It didn’t take long to find what they were looking for in the skies…soon after take off they saw it…a glowing orb with what appeared to be a child in the center…physically at least. It was more than that on other levels and when Gadget flew close Arnold caught it gently in his hands…he could feel the warmth and light of it…he felt less stressed than he had in his entire life perhaps…he could also tell that before the end of today he’d have to give Maddox a transfer…
Gadget shouted at the ground, “We got one!“
“How many are there?” Nat asked, as he looked around themselves.
“At least as many angels as there are monsters at a guess…” Arnold ventured remembering what Sebastion had said.
“Keep yer eyes peeled for glowy balls!” Gadget said and they set out on their search again…they soon found another and this time Gadget wanted to get a hold of it and he took this one in hand just as reverently as Arnold had at least tried to be.
As they continued their search for the moment, Arnold turned back to the pilot, “Thanks for letting me come with you Gadget….I know I’m usually not the best of company…but I don’t try to be.”
“Your welcome!” Gadget told him with a smile. “Now keep yer eyes peeled!”
Arnold took off his hat, and placed it into Gadget’s craft to make sure he didn’t lose it. He then set to scanning the skies and they eventually ran into Tepic and Nathaniel, who had both found an angel as well. After awhile it seemed the angels had been gathered and they went to the Imperial to blind that ‘Iron eye’.
They had been beaten to it, but there was a large group there to join. Arnold joined the others behind the absinthe bar and the cloud angel destroyed the monster before them. The eruption, the incredible strength of it all, the excess of both dying entities went past the cat…who knew at this point that his transfer to Maddox tonight would be…interesting to say the least.
Gadget, Loki, and Nat both got onto Gadget’s airship and Arnold joined them sitting on the front of the ship again…he was probably impeding Gadgets vision he realized too late, but the urchin didn’t seem to mind or be too impaired.
“Ok where is the canister in Academy?” Gadget asked when they got close.
“There’s one in the graveyard,” Arnold said, which was behind Brunel Hall. “There’s also one behind the Cocoa Java, and one next to Pearse and Cuffs.” Arnold realized a little later that one was in Palisades, but it didn’t matter for the moment.
“Head under the balloon,” Loki directed at a large Blimp.
Nat wondered if this was how they all feel to their deaths, and Arnold assured him in a joking manner, “You can all land on me…you’ll live probably.”
It took some directions but they arrived finally, and Arnold grabbed a spare weapon that had been on Gadget’s craft and helped everyone kill the crabs that were attacking Dr. Sonnerstein and Malthus Canis on the ground. Gadget used his cloud angel and the creature exploded once again.
“Wow!” Gadget exlaimed happily and Dr. Sonnerstein echoed his cheer.
“Ok, you still got yours Arnold?” Gadget asked him, and Arnold nodded as they got back onto Gadgets vessel.
Arnold had a strong feeling that if he hadn’t fallen outside of time that he wouldn’t have been here…which he wouldn’t have done he was quite convinced if the writer hadn’t come and he hadn’t tried to do things differently this time. He didn’t know if he’d make any kind of difference, but he felt compelled to try…
Dr. Sonnerstein said there were other Iron eyes in the area, but Loki suggested they go to Wheastone and the Piermont. They followed his vote over the others and arrived just as that creature died.
“Perhaps the one at Bookworms,” Arnold told Gadget, which was just to the north. In a way this felt right to Arnold that he would get the chance to destroy the one that Metier had haunted so often and that a crack had appeared next to.
When they arrived Miss Hermit and Miss Hienrichs were dealing with the crab creatures there, Arnold took a moment still to turn to the Japanese woman, “Thank you Miss Hermit. The Spirit of Babbage made it to the Power Station on time.”
“Arnold!” Gadget cried as they fired at the crabs, “The Cloud Angel!”
Arnold put the blunderbuss aside and took it out, as reverently as possible, put it in his mouth, as reverently as possible (it’s how you’d hold a kitten), and made his way forward into the creatures jumping about like a mad cat and put it close enough and made his way back out thanks to the cover he was provided by everyone.
Arnold ignored the crack in time, he no longer had any fear of it, and he watched as the cloud angel erupted and destroyed the eye. After it was gone…Arnold felt much better…as if he’d found closure with Metier and everything else that had happened because of the aether…even though they still weren’t done. No one was sure how many eyes were left and no one in their party had any more angels. They reconvened at City Hall and it turned out no one had blinded the eye next to Pearse and Cuffs, but Jimmy had one last angel but didn’t know where to go. Arnold led him there on foot and was surprised to see Canergak was already there.
The angel made quick work of the canister, and Jimmy told him, “Oy’m out of Cloud Angels…”
“I don’t think it matters…all that’s left is that one…The Van Creed Buidling itself.” Arnold said softly.
“Yes.” Jimmy agreed, and he suggested they go back to City Hall.
“It’s dead now,” He told them when he arrived, “By Pearse’s I mean.”
“With the eyes blinded you can proceed unseen by the dark aether.” Sebastion told them.
Just then there was a loud shout, by Barnaby Hopkins by the sound of it Arnold guessed, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! YOU IDIOTS!“
A few people jumped and looked around for him, and Canergak told them he’d passed him coming back from Pearse’s and to look north a bit.
Quite a few people were agitated as he arrived and Arnold turned towards him and moved slightly forward.
Hopkins continued shouting, “You complete….I can not believe your stupid behaviour!”
Jedburgh stared at him resolutely, “Hopkins, you need to shut your yap.”
Bookworm agreed, “We did what we had to, Mr. Hopkins.”
“Do you realize what you have done?! Standing there you stupid woman, do you honestly realise what you have done??” Hopkins continued.
“Probably angered something that wants to kill us anyways,” Arnold told him.
“Fixing something you broke,” Jedburgh responded as well.
Sebastion moved forward, “They have done what was needed to be done, and they now have the chance to rewrite what the writer has written.”
“You people make me sick with irritation, you small minded little annoying people, you lack the ability to see the grand scale of what we are trying to do and you waltz in here and just wreck it all!” Hopkins yelled at them. “Listening to this mad man…this…this terrorist monk!”
“Do not speak of me in those terms,” Sebastion warned him.
“Or what?” Hopkins demanded, but he seemed agitated and alone against a large group…it was obvious that this would escalate to Arnold, and apparently Bookworm who was already moving forward.
“Or you may find out what we’re going to do to you,” Jedburgh told him, and Sebastion added, “I should kill you right now for the terror your society has brought on these people!”
Hopkins gave into his fear as he reached for a gun to protect himself, “Step back!”
“You are so weak,” Sebastion told the man as he moved forward, showing no fear of the gun in Hopkins hand and preventing anyone from being able to help him now. Hopkins had several guns now pointed at him, it was obvious what would happen…even a mouse would fight a cat once it was cornered like this.
“I said stand back! Dont try me monk!” Hopkins cried.
“Stop it–both of you!” Bookworm said and moved forward, but it was too late and she gasped as Hopkins shot Sebastion.
Gadget and the others cried out the knight’s name as Hopkins fled the scene and Scottie, Jedburgh, and Avariel gave immediate chase. Arnold stayed there for a few moments, looking at the fallen knight.
“….this is repeating history…except his getting shot…” Arnold said…or had that happened too…and then he turned north. The others were tending to the knight, but Arnold wondered where he should be right now…Canergak wandered off, to wherever his bomb was presumably while the others tended to Sebastion.
“Wot can we do?” Jimmy asked, and Arnold just had a feeling then where he should go…he had no weapon anymore, he’d left it behind, but he headed to the factory anyways after Mr. Hopkins and the few others who had gone there…if the clanks were completed they’d be dead soon…and he had to find that out before they could do anything else.
He found Avariel outside and he looked at her, “Did they go in?”
“Yes,” Avariel nodded, and Arnold rushed in to hear Jedburgh exclaiming. “What the hell is that?!”
“By the builder!” Avariel also yelled as they saw the giant machine that had been constructed recently. “What is this thing? It is heaving with aetheric power!”
“It’s the pump…” Arnold offered, as he could still feel that thing he’d seen on the other side nearby…feeling like it was watching them.
“I need demo charges,” Jedburgh stated.
Arnold didn’t think that was the best plan, “There is every chance that blowing that thing up is what causes the sky to rain with crab creatures…perhaps another way can be found?”
Avariel quickly agreed, “We must be careful…” Scottie added, “Uh, yeah, I’m all for shooting first, but is it wise to blow up something we don’t really understand?”
“Indeed! It could amplify the explosion, or worse…” Avariel told her.
“We need to plug the hole then,” Jedburgh commented and they went upstairs and found a control panel and a platform of some kind. Arnold looked inside the room to the far right and shook his head, “Not in there.”
“We should report back to the others…” Avariel suggested, but Jed shook her head.
“We need to make sure he isn’t here.” Dagger said resolutely and they all heard a shout.
“Moriarty hurry, we have to start it now!” Hopkins yelled.
That was when Moriarty came down the hallway, and Arnold couldn’t help himself as he said, “Oh this will be lovely.” He waved weakly at the man who was about to kill them all. Why had he ever been stupid enough to come here? “Hi.”
“Can I help you at all?” Jason said, his confidence at their impotence unquestionable.
“Hello, Jason. The party is over.” Jedburgh assured him as Avariel muttered, “Oh dear…”
“Are you sure? I’m sorry but it’s surely just begun?” The man told them as Scottie growled as Barnaby appeared again and he leveled his shotgun at the man who’d shot the knight.
“Keep him back Scottie. If he flinches, air him out,” Jedburgh ordered. Melnik nodded to Jed, “Yes’m.”
“The idiots blinded the dark aether, that means it will retaliate!” Hopkins told him. “We haven’t even brought the new Clanks here! We’re vulnerable!”
Arnold’s own hopes soared over what he had heard, the clanks weren’t done, and he had also learned they intended to start the machine right away! He had to warn everyone, he was probably the fastest person here besides Avariel, and she’d have to struggle down walkways and narrow passages…plus he didn’t even have a weapon since he’d set his aside back at Books! That’s why he’d been here, someone had to fetch help in time! “Good to know, I’ll go tell everyone you said that, BYE!”
Jason said that it was now time and to move aside, but Arnold didn’t stick around to see what happened as he quickly escaped out the building and made his way by instinct and scent to the graveyard they had tried to bury Metier’s hat at. It just always came back to this location didn’t it?
He had no idea what they had been doing there but he told them quickly what he had learned, that the clanks were not there, that the Van Creed was vulnerable as long as that hadn’t been a lie, and that the machine was being activated now!
Bookworm hissed, “Then we’d better hurry!” And they all quickly rushed to the building to help, though Arnold had no idea what they would do…it just seemed like what they had to do now…and they made it back just in time for Arnold to go up the stairs as Jason was talking…
“You cant stop the pump! The pump is powered by me! I am the dark angel!” In the time he was gone the three had apparently tried to stop him and had failed, Arnold came to stand on the same platform, thinking everyone behind him…when he looked back most of them had stopped at the door below…
Scottie had tried to shoot Moriarty then, having picked up his dropped shotgun in the time that Arnold had been gone, but it didn’t seem to hit it’s mark. Avariel Falcon was also on the ground making clicking broken noises.
“Through me the power summons the gods, behold the old one arrives!” Jason cried as something terrible began to cross into their world.
Arnold could feel it coming, that thing he had seen on the other side…something potent enough that it would easily kill them all and destroy this entire building and everyone in it. At best he could escape by falling out of reality…he could still feel that pull of the void he’d been in…but what was the point of that? His life was here now, and he couldn’t run and be lost again with no hope of return since Maddox hadn’t fled and would soon die.
“My word!” Hopkins cried in absolute terror, “WHAT IS THAT!”
The thing you sold your soul to without realizing it, Arnold thought but didn’t say. There was no point in criticizing anyone anymore. Jedburgh tried firing into the machine and the creature appearing there slowly, but it did nothing.
That was when Bookworm cried, “Jimmy, now!”
Arnold wondered just what Jimmy could do, had they had some plan all along he hadn’t known about? Moriarty screamed in pain, as the energy from another cloud angel appeared…except they were out so that couldn’t have been what happened, An incredible reaction occurred and Moriarty screamed in pain. When Arnold looked again the man was moving about in a half daze as he wobbled, “My powers!” He then screamed, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!”
“Spoiled your story!” Bookworm shouted and Gadget laughed…as things began to shake all around them. The structure couldn’t handle what had happened here today obviously and was beginning to crumble around them.
“YOU HAVE TAKEN MY POWERS I AM IMMORTAL WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS!!“
“He’s helpless, get him!” Lapis cried, as the man fell towards Arnold who caught him for a moment…and then let him drop without a seconds hesitation as he vaguely saw Hopkins making his escape in the confusion.
“Get back, everyone!” Book ordered, “The place is falling apart!”
“We cant leave Miss Falcon!” Gadget cried and he soon asked if Unit 6 could make a portal for her or route power.
“Get out Scottie,” Jedburgh ordered and he complied as Arnold also went to evacuate…his way was blocked by several fallen boards already, but he still managed to finally make his escape safely enough…too many people were still inside and some of them even wanted to run upstairs to help!
“I barely made it downstairs in one trip!” Arnold told them, but they didn’t listen and he left the building. When he made it out he passed Miss Hermit who was standing there at the exit and soon more people escaped while the building crumbled to nothing but debries…with people still inside like Gadget.
Once outside Arnold turned to Jimmy who had told them Moriarty’s powers were gone, “How did you manage that by the way Jimmy?”
“Oy dint” Jimmy told him. “It was the last Cloud Angel.”
For a moment Arnold was confused, and then he understood finally, “The one from Sebastion in the story? He gave it to you instead?”
“Yes. ‘ee said it wos meant for me.” Jimmy told him, and Arnold nodded…originally it had sent him back in time to fix this…this time he had fixed it which seemed…appropriate. It was a good thing the clanks hadn’t been there…they had barely been on time for Jimmy to stop that thing at the last moment. If they had been there then they’d have never succeded.
Bookworm and many others were coughing up the dust and debries they had been breathing, but that was minor compared to what would have happened. In between coughs she managed to say, “I swear, the people of this city have *no* instinct for self-preservation.” Arnold couldn’t help but agree…his had certaintly turned off at some odd points today.
It was then that they saw Gadget emerging while dragging Moriarty with him.
Arnold looked at the man he himself had abandoned, “You saved him? You’re better than me Gadget. When he fell on me I didn’t even consider it, I let him drop.”
“He’s still a person, Arnold..” Dr. Sonnerstein told him, but Arnold had no sympathy for a man who wanted death, his true freedom the man had told them about the night before. Saving him was the last thing he’d want.
“Better get him to the hospital doctor.” Malthus who had only just arrived said.
“Hospital? Are we going to fix him up before we execute him?” Scottie asked, but Gadget told them he was already dead and only the brain would still be transferable and able to be saved in the unit he’d prepared ahead of time.
Arnold disagreed that this was a good thing on every level, but he had his chance to kill the man when he fell on him. He could have torn him to pieces with his claws once he lost his powers…slit his throat…something. Gadget had risked his life to bring him out…obviously the urchin wanted him alive more than Arnold cared to see him dead…
Arnold watched them drag off the man and he was about to join them, when Miss Hermit approached him and they talked shortly of the spirit of Babbage and how it had helped them this day.
He then arrived at the place they were going to perform the transplant and soon enough…Gadget emerged with the new robot. Arnold was sure that the brain in the jar would outwit this in the end somehow, but even if he didn’t this felt wrong to Arnold. The man should have been able to go to his death and see what Arnold had told him about the day before…about this not being the worst place that one could be…but trapped like this he’d never learn that lesson and he would continue to think himself right and hate them. His hatred would only grow as someone forced him to jump on one leg in his new body.
They made their way through the city to the Brunel party…it was time to relax and calm down…and Arnold was not happy to see a man sitting there who had promised he wouldn’t come here but would go to Mondrago instead…