Dr. Maddox was back in New Babbage for the next few days because Little M had been found half drowned in the canals on the twelfth, and though the Wilde hospital had done everything they could her body just couldn’t cling to life. The mouse had originally been admitted because of the dark aether affecting her poorly, but these days it was because of her agoraphobia…the fear of wide open spaces. They didn’t know how she ended up in the canals, but examining the body had made the doctors wonder if perhaps she hadn’t had a better reason to want to be locked away. They would never know for sure now, they supposed.
There was no one to claim the body, she had no relatives that he knew of, and her tower had become inactive. Despite the tragedy Dr. Maddox insisted that they keep his therapy on track, and were meeting in the cafeteria of the asylum. It wasn’t as oppressive as the first design, but there was even more iron in the walls than had been in the second. He could ignore the feeling of being caged and the discomfort the building created, because of the security he felt that no one would hear them.
“Well Arnold…shall we pick up from where we left off?”
He shook his head, “There’s not much point to that. Everywhere seemed to run together afterwards, I would look around when it might have been our world and just left the others. I went into detail about Sam and that crew because they affected me personally…but the rest just made me miss Babbage more.”
Arnold grimaced as a few choice memories resounded in his head, “You’re going to kill us all!” “You don’t need to turn it off, I can fix it!” “If you didn’t want to die you should have thought of that before you started living!” “Hey there! Welcome to testing!” “Don’t worry, I’m sure it has to hibernate at some point during the summer!” “So who’s ready to stay here until they die?” “Well the good news is the scarabs will take care of our zombie problem, the bad news is that it was easier to shoot the zombies…” “These fish people will think twice when they see I’ve got a Tesla rifle! What was that? Yes, I know we’re hip deep in water, what’s your point?”
Arnold recalled screaming in a fit, ‘Am I magnetically attracted to stupid people?!’ After asking that he ended up at a very unusual tea party…and felt that he had gotten his answer.
Arnold discussed this with the doctor, telling her that though he had several ‘adventures’ elsewhere…they hadn’t personally affected his life except to make him realize that Babbage was not full of the stupidest people in existence. Now that he had found out what might have been waiting for him elsewhere he had learned to be happy with where he had found himself.
The psychiatrist had been happy to hear that and agreed that if he had already learned such a valuable lesson that he didn’t need her help dealing with that portion of his life. “Does this mean that you’re ready to move on? To go back to your childhood?”
“No, Dr…there are a few more things we should discuss…but I’d rather not go into anymore tonight. It’s been a long week.”
She nodded, “Yes, I’ve been thinking about that. Perhaps we should alternate who commutes each week. We have to keep a closer eye on our last patient, and I’m starting to think it was unfair to ask you to do all the work.”
Arnold nodded appreciatively and then paused as he heard the scamper of metallic feet behind him. Turning about he saw an M bot examining the walls of the asylum, looking about curiously, cheese in one hand. Feeling a little confused he followed the thing around until they reached what had been labeled as M’s new room and it pointed at it and made several beeping noises like Morse code…he wished that rat unit from the power station was here to translate…
In the end he let it in and it started to write on the walls with the cheese like…like Little M had used to do in her old room. Arnold and Dr. Maddox both left it to its harmless chore.