Artist’s depiction of what the impending invasion would be like by Cashabel “Toppy” Topaine. Written by Penny Farthington, Galactic Transtemporal Press in association with BBC Googleplex. 

“It is going to be like the a flock of passenger pigeons. You know: before they went extinct. And also bigger. And with cutlasses. And flintlocks. But just about as filthy,” asserts Captain Lucky Peddycord, commanding officer of Aether Brigade, 1st Division, Company A. The questionably competent Irishman is speaking of the population of pirates, buccaneers, privateers, swashbucklers and illegal file sharers descending on Virginia City, Nevada during a landmark temporal bridge linking several eras at once. Linked times will include 1875 AD (the silver boom of Nevada), 1722 AD (the Golden Age of Piracy) and 2015 CE (the decline of software piracy), among others. The time rift is being dubbed the 5th Annual Victorian Steampunk Ball and the nearest intersection to this subscriber’s temporal locale will be on September 19th, 2015.

Nodding an affirmation to the captain’s words, Lady Elisabeth Dashwood, the Aether Brigade’s economic expert adds, “I highly recommend coming in disguise lest you be relieved of your silver, jewels, rum, pokemon, blue jeans, and other timeless valuables.”

“I think it’s going to be a grand, bloody time! (Emphasis on the ‘bloody’.) I’ve got a surprise for the captain that is sure to be all, um, suprisey,” crowed Cashabel “Toppy” Topaine, precognitive pilot of the Time Ship Simultaneous (the Aether Brigade’s vessel). When asked if the surprise she is referring to would be the Sip and Paint with Toppy event occurring the afternoon before the Ball proper just across the street at the Silver Queen Hotel, she indicates that it is not and gives a smirk that can only be described as “villainous.” “The Captain knows all about that. My surprise will be during the Ball. Hope he will be wearing brown trousers! Kidding! I already know his trousers will not be brown.”

“It seems that what was supposed to be a shiny, happy, shindig of time travelers is going to turn into more of a wretched hive of scum and villainy,” says Sergeant Quintus Emanuel Washington, giving a sad head shake. “You will never have seen its like unless you have been to Mos Eisley spaceport or the Engine room of our time ship. I was going to wear my brown coat, but instead I think I’ll dust off my wookiee.”

Not every member of the Aether Brigade seems concerned with the presence of so many villains. “Puck firates! Er… Well, you know what I mean,” exclaims Lieutenant Emma O’Connell, the rapturously radiant, red-headed, robotically-enhanced engineer. “The ball will still have plenty of beauties to dance with (as long as you take care not to get yer bleedin’ robot arm caught in their hair).”

“Oh, yes, I too am very much looking forward to offering pardons and letters of marque from Her Majesty should any ne’er-do-wells wish to legitimize their modus operandi!” Mr. Henry Hawthorne, Esq., legal adjunct to the Aether Brigade beams as he goes on to enthusiastically detail the bureaucratic process and considerations of privateering.

No matter what excites you, this reporter guarantees a thrilling time at the 5th Annual Victorian Steampunk Ball.

The Aether Brigade – “If we do not save your life in a half hour or less, the second rescue is free!”