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 The inventor's problem

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Farseer
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PostSubject: The inventor's problem   Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:58 am

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Alex Bellini was sitting at his desk, working on a plan for his newest invention. It wasn't a particularly challenging project, but he always does his best, knowing that happy customers are repeat customers, despite the fact that this little project was actually for his buddy Rido. Rido had been telling him that he wanted something to be his signature weapon, the way Alex's fan blade was his. They never got into any fights so he wasn't sure why he needed any weapons, much less a signature one, but his birthday was coming up and it would be a nice present. He knew Rido was very skilled when weilding a wakazashi in each hand, so he was going to make a pair of highly ornate blades and forearm length rails so they could be hidden in long sleeves, and he could slide them into his hands with simply a flick of the wrist. He had two months to design and build it before Rido's birthday, so there was plenty of time. Especially since he had no other work at the moment.

Having completed the plan he wandered off into the back room so that he could begin forging the blades. Folded steel always made the best blades, and he had recently managed to get a couple kilos of the best steel he'd ever seen, and it would make immaculate blades.

Several hours later, he emerged from his forge and noticed that he had a new message. Checking his caller ID he quickly realized that it wasn't a number he knew, in fact it wasn't even a local number. He had no idea what city or even country that number was from. He tentatively reached for the play button...


Last edited by Farseer on Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Addition to the above   Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:01 pm

(At the moment I only need one other person, and you can choose what kind of message was left, as it's simply a way to get the characters to meet. I'm not gonna give away too much of what this is about, since I wan't it to be at least somewhat mysterious. I'm not ever really concerned whether the caller is male or female, and I'm sure I can find places for anyone else that wants to join in at a later date)
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:16 pm



The voice on the message was a female with a heavy Russian/ eastern European accent.
“Good day, this is Master Bellini I trust, it has come to my attention that you are quite skilled at fixing machines.
If you are up to a challenge, I have a request for you, a client of mine has recently acquired what appears to be an antique music box, however, I am loathe to admit, I have no idea how to activate it.
I am beginning to think it is more than it first appeared to be da? The reason for this call is in the hopes that you will understand the mechanics of this box better than I.
If you are willing to examine this for me you will receive a generous commission of the appraisal value and possibly a future client, should I require your services in the future.
You may contact me at this number any time before 3 am Moscow time, do svidania.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:09 am

Alex listened to the message and was very intrigued. He loved tinkering around with stuff and especially liked the simplicity of old machines. It was amazing the things they did with clockwork throughout history and the chance to work on an antique music box didn't come around everyday.

He picked up the phone and began dialing the number the lady had left. It was picked up after only a couple rings and the voice answering the phone sounded like the one on the answering machine.

"Hello, this is Alex Bellini. I am calling back regarding a message left on my answering machine pertaining to an antique music box. I am definitely interested in the proposal, I simply have a few questions about the specifics. Firstly I'm not sure where you are based at, so unless you are coming here, I will require a down payment of at least travel money. If that is satisfactory for you then we can begin to discuss other matters."
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:41 am

“Ah, excellent; the item in question is actually in transit to our office in Shinjuku as we speak, you see there were 2 others in the area I had called, but you had the good fortune of responding first.”

Always a good idea to make them think you have someone else, Ilya thought to herself, helps keep costs down.

“Much closer and warmer than Moscow, da?” Ilya finished with a laugh.
“I should be arriving myself by this Saturday, our office is number 3408, Shinosuke Business tower, is five o clock good time for you?”
“Also, the box is all clockwork, and rather large and heavy, do you by chance have equipment to repair old European clockwork gears?”
“I would of course have to see a sample of your forge work before any replacement parts are added to the box, my client has paid quite a bit for it and demands the best you see.”

It was rather hard to track down a blacksmith good enough to replicate old-world craftsmanship in this day and age and would save Ilya a good deal of money if some parts needed to be recast if this Belinni boy could do it in-house, the one blacksmith she knew in Japan that could do the kind of work needed to keep this particular client happy charged an arm and a leg.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:48 am

"Five o'clock will be fine. I will be there. As for the clockwork, I have a great deal of experience with the fine tuning of their mechanisms, and I'm sure I will be able to cast any gears that need replaced. Once I have examined it and find any problems, we will be able to discuss payment to repairs. I should be able to give you a rough estimate right away, based on difficulty of work and materials required. I shall cast a few example gears before we meet in order for you to inspect my craftsmansip. If it meets your approval I'm sure we can work something out."

Alex hung up the phone and sat back. He had tried not to appear too eager, even though he was thrilled about being able to work with old clockwork once again. He'd only had a few really good, complex examples to work on, people just didn't seem to appreciate the old stuff anymore. Now everything was digital and electronic.

He looked at the blades he was forging and realized that he wouldn't be able to concentrate on Rido's birthday present until he was sure he'd made the best gears he possibly could for this potential job. He would make 3 of different sizes and different metals. A small gold one, a mid sized copper one and a larger steel one. This would show not only his skill at crafting, but also his ability to work with both soft and hard metals.

He smiled broadly as he put his leather apron back on and headed back into his forge to get started on something that would later turn out to be the most exciting job he'd ever had.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:38 am

“Wonderful, I look forward to working vith you master Bellini, see you Saturday then.”
Ilya clicked her cell shut with a satisfied sigh, “This is going better than I was thinking, Sudo did good finding this boy.” She said to herself as she opened the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a small bottle of good Vodka and two shot glasses.
Holding the intercom button to the waiting room down she called, “Anya, come join me for a drink, then prepare travel arrangements, we’re going to Japan.”

Ilya was pouring the shots when Anya walked in. “The good stuff, hmm? Must have found a god deal then.” Anya said with a small smile a giggle before taking the proffered glass of vodka and downing it in one swift gulp.
“Sudo found someone to fix the Anastasia box, he seams eager to work as well.” Ilya said with a smile of her own.
“That IS good news.” Anya said, running a hand down Ilya’s shoulder, “Well, I should be getting us those plane tickets, a comfy first class suite should do fine da?” Anya finished with an affectionate squeeze to Ilya’s shoulder.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:57 am

Alex worked for several hours preparing the ceramic casts he would use to shape the cogs, then heated them to a high temperature. Once that was done, he heated the various metals and poured them in. The casts had to be hot when the metal was poured in or it would start to set as he poured, and that would make the metal weaker and more likely to break. It would be a couple hours before he would be able to pull the set gears out so he decided to see what Rido was up to.

He took one of his small mechanized birds, the one that he had already programmed with directions to Rido's house, and tied a small note to it's left leg that simply said "Murphy's?"

Murphy's was the local Irish pub. None of them were Irish but Murphy's was the only place nearby that carried some very tasty European beers. His phone began to ring a few minutes later and when he picked it up the first thing he heard was, "Why can't you use a phone like a normal human being? You're little toys are nice and all but they scare the hell out of my girlfriend, she thinks they're so unnantural."

"So is that a yes or a no on the pub?"

"Sure, but just for a couple. I promised Misaki that I wouldn't be out too late tonight."

"Sounds good I have work to do anyway and don't need to be drunk when I do it. See ya in a few minutes."

He went out for about an hour and explained his potential new job to his friend. Rido was pleased for him and they parted ways after 2 beers each.

Alex got home and filed the rough edges from his new gears. He would be ready to impress when saturday came. They would hire him on the spot. He had a good feeling about this one.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:47 am

The plane ride to Japan was wonderful, a nonstop flight from Moscow to Tokyo in a plush private first class cabin.
As they entered the main terminal of Narita International airport Ilya leaned over to Anya and whispered, “This would be nice country with half the people.” Anya just giggled and slapped Ilya on the shoulder, “You always were nervous in crowds, I have your back so don’t worry so much.”
Ilya gave a small nod before walking on, it was all business from here on out.

The pair was met by their associate in Japan, Sudo Tomadachi, in an expensive looking rental car, at least, Ilya hoped it was a rental.
“Not buying fancy toys on company budget are we now?” Ilya said in a mocking tone.
“No madam, a high end rental to impress clients.” Sudo said with a bow as he held the door for the two ladies. “Good boy, now drive.”

Sudo managed to navigate the crowded streets rather well and got them to the office at ten till five, the man at the door said Alex was already there.
“I told you this one sounded eager, didn’t I?” Ilya said with a smile for Anya. “Well, let us not keep the poor boy waiting shall we?” she said as they stepped into the office where Alex, briefcase at his feet, was examining a rather large sword on the wall.

“Edo period heavy cavalry sword, quite a well crafted example as well.” Ilya said behind him, breaking him from his scrutiny of the sword.
“You must be master Belinni then I presume, Ilya Petryovsky, Petryovsky Appraisal, Insurance, and Auction.” She said offering her hand, which he quickly grasped in a firm handshake. “Now I believe you have a sample of your work to show us?”
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:03 am

Alex turned towards the voice and looked at it's owner. "Late Edo period I would say. Is it a Masahide?" he asked with interest. Suishinshi Masahide had been his inspiration to make blades in the first place, making some of the finest blades of the period and, if the stories were true, training over a hundred apprentices. It was his method that had allowed him to make his folding fan-blade, and had even helped him make the small "feathers" on his birds strong enough, yet light enough, to enable them to fly.

"And yes of course. I'm sure you're eager to discover whether I'm skilled enough to hire me to work on your music box."

Alex opened his briefcase and retrieved the three gears he had created, handing them to the lady who had identified herself as Ilya. She began to look over them with a clearly trained eye.

"I think you'll find that I am more than able to replicate antique clockwork technology, no matter what metal they are constructed from. And once you allow me to examine the music box itself, I can show you my ability to repair it as well. Do you those meet your satisfaction Ms Petryovsky?"

Alex was beginning to believe that there was something very special about this music box. He thought it was no coincidence that the company shared her name, and that meant that either she was the owner, or at least the owner's daughter or wife, but still very high up in the company. It was highly irregular for someone in that position to be recruiting simple contractors unless the project was of the utmost importance. There was definitely something they weren't telling him, but once they allowed him to examine the music box, he would know much more. After all, they wouldn't hire someone from the outside unless there was something about the music box they didn't understand.

OOC: I had a couple ideas of where to head with this RP, but I must admit that I really like the way you're taking it. I shall certainly be adding my own flavor to it, but I'm quite intrigued as to the significance of this box, if you already have a plan for it. If not we can work that out as we go
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:08 pm

{OOC} I was thinking that in addition to it being a music box it also contains a hidden message, possibly a clue to some sort of treasure {OOC}
“It seems you have a good eye for blades, it is not a genuine Masahide, but a bladed forged by an apprentice of his, the quality and technique are very close though.” Ilya was getting a good feeling about this Belinni boy.
She pulled out a jewelers magnifying lens and began a carefully scrutiny of the sample gears when Alex handed them over to her. Impressive forge work, no cracks or imperfections on any of the gears, and with such a variety of metals. She thought to herself as she examined the gears.

“You certainly weren’t kidding when you said you knew your craft, all of the examples are expertly forged with no evidence of modern day tooling. You would not believe the amateurs who try to clean up shoddy casting with wire brush and drill.” She let out a disgusted sigh. “Your master must be very proud of your work.” She said with a smile

“In other words, you pass, the music box is in a climate controlled room for the time being, if you would follow me.” She said turning to the door nearest to her left.
“The music box is actually a part of my personal collection, which is why I have set the standards so high.”
Ilya said as they walked down a corridor to a heavy door with a keypad where Ilya punched in her personal code. “It is quite a large and complex example as you can see.” Ilya said with a sweep of her arm as they entered the room.

The music box in question was indeed large, about four and a half feet wide, three feet deep, and nearly two and a half feet tall, the exterior was comprised of several varieties of ornately carved wood inlaid with brass, gold and ivory. The internals were an extremely complex mesh of gears, springs, and pitted rollers.
“Now, I have examined it myself but am unable to fully understand the mechanism as a whole and have never been able to hear it play. I would very much like to hear it’s melody”
“Now, I will leave you to your work, Anya will remain to watch over you, if you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask.”
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:01 am

OOC: Hehehe I was thinking much the same thing about the music box, treasure or something dangerous.

Alex was truly surprised when he saw the music box. "Wow, I don't think I've seen anything quite like it, and I certainly wasn't expecting anything on this scale. I'll get to work immediately, and keep you informed of my progress, but I must ask, do you have a forge here? It will become very tiresome if I need to make repeated trips back and forth between here and my workshop for extra parts."

He walked over to the large music box and stopped, pulling on his gloves and donning a cloth mask before diving into his work. She clearly prized this very highly and he certainly didn't want to damage it with the moisture on his hands or in his breath. After preparing himself he leaned over the box to investigate it's workings.

"This is a very complex piece. If you don't mind indulging me I would like to know more about it's history. Do you know who made it? I don't think I've ever heard of a music box this large or complex and I would've thought that it would be quite famous, especially among those that seek that kind of knowledge." He spoke as he worked, looking over the gears and spindles. There was something that struck him as odd almost immediately but couldn't quite put his finger on what it was.

After about an hour of surveying the interior workings of the thing he finally discovered what was so strange about it. There seemed to be a whole section of the mechanism that had no apparent purpose. Every other part was connected to control the timing or turn the cylinders that created the music, but this section seemed to be attached to a strange cuboid object, that as far as he could tell had no purpose. He should probably start his investigation there.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:28 am

“The exterior box was built by Peter Gambs, unfortunately I am unawares of the maker of the internal mechanism, but the style and construction of the gears suggests it is Austrian or German work. We believe the box was built for the Romanov family in the late eighteenth century.” Ilya replied to Alex’ question.

We do have a small forge in the basement as well, getting permit was nightmare.” Ilya said with a dry chuckle “However, it is quite capable despite the size, if you would like I can be showing you to it da?”
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:25 am

"Perhaps later, I may not have any need of it. Nothing in here looks terribly damaged. Your boss has done an excellent job of keeping it from the elements. It's a truly remarkable device." He asid as he poked around the box trying to discern the problem. The more he examined the small cube, the less sense it made.

He reached for the cube, and as he touched it he noticed that it was fairly loose, almost as if it was meant to be removed. He gently pulled it out and the gears began to turn, letting out a haunting melody that Alex didn't recognise. He immediately backed out of the box with the cube in his hand. "I think I found the problem, this was stuck in there and it was catching on the edge of the box." he said simply.

He continued to examine the cube and noticed that it was made of hardwood, looked like mohogany, and had similar carvings to the outside. That and the fact that it had fit into place perfectly made him think that it was likely there to keep the box wound while it wasn't in use, but the fact that you had to dig inside to find it made that unlikely. He heard Anya saying something in the background, but between his deep concentration on this mysterious cube and the sound of the music box itself, he didn't hear what she said.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:22 pm

When the music started playing Ilya felt a shiver go up her spine, she recognized the song immediately.
Nikolai used to hum the tune occasionally, it was an old Russian funeral march, the same song had been played at his funeral.
As beautiful as it was, it wasn’t anything that Ilya was expecting. “Alex, ALEX!” Ilya had to shout to get his attention. “I am thinking you should be shutting the box now, please.” She finished with a small shiver.
“Oh, sorry, do you know the song?” Alex asked as he carefully shut the lid to the box and put a locking pin into the winding mechanism to stop the melody.

“Da, and is not remembered pleasantly.” Ilya replied while trying to get a hold of herself mentally.
“Is an old Russian funeral march, Nikolai, Anya’s grandfather, would hum it sometimes, he always said he was just used to hearing it, being a soldier.”
By that time Alex had shut the box, which had gone silent the moment the lid was closed.
“What is that you have in your hands, boy?” Anya said while leaning over his shoulder.
“Oh, this appears to be what was keeping your music box silent, I don’t really know what to make of it though.” Alex replied while handing the strange wooden cube over to Ilya, who proceeded to examine it with her jewelers magnifying glass.

“These tiny carvings here, are old form of Russian language.” Ilya exclaimed with a slight hint of surprise in her voice, “This could be getting interesting now, da?” She said with a knowing smile for Anya.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:04 pm

"I assume that either you or someone you know can translate it? While I can do fine work with mechanical things, I was never terribly skilled with languages. I must admit though, that box has piqued my interest. If you don't mind I would like to stay and help discover it's meaning. I know I've already completed the job I've been commissioned to do, so this will be purely because I'm curious."

As he waited for a response he stared at the box in Anya's hand. Something told him that this wasn't just an ordinary box. There was more to this than any of them suspected. If either of them had known about this hidden piece, they probably wouldn't have needed to call him.

OOC: Sorry it's shortish, but I gotta goto work now
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:02 pm

“Of course I can translate it.” Ilya replied with a huff, “As for your further involvement I am having to discuss it with my associates first, if we require your assistance you may be having to travel, that is ok da?”

“I might have to rearrange my schedule but I don’t think it should be a problem.” Alex said with a small nod.
“Excellent, I will be calling on you if needed then.” Ilya finished with a hearty if businesslike handshake before pushing an intercom button near the door. “Sudo-san, would you be so kind as to escort master Belinni to the car?”
“Of course madam. I’ll be up right away.” Came the quick reply.

As Sudo was leading Alex down to the parking deck Ilya gave him a brief smile and said “Do svidania, Alex.”
When he was out of sight Anya gave her a frown and a stare. “It’s not like you to smile like that, I rather like it.” Anya finished with her frown evaporating into a mischievous grin.
“I’ll give you an even bigger smile when we’re finished translating this.” Ilya replied with an equally mischievous smile.

{OOC}Yeah it's short but better than nothing and it gets us back on track :3 {OOC}
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:10 pm

Alex was escorted back to car waiting outside and was taken back to his hotel room. Tonight had already been paid for since he wasn't expecting the job to run that smoothly. Well that quickly anyway, something was unsettling him that disturbed the smoothness of the situation.

He'd had situations where he'd finished a project and something gnawed at him a bit about something that either he didn't have time to perfect, or something that he could've improved, but this was different. Something told him that there was much more to this than he was being told about and it bothered him. He hated starting a puzzle and not being able to finish it.

He sat in his hotel room rolling the problem around in his head repeatedly, trying to figure out the deeper meaning. Something didn't add up. It doesn't matter how much you enjoyed a tune, or just liked the piece, you didn't hire an expert like him for something like that. He decided to do some digging.

He used the free wifi included in the hotel room to hop online and do a little search of his own. He had a good memory but not perfect, so he couldn't remember the whole inscription on the small box, but he did remember a few of the individual characters and when he looked them up he found out that Anya and Ilya weren't kidding. It was an old Russian dialect. A very old dialect.

Alex sat back and continued to think about the box. He had to make sure he was involved with this project, whether or not they wanted him there. He needed to find an angle.
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PostSubject: Re: The inventor's problem   Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:58 pm

It was around 6 in the morning and Ilya and Anya were still trying to work out the inscription on the box, despite Russian being their native language this was a very archaic dialect of Russian and to top it all there was something decidedly...odd about the phrasing used on the box, like one side of the inscription was incomplete.

The seemingly incomplete side of the box said simply "Seek the resting place of hallowed." There had to be more too it, but Ilya just couldn't wrap her head around it, none of the other inscription on the box seemed to have any relation to the incomplete phrase.

"Anya, come look at this, I can not quite grasp what this phrase is meaning, something about "Seek A Sentinel Frozen in Time." Ilya said with a frustrated sugh as she removed her glasses and rubbed some of the sleep from her eyes, the pair had been at it since Alex had left.

"Sounds like broken clock to me." Anya said with a frown, "You should be getting some sleep though darling." Anya said giving Ilya's shoulder a playful push, "You'll think better rested and I don't want you getting wrinkles from not sleeping." She finished with a soft laugh.

As Ilya turned the odd cube over and over in her hands she felt something she hadn't noticed before, a small. square recess in the cube, that's when it suddenly dawned on her why the first phrase seemed so odd, it WAS incomplete, this cube was merely one part of a puzzle and the rest of the inscriptions were clues to find the other pieces.
"I've got it!" Ilya said jumping up suddenly and nearly causing Anya to topple over in surprise. "Box here is puzzle piece, the complete inscriptions are clues to find other pieces, I am thinking this Sentinal Frozen in Time is the clock tower in St.Petersburg, and this Seat of Command must be the old throne, lucky for us I know where they are and can most likely be getting permission to examine them."

Anya gave a small whistle at this. "So, what are you thinking this puzzle is going to be revealing?" she said with a mischievous grin.
"What else do think a puzzle like this would be revealing, treasure of course!." Ilya replied with a hearty laugh. "We may be having to call master Belinni again in after I get some sleep, he seems to be quite good at finding these hidden gems, I always thought it was just a part of the box, I never though it woulld be removable the way it was."

"He does seem to have some talent in this, I mean we both missed it, I'll call him personally." Anya said before smiling, "But first, I am thinking we need some rest after such a long and eventful night."
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The inventor's problem
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