The Cellar Again

The woman was still in the alcove, her head resting on the stone desk.

Edmund crawled behind it, the faint glow of his concoction providing a small bit of light, and pulled off the stone cover. Peering in to the statue, his eyes sought out the small glass cylinder in the recesses of the machine. He saw it almost immediately, sitting almost exactly at the center of the machine with two wires dangling down into it and some strange mechanical contrivance on the bottom.

A bit of wiggling freed it from the machine’s grip, and enabled Edmund to pour the Mechanus Vitae into it. He wasn’t sure exactly how much of the liquid was required to make the whole thing work, but he only had enough to fill the vial half way; he hoped it would be enough.

Slowly, he set the empty glass down and pushed his hand through the gears and tines to fit the Mechanus Vitae back into the statue. He had some trouble getting it to fit before he realized that his hand was shaking. Taking a deep breath, he steadied his hand, and pushed the glass vial into place with a snap. As he carefully withdrew his hand from the nest of gears, the vial began to glow brighter.

Now, all he needed was some wire and a Reticulating Electolyzer. And he was positive he knew where to find them.

Another storm was brewing while Edmund made his way to the cellar. The thunder echoed around him as he sneaked down the servant’s stairs towards the large slumbering furnace.

It was a simple process, he reflected as he walked. The work of Dr. Shteen in postencardiographology had proven the restorative and energizing effects of electricity on the human body, it was no great leap to consider the effects might be similar on a mechanical automation.

What was the difference, after all?

The blueprint had proven it. The Mechanus Vitae had to involve some connection with electricity; the principles of the Pinkerton Engine wouldn’t have worked, otherwise. If he could return some of that electricity to the machine, it might–it had to activate itself.

When Edmund reached the cellar, the roaring from the furnace was louder than ever. He had no sooner taken his third step when a bright blue flash jumped from the ceiling to the ground. A blast of heat struck Edmund seconds before an explosion echoed through the cellar. Edmund clapped his hands to his ears as the sound tore through the room.

Looking at the furnace, he realized in a burst of inspiration why the furnace roared so loudly–it was open to the sky. There must have been an open chimney on the roof that connected to the furnace, with the wind causing the distant rumbling that was magnified by the massive metal cylinder.

Edmund moved closer, and cautiously inspected the side of the furnace. All along the sides were thick copper cables that descended from the ceiling and into the ground. The lightning rods on the roof were connected through the chimney.

Quickly, he pulled his hand back and stepped away from the copper.


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