Something in Maddox’s gut was churning. That old man Canergak was really starting to bother her more and more. Something about his reasons for being in Babbage and the reason he built that asylum just weren’t fitting together. This puzzle was broken and she intended to find out just how much the pieces didn’t fit. When she spoke to Helio about him, her husband was just as suspicious as she was, but also somewhat intrigued.
When she and Arnold spoke to Mr Harvey about recent events, they spoke of Canergak again. He told her he would speak to Mr Qork to help them out. And tonight, she met with Mr Kane to see if she could coax the help out of him.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Greetings, Kane. Won’t you come in?
Kane Qork looks around at the structure.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I have something to ask of you, sir.
Kane Qork: Acknowledged.
As it turned out, Mr Qork was a very good automaton. A well run, well oiled automaton. And he would get the information, albeit objectively. He asked what she wanted him to look for. She told him,”…I just want to know exactly what the old man is up to…I want to know what lengths he’s willing to go to for that goal…” It seemed that Qork was willing to do the reconaissance that she didn’t have the stealth or the time for. She was happy that she was going to find out, but at the same time, she wasn’t. She was almost frightened that Qork would have to go to Miss Jedburgh right away once he left the old man. Then Kane asked a very good question.
“What would be the consequences of defending myself?” And her answer, though it would have surprised most people that know her, did not surprise her in the least.
“Killing Canergak? Personally, none. He harmed Arnold, and I don’t trust him to boot. He’s feeble, so killing him will be of no issue.” She said it as easily as she would tell Helio she loved him or telling Arnold she needed him. It was not at all difficult and she meant it. After more queries of Qork’s as to what she wanted to find out, he left. She assumed it was to prepare to do the deed, but apparently, he found his mark a bit more easily than she’d have expected. But when Qork returned, the answers he gave her were also things that did not truly floor her. She expected the old snake would play things so that he looked harmless, but her gut just knew better. He had to be up to something. She knew it…. something within her knew it and she would do everything she could to find out.
Kane Qork: All rooms were inspected. One patient detected in sleeping chamber. Director Canergak showed me his office. I have a sample of stone lining the Director’s office for further analysis.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart backs away a bit. “Good. But what was he doing when you were found? Was there anything suspicious going on?”
Kane Qork: Director demonstrated unusual attitude for a health facility.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Explain to me his attitude, if you don’t mind.
Kane Qork: Suspicious activity undetermined. No unusual records found in doctor’s office area.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I was a bit more interested in how he was acting. His notes will mean something to me when found.
Kane Qork: Director’s attitude was lax regarding the facility and patients.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: As though he didn’t care?
Kane Qork: Yes.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Did you detect malice in his actions, whatsoever?
Kane Qork: Director demonstrated very little emotional content in his responses.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Empty. Just as I suspected he would play it. He matched you.
Her mind was racing with possibilities. Could she get to the root of the problem without anyone finding out? Especially Miss Jed? Bookworm gave Arnold a free pass, but she knew that Jed wouldn’t. In fact, she wasn’t even sure that Bookworm would be kind to her if she found out what Maddox was thinking in those precise moments. How could they get rid of the old man and that dangerous substance all in one swoop? Without killing everyone in the place? She was not good at being a tactician. That was not her field. Her field was a person’s motivation for doing things, not doing them herself. Perhaps she would update Helio and find out what he thought of the whole thing. The last thing she said aloud after Qork left Huxley Hall was a short but concise sentence: “Damn that old man… he’s up to something. I know he is. But what?”