I’ve had five imaginative entries for the Girl Genius Mad Science contest.
Just as I’d hoped, the entries were fun, free spirited, inventive and cool. I couldn’t be happier. You’re gonna love ’em.
Here’s the deal. I’m going to post the entries, along with a brief description from the creator. At the end of the post, once you’ve seen all five entries, there will be a poll. Sinply choose your favorite.
The top two poll fan favorites will be declared winners one and two, I will mail them their prizes, and everyone gets the recognition they deserve for their awesome ideas.
Robotic Wren and Wendy
This is my hopefully “good” entry, me (Wren) and my cyber-kitty Wendy. My wife did all the photo work, while me and the kitty got to play dress up!
David the Fireballing Mad Science Teacher
My alter ego is that of a science teacher :) Somehow I’ve convinced a reputable organization to allow me the responsibility of crafting the minds of their young ones. I haven’t put too much effort into learning how to photoshop my pics, so I’d like to send in a real one. A student got a great shot of me in the prep room at school one day.
This shot is my facebook profile pic and most of my WoW friends have made some mage jokes. The coolest thing about it is the look on people’s face when they see you do this for the first time. The second coolest thing though is launching huge fireballs off of your hands.
I haven’t done any digital alteration of this picture save for maybe adjusting contrast or lighting.
I like to think that I have a bit of an alter ego when I’m at work in front of young minds, and I think some of them may see me as a bit of a mad scientist. If they think it’s cool and keep exploring science, then I’ve done my job. Hope you like the picture, Dave.
Commander Braithwick and the Ghost of Hades by Ron Ward
Due to the length of Ron’s text story entry, I’ve placed it at the very end of this post (after the poll), and you can read it, in full, by clicking on the “more” tab.
Mad Science Mech Mouse! by Tesh
This is an idea I’ve been sitting on for a while, and just finally put into digital paint tonight. There’s no background; I tried but couldn’t find anything I liked that would fit into the schedule I have. ;)
So, here’s hoping you like it! There’s definitely some backstory here, but in a nutshell, this is a small autonomous ‘bot that has managed to scavenge some repair parts… of bone. It’s best not to ask quite what critters died to provide this little ‘bot with its gear, or how they died. It’s enough to know this is a scavenger ‘bot in the deadlands of the Northwatch. Well, that, or nightmare fuel like the stuff in the 9 movie. Later, Tesh
The Fruit-Fed DeLorean by Symbiode
I made this the other day in Garry’s Mod, then I remembered you had a contest (or your blog reminded me ;) ). It seemed Mad Science-ey enough, hope you like it!
Okay, that’s all five contestants’ entries. I think you’ll agree, they all show creative, inventive mad science flair. :) Now it’s time for you to do your part… vote for your favorite! The poll will be up until Tuesday night January 25th (midnight Central US time)
Which was your favorite Girl Genius contest entry?
Commander Braithwick and the Ghost of Hades by Ron Ward
The summons came from the president himself. The envelope marked URGENT addressed to Commander William Braithwick. With trepidation, the large man slid his finger in tore the note open. A little folded not fell out on the floor, along with a hard candy, the mint shattered. The assassin reached down picked up the letter and began to read.
“Sorry last time we spoke you asked me to call you Billy.”
Only two people knew Serge was still alive, the president and Richard Savage. The president because the assassin worked directly for the leader of the free world, Savage is another ‘shade’ working to protect the American people. Richard saved Serge’s life, smuggled him out of Eastern Europe and introduced him to his greatest love, American football. Commander Braithwick did not know Richard’s real name.
The text after the two pages of pleasantries the president was infamous for read. “You are assigned to interview and hire Professor Mendok. Once ‘hired’ deliver the professor to 58 Abethny Park west of Ogden, Utah. A dirigible will be waiting for you it will speed you to your final destination. Please make sure the good doctor understands he is free to pursue any line of inquiry he finds attractive.
Do not take time to pack anything from the university labs. We believe we have anticipated the Professors needs as far as equipment. I need you with your usual grace, to make sure any collateral damage is easily blamed on the Eastern Europeans. Translation “you are free to act like a bull in a china closet as long as you leave a furry hat behind.”
Serge hated escort quests. They were always more complicated than simple assassination assignments. The problem was Commander Braithwick loathed conversation with strangers. Conversation with strangers should be an elbow smash followed by a head butt finished with a good old fashioned right cross. Not, are you ready then, we need to move please, no you cannot bring your damn cat.
Damn’d thing was there was a scrum on The Commons this afternoon. Big John Gallagher and ‘Stinky” McAlester would be expecting “Braithwick the Eliminator” to show up. The three of them worked well together under the new Boston Rules. Big John and Braithwick breaking open the opposing line and Stinky fearlessly ducking under, over and around all attackers. For a few minutes, Serge considered leaving the president service and concentrating full time on football.
Richard Savage did not stand for desertion, his perception of quitting was running away. Mr. Savage scared Serge, and that took some doing. Big John and Stinky would have to make due on the Commons until this thing with Professor Mendok came to its conclusion. In apology, The Eliminator stopped into McFlinty’s and paid for two rounds each for the boys. Angus McFlinty was the unofficial captain of the ball club and owner of the official team bar. Serge wondered if anybody went by his or her real name in America.
“The professor is busy Mr. Braithwick; he left strict instruction no one is to be allowed in until the Chinese arrive to transport the laboratory.”
“Its Commander Braithwick miss, and I am determined. Tell me where the professor has his digs and get out of the way.”
“I do not work for you. I work for the university, Co-Man-Der Braithwick and I will do no such thing. Now leave before I call the police.”
“This is a matter of National Security miss, if I don’t have those directions in the next two second you will be spending whatever time you have left in Fort Leavenworth Prison.”
“Women are not welcome in Leavenworth you lousy liar. I do not know who you think you are but I will not jeopardize my job on your say-so provide some identification or leave.”
Serge turned and stepped away from the desk. Looking out the corner of his eye he waited until the woman focused on her typewriter. One quick sharp punch behind the ear and she was out. Serge grabbed the map the secretary had pinned up behind her desk. Professor Mendok’s suite was marked do not disturb. If my eyes were, better I would not have had to knock her out Braithwick mussed as he followed the secretary’s map to Mendok’s laboratory.
By now the ball game had started. Braithwick loved the smell of the saddle soap rubbed into the leather helmet. Almost as much as the sachet of bloody noses, mud and grass. The directions were simple enough forward pass two hallways then left until the hall ends. The Professor had a large suite of rooms for his use. The Eliminator found himself standing outside a door marked Confidential. How could a room be confidential, what the hell did that mean? Serge tried the door, locked. The lights were off, no sound in the suite. The secretary’s words hit home, until the Chinese get here. Until this moment, Commander Braithwick had ignored the elephant in the closet. The Chinese were after the Professor and the American government did not want Mendok working for the any Asians. The fur-lined hat in Serge’s coat would still confuse the local cops.
Breaking a window out is harder than most people think. Not hard if you are equipped with a hammer but difficult when, all you have is your fist. The furry hat and a precisely executed punch opened a jagged hole in the window of the door.
“Shh, please I am at a crucial moment here.”
The accent sounded Romanian or Ukrainian. Chinese coming for an Eastern European professor, the urge to run became strong. On the other hand, the likelihood of blood flowing soon was high. If Serge was going to miss the game, he might as well get in a fight.
“Uhh Professor Mendok?”
“Yes, Yes of course, now shush!”
“Not even my mother” Serge never finished his sentence. A tiny little fist flew out of the darkness and through the broken window landing square on “The Eliminators” nose. Commander Braithwick fell back on his ass surprised more than hurt. The door now marked Confide opened, a midget and a beautiful girl wearing glowing goggles and a football helmet walked out into the hallway.
“Didn’t you hear the professor, moron.” The short man yelled stalking up the Commander, fists balled for a brawl. “He specifically mentioned crucial moment”
“Yes but I am here on the President’s orders.”
“Boo Hoo Hoo,” said a large charcoal Persian cat walking out of the dark toward the fallen assassin.
“What kind of loony bin is this?” Serge shouted he could not take his eyes off the girl wearing the leather cap. Try as he might he could not wipe the shit eating grin off his mug. Serge’s gaze fell to the girl’s chest but did not find much. The Commander forced his stare to jump back to her face before she could catch him. To the assassin’s embarrassment, he repeated the action until he was caught red handed. The solider felt as if he were performing some kind of magic, look away, the chest will expand, but the spell did not work. “Oh well” he said in his mind, “tits aren’t everything. The girl is wearing a football helmet.”
“Jiggles please finish your assignment, the boys can handle the intruder.” The woman stomped her foot and turned away disgusted. Maybe just maybe the disgust was with her orders and had nothing to do with a stranger searching her chest for any sign of life. Serge wished the glowing goggles were not covering her eyes. The assassin hoped the girl had been assessing him as well.
“He might be perfect for our needs Professor.” Jiggles said as she disappeared into the black of the laboratory.”
“Will you all be quiet? I am almost done?”
Commander Braithwick started to get up and the midget pulled a Mauser C96 from under his armpit. “How did you keep a gun tucked under your coat while you were punching my nose?” Without saying anything, the little man opened his immaculate suit and showed the holster sitting against the wool and silk vest underneath.
The Persian put a claw over his mouth in a shush signal. “The Eliminator” bit his tongue “Not even my mama got away with shushing me,” he screamed in his mind using the telepathic technique Richard had been trying to teach him for almost a decade now. The cat dropped the paw to the floor and stared down the hall into the gloom.
“It worked; it worked,” Serge shouted to himself. The assassin’s heart beat quickly, breathing became difficult, after ten long years, he finally had the hang of it.
“What worked?” said the midget.
“Uhh nothing” Serge stammered. “Oh shit Oh shit now how do you turn it off,”
The midget holstered the pistol, walked to the sitting assassin. The small man placed a finger on each temple, leaned toward Serge’s face, and blew a steady stream into the stunned man’s third eye. Richard Savage made him breathe, stand on his head, and sing two tones at once but nothing had worked. Serge saw pieces sliding into place. An unnatural clarity swept over him. Billy Braithwick finally understood his mind had been like a jumble of papers thrown around a room. Now everything had a spot every thought filed and locked away.
“You are welcome, my name is Uncle Smoo,” the midget said without moving his lips. “The cat is Jonathon Ripley but we have taken to calling him Rex. The feline’s current form is the unfortunate result of a time travel experiment. We achieved transmogrification and although we were hoping for a different effect, we began celebrating until the cat asked us to change him back. We noticed the machinery disappearing.”
“What do you mean disappearing?”
“Shh use your mind we cannot disturbed the professor. I mean the Time Machine became insubstantial before our eyes.”
“Oh lord man, grow a vocabulary. We could see things on the other side of the gadget and then nothing, empty space. The doctor theorizes you cannot send living tissues through the time gate, but that machinery travels just fine. If his theory is correct we only seventeen more years to wait until we catch up with the apparatus.”
“You can stop distracting the mook we will be siding with the Americans. The Chinese lied about the stockpile of Imaginaryium. Please assist the thug in his efforts to extricate us from the present situation.”
Having the professor call him, a mook did not dampen Serge’s joy. Now all they had to do was get out, head to the train station, and then off to Utah. Commander Braithwick would be free to go home to the football season. The cat arched its back and hissed as the Chinese delegation marched out of the dark.
The unfortunate secretary led the pack she started screaming and point at Serge. “Him the idiot sitting on the ground, he is the bastard that beats on innocent women.” The man leading the procession wore a silk shirt embroidered with red and gold mid-calf leather boots polished to a high shine. The Chinese leader held a tall cane with a long brass handle in his right hand in his left was a katana. The man’s silk hat looked like an uncut grapefruit in a bowl. Five other men followed behind, two armed with rifles, one with a short heavy stick, one with a Halberd and the last carried a three trine trident with a curved blade pointed toward the floor.
Jiggles sauntered out of the dark carrying another Mauser C96 casually by her side. Serge spotted the fine-riding boots the lass wore from his new vantage point. All eyes were on the beautiful woman. The girl walked over to Commander Braithwick and extended her hand. Serge took the offered appendage and allowed the woman to help him to his feet. Another tall Chinese appeared in the hall behind cutting off any hope of running for it.
Jiggles turned Serge to face the Chinese delegation. The girl sidled up close to his back, kind of nuzzling in. “My guess is you are used to working alone. You have the urge to rush the Asians and begin pummeling them. I would like to observe you box one day, I do so love a good brawl.” The woman touched his butt could have been accidental but the caress made his body tingle. “The goal is to walk away from this with all my friends breathing. I need you to engage General Lui in an argument until I am ready. Rex will take the tall one in the back. Smoo has retreated into the laboratory as a last line of defense. Uncle is the Professor’s private bodyguard. When I am ready, I will step out from behind you and pick off the two carrying rifles. As soon as you hear, the first shot rush the leader and take him out. My assignment is shoot the others while you fight the General. Go ahead they won’t wait forever tell him his breath smells of eel or something piss him off.”
“You fart like a fish,” Serge blurted. Jiggles began whispering behind his back to quietly for Braithwick to hear.
“As you obviously have the brains of a turtle I forgive your inane rejoinder. I am here to escort Professor Mendok to his new research facility. My employer is most anxious to begin his partnership with the good Professor”
“About that monkey nuts, the professor changed his mind,” Jiggles was still muttering behind the big man’s back
“Ha ha you make a joke up yourself, are you taught these insults at spy school. I know who you are Commander Braithwick, played any football lately. You may leave now or Wing Dong behind you will delight in beating you into a pulsing mash”
“Yes master allow me the pleasure.”
“You appear silly in girl clothes” Jiggles stiffened and whispered a little bit louder, “shut up, just ball up your fists and get ready.”
The woman walked out from behind Serge and stood beside him, gun hanging loosely in her grip. “You lied to us and we found out in time. Deals off, go back to Fat To Ch’ing and tell him better luck next time.”
“Mr. Fat makes his own luck Miss Ripley. In my country, a verbal agreement such as the one we agreed to last Thursday is binding. I trust your lab is packed and ready for transport. All pertinent crates are marked for transit? While you are employed by my leader you can forget about having any luck of your own.”
“I give you fair warning General Lui leave now or face the wrath of Mendok”
“If you are counting on your new friend here for support I am afraid he will not provide much. His chief battle tactic is rushing forward and beating things with his fists. Wing Dong is schooled in twelve forms of martial arts. Plus he never gets mad while Commander Braithwick is never calm.”
“Perfect” Jiggles said as she stepped forward wrapped her left arm across her eyes lifted the Mauser and began firing. The weapon jumped in her grip mostly pointing at the ceiling. “Now Mook” the girl prodded Serge
The assassin usually found it a bad idea to run in front of a woman blindfolding herself and firing a gun too big for her to handle. Or in the future, if this situation ever happened again he would compare the situations and find running in front of a crazy woman with a gun a bad idea. The two Chinese carrying rifles fell, Serge ducked his head and pictured the General as the Princeton quarterback. Behind the tall Chinese was screaming in pain and grunting. Rex must be holding up his end of the bargain. The Chinese general pushed a button on the top of his walking stick, a thin rapier popped up. Two swords to none were bad odds in most fights, well in all fights, but Commander Braithwick still rushed forward. The general gracefully bent into a stance holding the longer sword high above his head and the shorter katana across his body.
“He is coming to.”
“Can you stand Commander?”
“Yes and you were marvelous, so brave rushing headlong to your death without any fear at all. I was very impressed” The girl kissed him gently on the chin.
“Please release the docking bolts.” The sound of iron gears pressed in to work, followed by the squeal of metal forced into action. Soon more sounds assaulted the sick man’s ears, a series of clunks bangs and the unmistakable tinkle and roar of a brick wall falling down.
“Are the balloons fully inflated?”
“Three minutes 27 seconds until full inflation”
“Do we have sufficient lift for takeoff?”
“Blow the mooring lines”
Serge jumped at the sound of seven explosions all around the Laboratory. The lab rocked Serge’s chair toppled, then the sensation of floating into the air. The floor evened out as the last of the anchor line broke free. Serge loved flying second only to football. Ok he had to be honest kissing pretty girls fit in somewhere perhaps above football. Likely higher if the girl was wearing a leather football helmet, even if her goggles glowed and her breasts were not huge. When she leaned up against him, before the fight there was more booby than he thought. The mook decided the billowing shirt was hiding the goodies.
“Boys and girls we have entered the atmosphere, congratulations on a job well done”
Serge got nauseous as the laboratory rocked under the balloon. “You better sit here big fella. The nasty Chinese general put up quite a fight.” Commander Braithwick did as he was told for once sitting on the proffered chair. The man gazed out the window and there were the remains of a building below. A partial wall still stood to the north but all the rest was a pile of bricks and broken glass.
“The Laboratory flies?”
“Yes Commander you are aboard the Ghost of Hades”
“What is the Ghost of Hades?” the assassin slurred beginning to lose consciousness again.
“The Ghost is a laboratory inside a dirigible. Once we get to sea the vessel can also double as a ship.”
“What kind of name is that?”
“The machine functions as a ground vehicle”
“Can not don’t lie”
“Sure if you want to move a two miles an hour and leave ruts everywhere you go”
“In an emergency the Ghost is able to function as travel across hard ground”
Serge passed out slumping in the chair and threatening to fall out on the floor. Three pairs of hands helped get him onto a gurney. The Jiggles wheeled the solider into the medical wing of the lab.
“Will he be alright can you save him?”
“Yes absolutely his injuries and not grave”
“Will he do is he the one”
“Well, from my point of view you certainly have him in the palm of your hand. I definitely saw ham come to attention.”
Jiggles slapped the midget on the top of the head. “Dirty old man”
“I am concerned how he is beginning to affect you, don’t lose sight of the goal. We need to retrieve the apparatus before Ch’ing To Fat finds it. He is gifted I was able to teach him mind talk in one lesson. Once we have the machine I might offer him a position in the organization. Until then, any personal feelings you have can only make things dangerous. Let us watch how he reacts to the operation; we will have a much clearer picture then. His reaction to the change should tell us all we need to know.”
“Me and the lug don’t tease me. Not my type I enjoy the English language and he only understands five words.”
“You both love football”
“Commander are you awake?”
“Yeah, kind of thirsty”
“Here’s some water”
Billy Braithwick tried to lift his left hand for the glass but found the arm tied down and under the blanket. “What’s going on?”
“Did anyone notice he was left handed before?”
“I’m not, Jiggles was on the left side of the bed the glass was on the left side I want to use my left hand. I trained myself to be ambidextrous in case my right hand ever got mangled”
“I have something to tell you Billy that may come as a shock. During the fight with General Lui, you lost your left hand. He sliced it off just above the wrist. I doubt the president told you the nature of my work when the assignment came to ‘hire’ me. Yes, we went through your pockets and found the note from the president. In future it might be a good idea to destroy notes with sensitive information on them instead of carrying them into battle.
I talk to minerals. Not all minerals are able to converse but a few select mineral compounds are almost chatty if you listen. I am the only man on the face of God’s green earth who talks to rocks. I was amazed to find out no one else heard stones speaking when I went to school. The derision of the bullies did not dissuade me form perusing my conversations. Over time, the rocks revealed secret combinations of minerals that can perform amazing things.
Once the stones trusted me sufficiently the rarest mineral of all, Imaginaryium introduced itself to me. The compound is from a distant planet millions of years away from us. The whole world became conscious. Unfortunately, for the globe its sun blew up scattering sentient asteroids all across the universe. Some of the sentient mineral landed here on earth and began trying to converse with the others like itself, too little effect.
Over the years and we are talking millennia, the Imaginaryium found a few pre-sentient minerals in our earth. Patiently the God Particle has been teaching our rocks how to converse. Even as we evolved from ape to human, some of the mineral have evolved into sentience. I am the first non-mineral being able to understand our mineral cousins.
I can do amazing things together with my crystalline friends. The pinnacle of our partnership is at the end of your left arm. Would you like to see it now? I need you to understand how unimaginably expensive the tool is. Before the fight, Jiggles whispered the target each slug should strike as she loaded the gun. As long as the bullets are, shot in the general direction of the goal they can change shaped during flight and hit the declared target. These bullets had .0348 parts per thousand of Imaginaryium in the alloy. Each bullet cost four thousand four hundred seventy three dollars. Your new hand is my gift to you. The IEMPA has 46.7 parts per thousand by weight of Imaginaryium in its alloy. Can you even imagine the cost of such a thing?”
Billy Braithwick could not imagine such a thing. The Commander was not even trying to make the calculation. The assassin was busy flexing the fingers of his left hand and wondering what kind of sick game the professor was playing at.
“Can I look at it, please?” Serge asked trying to keep the hostility building in his chest hidden.
“Yes of course Jiggles pull back the blanket let the Commander behold his new hand.”
The girl had replaced her goggles with a glowing patch over her right eye. The left pupil was a beautiful shade of brown. A tiny tear leaked out of the unprotected eye. Gently she folded the cover revealing a shiny new polished brass and steel hand. Serge kept his eyes glued to the woman’s face as she studied his appendage. The solider saw a mix of trepidation and pride playing on her face. The longer Jiggles observed the machine the more satisfaction grew on her face it must not be horrible. Forcing himself to confront his future Serge raised his hand.
“I named the devise an Imaginaryium Enhanced Metacarpal-Phalange Assemblage; Smoo wanted us to call it a Higher-function Apparatus Metacarpal Device HAMD. We agreed to let you decide.” The professor looked extremely proud of the hand.
“How come I can still feel my hand when all there is are a bunch of clock parts, wire and steel bits?”
“The HAMD contains no wire in it those are tiny cables extremely strong though. Here take this can and crush it.”
Serge took the empty tomato soup can and crushed with his right hand, “Now what?”
“Perhaps not the best demonstration, do you like peas”
“Here is a full can of peas crush a full can”
“With the new hand” Jiggles said encouragingly
Billy Braithwick took the can and began to squeeze. He felt the can resist. Anger flared up in the assassin and he squeezed the can crumpled spewing peas and pea juice all over the midget. The little man stood clapping gleeful as bit of peas ruining his beautifully tailored suit.
Commander Braithwick laughed in spite of his lost hand. This metal one was better, stronger. “Always hated peas”
“Professor we are here”
“So soon? Prepare to collapse the balloon.”
“Commander, I have a suspicion our planet was blasted with some large chunks of Imaginaryium about 65 million years ago. I believe the largest rock hit the ocean near the Yucatan Peninsula. Our group is on an expedition to find out, would you like to come?”