Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 46

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity details a secretive resident of the beautiful and deadly Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

46) The Clockwork Man, West Tower, Greater Windlet Island, interior

Those who have heard of the so-called Clockwork Man are those who have the wealth, insight, connections, and knowledge to have travelled at least part of the way down the same road – a rarefied club to say the least.

The Man, believed by some to bear the surname Fong, and others the surname Dunbarton, is the romanticized and semi-fictionalized icon at the spearhead of a movement to use mechanics to enhance what Nature has left weak, and replace what Nature would let rot. There are none outside whatever circle of aids and confidants he himself might have around him who can reliably claim to have laid eyes on him, yet there are… reports, rumours, and scraps of plans and designs which circulate often enough to keep the belief and the stories alive.

A joke made in Las Vegas two years ago at a small convention for mostly discredited researchers and inventors that if the Clockwork Man were alive he’d have to be on the Windlet Isles to have escaped notice for so long, has blossomed slowly and malignantly into a certain belief that this is in fact where he is hiding, and there are those who are passionate enough, desperate enough, and inspired enough to think that warrants a trip. It remains to be seen if any of them will be enough of those things to warrant a meeting. The joke it seems, is not only believable, it also happens to be true.

Fong, or whatever his name really is, is known to experiment on himself frequently and liberally, and at this stage of his self-imposed exile, is thought to have likely replaced or enhanced his limbs and fortified his body with mechanical analogs more powerful than Nature deigned to allow. The Man’s defiance of Nature is legendary, as are his supposed rants against the creator. His audacity is the true hallmark of adventurous ingenuity according to both his supporters and detractors.

Each year, on the Autumnal Equinox, inventors world-wide are known to raise a glass in his honor and make the toast, “Come forth, and show us the way” in tribute to the Man, and the faith of his most ardent supporters.

A discussion in the Cobalt Club in New  York City a few days ago, overheard by gentlemen of means from several countries, allegiances, and ongoing business concerns and now busily being spread from drawing room to drawing room over brandy and blueprints, claimed that there was good reason to believe that Fong, now living under the name of Walker, was ensconced by a consortium of powerful international financiers, in a secluded facility code-named the West Tower on Greater Windlet. The details of this conversation are spreading like wildfire, and speculation about the worth and effect of the Man’s inventions has fueled speculation of other sorts, in all sorts of darker, less congenial spaces.

Rumours: Heard among connected experimenters and boundary pushers

  • He believes that limbs can be replaced and enhanced by mechanical prostheses
  • He invented an effective and potent exoskeleton more than a decade ago
  • He invented a diving device more like a prosthesis than a vessel which allowed unparalleled freedom and depth ranges underwater
  • He has perfected a mechanical heart, and mechanical lungs
  • He thinks longevity is a riddle we will be able to prize from Nature’s grasp within this century
  • He is already more than 90 years old, and shows no sign of slowing down or succumbing to age
  • He is actually a woman who uses a man’s name
  • He was crippled in a tomb exploration in Egypt but has circumvented that weakness and is stronger than ever

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