Academy of Industry
From New Babbage Department of Records and Archives
Academy of Industry was the short-lived seventh sim built by Mayor Shaunathan Sprocket. It was a place of rolling green hills dominated by a large structure, the Academy, based on Stadium High School  in Tacoma, Washington, USA. The sim was east of Babbage Palisade and north of Port Babbage. The Academy was never completed, as it was converted to Clockspire Cove and moved to south of Vernian Sea to become the lair of Doctor Obolensky.
This is one of the few photos that has been found, the Adademy foundations can be seen in the background behind Jedburgh Dagger.
The new Academy sim arrived in fall of 2009, earlier than expected. It was formerly Sanitorium Island, a sim dedicated to Repo: The Genetic Opera. It should be no surprise to anyone that the sim was overrun by zombies when it arrived.
The Fall of the Academy: Speculation
We will never know the details of the explosion that caused the original academy to be lost, but it is fodder for stories told over a good pint of Babbage Beer. Here are a few that have been gathered:
....a bunch of students, after a particularly excessive post-exam celebration, attempted to prank the Dean's office by creating a device that created smells of the most horrible sort. Due to a drunken error involving exponents, the resulting "Stenchotron" was far more effective than the students imagined, driving all living things out of the Academy and surrounding buildings due to the nasal trauma that ensued.
*ahem* The Stenchotron was "enhanced" by one of the participating prankster students with a potent olfactory neurotoxibiorganic compound snitched from the office of Dr. Ignatius "Laughin' Iggy" Rappicchini, a Professor of Biological Engineering known for enthusiastic experimentation and dubious sanity. Those closest to the resultant malodorous effusion were quickly reduced to shambling automatons. These "stench zombies" would chase and try to catch anyone nearby, forcing them to breathe in their horrible smell and thus become revenants themselves. It is said that in the darkest reaches of the sewers, one can still occasionally detect whiffs of some indescribable horror, and hear the faint, unearthly cry of "Pull my finger...
Trouble with an earthquake is that it would've damaged surrounding regions also. Perhaps a sinkhole instead. Overmining and/or natural caverns under the city could collapse, swallow the academy whole. It happens from time-to-time, usually on a smaller scale, but definitely plausible. Perhaps mines outside the city were illegally/mistakenly mining under the city walls. Some heads are going to roll for that one.
During experiments with [what will in later years be referred to as a Tillinghast Resonator], dimensional physicists opened a rift that swallowed the Academy and a portion of the surrounding landscape.
An earthquake? No, the academy was taken by something else, an earthquake was just a cover up to keep the residents from wondering. The academy of industry was a place of, well, industry. Science was always a foot and advancements were achieved on a constant basis. There was a sole professor that most avoided as much as they could, one who lived in the basement, which he called his lab. Many called him crazy, others called him mad, but he was commonly known as Dr. Igor Rosenstein, an expert in biology. Dr. Rosenstein toiled away every night, trying to find a way to reanimate a being with no life left in it.
One night, uninvited, he raided the local morgue, taking which ever body parts he saw fit, paying best attention to find the largest brain he could find. He toiled away late into the night stitching the pieces together until he had something recognizable. He cut open the skull, and stuck the brain in, reconnecting the top of the cranium with two large bolts. Now he had to wait for the perfect storm.
He did not have to wait long, as it would be his luck that a large thunderstorm hit the town of New Babbage the very next night. Large lightening rods stuck from the top of the academy, attracting the lightening, and transferring to Dr. Rosenstein’s lab, by way of wires that he had connected. His lab lit up as electricity flew through the air as he hit the switch to transfer the surges into his makeshift patient. He screamed “IT’S ALIVE!” before looking up the body, which did not move. He looked dazed and slowly looked at the switch, which he quickly flipped once more, screaming once again “IT’S ALIVE!” Again the Doctor looked upon the body, still motionless. He began flipping the switch over and over again, with each flip, a syllable, “it’s- a- live.”
The doctor finally grew frustrated and flipped it once more saying confused and hopeful “it’s… alive?” Upon seeing no motion from the body still he stored angrily to roof to where the lightening rods were. He though perhaps they were at a wrong angle, or too far apart from another, so he began to adjust them. As he laid his hand on either of the two rods, lightening struck sending electricity through his body, catching his grey hair on fire. He held tight to the rod as he fell backwards, snapping the rods, his hair igniting the roof. Lightening stuck the rods again, further fueling the small blaze, as they now rested in the Doctors grasp, touching the roof. The roof began to give and the doctor fell through crashing though the floors, landing flat on top of the corpse he had stitched together.
As the academy began to become engulfed in flames the Doctor opened his eyes as he stood up, amazingly feeling well, just moving slow, as he expected in his old age. The only difference is he felt an urge that he could not control. He slowly walked around the room his hands moving on their own feeling around the room until they laid upon the skull of corpse. The bolt slowly unscrewed and a brain flopped onto the table. The doctor looked at the brain and looked confused until he quickly buried his face into the brain. The doctor had his fill and walked up the stairs and out the door and the building began to collapse, the glow in the sky blending with the colors of industry, the smoke blending with the exhaust of the factories. The fire was hidden by the large building of Port Babbage, make the fire only visible to those of the surrounding buildings. The fire slowly burnt itself out as the building collapsed onto itself, as Doctor Igor Rosenstein slowly walked into the sewers, towards the old quarter.
The Academy was of course not the only structure consumed by the flames. Over the next few days, the entire quarter suffered at the hands of the blaze. Many of the denizens failed to escape the flames entirely and were never heard from again.
And yet, weeks later, after the flames had been doused and engineering crews were beginning to survey the damage for both the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage, reports began to surface of Old Quarter inhabitants, long presumed dead, being glimpsed among the wreckage. None of these sightings were ever confirmed, although many witnesses swore they had seen loved ones at a distance, who puzzlingly ignored their cries and slouched back into the rubble.
And then Doctor Theophilus Rootshank, one of the surviving faculty, sent by the City to inspect the remains of the Academy and submit a proposal to rebuild it, disappeared. His surveying team reported that he had wandered off at one point, saying something about seeing a former student in the distance, but was never to return. A search party of five was sent to find him, of which only three were ever seen again. Rumors began to abound of citizens living close to the damaged area going missing as well. Pets vanished. Panic began to seep in around the edges of the populace.
Concerned, and facing a shortfall of City funds with which to rebuild what now appeared cataclysmic damage, Mayor Sprocket released a statement to the New Babbage Cog. The statement cited the odd and simultaneous cause of the disaster to be both earthquake and fire, and said that damage to the Old Quarter was so extensive that rebuilding would wait until "City resources can be marshaled accordingly." Instead, he ordered the waiting bricklayers to erect a massive masonry wall around the damaged area "...to prevent 'accidents'". In the order, the dimensions of the wall were to be, specifically, "... high enough to prevent a person from getting out in without a ladder, and thick enough to prevent anyone tunneling with their bare hands."
And, of course, over time, the specifics of the events were lost to official memory. Fast forward to today's heady boom times, and the City is in need of new land. Any other effort to expand the city seems expensive compared to revitalizing the Old Quarter. So the Clockwinder decides to knock down the old wall and clean up the quarter. No one is quite sure whether he was aware of the actual history or not, or what will ensue when the seals are broken...
The Academy of Industry was the research center and hub of academic studies in the area of New Babbage formerly known as the ‘Old Quarter’. While many older residents of the city knew the approximate location of the Academy, the area itself was unreachable by the citizenry. The wall that bordered the area was possibly the only wall in town that did not bear any signage, or grafiitti. The long-time residents treated the wall with a certain fear, or reverence, and have been known to avoid it altogether if possible. The actual story, shocking as it seems, was compiled after many months of research, interviews, and careful exploration. The truth beggars the imagination, and is a stark reminder of just what can go wrong in New Babbage…
The Academy was completed and staffed with some of the finest scientific minds in the Steamlands, and was host to many developments in machinery, science, and engineering. One of the most prominent researchers was a Professor Hans Beronus. The professor was a former student of a Doctor Cavor, and was conducting research into the harnessing of energy from so-called energetic elements. Dr Beronus’ eventual goal was to synthesize an element that could be used in place of coal to produce steam without being burned. The research was not without incident, and the administration of the academy began to wonder if the loss of a large number of lab assistants, and the seemingly maniacal passion of the doctor were good for the reputation of the institution.
The staff would not have a chance to censure the good doctor however, because early on a crisp September morning something happened in the lab…the air was rent by a huge flash and the resulting fire gutted the elemental research wing of the building. The true damage was yet to be told, as in the days following the accident several nearby residents went missing. No one really worried until the partially gnawed arm of a teaching aide was discovered on the front steps. Later that afternoon, the aide, sans arm, appeared in the south quad and attacked a sophomore engineering student. The same student later died of what was initially thought to be a bilious fever. The body apparently disappeared from the school infirmary, and a very distraught (and drunk) classmate claimed to have seen the same student at the mouth of the sewer eating freshly killed rats. The residents of the Old Quarter were becoming ill at an alarming rate, and a resulting mortality rate that caused the city fathers to spring into action. They immediately fortified the wall around the Old Quarter and enacted a curfew for the area. The effects of the disease seemed to be localized to the area, and only became pronounced on an extended exposure to the zone affected by the explosion. The decision was reached to seal the gates on the second day of the quarantine after a curious constable was drug under the barricade at the midnight shift change. Shortly after the last bricks were put in place, the crowd was greeted with another flash and a sizable tremor. The one soul brave enough to clamber to the top of the wall was apparently so shocked by what he saw that he could not express the sight in any other words other than murmuring “Hole…” over and over. The scientific theory put forward at the time was that lingering radiation from the initial blast triggered a sympathetic reaction from the Chronology Physics experiments that were going on next door. What lies on the other side of the wall? Is there anyone brave enough to find out?
Bah on zombies. Now if you had somehow managed to work in corpses renanimated by replacing their brains with a clockwork motivator, *that* would be a story! :)
Maybe a bunch of survivors wandered out moaning, the neighbours stoned them to death as zombies, and the resulting embarassment led to years of awkward silence over the fate of the Academy :p
The Academy of Industry was once the pinnacle of technological achievement and study. Scientists, scholars, engineers, & theorists from across the globe traveled untold distance merely for the opportunity to apply for entrance into it's hallowed halls. However, there were those who did not celebrate it's existence. Those who engaged in more esoteric and spiritual endeavors saw the Academy as the physical embodiment of man's hubris, an attempt to reshape the world in it's own image. It cannot be overlooked, however, that the sociological impact of the Academy had greatly accelerated the declination of the influence that spiritualist, healers, diviners, and the like had held over their fellow man since the earliest of recorded history.
Many believe that the tension between those of the Old World and the New World came to a head during an exhibition by one Reginald Hainsworth. Hainsworth was, in his day, a superlative mathematician, physicist, and mechanical theorist. He was also rumored to be a founding member of the secretive Culto di Macchina, which believed that such a flawed creation as mankind could not issue forth from a perfect deity. That instead, it was mankind's destiny to perfect itself, and through technology perfect the world, until it would reach it's apex by creating a perfect deity through literal “Deus ex Machina”. There has been much conjecture about Hainsworth's link to the subversive group, however, that ample evidence for such speculation found while investigating the scholar postmortem cannot not be denied.
Hainsworth and his colleagues had prepared for exhibition of what may have still stood to this very day as the height of all engineering feats, had it not been for the tragedy that struck the academy. The invention was called, quite simply, Grande Motore, the Great Engine. Massive beyond belief, its purpose was to power six equally large generators of electrical power, supplying New Babbage with, Hainsworth estimated, over one hundred times the energy required by the City's needs of that era. This excessive endeavor was not a product of mere scientific vanity, nor was it to be wasted. Many saw the Engine not only as a modern marvel of science, but as a vital stepping stone, providing a near limitless supply of energy for research and experimentation, thereby opening a flood gate of new discoveries and achievements.
Many local spiritualists and practitioners of magic were aghast at such a creation. A fairly large contingent, rallied by conjurer and healer Josia Morgan, had planned a demonstration of their own during the exhibition. Morgan proposed that the only way to stem the tide of technology, and in a small way begin to restore the “natural” balance was to restore the faith of the populace in “that which cannot be seen nor touched by the mortal plane”. This was to be accomplished by the ritual summoning of what Morgan refered to as a “Nether Being”, timed to coincide with the activation of the Grande Motore.
What, if anything, Morgan and his group could have conjured is unknown. Upon activation, the Great Engine filled the grounds of the Academy with the “Sounds of Progress”, as Hainsworth had called them. However, it was when the Engine engaged the six generators that things went awry. At first, it only seems to be a slight mis-calibration. A perceptible vibration, emanating from the Grande Motore. The engineers involved assured all in attendance, that this was nothing of note, considering the power of the Engine. However, soon, the ground began to shake more fiercely, causing a ripple affect of surprise turning into abject terror. Within moments, arcs of electricity spewed forth from the generators, catching the facility aflame, and incinerating all it came into contact with. The devastation increased exponentially moment to moment, utterly consuming the Academy.
The disaster spread far beyond the ground itself. Dozens upon dozens of great minds were lost, including Reginald Hainsworth himself. The City reeled from the tragedy for quite sometime. Scientific study within New Babbage was severely hampered by memory of the incident, and a moratorium was place upon all electrical experimentation and implementation, going as far as to replace the City's few electrical lights with those utilizing natural gas.
All surviving members of the Grande Motore's engineering teams were dumbfounded as to what went wrong. Indeed, independent study of the schematics reinforced that assertion. The experts of the day agreed, Hainsworth's theory and calculation was flawless. Speculation ranging from sabotage by Josia Morgan's demonstrators to divine intervention were raised. However, if it were the former, it would never be confirmed, as Morgan, and most of his followers were among the dead.