Basil’s Workshop was small, and for an outsider, not particularly comfortable. The air inside had taken on a smoky metallic aroma that Elsie had never really enjoyed. In fact, the entire workshop was a little too cramped for her liking. Now Basil was a tall, skinny lad of an age with Elsie; he had a shock of frizzy hair atop his head, and was often seen wearing an old flight jacket and a pair of goggles. He had a certain knack for fixing things, and, at the university, had recently taken up bio-mechanics.
Basil was carefully repairing an old fog-watch when Elsie stormed in, breathless, with her sweater balled up in her arms. “Basil,” she called, “are you here? I need your help.” She found him at his workbench.
When he noticed her he set his tools down and said, “Can it wait, Elsie, I’m a little busy.”
She replied by placing the bunny down on his bench. “I need you to fix this bunny’s leg. Please Basil, he’s hurt.”
Following a look of utter bemusement Basil stepped back. “Elsie, this is a living, breathing animal. I fix machines, and clockwork, not… this!”
“I’m talking about your bio-tech,” Elsie argued. “I had heard about Mr. Ramsey. It’ll be just like that.”
“I replaced his big toe and part of his foot, under the supervision of Professor Goodwin and Doctor O’Donnell. Besides, bio-technology was designed for humans, I don’t even know if it would work.”
“Please, Basil,” she begged.
Basil was right about bio-technology not being designed for animals. To have it done professionally was costly business, but in most scenarios it provided an opportunity for the lame to have a better life. The science behind it was outstanding! People who had lost arms and legs in working accidents were simply able to have them swapped with sturdy metal replacements – but for a very high price. And obviously, however, not everyone had the mind for it, and Basil was a particularly skilled engineer indeed, given his young age.
“Okay,” he finally answered. “I’ll do it. But it’ll take time, a few hours for certain, so come and see me then. And you’ll need to pay me for the materials I use!”
And so, Elsie left Basil to work on repairing the bunny’s leg, and having nothing else to do she loitered around the workshop until dark. In that time she happened to pick up a newspaper and read a story about a certain missing boat. “Another one!” she exclaimed.
Basil glanced up at her but continued on with his work. “Indeed,” he said, “I heard a man down the park say the exact same thing.”
Elsie, being a lover of good stories, had found the disappearing ship mystery to be most intriguing, although she was yet to make any contributions of her own to solving it. She had thought, perhaps of writing a book about the entire dilemma, but she was still waiting to see how it would play out. “Are there any new ideas as to what’s causing this?”
Basil shrugged. “Just the usual. Anything from pirates to ghosts…”
“Or ghost pirates,” she added. There came a small scream from the bunny as Basil attached something to what was now its stump-leg. The sound sent shivers up her spine, and she begged him to be more careful. After a moment, she said, “Gee, I hope Jack is alright.”
That made Basil smile. “Your brother? I doubt anything would happen to him. He’s an adventure junkie and an intellectual juggernaut.”
“That’s just how he comes off. You don’t know him like I do.” But she was comforted all the same.
Night was well underway when Basil set down his tools, stepped away from his bench and proclaimed that his work was complete. Elsie looked with wondrous eyes and saw the bunny that she had rescued, clean and moving – albeit slowly – across the bench. His entire front left leg as well as part of his shoulder were now completely metallic. It looked rather unnatural, in a way, but Basil smiled at it like a masterpiece. “Behold! A medical marvel, I think. I’m surprised it worked; he’s got brass bones, this one. Well… figuratively.” But the bunny staggered as he walked and the leg seemed to jolt from time to time, causing a terrible limp. “The limp is only temporary,” Basil explained. “He just has to wear it in a little; get used to the workings and what not.”
Elsie planted a soft kiss on Basil’s cheek and thanked him. The bunny limped on his brass leg toward her, and carefully she picked him up and held him. “Hello,” she said, in a childish voice. “You’re so cute… and fluffy!” She instantly fell in love, and deciding that she would have to keep him and care for him, she named the bunny Floof.ns 18.104.22.168da2