Canergak studied a transmitter that someone had planted there for a few moments before he determined that it was probably meant to catch and record radio waves, and he hadn’t authorized such a thing, nor did he know why Dr. Maddox had added it to the expenses. He took his time to remove it intact and took it into his room for now, he would have to ask that forewoman why she had installed it in the morning.
After the work crew had welded the last of the lead plating together they departed, and Canergak went into his office. He had decided it was time to rearrange the machinery and his desk. He had never been pleased with the proximity of the generator to the other machinery and was going to ask that forewoman to fix this oversight. He had learned that she would soon be a patient in the facility, so he would have to move quickly to make sure she corrected this before her committal. His doubts about Dr. Maddox’s desire to do the job had been satisfied as she had not let her exile prevent her from working.
While in the middle of planning where to move everything, the pressure doors opened. While the sounds of the air pressure being stabilized were almost completely muted by the walls he still instantly knew that he had a visitor, because the machine that operated the door was inside his room.
Perhaps someone had left something behind, and he gathered his things together so that he may escort them. He had to walk out of his door quickly as usual, but he preferred having only a few seconds of the door being opened than to risk him being followed inside too easily.
Canergak tried to find their guest, who he had assumed would be standing near the entrance, only to find no one there. He used his eyes to look about and made his way upstairs. Whoever had entered had moved on quickly, but the old man entered Dr. Maddox’s study and saw an automaton there nonetheless.
The older man wondered if it was trying to hide from him in that corner, or if it was waiting for someone else. He decided to move on, pretending that he had not seen him and made his way back into his room and to see what if anything the clockwork would do next. He waited a short time, gathered a few things for his safety, and then left his room prepared to deal with the automata. It tried to hide again, and that confirmed that it had been ordered to remain undetected, but who had sent it and why?
“Can I help you?” The machine did not answer. “You might as well come out. My eyes do not percieve the physical realm.”
“Do your ears perceive physical sound?” The clockwork inquired.
Canergak nodded vaguely, “Yes, they do, as do my eyes.”
“Acknowledged.” The clockwork bird came out of hiding and came before him. Canergak kept himself ready, just in case it had been authorized to use force.
“As I said, can I help you? I assume your master sent you for a reason?”
“I am designated Kane Qork. I do not have a master. My current mission includes analyzing the structural and metallurgical integrity of this facility.”
“Ahhh, an inspection.” The old man believed that was part of its mission at least, and it was welcome to fulfil that function. He had been expecting this for some time, though it was obvious this automata was not with the city. “Do take your time. I myself have been keeping my own eyes on it.”
The old man went back to his room, intending to let it complete that part of its objective, until it would undoubtedly insist on ‘inspecting’ his room. It wasn’t long before it called out loudly, “Please open this portal for inspection.”
“This is my private room, but it is of course, open to you,” Canergak returned as he activated the door for the clockwork to enter. “I’m afraid it closes rather rapidly,” he added as the door shut quickly behind the automata, trapping it inside with him.
If this had been a living person he would have placated them that he did indeed intend to let them back out, but this was an automata and had no fears to assuage. If it had been that cat or one of his kind however he would have considered them a volunteer.
“Rapidity poses a threat to safety.”
“Only mine,” Canergak said dismissively, “As only I can open it.”
They spoke about the machines in his room for a short time, and he described their uses and functions until they reached the generators, “Nonsequitur. What materials are used to power this unit?”
“Nothing truly important. The aetheric and other forces attracted by the gems inside the facility are eventually collected here so that they will not reach completion, and that is then used as electricity that keeps this facility running until it is expended.”
Canergak took out the stone that he had shown the others and held it up to Qork, who began an analysis. “Smaller versions of this element. It’s only a hazard to creatures of unnatural origin.” After a moment he added as an after thought, “And other beings that need or use aether in some way.”
“Material composition not on file.” Qork said, and the master was not surprised due to the fact it was not a naturally forming element. “Request sample of material for delivery to city researchers for detailed analysis.” Qork extended a metal hand, and Canergak considered his options for a moment. He could refuse the request and he could also reveal that he knew the automata was not with the city, but he would gain nothing from a confrontation and he always had extras to give someone if they too wanted to be rid of their soul anyways. He shrugged and reached into a back pocket for a tiny shard of the material, and handed it over.
Qork took the sample and placed it in a compartment within its body, and they moved on to his office space which for the moment just had his two tables. One for his paper and one where he could perform dissections, or if the need called for it lobotomies. The questions and tour continued for some time, and then they both left his office together.
“Your cooperation is appreciated. You will be contacted by city authorities for more information should it be necessary.”
Canergak nodded, but he had never believed that the city had sent this automaton all on it’s own with no identification, and had ordered it to hide from him to complete an official inspection, but there was no need to let the automaton know that. “As I said, I’m not concerned about them shutting me down, nor that my facility will be condemned. If however, I do have to, I will simply construct another.”
“Report amended. Inspection concluded.”
“Good, I’m glad that the city will be up to date on the nature of the facility.” In all likelihood he’d have to do the same thing again in a few days for a real inspector.