He didn’t have time to worry about it as he soon broke the water and sank beneath the waves. He held his breath as best as he could, keeping his eye shut as the water silenced the screaming and yelling above, and tried to angle himself upwards to swim back to the surface. He hated the water, he hated the filth in the canals, but at the moment he was at least grateful the device hadn’t exploded, even if it was slowing and dragging him down a little.
He was only able to be relieved for a moment when something seemed to swim by him, something large and slimy. Terror seized him as memories of the eel returned, thoughts of wiggyfish, sharks, and the snake monster that lived in Clockhaven gnawed at him as he tried to get away. He tried in vain to swim faster hoping it was towards the shore and wasn’t out towards the sea, feeling helpless now that he was out of his element.
Another splash from behind him came as the metal raptor plunged into the Vernian behind him. Whatever had been swimming next to Arnold had been scared off by the sudden appearance of the metallic killer. Another splash landed closer, and another followed as raptor after raptor tried to land on top of him.
Desperately he swam away from the leaping robots, holding the cumbersome device to his chest, hoping that they sank and the water would flood their engines as he tried to reach the other side of the canals.
He felt a wall of stone in front of him and managed to calm down slightly as he felt something solid. He used breaks that he could place his claws in and climbed above, breaking the water.
He gasped for air and shook his face, trying to get the water away from his eyes without rubbing. As the water left his ears and the yelling became more pronounced across the canal. There was no telling what he might catch or might try to catch him in this sludge, but he couldn’t have fought his way back down through the raptors…
He started to climb out of the water when high above, the watcher shouted flapping its wings, “Target reacquired! Swarm! Swarm!”
Grimacing he pulled himself up using his claws and his feet while tucking the device under his arm so he could always keep one paw there to hold him steady. He reached the top just as the raptors started down the run from the bridge. He got up and took off running and didn’t stop towards the east.
He needed to get to Clockhaven and the militia headquarters, though he didn’t know what they would do against these numbers. He followed the edge, knowing that he had to put distance between himself and these things before he could turn north. He passed renovators working near the train depot, but the cries of the watchers proclaiming death to the cat made him realize he couldn’t go to the militia.
If the professor was right and the device did make people do something without realizing it then who could he trust in this city now, if they could be stabbing him and not even be aware of it?