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Thread: ~reminisce~ The Thrilling Adventures (A Charles Babbage fanfic)

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    ~reminisce~ The Thrilling Adventures (A Charles Babbage fanfic)

    My revived attempt at writing a TM fanfic. This will be a very short fic with only 3-6 chapters. Criticisms and comments are very appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ada Lovelace
    Understand well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand.
    CHAPTER 1

    Due to a certain incident that strikes them off guard, there are many unused rooms in Chaldea. Many of them quickly occupied by Servants, mostly used simply as their personal room. But it isn't rare when the Servants took a little liberty to modifies them a bit, especially the Casters and their troublesome experiments.

    And Babbage isn't an exception.

    In fact, Da Vinci has scolded him a few times for spending too many Chaldea's limited energy. But Babbage always cooly says "this is my revenge", proceed to comply with her demand, then did the same things a few days later.

    "Say, do you think this formula could work?"

    The one that simply barged in and initiated a conversation isn't the room owner, but a friend with similar interest with him. A middle-aged man with a slightly slender build, mostly out of shape and dress like a university professor. His Servant Class is Archer, despite that; he is one of the intellectually smartest men Babbage has ever met.

    Actually, calling him having 'similar interest' may take a little stretch. It is true that this person genuinely wanted to see this project came to fruition. There is no ill will in the form of 'I will ruin this once it is successful'. But what constitutes in what makes him have a 'similar interest' is the one that bugged him the most.

    He simply handed an enormous number of papers, then Babbage skims down on the proposed idea in a swift, accurate and serious manner. The sight of a massive arm with claw-like fingers able to gently handle documents, while the gears and skeletal mechanisms caused slight mechanized sounds and steam still fascinate him until this day.

    "It does, but the idea or reverse engineering my armor is unacceptable."

    "This again? You know you can easily achieve your wish this way right? This one doesn't have any electricity involved, what else do you want?"

    "You don't understand, if we do not do it from scratch, then there is no point."

    He understood the reasoning, there is no romance in it. But he unable to comprehend why does that relevant at all. To him, if there is a faster way to achieve something, then being articulate is the most obvious answer. But Babbage refuses to listen.

    In the first place, this wish might be possible without any wish-granting device involved. He envisioned a world where steam used as widespread as electricity. While he came to conclusions that electricity is indeed very practical, he too wanted to realize the world she sees, something that he realized far too late.

    That very same person is also the one that teaches romance to him.

    "So this is an another no, huh?"

    BEEP BEEP SHU! Babbage answers him by turning on and off his glowing mono-eye and releasing steam around his armor.

    The professor sighed.

    How very un-scientist like. He murmurs that in his heart.

    "I know, it is silly." But Babbage, as if he knows the numerical value that constitutes the professor's algorithm, precisely predict what he thoughts.

    The professor caught off guard, can only raise his eyebrow.

    BEEP BEEP SHU SHU!

    Rapidly turning on and off his eyes and steam, the professor too able to understand that is an expression of hilarity in a facial less man of hot steel.

    "Hey, do you have a spare time?"

    "Well, what do you think we are doing right now?"

    BEEP BEEP SHU SHU! "That is very true!"

    The armored steel, cooling down and froze, as if it's taking a deep breath, started to spoke.

    "Listen, this will be a little conflated for your liking. But do not be afraid, I'll make it as modern as I can. After all, this is a tale about romance."

    ***

    June 5th, 1833
    One Dorset Street, London

    "Hey, Charles! Charles! Wake up."

    "Hmm?"

    "C’mon you can't sleep here, that is kinda disrespectful toward the nobles. I appreciate you always put all-nighter for your project, but please behave yourself."

    "Actually I was sleeping at 7 PM and this party is just boring. I'm astonished you can keep up with this, John."

    This good friend of mine is Sir John Herschel. As you notice from his title, he is socially a man higher in status than me, a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order. But in this kind of age or it always been that way, the man who holds the most money is the powerful one.

    i.e.: me.

    "Funny coming from the person that held this party for his own amusement."

    "That's the point. It fails to deliver its primary uses."

    "Well, whatever. I'll just use these many opportunities you provide to gain some connection. Hey, I might be funded like you too.
    At any rate, just don't embarrass yourself in front of Mary and her enthusiastic friend, you know how much bullshit that old woman did to us." He leaves as he blends with the crowd of 'important' people.

    Sure, John. Not like this 'enthusiast' will understand my complex machine anyway.

    But I think he does has a point. I don't want to deal with her combination of a Scottish accent and 'calculated prose of bullshit.' At least, not utterly embarrassed in front of these many people.

    I heard her friend is relatively young too, a newly graduate perhaps?

    To not invite her unnecessary anger, I haste myself to join the party that I myself hold. Not forgetting to bring my Silver Lady, an automaton that I modify to work using my steam engine. It will surely give a nice spectacle for them, well they can only understand its greatness that much.

    I begin to ready Silver Lady's engine. In a single press of a button, the entire mechanism starts to work flawlessly. The cranks and clutches of gears, albeit not noticeable, is the most wonderful sound I can appreciate. People start to smile and comment what a wonderful machine it is, very pleasing to watch, etc.

    Of course, it is not a formal party without welcome speech.

    "The Duke of Wellington, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and all of our guests, welcome.

    We are delighted to have you here to participate and share in this little humble party that I held. As I wish for our best regard and fo"—I sometimes ask myself, why did I do this again? I originally host this for gaining a connection to funding my projects, and I already got that. But personally, I find these people are very boring. They don't understand the greatness of my proposal.

    So what am I searching here?

    Why do I bother now?

    And I swear if they start meaningless and hollow praises again I—

    "What an invention! Truly the greatest mathematician!"

    "Mr. Babbage! What a wonderful party you hold!"

    "Bravo Mr. Babbage! A man of science!"

    "━━━━━━━━!"
    '━━━━━━'
    ━━━

    .
    .
    .
















    "What is this, what is this! Hey, what does this thing do?"

    "Uh, huh? Ah, yes? From the look of it, it's obvious this is an automaton, little miss."

    What's with this girl doing here? The dress she wears looks very expensive, some noble's daughter?

    "I know, but automatons didn't produce that kind of movement. The usual automaton can only move in a simplistic manner. This one doesn't move naturally either, but it is clear that it far more complicated than them. So, this can't be an automaton, not the same automaton that I know."

    Then, she grabs the automaton and begins to inspect it up close.

    "Hey, don't simply take my belonging!"

    I was going to take my Silver Lady back. Then, I was interrupted, tangled, and captured by the sight of the young girl trying to analyze my work that people unable to appreciate fully.

    She touched the automaton with a very rough yet refined manner.

    Full of curiosity, carefully touch it in various places to understand it. But without the fear breaking someone's invention stops her examining it.

    "Huh, weird. If I touch and keep playing with it, it becomes a little hot and wet.
    Is this the reason why it can produce that level of movement earlier? There is no lever that I need to rapidly rotate either, by simply pressing this button it will move... and pressing it again it will stop... fascinating..."

    "Wait, I see! If the wetness I feel earlier is the by-product of the movement, then, is this automaton works by some kind of liquid or gas mechanism?! Interesting, interesting!"

    "You notice that?"

    "Of course! I was thinking so hard trying to figure out what it is though!"

    Thinking so hard? Girl, you accurately deduce its mechanism in a mere minute. Even John and Mary can't do that.

    "Hey, what else can you do? I want to know, I want to know!"

    Her brimming eyes look shining in my eyes. The combination of her overwhelming curiosity and innate intelligence give a very good impression on me.

    Yes.

    Perhaps, she is the one!

    "Come with me. I'll show you something more amazing."

    ***

    "This is the Difference Engine. Well, it's its prototype. Theoretically, no, practically, it can calculate up to 6 digits of numbers; primal and decimal, in a quick and precise manner."

    Difference Engine no.1, a smaller version of the one I'd envisioned. In my original draft, it supposed to be able to calculate up to 20 digits. But still, it is a representation, a fragment, an alter-ego of the true Difference Engine. It is something that I proud of.

    I started rotating the lever to activate the engine, then input some random number to be calculated. As the kinetic energy produced is channeled to the machine, the cogs and gears began to rotate. Soon crangs and clutches of steel, far louder and prettier than Silver Lady able to produce entrenched the entire room.

    "There is no way this machine able to miscalculate a calculation unless the person handling it wrongly inputs the number. Do you know what's that means?"

    BAM! BAM! BAM!

    The machine printed pages after pages like a hammer machine. She picks up the newly printed long entrail of papers lies on the floor.

    She pauses for a few minutes.

    Frowning her eyebrows tensely.

    Then...

    Her eyes begin to glow.

    "This is so amazing! Revolutionary is an understatement to describe it!
    With this level of accuracy, the needs of man to proofreading decrease! The usually time-consuming calculation process can be reduced to a mere minute! Faster time to process calculations means the more data you can collect in a single day. Not only that, a company may employ a smaller number of people and reduce excessive money spending. The possibility is endless!"

    "Yes! Finally, someone speaks my language!"

    She is enchanting. To me, someone that wishes of an equal for so long, she is an out-worldly being that I will never expect exist in this plane. She is not from this world, not from the surface. She is a hidden fantastical being from the world below or from the sky, somehow found her way to an inferior human world.

    A fairy.

    "But how do you know the calculation was perfect?"

    "...? I calculate them all as I read, of course."

    What the hell is she!? That's like, thousands of calculation! She is very gifted in numbers!

    "But is that the only thing it can do?"

    "Well, yeah. Reducing an excessive number of works is my grand plan."

    "Grand plan? Even though this only a circuit, only a process?"

    A process? Clearly, she saw it produce a calculation. It creates a result.

    What is she talking about?

    I wish to discuss more, but then-

    "Ah, I'm sorry for bugging you. It seems my free time has been over. I was supposed to meet with a very amazing person, you see? Ehe, did you think I bragged too much?"

    "Oh, no, I was bored and have other business to attend too. So, I really enjoyed your company, little miss."

    Well, it is unfortunate. But I suppose she is a child of a noble. She probably goes to some kind, meets and greets with her parents and their associates. Mary was waiting for me too, longer than this, and she going to kill me for sure.

    "Hehe, thank you too! I mean, it is a pleasure of me, sir." She bows after being overly friendly to me and disappears alongside the crowd. Perhaps she forgot the Victorian manner we have been taught of.

    Sir? She didn't know of me but attend this party? "Weird girl..."

    It is quite disappointing, I wish I can converse with her more. Waiting for Mary and her associates to come, while thinking how wonderful our little meeting was, gives me the opposite effect on my bored mind.

    I'm super pissed.

    I'm very pissed that my fun time is very brief and I back to a boring meet and greet life again.

    Her curiosity and questions may hard to handle and annoying, but that is also the charm too.

    She is not someone that immediately clap their hand seeing my invention. She analyzes it and gives her opinion frankly.

    So it makes me angry that I can't have a conversation with her again.

    But then, Mary pokes my shoulder.

    "Charles, this is the girl I was recommending to you before. Her name is Ada."

    "Ah..."

    "Ah..."

    "Did you guys know each other?"

    "Err, I am Augusta Ada... Umm, this is kinda awkward, isn't it?"

    "That weird girl from before..."

    "Eh, weird?!"

    Thus, our little thrilling adventure to pursue over the unknown has begun.
    Last edited by Spartacus; July 3rd, 2018 at 09:08 PM. Reason: correcting typo

  2. #2
    étiquette Spartacus's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 2

    GULP

    I'm standing frozen, for few minutes, or I should say for thirty-one minutes twelve seconds has passed since I come here. In front of the door of a house that I easily entered yesterday.

    People around look at me curiously, or suspiciously. There is this old woman, taking her dog for a walk, keep circling here and there watching over me strangely.

    The reason is simple, this is my first time coming to Mr. Babbage's home as an intellectual. This is should be my first day working and learning here, yet anxiety already swallows me whole.

    Yesterday was different, I came here with Mrs. Somerville and didn't know the party was held by the famed Mr. Babbage. Though I should realize that was his party, it is his home after all. Not to mention, his face appears everywhere, I should know without being informed. The moment I know that he is the Babbage, I ended up very nervous and didn't say anything of interest. He quickly goes back after that, saying I should come here today and ready myself.

    Somehow, I messed my first debut to the science world.

    He also gets a bad first impression of me, he thinks I am a weird girl. Can't be worst than that.

    "Well, I can't after all. Time to go home!"

    I turn my back from his house, going to the same path I came here before. Then, the same old woman who looks at me suspiciously before start inspecting me. Did she think I came here to investigate a heist target?! Well, if I think again, I kinda give that impression.

    "GAAAAAAH!!! Get your spirit high, me! I'm not here merely to get immediately defeated!" I slap my face, again and again, harder every time, while yelling as loud as I can.

    The dog immediately startled, his handle (I think its a male) snap because of the sudden momentum and start running off. The old woman realized two seconds too late before chasing her newly runaway dog, finally leaving me alone.

    Then-

    "Oh, there you are. Come in."

    "Hello..." Manners, manners!

    I must yell too loud that this man immediately opens the door. Conceivably, Mr. Babbage may give another thirty minus point on the 'weird girl, Augusta Ada' scale.

    "Did Mr. Babbage at home-

    Oh...! You are Sir John Herschel, in the flesh! I admire your celestial body research! Mr. Babbage sure have lots of amazing friends!"

    I know I recognize him somewhere! His dark hair and long sideburns are very recognizable!

    "Hahaha, thank you. But compared to Mr. Babbage here, who makes a calculating machine and stubbornly decline knighthood, my research is nothing in comparison."

    If you ask me, Sir John Herschel is one of the most open-minded mathematicians out there alongside Mrs. Somerville. Unlike mother, his inductive approaches to reasoning a research to find answers are very articulate. His philosophical view on probability answers many questions regarding colorblindness and photography. At least, that is the impression his Preliminary Discourse (1831) give.

    But not only Mrs. Somerville, Mr. Babbage know many amazing persons such as him too. He is not the type that will admit it, but his social networking is top notch.

    Next, someone who would be a teacher and perhaps co-worker, came out. He looks very sleepy, even his round face glasses can't hide that. Working all night, perhaps? After that night party? Talk about a hardworking hedonist!

    "Hey, Ada, don't exclude me like that. Pardon the sarcasm, John."

    "Hello, Mr. Babbage! I look forward to learning a lot of things today from you!"

    "You are enthusiastic at least, that's good. But you are very well dressed."

    He said that after looking at my outfit, which consists of... lame looking blouse and oversized straight jacket. But really, it's only me or did everyone here sounds exactly like Mrs. Somerville?! I thought I finally could escape from that hellish nightmare!

    "I- I wear such a high-quality dress yesterday because I want to impress you! I thought you are a very high-class man or something. I don't want my appearance becomes my character before my intellect. Sorry if I'm not formally dressed now..."

    "Reasoning and logic accepted. Certainly, now you look like a woman of science more than a little girl on a ball."

    "So... It's a good thing?"

    He answered by moving his eyebrow ups and head side way a little.

    We continue talking a few topics, mostly about how we meet Mrs. Somerville and how her speeches cause us a headache. I agree, even for someone with my background, she is above our league in philosophical dialogues.

    As we talk, we go through the hall that host yesterday's party. From there, we passed a few rooms until we enter this particular room. A room full of automatons: some of them look like toys, some of them look like the Silver Lady he shows yesterday, some of them look like golems or knights.

    If I focus on it, I can see some has cut mark on them, I think those are the modified one. He really loves automatons, I can tell most of them aren't on the cheap side. Not like there is a cheap automaton, but these are the pricy among the pricy. I can appreciate the mechanism behind it, but I have never seen someone this obsessed before.

    Then, Sir Herschel whispers to me.

    "Those are spent using the national budget. Queen Victoria would kill him if she knew this."

    I don't think I will talk to anyone about those anymore.

    "So, Mr. Babbage, what are you leading us to?"

    "Hm? If you are going to learn and work with me, then, it is evident we are going to complete the Difference Engine."

    "Aren't that being the calculating machine you show me yesterday?"

    "Indeed, but that is just a test model. The real one able to calculate 20 digits at the same speed."

    I was going to says 'we are just going to make a bigger and longer version, right?' Thank God, I didn't say that. I already give a lot of bad points within a 24-hour span. I should stop doing those before I taken as a fool. Work hard, me!

    As Mr. Babbage finished searching for the right key to the room, the door finally opens. At that moment, I see a room filled with darkness. Not the sinister kind, but rather, it the 'full of color it turns out black' kind. Instead of color, we have a fusion of gears and pipes, experiments and papers lying around the floor. This is very different from the clean and tidy hall used for the party yesterday.

    As if, a completely different world.

    A dimension full of Mr. Babbage's inner world.

    Sir Herschel interrupts, "Yeah, yeah, Ada. I know what inside your mind right now. This is the room of a true scientist or something similar right?"

    "H-how did you know?"

    "Your excited face shows. Anyway, Charles, you should start cleaning your lab and stop giving a terrible example to newbies." Did I grin too much?

    "Hmm, I know. But it seriously tiring, and I will start to mess the room again anyway. So laziness got me."

    "Eh-? You are going to clean it?! Why, this is perfect looking!"

    But that's boring! It's fit my mental image of a genius mathematician!

    "Aesthetically. Logically, a cluttered room will bring nothing but trouble to our experiments. Valuable items missing here and there, wrong calculations mixing with the correct one. It just inefficient."

    "Oh... I guess, that makes much sense."

    If he expresses it that way, I can't say no, do I?

    Either way, I might get a glimpse of his theories from the papers scattering around and understand a little the theory behind his Difference Engine. Normally, I need become a person with rank or pay a high sum of money to read these. It's a small price for essentially able to learn Mr. Babbage's brilliance for free.

    But still, menial task, this is pretty much the same with what father mostly do besides reciting things!

    "So sort the papers and clean the floors, we will handle the heavy lifting. This is my first task for you, scholar Ada."

    "Oh, scholar Ada! I like the sound of it!"

    "Pfft-!"

    I think I heard Sir Herschel holding his laugh just now.

    Then, the time passes rather quickly. While cleaning the room, I get a glimpse of how the Difference Engine works. Even those are failures, I can see its progress from the initial stage, and some problems behind it. Like jamming gears for example, or the energy needed to operate the machine.

    "And done!"

    After exactly one hour thirty minutes and eleven seconds, everything seems nice and tidy now. This way, we can start working on building the Difference Engine.

    "Let's get started, Mr. Babbage! What I need to do, what I need to learn first? Oh, I'm pumped really hard-"

    Then, I see two male mathematicians lazing around on their sofa, lack of energy and lifeless.

    "L-let's have, some tea first..."

    "A-agreed, it's really tiring... Ah... I don't have any tea... I think."

    "Oh no, how can we work without tea?"

    "Affirmative, if only there is someone young and energetic can carry out the errand..."

    They say that while constantly looking at each other and me, back and forth.

    "Scholar Ada, your second task."

    "Sigh, you can only buy me out with that once, Mr. Babbage."

    "Oh, now you really sound like Mary's student."

    Then, I realize there is no shop nearby on this street. I think the nearest shop is a few blocks from here. Thrilling adventures my ass!

    ***

    After spending one hour thirty-two minute and five seconds of my time searching for tea on London street, having an early lunch, having some exercise, we finally started on the Difference Engine. Right now, I'm sure things going to be interesting from now on! It must be, it has to be!

    "Wait, where is Sir Herschel?"

    "He goes back home just now. It seems there is something really urgent as he is in hurry, whatever it is, he didn't have any obligation to work here."

    "I was under an impression that he built it together with you."

    "No, that would be Clement. But he is on his own now. Well, it's kinda my fault really."

    "I'm sorry..." I think I just bring something sensitive, I should be careful not sticking my nose to sensitive topics.

    "Why are you apologizing? Anyway, let's get started!"

    "Al-alright! Finishing the Difference Engine, right?" He suddenly pumped out now! Pacing, pacing!

    "Absolutely not, we aren't going to finish it, we are going to complete it."

    Wait, we aren't going to build the Difference Engine?

    "Scholar Ada! Now before we started, what is the Difference Engine? Answer briefly and clearly!" He says so suddenly, yelling in high energy.

    "Ah, yes! It's a precise calculation machine using steam as energy sources!"

    "Good, now why I can't complete it for so long?"

    "Excessive money- the enormous size and mechanisms are the problem! The size means it weight more than four tons! The mechanism is not really complicated, but the number of gears frictioning each other also may add the weight problem, too much energy needed to operate the leaver! In summary, it will break itself because of an overcomplicated design!"

    Oh no, did I just criticize his own design?! What to do?!

    But betraying my expectation, he smirks.

    "Excellent, your reasoning is all acceptable.

    It's true, one of the reasons I didn't complete it is because of the size is impractical. Extremely complicated to build, it defeats the purpose to ease people on their taxing calculations. I can't suddenly ask all mathematicians and astronomers in London to be muscular; that just gives another problem instead of fixing it."

    Then, he shows off the design model of the original Difference Engine. Needless to say, it was stunning. From the complicated inner works, how the gear influence each other, and how the machine able to press writings to a paper in an instant. About how exactly steam energy used to perform it, about the underlying problem it currently has. It is amazing to think that a perfectly normal man can do this by himself.

    But, he shreds it off to pieces!

    "Listen, Ada. Science is not something meant to confuse people, it is to help and provide them with a better alternative. Science is precision, and precision is absolute. To develop something accurate, easy to operate, easy to understand: making things that originally hard to be simple, that is science.

    That is to say, something as confusing as Difference Engine no. 1, is a failure."

    In that case...!

    "We are going to design something slicker and stronger."

    ***

    It's been a week since I am working together with Mr. Babbage, I learn plenty of remarkable things. Of course, developing a new version Difference Engine is easier to say than done, but I think we are progressing quite satisfactorily for now.

    But, I don't know Mr. Babbage hates music that much. It is very surprising to see Mr. Babbage screaming and swearing like that, he might be scarier than Mrs. Somerville. Shouldn't bring music as a topic next time.

    Right now, I'm on my way back home. Mr. Babbage's house is quite far away from the nearest bus stop, so I need to walk a little. Not that I mind, walking in the street like this give me a change of pace. I mostly spent my time in my home, until I start coming to Mrs. Somerville's. Even then, I mostly communicate with her by mail, because I sick too often.

    London really is dark at night, and we are talking about six p.m. here. The street lamps do nothing, the fogs are way too thick for the lights to goes through. Not sure whatever substance mixing in on the fog, definitely lots of no good. Thankfully, I bring a mouth mask just in case.

    Though this kind of thrilling experience is quite exciting in their own way. Shouldn't get way too exciting though, I don't want to meet some slasher or something similar. Bad people may start taking advantage of this environment. Crap, I started getting scared now, I gotta move fast to a crowded area.

    Then, I see someone walking in the opposite direction of me. I don't have a clear impression about his face, but he wears clothing that makes him stand out: red coat, red top hat, red boots; all cashmere and bright. A noble perhaps? But why didn't he ride a car or have an escort or something similar? Either way, he gives a vibe that makes him not belong here.

    Something vintage, something-

    Outdated.

    "Miss Byron." Then, he suddenly addresses me with my father's name.

    "I'm sorry, sir, are you an acquaintance of my late father?"

    "I believe you know who I am."

    "I'm afraid that's the opposite of my question, sir."

    The man answers by disappearing in the cloud of fog, leaving me stunned for a few minutes that I can't count, and run as fast as I can the moment I regain my consciousness.


    ========

    footnotes yay!

    Chapter 1

    - The title is taken from the webcomic called The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, which is obviously the one that inspires me to make this. Most of my research is simply searching the footnotes of this comic.

    - Babbage was famous to host parties full of significant people. I haven't found the reason why he held it, so I just make it as if he held them specifically to get funds and met Wellington there (the guy that supports his funding). By then, he only held it to found someone who appreciates his view (Ada).

    - Still related to the above, it's interesting to note that, while Babbage is definitely a footnote in modern society unlike Edison or Tesla, he is very respected and well-known during his life.

    - I make him think no one understands the value of Difference Engine and people just mindlessly applause it because of Babbage's reputation. In reality, these people attending his parties are famed people themselves who excel in their fields and definitely is not as stupid as Babbage think they are here.

    - Ada Lovelace is known to be the first programmer, had envisioned for the steam engine and numerical algorithms to be converted into command action. Basically, the same thing that underly how a computer works.


    Chapter 2

    - Ada encounters with Herschel is totally fictional. There is no record (that I found of) they ever met.

    - Lovelace is said to dress badly and so does Babbage. Yeah, I can agree we do tend to wear something lame.

    - Ada has published a translation of other people's works, Babbage advice her to write her own scientific papers by simply give her though as footnotes for said translation. Interesting to note that, this is exactly what she does on her translation of Menabrea's Sketch of the Analytical Engine. It's not Babbage's lecture that gives the idea of programming, but her footnotes.

    - Babbage's idea of Analytical Engine only flourished after he met Ada, which he constantly adding more ideas and improve it. I like the idea that Ada heavily influencing Babbage on abandoning Difference Engine in favor of the Analytical Engine. Although Babbage has seen Difference Engine no.1 weaknesses, for the most part, he only planned to make it more compact and manageable.
    Last edited by Spartacus; August 1st, 2018 at 10:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Across This New Borderline RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Interesting story so far. Ada is a very endearing narrator. Out of curiosity, is this going to stay historical slice-of-life, or are more fantastical Nasuverse elements going to be showing up later on?

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    étiquette Spartacus's Avatar
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    More fantastical Nasuverse, I scatter some hint about it.

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    Across This New Borderline RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    More fantastical Nasuverse, I scatter some hint about it.
    Sounds cool. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how things develop. Also, while the timeline obviously doesn't match up, the dude all in red is giving me some Cornelius Alba vibes.

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    CHAPTER 3

    Months have passed since I encountered the mysterious man in red, but he still leaves a big impression on me. Perhaps the size is the same as my impression of Mr. Babbage but comes with a different formula. If both can be assigned with the same numerical value, I will randomly choose (as the actual number is unimportant) the number 100. Let's say Mr. Babbage's 100 constitutes of 4 x 25, all positive and pleasant. While the man in red's 100 constitutes of - 20 x -5, all negative and vomit inducing. The same value, but different in parts and feeling.

    Of course, the numerical analogy is my childish attempt to show off my handsomely growing mathematician minds!

    Even if the man remains a mystery to me, his brief words make me anxious all the time. He refers to me as 'Miss Byron', a name which has zero meaning but a dead lineage I already abandoned. He is definitely come from the world of poets (aka father's) that my mother insists me to not touch upon.

    Being a curious person myself, I can't help to look a little about poetry.

    But what's more curious is how unusually crowded the street was. This is almost like an Arab bazaar or a Chinese market, but as you know from the lack of shops, nobody sells the important things in this area. Unless there is something unusual happens, something like an actress being spotted in the street perhaps?

    At that point in time, I saw some polices among the crowds, trying to make sure the crowds didn't overstep the bounds. It's almost like a crime scene. I notice more that on the center of it is the familiar house of-

    As I realize that, the man in red once again flashes in my mind, very clearly.

    Overwhelmed and filled with fear, I rush past the crowds and police. Some try grabbing me, but I am too panicked that their arms didn't feel like anything. Some biologists say human under pressure can be unbelievably strong, I hardly able to push fellow teens with my tiny arms so I believe that is the case. Anyway, I somehow able to lose all the police and enter Mr. Babbage's home.

    I have seen enough, the Difference Engine is basically able to calculate equation accurately, right?

    For something so big, so expensive, and taking too much time. It only able to do so little, how disappointing.

    A voice of a woman can be heard across the house. Seemingly in an argument with someone. But confirming the safety of Mr. Babbage is the priority right now.

    "Mr. Babbage, are you alright?!"

    I saw Mr. Babbage still healthy and alive, albeit sweating many litters.

    At that moment, I saw her.

    A woman so elegant that can't be described by words. She is not the prettiest or most attractive, but she is undeniably the most beautiful. She is slender just like most Victorian girls are, but her radiating presence surpasses even those general fighting at the front line.

    "Who's this lovely lady?"

    "She is my apprentice, Augusta Ada..."

    If there is a person that hold all the hopes and dreams of Englishmen in this era, it would be her.

    "Oh, Byron's child?"

    Because she is indisputably the most powerful woman in the world right now.

    She is-

    "Yes, your majesty."

    Queen Victoria herself.

    Even Mr. Babbage, as arrogant as he is, respectfully bow.

    "Why are you merely staring there? Bow to her, show some respect!"

    I can't speak, both from relief and a different kind of fear.

    Before I knew it, my entire legs already laying flat on the floor.

    "My, that's an extravagant way to honors me. Well then, because of her exemplary manners, I'll grant you more time. Consider this a gift for her, don't disappoint me."

    30 seconds after the Queen leaves, all of my sense is robbed because the chaos racing in my heart created between consolation and stress is too much for me to bear.

    ===

    Ada passed out. I heard she was sickly in the past, so I quickly bring her to the hospital. Thankfully it was nothing serious, the doctor said she just stressed too much. Somehow not convinced, I contacted Lady Byron and she brings her back home.

    That was a week ago.

    I was worried something bad will happen to her, but I have a new problem right now.

    I heard something very unpleasant. It sounds like a trumpet that constantly generates a very terrible noise, adds another instrument of death that is guitar and throw in the violin that produces the sound of a cockroach for bad measure. It sounds like a music that people today like to listen.

    "Oh god, what the hell is that sounds?"

    I open my window and start yelling just like always.

    "Hey shut up, do you devil spawn of musicians think what hour is th-

    No one's there?"

    Subsequently, I realize the sound come from this building. So I quickly go down stair to investigate what's going on. Because there is a chance those musicians break inside the house after being fed up in my crusade against sound pollution.

    "Hnggg! Gah!"

    Instead of musicians, I see that girl, full of energy, trying to move an exceptionally massive machine with all of her might. She quickly realizes she unable to do so with her slender hand, so she uses her back to provide an extra boost.

    "What are you doing?"

    "Morning, Mr. Babbage! As you can see, I am trying to push this machine inside."

    To no avail.

    "I ask you again, what are you doing with a machine that no teenager is able to afford?"

    "Eh, um... " She totally looks troubled and definitely searching for excuses. Her full of guilt demeanor gives me an idea that she hides something from me.

    "You bought that thing with our budget money didn't you?"

    "I'm not stealing, I can explain!"

    This girl, give my worries back!

    "Gah, just stop dragging that thing, it will leave a scratch on my floor, I'll ask my workers to transport it. And you will receive a special lesson about the definition of stealing later."

    I said that in consideration of her just being sick last week and looking at her sorry face make me can't help but to let it pass. Of course, she definitely bought that for the development of the Difference Engine. But really, it seems Lord Byron's linguistic genius didn't pass on her a single drop of DNA.

    Still looking guilty, she decides to follow me as I go to the kitchen. I ask her to sit down and she complies while seemingly down.

    "But Jacquard sewing machine eh? This thing gives me a sour note..."

    I say that while offering her a cup of tea, water and some biscuits with jam. This is still early in the morning, so I figured she hadn't her breakfast until now.

    "Why do you say that?" She stares at my offer and me for a few seconds.

    She gladly accepts, seemingly forgot her guilt and start snacking down the biscuits. Her appetite seems very normal so I think her health already returned.

    "The Luddites, you do have heard of them right?"

    "Ah... that thing father has supported."

    She gives me a surprised look, but then she starts averting her gaze. It is understandable, her deceased father took a part in it after all.

    "Some people lost their job because this thing, so they go anarchic and break many sewing companies afterward."

    "But that's counterproductive." She says that as she took out a bag of medicine. She seems had this bizarre idea to drink the medicines with the tea, so I quickly stop her doing that genius of an act. She gives me another puzzled look and I start to notice that Lady Byron and Mary (of all people) didn't have common sense as part of their curriculum.

    "Indeed. Instead of obtaining their job back, they make other jobless too by destroying their workplace. Not like I can't sympathize with them. But there is something bothering me more."

    "Why only sewing company right?" She answers that while gulping down her medicine and a glass of water following thereafter. She drinks it too fast, some water starts leaking from her mouth. It is unsightly, and it may ruin her clothes so I offer her a tissue.

    "Exactly, why only Jacquard machine make people angry about? There are many scientifical findings and progression that drove people jobless, but why sewing? Why not other things and why they suddenly stop? They got what they secretly wanted or something?"

    "Hmm..." She mumbles while cleaning her cheeks from the leaking water. Once again, she looks at me rather curiously.

    "Father, riots and a sudden stop. It almost as if..."

    She shuts her mouth and nose with her arm, drenched deeply in her own thought. While staring the tea with great patience seemingly waiting for the lung to digest the medicines.

    "Almost as what?" I say as a confirmation and take the tea far from her reach.

    "No... That would be useless and foolish. Forget about it."

    But she quickly retracts her unfinished statement and leaves me dissatisfied.

    "Hehehe..." She suddenly closes her mouth with her fist, but her laughter still escapes from her lips and be heard by my ears. This girl is a weirdo, back she looks uncomfortable, now she suddenly laughs for no apparent reason.

    "What are you laughing about?"

    "Mr. Babbage can be a gentleman if he tries."

    I didn't catch on what she says, her voice is too silent to be heard.

    "Back to the topic, why Jacquard loom?"

    "Ah yes, remember when I said the Difference Engine is just a process? I was thinking we can learn something out of this to produce results."

    "Ah... You did say that to me."

    Come to think of it. I still wanted an answer out of that.

    She says the Difference Engine only a process, not producing results. But it is clear it can calculate many calculations in a precise manner.

    If she is one of those know-nothing scientist or the government, I likely lose my cool. But hearing that from a little girl like her, a still-learning scholar if not the exceptionally talented kind, somehow I able to accept the statement more open than I usually will.

    "Jacquard sewing machine uses punched card to sew various design right? Each card inscribed with different holes, and the rods of Jacquard machine will press down each card, and it will work accordingly based on the holes that inserted with the rods. Wait, allow me operates it to demonstrate."

    We move from the table and return to the room where I instructed my worker to put the machine earlier.

    The Jacquard loom, its appearance is very mechanical, it is similar with Difference Engine in a way. From the knitting machine on the right, it is very clear the purpose of the machine is to sew. But what differentiates it from any machine is its usage of cards. The cards contain holes and patterns in it and giant rods are attached to its ceiling.

    She activates the machine, and the machine begins to works.

    The cards started to roll and its stop right below the enormous rods. The giant rods drop and contacted with the hole patterns like punching them. Then, the machine begins sewing by itself and created a piece of cloth.

    "It produces this X-like pattern, I call this X pattern for ease of reference." She says.

    "As you can see, using the card with a single hole on the upper left will create X pattern cloth, while using the card with holes on the middle left and lower right will create a square pattern."

    "So it assigned specific works based on the hole pattern of the card? Are you saying we can implement this on the Difference Engine?"

    "Yes, I was thinking that we design a card with different patterns, which each pattern will handle different formulas. Then from formulas, we can start applying them on real creations. Imagine we can produce winged stallion with your machine or fairy wings for us to fly! Oh maybe, we should make your automatons work independently! That would be crazy right?"

    "How the hell you get that nonsensical conclusion?"

    "American dreams they say!"

    You totally misunderstood what does American dreams means.

    "But I must admit the idea that assigning different formula into cards is plausible. The Difference Engine can only handle simple calculations, it basically only capable of adding."

    Something that can be assigned to, like a worker and his specific job? Now if that can be applied to a calculating machinery, of course any form of work will be more efficient. The needs for the human brain to calculate manually will be almost none, every calculation will be done by machine accurately without fail.

    "First, the Queen already urged me to show some results of this project, so we are still going to make Difference Engine no. 2. Second, there is no way you can make another machine using a calculating machine. Definitely not flying horse or mechanical wing, your imagination is too wild."

    Hearing that she pouts her cheeks. Looking very frustrated as her 'proposal' being shut down. But that's how reality is, an impossible thing is always impossible, you can't create something just by imagining them.

    "Come on girl, we need to think rationally. You can't simply make a walking statue with number or steam."

    "I respectfully disagree with that kind of thinking, Mr. Babbage."

    But she answers in an unexpected defiance.

    "What is 'thinking rationally' exactly means? Grounded by reality? In that case, what is the real reality? Is it the world we perceive is the real one, or the one that constitutes the universal truth is the real one?"

    She clutches her chest tightly and clenched her teeth, seemingly recalling something in her past that I don't know. Or perhaps, her sickness just suddenly relapsed out of frustration? Am I pushed the wrong button on this sickly girl?

    "Copernicus, Magellan, Drake. Aren't this people proof that the reality the people of the past believe in, was in fact, wrong? The world were convinced for so long that the Earth is flat, but they provide evidence that the Earth is in fact, round. That is merely talking about people who contribute in the shape of the Earth, there is much reality that has been proven wrong in other fields.

    Challenging reality is what science essentially does. We pursue what is not thus far to be proven, searching for evidence that well-hidden by God. Creating new thing, providing a new breakthrough, making what is impossible become possible. Grounded by our limited understanding of the world is the key to lack of progress."

    Her use of metaphor to prove her point, her way of speaking that question one's understanding, her way to treatise regarding the true definition of something abstract. I take it back, you are genuinely Lord Byron's daughter.

    I never saw this side of Ada before, this is very surprising. No, her determined eyes, her carefully structured words that pierce my heart and ego, this is the Ada I first time met months ago.

    Perhaps interacting with her for months and noticing her childish sides make me forget. Yet, despite only seen this side once, I felt a sense of nostalgia seeing her like this.

    "Don't you think that sounds romantic? Ehehe." But she suddenly reverts back to her usual, childish side.

    But romantic, huh? And that is a sound argument, even I must admit-

    CRACK!

    A sudden sound of cracking glass forcibly smashed with something blunt interrupting our argument that just started to heat.

    "What's that sound just now?!"

    "Oh my god... Don't tell me..." Ada shivers, her eyes shaken. She holds her own wrist tightly and sweats cover her entire skin. Even her heartbeat can almost be heard.

    She is obviously frightened.

    More accurately, terrorized.

    This is the same sight that I have seen a week ago back when she rushed during the Queen's visit.

    "More importantly, we need to check what's going on!" I open the door that directs us to the hall.

    The entire hall covered in a mysterious white death. Smokes already enter my house, and fire can be smelled.

    Something must burn in this house. No, something has been burnt.

    "No, no..." Ada, still being unstable, do the most unexpected things.

    "NO!" She ran, as fast as she could, obviously out of fear.

    "Hey! Wait!" But my reaction is too slow, and she already went out of sight in the sea of mist.

    More accurately, her reaction to this is way too fast. She is way too scared for something that suddenly happens.

    It almost like she was hoping for this never happen for so long, but reality drags her back and betray her hope.

    But amidst the smoke, I can see a couple of silhouettes. They start screaming and breaking things inside. They clearly are being violent and intent to harm me if we met.

    Thankfully, this thick smoke they caused that cover the entire house proved to be an ally. Without it, they probably already caught Ada or me.

    "Where is that calculating bastard?"

    "Babbage! Come out! We will not be replaced by your machines!"

    Replaced by my machines? What are they talking about?

    Wait...

    "The Luddites...?"

    ===

    Somewhere nearby, a man observes the suddenly happened anarchy.

    He wears everything in red.

    His hat is colored in crimson red, his suit is colored in crimson red, his shoes colored in crimson red.

    But that's not all, his hair is tinted red, his eyes are unnaturally red, even his skin and teeth has noticeable red tone on them.

    Clearly, the color red is intentional, there is some sort of meaning why his appearance was like that. It is a very eye-catching way of dress, even among mages like him.

    "Scientist, Charles Babbage. What you had done to me, your deserved retribution will start tonight."

    The man enters the infamous scientist's house and laboratory with a hateful body language that matches with his fiery color of choice.
    Last edited by Spartacus; August 12th, 2018 at 11:04 AM.

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