Maddox had been feeling off put for days. She was getting less and less visits from Helio in her sleep, and she didn’t know where Arnold was. To be fair, she generally felt Arnold around and therefore did not worry about him, but as of late she had been ignoring tugs of feeling and thinking it was her baby that was playing games with her. She decided there and then to find Erehwon. She had to get to Babbage and soon. It may not have been a safe choice, but she wanted answers and this was how she intended to get them. She made her way to Chai Me Up’s barge and was careful to cross without falling. She called up to her sister and hoped that Ereh would have some news of things.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Erehwon? Sister, are you here?
Lysana McMillan: Dr. Maddox! Halaa!
DJPiper Steampunk: Dr. Maddy! Hello!
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddie! I’m upstairs! Should I come down?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Yes, please. I have to speak to you…
Ereh came down from the dance floor upstairs, face flushed from dancing, and asked Maddox a question that made her heart drop. “Maddie, did you return from Babbage?” The pregnant woman’s pulse quickened and her head filled with her own questions, running over each other and reverberating over one another until her mind was nothing but cacophony. No one had made mention of her going to Babbage, and no letters had come for her about going back… This cemented that something was wrong. Horribly, heart wrenchingly wrong. She put a hand on her stomach to ease her child, who seemed not to like what its mother was thinking and feeling, and said, “I have felt something is wrong for the past few days, Erehwon. I have not gone to Babbage yet… What is going on?”
It was then that her sister told her what Arnold had been sending in telegrams to everyone. That he and Helio were attacked by metal dinosaurs and that now they were in trouble. With Helio comatose and Arnold in hiding, this was not a good thing. Not at all. Erehwon must have seen that this was news to Maddox by the look on her face and her comment of, ‘My husband is comatose? I cannot stay here, then. I must go to them…’ The Magistrate grimaced and her eyes flashed. “I will skin that cat.”
As they talked more of the dangers to all involved, all Maddox could think of was her family in danger. The fact that going back to Babbage, especially the Clockhaven district, while she was pregnant could put her and her child in danger was less frightening to her than losing her husband and her best friend in one fell swoop. She understood Erehwon’s concern for her and her child, but her mind was made up. She had to make sure her loved ones were safe. Too long had she sat by and let others save her and her family from doom. This time it was up to her. She’d go alone if she had to. She would not allow this to go unanswered. Her love would not fight alone in this. She would go to him and lend him her strength. As she came to this, Erehwon called up to a friend of theirs. “Piper are you up there still?”
Maddox’s feelings then were mixed. Did she want to endanger them as well? Should she make sure that they stayed here while she left? In any occasion, Piper was coming down to join the conversation. She supposed she’d see where this went and then decide if it was worth the risk of bringing more people on her trek.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Piper, you know our Doctor Maddox?
Piper Steampunk: Yes, I know Dr. Maddy. We met a while back when I was working at Bianca’s place in New Babbage
Lysana McMillan: Piper, do let me know if you think I’ll be needed for this… I suspect you
will at least want me to check you over before you get more deeply involved.
Iolanthe Greymoon: Can I help at all?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: You can let me know if I’m being sensible. Maddox’s family is in New Babbage, and there is always trouble there.
Piper Steampunk: You should hang around, then, Lys. Let me make my way down stairs to join you, Ereh.
Iolanthe Greymoon: I’ll try.
DJPiper Steampunk: So I’ve noticed.
Lysana McMillan smiles. “Then I shall.”
Iolanthe Greymoon: Was there once. Didn’t like it.
Lysana McMillan: I heard mention of clockwork dinosaurs??
Erehwon Yoshikawa: I find it disagreeable, or it disagrees with my being there.
Piper Steampunk: Good heavens, dear Doctor. You should be seated, that IS why I have those chairs down here after all. Can I offer you a cup of Chai?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart shifts herself in the chair, her stomach jostling a tad as she soothed the child within, making herself as comfortable as possible. “No one that lives there would deny that it has its dangers.”
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddie, can you you explain Dr. Dinosaur?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: He is a dinosaur that is extremely intelligent and apparently has mind control powers of some kind and metal raptors at his disposal… As to how he’s used the things so far, I’ve not heard mention until you told me Helio was comatose and Arnold on the run from them.
Lysana McMillan contemplates that, her eyes a bit wide. “Never thought to do mind control on my creations…” She shudders.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Yes, Mr Arnold said the Professor, Maddie’s husband, was injured in a confrontation with Dr. Dino’s minions.
Lysana McMillan: Oh, stars.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Apparently his mind control power extends to sentient being around his devices as well.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddox needs to get to her husband.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: And to my familiar and best friend.
Piper Steampunk: I… See.
Erehwon Yoshikawa raises an eyebrow at “familiar”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: They need me and I have to get to them as soon as I can.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Piper, when we were all on the young spark’s space station, I saw you do something. You made a door where there wasn’t one.
One of Maddox’s lines of thought snapped to attention. A door where there isn’t one? What did that mean? However it would have its advantages… She didn’t like this. Not one bit. This meant trouble. She and Arnold had been avoiding trouble since they’d landed in New Babbage that first night. They’d wandered into the Gut and nothing bad had befallen them! Why then did everything after that day have to threaten their lives and existences? And that was before she had another little life to look out for… As her thoughts progressed, she noticed her right palm was very warm. Too warm for just the temperature of the desert… When she looked down, there was a blue flame growing in her hand. She smothered it as quickly as she could and turned her attentions back to the conversation, hoping that no one else had noticed it too. That was one of many things that she didn’t have time to worry on. She had bigger things to overcome at that moment. Magic flare-ups could be handled once her husband was safely with her. She turned her head again to watch Piper work.
Piper Steampunk pulled out a piece of chalk and walked over to the wall. Working quickly he drew a door on the wall, knocked on the door and it solidified, glowing faintly blue. “Well, that glow is new. Would you care to try the door, Dr. Maddox?”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: And that door will take me where I wish to start?
Piper Steampunk: It should. I’ll need to go along to draw another door at that end.
Erehwon Yoshikawa gives her a look, “You sure of this?”
At this point, Maddox was only sure of a few things. She was sure that she would pass through this door to find her husband. She was sure that she would have to tug on her connection to Arnold to see if he had left Babbage and if she could find him. And that she had to get her comatose husband to safety. Everything else could wait. But to do so, she had to have help. Being pregnant did not serve her well in this area, so she had to have help. She didn’t like it, but where danger was involved, she never did like the options presented to her. She’d have to bite that back and ask for help. She turned to Ereh. “I wish that you could accompany me.” Erehwon agreed quickly and changed her clothes.
Piper tried to lighten the mood a bit. “Hearkening back to your confusion of whether Mr. Arnold was the chaser or chasee, Ereh, I suspect it’s a little of both.”
The Magistrate chuckled and nodded. “He does invite trouble that way.”
Maddox couldn’t help but agree. “He does, but at this rate, I can safely assume he invited the trouble onto himself to keep Helio safe. I cannot begrudge him that.”
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Of course, that’s the catch, what makes Babbage dangerous for me, makes it hospitable for your Professor.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Yes. I know. And I hate to ask you, knowing it pains you, but I am rather … I should not do this alone.
Piper Steampunk cocks his head to one side and looks at Erehwon curiously.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: But you know why, Piper, you said it earlier tonight.
Piper Steampunk: All the trouble that happens there? Or was it something to do with Bianca?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: It is something to do with reality enforcing machines. They tend to harm anything or anyone who is special… such as djinn or fae or my kind.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: They have a very focused idea of what passes for real.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: But those are in Clockhaven… I do not think we will pass too close to them.
Piper Steampunk: Ah. I zee *coughs* See. Reality tends to become a little… zlippery around me at times.
Lysana McMillan smiles wryly
Piper Steampunk: Heh. And HYU know vy, too.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I know it is a great risk and I am more than thankful for your help. I will repay you somehow. All of you.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: You are making me an aunt, that’s gift enough.
Piper Steampunk: Pfeh. What is this talk of repaying? You are our friend.
Iolanthe Greymoon: Hate to butt in, but should you be going at all Dr. Lionheart, in your condition?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart blushes, tiredly, the tears softly rolling down her cheeks. “You will never know how much I appreciate you all…” She turns softly to Iolanthe. “It’s not a matter of if I have to. My baby’s father is at risk of dying. I want my son or daughter to know him in more than just name and deed.”
Lysana McMillan smiles at Dr. Maddox. “I can hardly blame you for that motive.”
So it was settled. They were going to find Helio and look for Arnold… She had a feeling that the asylum’s danger was far beyond what they had planned for, but she could only hope their luck held out. This was a mission that she could not fail. Failure was not an option… She truly hoped they all made it out of this unscathed. What else could she lose?