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An unusual chat, and a strange automaton.

(Includes Arnold’s perspective of the events from the Emergency Town Hall Dark Aether kick off.)

Arnold had used the Tesla cannon in an effort to dissuade zombies and dinosaurs from coming too close to the house or the area nearby.  He’d also checked with Bookworm afterwards and apparently shooting the infected was not a crime so he spent a little time talking to her and then moved on with his Saturday.

He ran into Miss Macbain during his run and had a quick chat with her, though it appeared the cure was having a few side effects at the time…

“Hello.” He looked at the things on her back.  “A fashion statement?”

Macbain smiled, “I tried to think if I could be anything in the whole world, what would I be?  And then I realized, I didn’t want to be anything…but with one leg missing, a pair of wings wouldn’t go amiss.”

Arnold nodded vaguely, in truth he expected an answer more along the lines of I’ll kill Victor.  After all, it had been the usual response he’d heard in the last few hours as the plague ended and side effects began, though he wasn’t sure if she was kidding and they were just costume in her case.  “So another zombie plague then, should I just assume there will be one next year too?”

“Maybe next year we will luck out. Usually it doesn’t affect me, but this year…must have been special.”

“People were turning into dinosaurs, I would say that was a rather unusual change.”

Macbain nodded, “Sometimes these things do happen around here, comes with the territory.”

Arnold paused for a moment, and then he started to speak without really thinking about it, “I used to hate it here. I’m not sure if I still do. Then again I’m not sure about much right now.:

“It takes getting used to. It’s terrible on fur, all this soot, isn’t it? Impossible to stay clean, used to drive me mad.”

Arnold continued to speak without thinking, “Why did you come back?”

Macbain shrugged, “Where else would I go?”

“I would think anywhere in the world would be an option.”  Arnold said, but continued to speak without being able to stop, “But, apparently this place seems to claw back at it’s residents, refusing to let them go until it’s ready to itself.”

“Curious aspect of this city, isn’t it? Almost like it’s alive some days”

“I would not be surprised.”  Arnold said, though he didn’t even feel like it was him talking, “The only question then is, why did it want any of us?”

Macbain paused for a moment and then said, “A very good question, and one i’m not sure I have the answer to.”

Arnold nodded and started to think more clearly, and then he said, “If I knew that I probably wouldn’t be here to begin with.  I’m sure I’d have grabbed everything worth caring about and ran.”  People included, he thought to himself.

They talked for a short time and then Arnold remembered something,  “…by the way Mr. Emerson left a note saying you were allowed to eat out of his ice box.  Feel free to empty it out.”

“Did he? how very kind, I think I shall do that.”  She said with a slight smile, “I am feeling peckish….”

“I’m not sure he’s actually going to be coming back alive anyways.”

“That’s a pity! I do hope he makes it.”

“He took his new ‘squire’ and drove off on a ‘quest’ of some kind for…who knows what.”  Arnold shrugged, “I just know the first stop was Bump.”

“Well, he’s surely a goner then.” Macbain said with a shake of her head. “I shall be sure to eat everything in the ice box, wouldn’t want his next of kin to have to deal with rotten food.”

“I don’t think he has any next of kin,” Arnold said and he had to explain what he knew about Mr. Lighthouse’s situation…which wasn’t much and he was mostly speculating, but he had some evidence at least.

“Poor gentleman. A lost love is quite difficult to get over.  I still find myself anxiously searching crowds for Augustus.”

Arnold raised an eyebrow, “Wh-…nevermind.”

Macbain murmured softly but not nearly enough that he couldn’t hear, “Nearly two years ago now, how time goes by…”

“Two years ago now?”

Macbain shook her head, “I’m sorry, I”m rambling, pay no attention to me. I’m not keeping you, am I?”

Arnold wondered if the events of two years ago are the same events he learned about Losses his head, but in the end he didn’t have time to worry about that.  He’d tell someone about it soon though.  “I’m just on my daily runs.  I had to call them off yesterday, with zombie dinosaurs running around the city.”

“I’d imagine so!”

“I’ll get back to them. I’ll see you around Miss Macbain.”

As he left though he couldn’t help but consider his words…how the city had drawn back several people who had vowed to stay away forever.  How sometimes when it seemed just like someone would have no cause to return to this city they were drawn to it.  How had Maddox and Thaddeus selected this place again?  He knew he had no love for it but…Maddox had gotten married to a demon who himself found this place detestable and thought it was a place of refuse.

He could only think about it more later that day when he heard a very loud explosion and eventually made his way to City Hall.  He overheard a little about what had happened and that the visitor could have been a visitor from the future or elsewhere coming out of a vortex, though it could have been a hoax or something else entirely no one was sure and speaking all at once.  He was also able to catch that a machine was writing of events with them in it and there was speculation it was of the future.

Hearing that Arnold figured he was better off without knowing anything more about it. He had enough problems and he didn’t want to add to his concerns while he was on his sabatical.  He’d just been shown that his ancestors could be used to percieve the future and wanted to distance himself from anything even remotely assosiated with that for now just as he wanted to be away from everything else.

However after he left he couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said earlier, about how the city pulled you back in no matter what your previous intentions until it was through with you.

He had no love for this city however, and if it came down to it he could leave it behind and drag anyone he cared about kicking and screaming.

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