A 46-post collection

Challenge #01624-D163: Brass Goggles

[Person #1]: Oh dear, [Designation] just went from automaton to a child that just did something new. Progress.

[Person #2]: And a complication for [Name]. Better to have an absolutely loyal Automaton than someone who may have a conscience. -- RecklessPrudence

Colonel Peter A. Walter's design for the Babbage Brain seemed sound on paper, but things that worked on paper had a way of leaving him without eyebrows for a few days. Now that he'd built it and installed the thing inside the copper skull, he simply had to test it and its learning algorithms.

He hooked it up to the power core and fed the dictionary punch-cards through its processors. The resulting paroxysms were disturbing to watch and took hours of cranking. Next time, he would have a motorised feeder. Finally, at the stroke of noon, the mechanical head chirped a slightly more complicated tune in response to the clocks. It blinked. Its eyes tracked a moving object. It seemed wont to look everywhere around it.

Peter held up the rabbit he kept for testing his Blue Matter on. "Recognise. What is it?"

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 43]

Chapter Forty-three
(Epilogue, The Steam Man Band, Delilah returns from the dead, and The persistence of sandwiches)

Duo and Trike held fast to her hands as she entered the side stage door. They giggled to see their automaton brothers playing music on the stage.

“There’s Pappy,” chirped Duo. He was, after all, hard to miss. Still a gangly giant of a man, pale as a sheet and sporting blue-black hair.

“Pappy!” Trike broke away and ran for his father.

Colonel Walter

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 42]

Chapter Forty-two.
(Necessary inventions for a mother, A simple wedding, Flowers all over, and A good husband)

Among dear Peter’s many inventions (most of them were cluttering up a ballroom that had been left long abandoned, now) was an adjustable bed backing that could raise her into a sitting position with the use of a crank. The automatons were forbidden from fighting over who got to use it and perforce drew straws to see whose go it was.

Peters Two and

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 41]

Chapter Forty-one.
(Resurfacing to reality, A significant error, An invader in his own home, and A tearful introduction)

Peter hadn’t focussed very much on what people outside his new construction lab were saying to him. Not until Rabbit and the boys started whooping it up about babies. A highly distracting mixture of cheering and panic at maximum volume.

And Mrs Cambridge literally dragged him away from his latest assembly.

“Hm? Pardon?”

“I said,” she growled, still dragging him away from his

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 40]

Chapter Forty.
(Gram’ma Josie at work, Anxiety all around, Good signs, and An important miscommunication)

Josie let the father and his inventions swarm for all of fifteen minutes. Plenty enough time for a first mother to get well over the idea of watching her go through the entire procedure. Nothing wearied a mother more than having the entire family fuss over her when she was busy doing the hardest work of her life.

The one called Hatchworth kept rummaging inside his

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 39]

Chapter Thirty-nine.
(A series of blinks, A change in fortune, A change in friends, and Some really big worries)

For Iris, events rushed by in blinks. She closed her eyes as a maid, and opened them a verified fiancee. Peter moved her into her own suite, and played host to a midwife of both good experience and good record.

The canny woman, later introduced as Gram’ma Josie, sized Iris up and down and announced, “Oh yes. That’s twins, all right.

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 38]

Chapter Thirty-eight.
(Cryptic utterances, Strange change of routine, Joyous news, and A fearful fate)

There was only one explanation that fit. Miss Iris had gone more than peculiar in his absence. She had odd, quiet fits of weeping where he couldn’t see her. And when she talked to him she was either baffling or angry with him

It began small, of course, with breakfast the morning after he came home.

“I have ceased being unwell,” she said out of nowhere.


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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 37]

Chapter Thirty-seven.
(A recurrence of levitation, The return of the good colonel, A new name, and Saved from sandwiches in anger)

Iris found out about Peter's return from the newspapers. Sightings of a gigantic mechanical giraffe were treated as amusing news by the press. Laughable jolly reports along the lines of some drunkards would see anything.

That man! The least he could have done was send one of his enigmatic telegrams.

But no, she had to find out at the same time

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 36]

Chapter Thirty-six.
(The journey home, Are we there yet?, Reflections on the weekend war, and Rabbit’s little revelation)

Sometimes, Peter wished that he could have walked the great automaton Delilah across the Atlantic. The gigantic giraffe had made short work of the vast distances in Africa, and she promised to be just as fast over the plains of the United States.

But despite that, his children were… well... children.

“Are we there, yet?”

“Three, we are fresh onto the East coast.

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 35]

Chapter Thirty-ffive.
(Good news, Better news, A bad bargain, and Nothing to fear)

Admiral Walter hadn't seen much of the Paddy since Peter had gone away with all his mechanical monst-- his machines. Hadn't heard much out of her since her suggestion for apology. Now she came into his office with something plaguing her mind. She was wan and weak. Definitely green about the gills. And prone to cling to sturdy furniture when it was available.

"Whatever's bit you?" he asked.


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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 34]

Chapter Thirty-four.
(The war is over, An absence of news, Worries abound, and Kindness from others)

Iris was away at tea with the Pembrookes when the next telegram arrived from Egypt. Mrs Cambridge saved it for her, of course. Another simple message.

Becile defeated. Assisting Babclock in cleanup, rebuilding. Coming back soon.

Infuriatingly absent of any heartening information. Such as whether his children had survived the battle, or how well he had fared. Or if the generic, factory robots had performed as

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 33]

Chapter Thirty-three.
(An attempt at concealment, A missed dinner, Plans for war, and The Admiral’s weakness)

Iris made sure her presentation was spotless. The last thing she needed was for gossip to get about. Not until Peter was ready to steal the Admiral's march. It would serve the old man right for Peter to come to dinner with a spouse in tow.

The one she worried about the most was Mrs Cambridge. She seemed to have vision that rendered people transparent

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 32]

Chapter Thirty-two.
(A moment of delight, Urgent summons, Becile strikes again, and Desperate measures)

Peter had never known such delight, and therefore wanted very little else. Alas, the demands of his body made it loudly known that his stomach had dearly missed its lunch. Iris must have been perishing, too, for her own belly answered his hungry snarl with its own.

The plentiful lunch, since gone cold, provided them both ample sustenance. He derived some great glee from feeding dear Iris some

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 31]

Chapter Thirty-one.
(Frustrations arise, Bold new talent, Affection returned, and Requited passions)

The following days were full of near misses. Embraces almost taken. Kisses almost given. Confessions almost said. And always, always some interruption or another.

Like the unexpected news that the Admiral had finally been cleared to hobble about on crutches. Or poor Penelope having a nervous episode in one of the stairwells. Or Mrs Cambridge falling down from a fever. Or another one of the highly predatory ladies confidently coming

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Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 30]

Chapter Thirty.
(Love blooms under a bushel, Visions both pleasant and dire, A quick study, and The automaton school)

Peter had to wonder if hot flushes were an effect of the blue matter or if they were simply an effect of Miss Iris. She had a unique knack of making him unsure of his footing, yet completely at ease with such a situation.

And he did admire brilliant women. That had not changed. Was he entranced with her like he had been

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