Short Story – Dame Alice Cartwright Vs. The Dark Nation of Automatons


I’ve been listening to a bunch of Chap Hop this morning and decided to write the start of a short story.

I’m not sure I like it 100%. It’s very Steampunk and might be over the top. It’s not a genre I’m comfortable with, which is why I wrote it.

Let me know what you think, please.


“I don’t care if your father is member of parliament. We’re not accepting a lady into our program,” As far as professors go he was alright looking. He was in his late thirties with patches of grey hair contrasting his dark locks. His suit was impeccable and his disdain, unmistakable.

“My dear mister Allan, Did you even read the letter that was sent to you?” Miss Cartwright was enjoying this game. She was always underestimated by the men around her but this was the first time in years that someone took her for a prospective student.

Balking he picked up the letter in front of him and his eyes grew wide and he placed a hand on his desk to steady himself. “I’m sorry miss-” he held his hand up to stop her from correcting him. “Dame Cartwright. I didn’t realize you were here to teach. Let me assure I meant no offence.” He refused to match her gaze.

To be fair to the poor sod, she was an unusual case. At sixteen she was admitted to the University of London in sciences and she earned her doctorate in mechanical sciences by the age of twenty-two.

The Dame part came while she was travelling through Scotland and foiled a plot to assassinate Her Highness Queen Victoria. To be completely honest she was just following a group of mechanical men, wondering how they were made, when she discovered what they were planning.

She let the silence turn uncomfortable and then gave him a sly smile and laughed a little, “It’s perfectly alright. Would you show me to my office?”

“Absolutely Dame Cartwright,” he did a half bow as he walked around his large oak desk.

“Please call me Alice.”

They walked in silence as he walked her from large columned building that housed the University of Ottawa’s administration, to the smaller stone building that housed the science faculty.

It looked like he would make some sort of comment but a large ship flew overhead. It was the newest edition in Airships; help up by a large balloon and only looking vaguely like those of the water variety. Printed in large letters on the ship’s hull was “Royal Canadian Navy” The ships name was the HMS Cooke.

“Beautiful isn’t she?” Asked Alice after it had passed.

“An eyesore if you ask me,” he replied sourly.

“You don’t believe the Dominion has the right to defend its skies?”

“No, No. I would never say that. It just seems unnatural.”

Sighing she asked, “You’re not one of those who believe if God wanted us to fly he’d give us wings?”


“What do you teach Mister Allan?”

“John please. I teach Medicine. There’s just something cold about them.”

His discomfort almost made her laugh. He’d probably never heard of the clockwork menace or the Dark Nation of Automatons. They were cold and inhuman. These ships were nothing more than another tool.

The smell of ozone filled her nostrils the moment they entered the building. It hadn’t rained in days and there were no experiments with electricity going on. That meant they had found her.

“Do exactly what I say and you might live through this,” she growled at him.

Mister Allan had never fought in a war but he’d been trained as a military doctor before he decided to teach. His training meant he followed her order without thinking. It was a good thing too since a large man in a dark cloak with his face obscured by shadows, jumped out and slashed where he’d been with a nasty looking sabre.

Taking a step in front of him, Alice pulled out what looked like a thick baton. She lunged at the large man and the moment the baton touched him a large crack like thunder exploded and the man fell to the ground. As he fell his sword cut into her side. It completely cut through her clothing. Revealing a silver metal plate under her corset.

Another man in identical attire jumped out form nowhere and she dispatched him quickly. As she turned to fight, the gash in her clothing revealed that the metal plate wasn’t just under her corset but fused to her body.

“Oh My God!” John Allan felt faint.

“It’s just a metal graft to my skin. Now this is what should shock you,” she pulled back the cloak on one of the men. What was under the cloak wasn’t human. It looked like a fever dream of black viscous liquid and clockwork machinery.

“Professor John Allan, meet an agent of The Dark Nation of Automatons,” as she spoke the words she felt pity for the poor man, his life would never be the same.

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