2010-10-23: The Clockwork Man


David_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg

Summary: David meets a much more primitive Mike

Date: October 23, 2010

Log Title: The Clockwork Man

Rating: PG

Tegu-Haaz - The Slaughtered Lamb

Outside the wooden sign displaying a Wolf's Head on a pike along with the name 'The Slaughtered Lamb' swings in the breeze of the run down old pub. Inside the wooden floors creak as extra weight is applied and the smells of lingering alcohol and tabacco smoke permeate the air. Oil lanterns are hung on the walls circling the pub to provide light the patrons while the walls are marked with old tally marks from games long ago played. Behind the bar are old barrels of wine and ale, an hearth for cooking up meals and a layer of dust is caked onto the dishes. Long tables that can sit at least ten people each are still sturdy but some are turned over while the chairs are scattered across the place. A second hearth with ash from long ago still sitting in it is built against one of the sidewalls for light, heat and additional cooking. If one were to search the pub they might find food that is mysteriously still edible.

It's been a bit more than a week since Mike was attacked by the gremlins, and he seemed at first to be OK, but then two days after that he stopped talking to people and moving around very much, and when asked, just said "Don't feel well, praying."
He stopped talking to Heather about that time (if anyone noticed) and then disappeared for a day, and was found in the blacksmith shop, having found some nail-stock (heavy-weight wire) and some coarsely forged nuts and bolts. He's made a simple bracelet of some kind, using the nuts, bolts, and two nails almost big enough to be railroad spikes. The nuts are treated as beads. If anyone knows what they look like, it's obviously a rosary, though not the standard one. Too short.
And, today, hood pulled over his head, robe pulled over his body but torn and shredded, Mike - or someone who is wearing the same thing Mike was wearing, but this figure is bigger somehow - is sitting hunched on the floor in the corner of the Slaughtered Lamb furthest from the fire, with a bottle of lamp-oil near him. And he's using that rosary. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. He, or it, spasms, roughly sketching a cross, not over its chest because the arms don't reach. Click. Click. … this continues.

Making his way into the Slaughtered Lamb, David dressed in period clothing, but wearing a long blacksmith trenchcoat looks about and goes to the bar and sneaks a drink…of water. He leans against the railing and takes a seat and covers his eyes. He seems very tired and very drained. He takes two sips and begins coughing wildly and then takes another sip, "Great, even here, I can get a cold. Goodness, how long has it been? I am almost forgetting time." He sighs and then looks over towards Mike or what was Mike and blinks, "Woah." is all he utters.

The machine in the rough shape of a man clicks through the "beads" one at a time. When it reaches one with a bolt through it, the machine moves its arm in that attempted cross. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Cross. The hands look wrong. They're not shiny silver with rubber tread. They're iron, painted black, two fingers that curve like claws, a thumb with no joint, the clockwork gears that move them in and out visible through the roughly cut shell of the back of the hand. The elbow isn't bending like a human elbow, the shoulder isn't rotating right. If that's Mike, he seems to have experienced some downgrades.

Standing up and moving closer to 'Mike', David slowly makes his wave over and then kneels down by Mike, "I heard about the attack by the gremlins. I'm sorry to see this happened to you. How're you coping?" He offers a sympathetic smile and is not sure if Mike can even speak. The look on his face is one of confusion and sorrow, confused by what Mike has become and sorrow that he was not present when the attack occurred.

When the figure looks up, the eyes aren't right. Mike's eyes were high-tech headlamps that actually resembled human eyes until he turned the lamps on. This creature has brass-rimmed glass lenses, no light behind them at all. It speaks, and the voice is, horribly, like Mike's but very much not. It comes with interspersed clicks, the words having no intonation, much like a phone answering machine.
"Good. Day. Sir. May. I. Ask. For. Your. Help. My. Main. Spring. Needs. Winding." Shifting, there's a clock-ticking clatter as the robed figure stands, eight feet tall, clumsy and bulky, looming over David.

"Sure…um…I can help you." David offers as he stands up and looks around to see exactly how to wind Mike up. "Wow…you got tall." He stares at the clockwork Frankenstein before him for a long time what seems like eternity, but really just a few seconds, "Um…how do I wind your spring?"

"I. Must. Take. Off. Clothes." The burlap robe isn't fitting well at all, and it's only a moment's work for the claw-hands to shred it from his body, leaving bits of it hanging around his face and shoulders. Revealed, the bulky torso underneath is nothing nearly as well-formed as Mike Drakos the auto-robot. It's much more a flattened cylinder, the shoulder joints simplistic with large toothed gears sticking out, some of the burlap still in shreds where it was catching, the same at the elbow. A glass 'window' in the chest is lit by a faint flicker as if a pilot light were burning inside.
A square-ended key resembling the crank for a model-T hangs from a chain attached at the mechanical creature's waist; it offers the crank to David and says, "Please. Put. The. Key. In. The. Hole. In. My. Back. And. Turn. Five. Times. Clockwise." The hinged, separate jaw (resembling the robot in the children's story "Iron Giant") moves slightly when it speaks, as if the creator wanted the thing to seem more like a human, though the two large bolts in the neck holding the head in place are not helping that image.

"Ok then." David grabs Mike's crank from the chain walks around the behemoth and finds the hole. David takes the crank and puts it into the hole and spins it clockwise, five times. At first slowly and then getting the hang of it, he shifts the crank into the hole five times, "So is this helping? Will you be able to talk more?"

After inserting the key, David would be able to tell that it only needs to be turned around like the winding armature on a watch. Sadly, they did not design this one with a built-in winder. In fact, the whole machine seems like something ad-hoc. The joints are not well designed, the metal edges do not butt together smoothly like a properly designed mechanical wonder. There is no brasswork, no filigree, no pride in workmanship.
It's almost as if the thing were thrown together prematurely or without an adequate plan.
The machine answers, "Thank. You. Please. Do. Not. Over. Wind. My. Spring. Can. Break."
Once David removes the crank, it turns, with a faint huff of steam and clicking from inside. The movements seem more confident, though they're rather clumsy and David may need to step back to keep from having his feet trodden by the mechanical mockery of humanity.
"Please. Wind. My. Second. Spring. Only. Two. Turns. Clockwise." If the creature had a waist and could bend there, the second spring winding hole would be where the navel would be. On the faintly curved oblate cylinder of the chest-and-abdomen, a brass plate has been screwed onto the black-painted metal, with words engraved. "I am Franklin Stane …" and it continues, but the mechanism seems to be waiting impatiently.

After winding the first spring David carefully removes Mike's key and goes about winding the second spring, only twice and clockwise. Done. He places the key where he originally got it from, "Franklin Stane. You say?" He sighs and resides himself to the fact that the place has even affected Mike and will most likely get to him too. "I'm David Alleyne."

"I. Did. Not. Say. My. Name. Please. Call. Me. Mike. It. Is. Easier. Hello. Please. Say. Your. Name. Again."
The clockwork man has even less body-language than Mike did, or perhaps it's that it doesn't actually stay still, but the mechanisms inside make it twitch slightly, steam hissing faintly inside. Something goes 'clunk' inside the thing, though.

David grins, "Oh yeah, sorry I read it on your…um…body." He sighs again and repeats, "I am David Alleyne. Do you not know who I am, Mike?" His expression is once again a mixture of confusion and sorrow.

Another creepy thing happens … when the creature says "David" it's a faint, scratchy recording as if done on a wax cylinder in a victrola, and it's David's voice.
"I. Know. You. <David>."
The machine carefully lowers itself to the floor again, thumping slightly as it settles. It picks up the robot rosary and begins clicking through it again, but stops when it speaks. "This. Is. A. Bad. Dream. I. Want. To. Wake. Up. I. Want. To. Go. Home."

David does a double take as he hears his own voice. A haunting form of his voice from a time long ago. A time not his own. David blinks, "That was just creepy." He then attempts to try to put his arm around Mike in a form of comforting, but finds the humanoid clock's body to big and simply pats him in the back, "Soon enough, Mike. Soon enough we will all wake up from this dream. And we will be home."

The machine clicks beads through its claw-hands. click. click. click. A speedometer style register, if David could see the thing, turns over inside the clever automaton's clockwork thinkery. 996. Four more and it'll go back to zero and have to start over again. It speaks again, "I. Miss. Home. I. Miss. London. I. Miss. Father. And. Mother."
Something pings inside. "I. Owe. You. A. Service. Please. What. Do. You. Want. Me. To. Do. To. Pay. For. Winding. Me."

Laughing a bit to himself at Mike's comment about paying him back, "I'm not that kinda boy, Mike." He chuckles and realizes Mike is even less likely to get the joke and hmmmmns, "I'll think of a way, you can service me later." He stands and goes to the bar and then pats his stomach as he feels a bit hungry, "Hey, well I am sure your mom and dad are….wait did you say London?"

The clicking becomes a bit more rapid. It takes an uncomfortable forty-five seconds while the creature remains motionless, then there is a faint 'ping' as if a bell were rung inside its chest.
"I. Need. To. Pay. Back. But. Later. Is. Good. Yes. London. Home." Click click ticktickticktick bzzzt. "No. Not. London. Dream. Bad. Why. Not. Wake. Up."

Nodding his head and then speaking to himself, "It seems this place is getting to all of us, Mike." David once again pats Mike's back affectionately, "You're right. You are not from London. You were born in Taos, New Mexico. You're home is New York City. Your parents are Kyrios and Ana Drakos. Your full name is Cleanthes Michael Drakos." He blinks a moment as he thinks about the first name.

"My. Name. Is. Franklin. Michael. Stane. I. Was. A. Student. My. Mother. Anna. Is. A. Nurse. My. Father. Carl. Is. A." click click click "Fixes. Carriages. For. Lord. Lovelace. There. Was. An. Accident. I. Was. Hurt. I. Woke. Up. And. I. Was. Clockwork." click click click. The massive machine starts to move as if wanting to get to its feet, but then there's a "bzzzt" inside and it goes slack.
"I. Want. To. Go. Home. I. Want. To. Wake. Up."

David hmmmmns and finds himself getting tired of correcting the students on how they are exactly. "Ok Franklin, you're from London. Your parents are Carl and Anna. Tell me what were you and student of and what was the accident?" He stands up and walks towards the bar, once again rubbing his temples.

"I. Was. Not. A. Student. I. Was. A." click click click click click. "I. was. a. servant. I. helped. Lady. Lovelace." click click click click "Doctor. Waldeman. Was." click click click ping ping click. "How. May. I. Pay. You. For. Winding. My. Spring. Please."
The creation reaches clumsily for the lamp oil, almost knocking it over. It pulls the cork out, opens its mouth and with a motion that nearly spills the oil, pours the bottle into its mouth. The head tilts back to keep from overflowing, hinged on the two large bolts in the neck.

Shaking his head, David moves back towards Mike, "You need to be careful with the lamp oil." He grabs the container once Mike is done and places it on the floor next to him, "You want to repay me…Well…then don't forget who you really are. There is no Lady Lovelace and Dr. Walderman. Your parents and Kyrios and Ana. You are a student at the Barnes Academy. Your name is Cleanthes Michael Drakos!" He exhales, "Record that and play it over and over again until you learn it."

The machine's head can turn from side to side slightly, rotating on a gear-and-cog wheel. It follows David's movement. The fast, organized clicking stops when this happens, a hiss of steam inside and a louder TIK TIK TIK audible without the muffling cloth.
"I. Will. Be. Careful. I. Do. Not. Know. How. To. Do. What. You. Ask." The machine cannot promise anything else. Machines do what they are made to do, and nothing more or less, after all. And this one hasn't got much of a brain. The claw-hands pick up the iron bead-neclace from the floor and it begins counting again. Click. Click. Click. It tries to make the gesture of crossing itself but the arms won't move properly.

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