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A steampunk time traveler.

The fact that this community exists makes me very, very happy. I got started on both Doctor Who and steampunk when I saw the episode "Tooth and Claw," and my life hasn't been the same since.

I'd like to share my very Who-inspired costume for a party I'm attending this evening, and some details on the handheld time machine I built to complement it.

Goggles: Harry Potter quidditch goggles from Books-A-Million, unaltered but for a piece of electrical tape hiding the logo between the lenses. $12.
Necklace: A very heavy cog I found abandoned at work one night, on a bit of leather cord. Free!
Shirt: Thrifted. $4.
Vest: Thrifted. $2.50.
Trans-Epoch Peregrination Accelerator (see below): Handmade. ~$15.
Pocketwatch: Kohl's. $10.
Canvas belt: Wal-Mart. $10.
Leather/aged brass belt: Thrifted. $1.
Patent leather bag: Thrifted. $2.
Hex keys: "Borrowed" from work. Free!
Green canvas bag: Yard sale find. $1.
Scarf: Souvenir from Venice. Gift.
Skirt: Thrifted. $10.
Boots: Faryl Robin. $195.

When Professor Kelvin Blankenship completed his first test of the Trans-Epoch Peregrination Accelerator, he rematerialized in his London laboratory and exclaimed, "The future is ghastly!" Though his assistant, Martha Cavill, later discovered that the Professor had actually traveled back in time several thousand years, those four words became inextricably linked to the extraordinary device, and may as well have been its official advertising slogan by the time it became available to the public. Who, after all, could resist the opportunity to witness a ghastly future? The TEPA disappeared from emporium shelves faster than it could be produced.

Many have wondered about the little device's name. While Blankenship's goal was always to create a method of observing the past and future in person, he insisted upon referring to it as something other than time travel. After all, he declared, we are all constantly traveling through time. His device merely sped up the process; hence its designation.

Blankenship's creation was unquestionably the first practical time machine, but it was not without its faults. In order for the instrument to be so compact (15.2 cm x 7.6 cm), limits to functionality were necessary. The TEPA would transport the operator forward or backward in time by increments of one year--finer adjustments to location, day, and time were not possible. A bell inside the unit would sound when its antenna detected positive conditions in space-time continuum currents, and only then was it safe to set a destination and press the center button.

Moreover, when Blankenship attempted to test his device by traveling to any year after 2012 A.D., he found that no matter how suitable the continuum currents were or how readily the indicator lamp responded to the press of the button, he remained in his own year. (This, of course, was not a failing of the TEPA; every other time machine invented since Blankenship's has encountered the same problem.)

For all that, Blankenship was clearly a visionary. When he hatched the idea for a TEPA prototype, he realized that accelerated time travel--particularly in the past--could create any number of unfortunate results. Accordingly, he included a circuit in the TEPA that identified imminent space-time continuum paradoxes and would transport the operator directly back to his or her year of origin. The first person to report the successful function of this safeguard was Josephine Stockway of Kent. "I was minding me own business, just out for a ride with Queen Elizabeth and her court, when a peasant fell into the road in front of me horse. Just like that, zap flash, I was back in me sitting room--and so was the horse. I keep him in me garden now. I dunno who that peasant was, but he must've been me great-great-great-great-great-grandfather or summat if that contraption thought it was so important to bring me back home."

The TEPA also contained a sensor that Kelvin called "spoiler protection": it prevented travelers from taking any information back from the future, or revealing anything about the future to citizens of the past. Blankenship implemented this technology after a test run that took him five years into the future, where he entered his own home and found that he'd married Martha Cavill. Once he knew what would happen, he claimed, there was no such thing as free will. In addition to preserving others from such earth-shaking revelations, he also made an immeasurable contribution to the world's continued economic stability. Consumers who hoped to use his invention to make a fortune off betting on cricket matches were sorely disappointed when the TEPA erased that portion of their memory upon returning to their year of origin.

Of course it was only a matter of time before the TEPA lost its hold on the market thanks to the introduction of increasingly ostentatious devices with more impressive functions. Now Blankenship's masterpiece is a collector's item, snapped up by enthusiasts who relish the simple elegance of this instrument. Many refurbish the antique models and use them for recreational purposes just as they would with a Wells 5000 or Hartnell SIDRAT. The fact that these sturdy little machines still run as smoothly as they did in Blankenship's day is a true testament to the Professor's prowess as an inventor and the enduring legacy of the four words he spoke on that fateful day.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
i commend your creativity.
what is more, i should like to welcome you to this community.

it was a surprise to me that this community did not exist before i created it, so i am pleased to have been instrumental in the brightening of your day

i must say although for me McGann was the first of the "steampunk doctors" i do feel that all 10 so far, have had some victoriana moments.

-=Mr Renfield #286=-

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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Doctor whom, the steampunk alternative

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