Deadlands: Riders on the Storm

Eventful Exposition Marred by Rattlers

July 9, 1876




Eventful Exposition Marred by Rattlers

by Carolus Randall

Yesterday was the inaugural celebration of the Grand Exposition of the Smith & Robards Company. Scientists from across the country, even the world, gathered at the Municipal Market Hall to display their latest creations and compete for bragging rights amongst their peers.

The festivities were interrupted on several occasions by a freakish infestation of Salt Rattlers that plague the Exposition all afternoon.

The events of the afternoon were foreshadowed during the invocation ceremony when, during Dr. Darius Hellstromme's keynote speech ("On the Betterment of Humankind through Courageous Endeavor"), a passel of baby Salt Rattler began emerging from various points all around the lawn outside the Expo site. Smith & Robards security forces were on hand to dispatch the critters, and no one was hurt, but it was a disturbing site to say the least for our many visitors.

Old hands at life in The Great Salt Lake know about the baby Salt Rattlers, but they generally don't show up until the ground is soft after a good rain. This large and sudden infestation after a dry spell was freakish even for natives of our great city.

Nevertheless, the scientists and exhibitors persevered and the Expo opened on-time at Noon.

The Exposition carried on according to plan (at least, as far as this spectator was concerned) for most of the afternoon until about 3:19 pm, when a full-grown Salt Rattler burst forth from the foundation of the Market Hall in Poster Area "A"!

Once again, Smith & Robards security teams were in place, as well as an un-named shooter in the crowd that fired at the beast. Between the two of them, the creature was felled. Exposition volunteers drug the bullet-riddled carcass from the scene and program coordinator, Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, worked the crowd to calm folks down and convince them not to abandon the Exposition. "The show must go on!" he was heard to say with exuberance. And so it did.

Until at 3:43 pm, another full-grown Salt Rattler exploded out of the Poster Area "B"!

This beast was a bit harder to put down, but down it went, with the efforts of the Smith & Robards team and two of the exhibitors, later identified as Mr. Roland Dupre and Miss Geraldine Keeler, both of Paiute Springs, Nevada. Miss Keeler, herself, dealt the monstrous worm its killing blow, with one of her screwdrivers, no less. A fitting metaphor for the Triumph of Tinkering at a scientific exposition!

Again, the bleeding corpse of the worm was dragged away and Dr. Gould attempt to calm the public. Clearly, the events of the day were taking their toll and people began to leave. Gould, an able cheerleader and exuberant supporter of his brainchild, simply could not stem the tide.

According to one exposition volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, at least 50 people demanded refunds for their tickets that afternoon and another 150 to 200 simply left before the the Showcase events and the Airshow—the highlights of the day. When asked is Smith & Robards took any losses at the box office for the show, officials with the event offered no comment.

According to eyewitness reports on the scene, troubleshooters began searching the area for "devices." Speculation began to grow that the increased Rattler activity was not mere freakish behavior on the part of wild animals, but an act of sabotage. "Once is an event. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a conspiracy," claimed Dr. Marlin Robuck, one of the exhibitors.

Of course, this speculation raises the question of motive. For what purpose would someone want to disrupt the Exposition? Did someone simply wish to embarrass Smith & Robards (in general), or Erastmus T. Gould (personally)? Was it a distraction for some other nefarious event? Was it "new science" gone wrong?

According to another eyewitness, one of the exhibitors, a Dr. Gustavus Brock, had a "sonic varmint repellent" device that he claimed had been sabotaged. Could this strange device had been responsible for the havoc raised by the Rattlers?

Fortunately for the exhibitors and the spectators, no more Rattler attacks marred the festivities that afternoon and the Exposition closed to the public quietly at 8:00 pm.

Assassination Attempt Thwarted By Lady Scientist

by Garrett Van Der Veen

After an eventful Exposition at the Municipal Market Hall yesterday, the celebration's closing ceremonies did not disappoint.

The closing ceremonies for the Smith & Robards "Grand Exposition" were being held in the ballroom of the sumptuous Salt Lake City Hotel. Various speakers came to the fore to dole out the awards earned by the selected exhibitors of the inaugural conference.

As the esteemed Dr. Jacob Smith, the "Smith" of Smith & Robards came to the stage to make his presentation, one of the audience members, a lady by the name of Miss Geraldine Keeler of Paiute Springs, Nevada, began to make a spectacle of herself with a hysteric display. At the same time, a rifle shot rang out through the ballroom, striking far wide of the stage. It was later speculated that Miss Keeler's display to was to catch the shooter, whom she had spotted, off-guard, and to throw off his shot. Good for her! What spunk!

Dr. Smith hit the deck and S&R security forces began to gather around the stage. Meanwhile, Miss Keeler made her way across the ballroom and threw down the podium to give Dr. Smith more cover. At the same time, witness watched, their hearts in their mouths, as the shooter struggled with an unknown assailant up in the rafters of the ballroom!

The security team dared not fire into the rafters as they could hit the man struggling with the would-be assassin, so they opted to form a perimeter around their employer. Miss Keeler hopped up on to a table and reached up to try and pull the assassin down herself!

I don't know what they're putting in the water in Paiute Springs, but it apparently breeds bold women! Let's keep that stuff in Nevada!

As Miss Keeler continued to struggle to pull the man down, falling down on her bustle twice in the process, the assassin fought on against the other unknown foe. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, but was actually only about a minute, the assassin came tumbling down from the rafters, landing hard onto the table, and then rolling off onto the floor. Clearly, the wind was taken out of his sails as he flailed about uselessly on his back, his fallen rifle out of his reach. Miss Keeler had the audacity to SIT upon the man until he was gathered up and taken away by the security team.

Dr. Smith recovered from the situation and finished his presentation.

The assassin was taken into custody by Sheriff Eli Waters and taken to the City Jail. He was later identified as Travis Pritchett (aka Jared Hitchens), a saboteur and spy with known associations with the Confederate States of America. He is currently wanted on warrants in the U.S.A. Pritchett's fate is in the hands of Almighty God and Judge Upton Blackwood.

Tate Wanted Regarding Charges of Fraud

by Artemon Jezek

United States Patent Clerk Lyle Tate is currently eluding authorities who wish to question him in regard to charges involving fraud, claim jumping, and other chicanery. According to sources, Mr. Tate was using knowledge gained by his post to try and bilk firms—including Hellstromme, Industries, out of monies based on the false notion that he owned certain patents and ideas. He had come to Salt Lake City to attend the Smith & Robards Grand Exposition and, thus, find plenty of potential victims for his schemes.

The Sheriff of Salt Lake City is working in cooperation with the United States Marshal's office to apprehend this suspect. The U. S. Marshal's office has issued a warrant for Mr. Tate and a reward for his capture, alive, of $150.

Awards Presented for Grand Exposition

by Garrett Van Der Veen

Despite the exciting theatrics of Salt Rattler attacks and assassin attempts, the 1st Annual Grand Exposition presented by Smith & Robards is ultimately about the presentation and furtherance of Science —especially the "New Science" represented by luminaries such as Dr. Darius Hellstromme, Dr. Jacob Smith, and other such pioneers.

Thus, the ceremonies of the inaugural Expo highlighted such endeavors that illuminated these ideas.

Thaddeus Shaw, President of the Great Basin Scientific Society, and one of the judges of the Exposition, doled out the "Best in Division" prizes.

Anthropology: Dr. Sarah Milligan, “Shamanistic Traditions and the Intersection of Myth and Science”

Astronomy: Dr. Marlin Robuck, “The Extraterrestrial Origins of Ghost Rock: A Working Theory”

Biology/Medicine: Dr. Geoffrey Walter, “Disease Vectors in East Texas: Texas Tummy Twister by the Numbers”

Botany: Mr. Jordan Danforth, “Steam-Powered Seed-Shooter”

Chemistry: Dr. Joaquin Bandera, “Ethical Considerations in the Study of Philosopher’s Stone”

Engineering: Miss Geraldine Keeler, “Demonstration of Surveying Pods for Intake, Detection, and Retrieval”

Geology/Earth Sciences: Dr. Delia Sampson, “Looking Beyond Steam as a Fuel Source: What the Future Holds”

Ghost Rock: Drs. Kyle Rosenfeld, Dixie Brown, and Fontana Starling, “Magnetism, Ghost Rock, and the Opening of Fields”

Natural History: Anonymous, “A Case for Reanimation: The New Prometheus”

Physics: Dr. Angela Strom, “Flight of the Bumblebee: Flight Achieved through Power vs. Glide”

Zoology: Mr. Johnathan Washburne, “Expeditions in Caddo Lake”

Next came Sir Clifton Robards, of Smith & Robards, to present the "Best in Section" Awards.

Amateur/Hobbyist: Mr. Hank Rogers, "All-Terrain Velocipede"

Professional: Dr. Marcus Samburg, "Psychic Projector"

Finally, after a harrowing attempt on his life, Dr. Jacob Smith, also of Smith & Robards, presented the coveted "Best in Show" Award to Dr. Ignatius T. Plotts, for his invention, "The Whirlygig."

Before ending the ceremonies with the closing remarks, Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, Program Coordinator for the Expo, made an impromptu presentation of a $500.00 credit to Smith & Robards to Miss Geraldine Keeler for her assistance in dealing with the various crises of the day. Gould cited the prize as a "Distinguished Service Award" for young scientist.

The evening came to a close after the closing remarks of esteemed, world-renowned scientist, Mr. Alfred Nobel. You may know Mr. Nobel for his wondrous invention of dynamite.

With God's Grace and a bit of planning, Smith & Robards will hold a 2nd annual Expo next year.

"Oh, yes, I count this as a success," said Dr. Erastmus T. Gould, Program Coordinator for this year's event. "The events of today were largely out of our control. The events we could control were done so with efficiency and aplomb. And those that were out of our control all ended with minimal harm done. Obviously we'd rather these events didn't happen, but in light of the what actually did happen, I'm pleased with the end results."

Spoken like a true scientist.


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