Valentin only realizes someone is behind him when a thick glove starts waving in his periphery. He pulls off his earmuffs and swivels away from his workbench. "Chief!" he says, leaping awkwardly to his feet.

"May I?" Chief Horologist Komarova picks up the the little automaton, turning it over in her hands. "Yes, good technique. Perhaps, though... do you have a sheet of paper?"

He flips over an old diezoprint and shoves it across the workbench; Komarova pulls a graphite stub from her oilstained coveralls. As she sketches changes to his algorithm, Valentin's elation at the elegance her changes bring out turns to dismay. With deadline already looming, he'll have to start from scratch. His face falls.

"Don't worry," she says. "We'll make a clocker of you, yet."

The Buddha Justice Fan Club

"Next week, on BUDDHA JUSTICE…" and the tape cuts to static. Antimony looks shell-shocked. "That’s… it? That’s the whole thing?" "That’s it," Simon nods, ejecting the tape with solemn reverence.


"We know," replies Melody, her voice a conspiratorial whisper. "It makes no sense at all. Why would they dump it at the height of its popularity?"

Antimony snorts. "Nine episodes into the first season?"

Melody, unfazed, radiates zeal. "Rumour has it there was another motive behind the cancellation. That the cast-"

Simon cuts her off with an ultimatum: "In or out, Tim? Right now."

He hesitates, but then– "I'm in."

"Good," replies Simon, taking a densely packed three-ring binder from the shrine and opening it carefully to the last page. "Now sign the goddamn petition."


This was the original Buddha Justice story (just over four years old (!)), which I'm including for context.


When the Dire Foundry was a warship, she had a broadside fierce enough to rattle anything in the Pirate Fleet. Christened only by allocated number, she gained the nickname with her reputation for the names she forged, the skies she blackened, for the molten fire that rained from her crucible heart. That's all behind her now. But while her power may have been tamed and yoked to the spirit of free enterprise, Valentin can still feel the history behind each gear, each spring. At the end of every shift, he puts aside his tools proud to be keeping this lumbering titan in the air. The Foundry, famously, never rests, and Valentin is lulled to sleep every night by her escapement's endless hum as she drifts across the sky.