it to us it lifted up into the air and crashed, setting a nearby bale of hay on fire. A tiny robot with a water hose tried to put the fire out, but that malfunctioned as well and we ultimately had to intervene to extinguish the flames. Still, despite this catastrophic malfunction, the tiny flying ball intrigued me.

“There are all sorts of applications that such a device, provided it was functional, could fulfill. Gladstone told us it was his intention to attach a spade to the device, so he could pilot it up and clean out the gutters of his home. I, however, am thinking much more militarily in nature.”

Captain Warden returned to his garrison, where they informed the commanding officer of their discovery.

“Colonel Donovan laughed at the story,” Captain Warden said. “But once I told him a few of my ideas, he started listening. We are currently in the process of trying to secure Mister Gladstone’s original plans for the device, as well as a military patent. Mister Gladstone, however, is proving to be more litigious than we would have thought at first glance. He wants to be brought onto the development as chief engineer. We’ve agreed…to an extent.”

The Captain added that they plan on showing a prototype at this year’s IIC.

Blackwood Gazette #233- Quack Inventor Argathal Gladstone Raises Eyebrows with New Invention

Blackwood Gazette #160- Whatever Happened to Argathal Gladstone?

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.

Blackwood Gazette #160- Whatever Happened to Argathal Gladstone?