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Orpheus and the Dark Aether – Chapter 14

Excerpt from the journals of O. Angkarn

27 November, 188~

I cannot believe how withdrawn I have become lately. Last week I sent an automaton into the Aether Crack outside the Excelsior Hotel. I have been monitoring its transmissions all week. I am thoroughly convinced that in the space beyond the cracks, time does not exist as it does in normal space. Certain events seem to have been observed out of order compared to the

broadcast I have deciphered. Also, as of yesterday I was no longer receiving any transmissions. I have constructed a working model of what the other side may appear to be, but unfortunately there was no evidence of Arnold. Perhaps some of the Brothers would be able to construct a mathematical algorithm to better aid the search.

I decided to take a break from the research and go get some fresh air, when I discovered that during my self-imposed exile, a storm ravaged the city, covering it in mountains of snow. Winter is upon Babbage! After bundling up I went for a walk, and not long after I left I ran into Scald. I told him that I was going to check on whether there was a change in the book,

when he informed me that someone had vandalized the device. The two of us hurried to City Hall, and sure enough it looked as if a struggle had occurred recently. Unit 13 was in pieces and the Writer was on its side, a hammer lodged in the side of its head. Fortunately, it appears to still be working to some degree, or at least trying to. Someone must be quite upset with the clockworks; if I am not mistaken, another one of the units assigned to the Power station was also attacked recently.

While we were looking at the fallen Writer, who should walk into City Hall but my good friend Mr. Canis! We were also joined by Master Skute. I inquired about Mr. Canis’s whereabouts, as he just arrived via airship into the city. In mixed company he seemed hesitant to share much about his travels. I shall have to find him again. I am curious as to whether he has found a way around the quarantine. Since he only just arrived a few days ago, he has not had much time to find out about the recent events that have forced many of the citizens here to evacuate. We filled him in on the terrible things that have been happening.

After a while, the discussion turned to the cracks. Mr. Canis was very interested in seeing these tears in space, so the four of us; Maltheus, Gil, Scald, and I; went for a walk. Scald showed us some graffiti that has turned up implicating that Mr. Tenk should not be mayor. I had seen such scrawlings down at the Port as well. It appears that the Dark Aether may

be causing some people to be inclined towards civil unrest, possibly even revolution. The only thing that settles my mind on that thought is that Mr. Tenk is still mayor in the Writer’s book, therefore, barring any major departure from future timelines, any attempts to remove Tenk will be fruitless.

We then made our way to the Excelsior so Mr. Canis could examine the crack. He has a good head on his shoulders and I hoped that he may offer some new insight. However, upon arriving it soon became obvious that someone had tried to destroy the crack by REMOVING THE WALL! It appears to have worked to some degree – and by this I mean that there is no evidence of the tear. I am sure that the fissure still exists, but there is a reason the only

observable rifts have occurred on walls. This has put a major setback in the plan to rescue Arnold. Despite evidence the Cracks all lead to a common location, there is no indication whether they are linked. The group traveled a few blocks further to another documented tear behind the lighthouse. They showed Mr. Canis the crack, as well as the horrid beast. I did not realize how long I had been out, because at that moment the sun began to rise and we watched the beast slowly transform into the metal cylinder. In a way, it was quite beautiful. If only Mr. Canis had not been so careless! Before we had a chance to stop him, he ventured too close to the canister, causing a swarm of overprotective crabs to climb up over the wall and chase us. We barely made it into the lighthouse before the crabs caught up to us. Thankfully they soon
tired of trying to knock down the door and they scuttled off towards the creature again.

Our group was soon joined by Mr. Stillwater who was out looking for Scald, as it was quite late and much past his bedtime I would imagine. Stormy informed me that my disguise was much too obvious and that he knew that I was Cog. I should know better by now than to mention the name of the ghost. As I was explaining why I felt the disguise necessary, who should appear? That’s right, Metier in the… uhh… whatever the ghost equivalent of flesh is. At first he was less arrogant than normal. He refused to answer any questions about Arnold, but instead mentioned that Monday at 7 O’Clock all would be explained. Then he vanished. I got him riled up enough to return, hoping for some answers. All he did was speak of shields of faith. When he refused to offer anything useful, I thought that I could intimidate him. I know that intimidation is not one of my strengths, but I thought with five of us he might be more willing to cooperate. Not only did he see right through the bluff, he revealed to me that when he dealt with the automaton last week, he saw it as it truly was, not as it was supposed to look. I see now that he must know what I am, and by association what the clock is. I don’t know what tricks he intends to pull this Monday, but on the off chance that he is lying, I shall arrange for the clock to be moved out of Lighthouse’s residence.

Metier’s departure left us time to discuss what he could mean by “shields of faith.” There was a lot of speculation, but it is obvious that none of us has any idea what he meant by that. Not long after that, it was time for everyone to leave. I went back inside to work on this puzzle some more.

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  1. Orpheus Angkarn Orpheus Angkarn November 29, 2011

    ~ Later ~

    I am still troubled by what has happened earlier today. I have gone for a walk while the movers go to take the clock to another location. I hope Sir Emerson is not too disappointed to lose that clock of his. I have located two more canisters, being very careful not to upset any of the crabs. Although I am wondering how long I can go without arming myself.

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