Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bye bye School!

Last Sunday, it was time to go back to school to show our creations to Mr Jenkin Slenderbelly and to take the 80 pages long ethical test...

There he was again, still looking thin and turquoise with a huge black moustache and tinted glasses. That time he introduced himself as Mr Jenkin Slenderbutt, which was quite suspicious in itself you'll tell me.

He started to go round the classroom and asking every kid to show him their creation.

Loki had made a cool mini bulldozer with the front really looking like a bull. The teacher liked it.

Tepic had made an "ethical detector", that was strangely turning red (for "non-ethical") each time Mr Slenderbutt was touching it, whereas it was almost always green when one of the kids touched it (ok, only a few tried..). The teacher found it interesting.

I'm not sure I remember everything that everyone did, but I recall Red's little Babbage greenhouse (to allow plants to survive in this unwelcoming place). It was looking cool too. And Willow sewed a doll, Fiona had made a lamp, Tsula made an amazing device that was supposed to remove the magical powers if I understood well. It was really great and the teacher asked him to turn it off before someone got harmed.

Jimmy had built an impressive armchair, and when the Professor went to sit on it, he got electrocuted and couldn't stand up for at least 5 minutes! That was really funny to see him jerking in the chair. He finally got up and asked Jimmy to come see him after the class...

Sammy had made a hoop with a stick to bowl it and the teacher told him he was sure he had much fun with it, in a strange voice.
Sandi made a spinning snowman that didn't melt, Billy made a gun, Vivi made a boxing bot apparently designed to specifically boxe Creaky Gloom, and I didn't really see well what Clara made since the teacher had sent me to sit in the corner for talking in class, but I think it was some kind of clank.
Sevian didn't make anything but he had the excuse of being a magpie.

Then the teacher asked me what I had created, and I answered it was a story, so he asked me to stand up and read it aloud.

Here is my story :

Once upon a time was a little boy named Jack, who was living in
a little house with his mum and dad.
He loved them very much and was as happy as a little boy can be. He had little train toys and his favorite teddy bear was wearing a flight helmet, that way he could come along with Jack on all his adventures. And his mum would always knit him fluffy sweaters to keep him all warm and comfy during Winter.

One day though, a big fire burnt the whole house and his parents inside, and the boy became an orphan in less time than needed for the smoke to clear out. Even his teddy bear got lost in the fire...
He was sent to an orphanage where he was sleeping in a huge dormitory with dozens of other orphans like him.
The least we can say is that the adults who were in charge of the orphanage weren't very nice... They were feeding them some very clear soup with nasty bits inside, and some days nothing at all, and were taking every excuse to whip them and beat them up.
You would think that the children were trying to stick together against the grown-ups, but on the contrary, Jack was always laughed at and accused in place of others. He never made any friends there and was just so sad and lonely all the time.
For Christmas, they were just attending a longer mass but never got any presents.
Nor for their birthdays, and the little boy didn't even remember which day he was born on...

When he eventually turned thirteen, Jack was sent to a workhouse where he had to rub out the verdigris from copper-made objects. He wasn't fed much more than what he had at the orphanage and grew up but stayed very thin and bony. He was spending almost all his time in a dark basement rubbing out verdigris and the blue-green dust was sticking to his already pale skin so tight that even if he was able to take a bath, it would have been very hard to remove.

One day another of the boys working there stumbled upon some tool forgotten on the floor and the bottle of acid he was carrying fell and broke, spreading the liquid around. Some of the acid got into Jack's eyes and started to burn them. His eyes turned even redder than they already were because of the verdigris dust, and they became very sensitive to the light and even to the contact of thin air. They started to swell because of the inflammation and became two big blobs. Jack had to find two glass pieces that he would be wearing at all times to protect them, but the pain, although lessened, was still hard to bear.
He didn't make any friends in the workhouse either, because all the others were scared at his appearance, and he grew even more lonely every day, slowly forgetting the happy memories of his childhood that were keeping him hopeful during all these years.

Jack started to become bitter and angry, and couldn't stand to see people around him being happy when life was so cruel with him.

He eventually left the workhouse and started to wander in the
streets, hiding in dark corners, spying on the children laughing around him and he would follow them and play his tricks on them to make them cry. Only then would he feel as close to "happy" as he could get. But it wasn't really happiness, it was more of a revenge feeling and the more he was doing it, the more he was sinking into angriness and revengfulness.

One day, he heard about a test that the children of the city would have to take and he put a disguise on and begged the Mayor to allow him to be their teacher.
Once in the place, he started asking them what it was that made them happy, and he was planning on removing all of those things from around them to make them as sad as possible. He had a twisted feeling of satisfaction while he was imagining all those children crying around him, and he gave them some homework to do, of course, for the following Sunday, to prevent them from having too much fun in between. Because everyone knows that homework is boring.

The day of the test came, and Jack arrived in the class filled with children.
He started to ask them to show him the things they had created as their homework, and they came up to him, and offered them what they had made.
He received a fluffy warm knitted sweater, he received a teddy bear with a flight helmet... He received lots of other presents, and he was just standing there, looking at them while something was happening inside his mind.
The children started to sing "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you Mr Jack" and something funny started to tickle his eyes. He, who couldn't stand to hear children sing, or even birds, he let them wish him a happy birthday because he could hardly remember the last time he had heard that song addressed to him.
The children all ran towards him, and wrapped their little arms around him, to hug him all together, and suddenly something happened inside his chest, and the ice around his heart started to melt while all the memories of his happy childhood were coming back to him.
The children smiled to him, and for the first time in decades, Jack smiled in return.

Mr Slenderbutt didn't like my story, he asked me to stop, but I didn't.
At the end, I walked up to him and offered him the teddy bear with a flight helmet that I had made. And Red walked up to him and offered him the fluffy sweater she had knitted to him, and Willow walked up to him and started hugging him, and the others stood up too, to go hug him, and some started to hum "happy birthday".
The teacher started to cry.
But then he shouted to us to go back to our seats and to back off.

Triky said he hadn't showed yet what he had created, so the teacher turned to him and asked what it was.
Triky brought a huge metal machine with big metal teeth and the teacher backed off a little, startled and asking what that thing was.
Triky answered "It is a Teacher Eater". And he activated it.
The machine started to hum and the big metal teeth moved as if they wanted to eat something. The teacher looked horrified, but he was standing too close and he got caught by the teeth that slowly started to swallow him inside the giant mouth of the machine.
The kids stood up and tried to grab his legs to pull him out, but the Teacher Eater was too powerful.

Suddenly, some smoke started to pour out of the machine, and we almost all ran out of the school.
Miss Breezy was outside, wondering what was happening, and her school exploded before her very eyes...
There were still some kids inside, but luckily they could get out without any harm done to them.
The teacher, though, had disappeared, eaten by the Teacher Eater.

No longer after, we received a note from the Mayor, saying that the test was cancelled indefinitely and that we wouldn't have any other anymore.

It was the end of School for us.

Was it the end of Angry Jenkins though? Not so sure...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A new life.

I have left New Babbage.

Yes, that surprised me.

It all started with people in the city becoming more and more suspicious about the ones who were "different". Grown-ups, ya know, don't believe in the tales they read in the books. Smoke and mirrors they say, charlatans! Or they get scared and try to hunt down and make disappear everything that doesn't fit their image of a perfect world.

'tis sad cause I know they do exist. I've seen them. Just like in the books, they are. Even the Mayor is an imp, even if he keeps scolding me for saying so.

Miss Mara is an elf, everyone knows that, she doesn't hide it. And Miss Softpaw is a fairy. But life has become too hard for them in New Babbage. People don't like it that they've got special powers. Sure they're jealous or something. Nobody's nicer than them though. But that city doesn't mind if you're nice or not, it just doesn't want things they don't understand. Cause that scares them.

Miss Mara got driven away and decided to go settle in Steelhead, far away across the sea. Miss Softpaw went there too, and lots of urchins with them, and Miss Mara's new friend, a faun lady named Autumn, and her children.

I am sad to leave the city I was born in, where I made all my friends, where I had so many adventures.

I will miss the Imperial theatre, the Absinthe cafe, my lost bakery.

I will miss waving at Mr Holmes and the Doctor Watson on a ride, seeing Mr Tenk on the roofs, going to Miss Breezy's balls, plotting against the evil Dr O, talking with the nice ladies and gentlemen, running on the rooftops, rafting in the sewers and ice-skating on the canals. I will miss the friends I left behind.

But I know I would also miss chatting with gargoyles on the roofs, being hunted down by werewolves, offering tea to a mummy, discovering with horror that ladies I thought my friends and role models had become blood-thirsty vampires, being amazed at the elven healing abilities, trying to figure out what the cloud angels are, speaking with ghosts, meeting the random silly people and creatures appearing in the streets and being dragged spontaneously into a new mysterious and exciting adventure.

I decided it was time for me to travel away and find a new place to play in before my memories of my birth city started to get tainted with dullness and scorn.

So I waved farewell to New Babbage from the boat that was taking us to Steelhead.

I haven't visited the wole of Steelhead yet, but I have started looking around and that seems to be a cool city. It's not the same as Babbage, but it's interesting in a different way. Plus there are trees, and I like climbing on trees. And Flynn too.

Jimmy already found new clothes more suited to the climate in that city, and I have to change mine too. Also I can't wait to meet the local urchins.. I mean, the local children, they're not called urchins over here. Will be fun to compare our accents and ways and adventures and all.

Miss Mara got a dog, called Gonzo. He's very cute with his long hair. I do wonder how he can see where he's going though. But at least he may warn us if Creaky Gloom or some other danger approaches from the Hostel.

I went back to New Babbage for the lesson at school though. The other urchins from Steelhead went too. The teacher, Mr Jenkin Slenderbelly, was very weird. All thin and green-blue with glowing eyes and a big black moustache. He had a big book where he was taking notes and he kept yelling at us, asking us our name and what made us happy.

That's only at the end that I suddenly had a bad feeling after someone noticed it wasn't really a lesson since he just asked us what made us happy. I suddenly recalled someone who had visited Babbage the previous years, the Angry Jenkins. He hated seeing people having fun and his aim was to remove that fun from us. Eventually the Captain Dagger tickled him away and he disappeared.

I wonder if our teacher isn't actually Angry Jenkins, and he knocked the real teacher on the head to take his place...

He asked us to do some homework for Sunday, when we'll have our actual test (80 pages, gah!). We have to create something. And I've got a little idea...


The typist's point of view :


I first came to New Babbage because I found a landmark at Loki's sim, now Goony Island. I visited and found it rather nice. I am not that big a fan of cities though, but Loki's first roleplay event, the Moriarty affair, totally hooked me up there.

I had been roleplaying in SL in others sims, but had grown lazy and bored with most of them. The concept of an optional roleplay really seduced me at this point. I could just be out of character when I didn't feel like roleplaying, didn't have to change clothes or appearance all the time, wear a meter, fill in a character sheet or the other silly things you have to do in a strict RP sim.


Of course, at the time Babbage was only two sims and not much RP was happening there at all. It was more of a builders town. And sure, it was a very pretty background. But what I really enjoyed was interacting with the people, trying to solve the mysteries etc.

I bought a parcel, built a bakery, invented my own roleplay stories. I met many various interesting avatars and had a lot of fun.

Over the time, New Babbage grew, attracting more people, and more stories. The story tellers aren't any more counted on the fingers of an ET hand but on all 20 fingers and toes of a human. That's a nice thing, everyone can choose to participate in the one they like more. Or not participate at all.

There have always been all kind of creatures in Babbage. Humans, clockworks, fantasy, magical... Has it done any wrong to the Steampunk theme of the city? I don't think so.

Would the lovely builds be affected by the people living and roleplaying around them? I don't think so.

Would visitors think Babbage is a fantasy sim because they crossed an elf or a fairy in the streets? I don't think so. Fantasy sims have got forests and stuff. Never saw one with as many cobblestones and smokestacks.

Will Babbage become boring and restrictive if the roleplay and the characters are regulated? Well for my own personal case, the answer is yes. Most of what I loved in Babbage, its freedom and openness, will be lost.

I can't argue because this is the Mayor's decision, and he is the one who owns and pays for the sims.

Thus, I prefer to leave it now, before it becomes unbearable for me.

It's been a hard decision, because I have lots of fond memories there, but I am sure I can have as much fun in Steelhead. Oliver Twist Myrtil will just slowly become Huckleberry Finn Myrtil :)