* Photo used without permission from: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14512773
This is the third part of the story I began earlier. You can read Part 1 by accessing the link: STORY PART 1. Happy New Year everyone!
Max and I said nothing as we witnessed a scene better suited for Deity. We watched creation at the hands of a masterful god. Titus stood and built the intricate workings of the metal man with the precision of a skilled craftsman. When finally my senses returned I asked, “How, sir, can this be?”
“Titus can operate at this pace for days, weeks, perhaps forever. If he breaks, he can be easily repaired by any number of his fabricated counterparts. He can singularly replace an entire factory of workers. He has no allegiances, no loyalty to governments or religions. He is mankind’s greatest achievement. He will change the world.”
The weight of this realization, in connection with what I saw before me caused my head to swim and the strength supporting my weight failed me. Max saw the change overcome me and he stopped me from falling to the ground.
“Good sir!” he said as he caught me. “Perhaps we should retire to my private quarters for a bit of refreshment.” I agreed this would be best.
“Titus,” he commanded. “Come.”
Our threesome traveled to an as of yet unseen section of his grotto after leaving the assembly room. I sat and I felt life return to my extremities. Max retrieved a flask of spirits and poured each of us a drink.
“Titus, rest.” I watched as the man became a monolith and I swear a light extinguished from its ocular cavities.
The liquor helped immensely. I felt the warmth spread from my mouth and throat to my arms and legs. After several portions of scotch, we spoke.
Now, my young Prussian friend, I can see from the way you are looking at me that you would very much like to know what great mysteries we discussed in the privacy of Dr. Thatcher’s home. As far as specific details, unfortunately I cannot expound with adequate specificity. The effects of the alcohol combined with my already overwhelmed mind make the recollection of such details suspect at best. Some things I can recall, while others, no. However, I do remember many of the general topics of our discourse.
Dr. Maximillon Thatcher proved to possess an amazing mind, one I believe, is unequaled in the educated world in which both you and I live. He spoke of the moment when he first assembled Titus and the realization that his creation could create others just like him. I kept looking at Titus as we spoke, the silent form forever watched over his master.
We spoke of the future of steam power and that’s when our conversation took an admittedly surprising turn. I first believed it was the strong drink which affected my understanding of the man’s words. I was wrong.
Max spoke glowingly of his inventions, and the change for good his army of mechanical automatons would bring. He then discussed work being done by Lemuel Wellman Wright, William Barnett, and that American, Morey. He spoke of new discoveries with coal tar distillates and the possibility of combining these new discoveries currently under development with motors using alternative fuels for operation.
I must tell you, my student friend, what Max said next caused my head to spin anew. Dr. Thatcher expressed his desire to investigate using these fuels and new designs to make his inventions more efficient. “Steam,” he said. “It may represent the greatest achievement in humanity’s ability to harness the raw power of nature, but the era of steam may be coming to an end.”
Though my understanding was somewhat cloudy I asked him to repeat what he said and he did indeed confirm my suspicion. He stated his opinion of steam power’s demise and suggested that new technologies would replace heated water as a motivating force.
“But what of your men? What will become of them? What of Titus?”
A silence enveloped us. Finally Max spoke.
“They would need to be refitted.”
“Yes, dismantled and equipped with new modes of power.”
“You mean to destroy these amazing miracles of our modern industrial age?”
“It must be,” he said as casually as a butterfly lifting itself into the air.”
“Sir, I beg of you to reconsider,” I pleaded. “These beings belong in a museum. They must be studied. We can learn so much from them.” I glanced at Titus and though I could not be sure, I detected something behind his eyes, an acknowledgement of our discussion. I felt it understood the ramifications of Dr. Thatcher’s words.
“Thaddeus! Please, you must understand. These are machines. When improvements are made to a plow or a knife, do we worship those items now made obsolete?”
“Sometimes,” I said. “When they change the world.”
Max poured each of us another drink and he came and sat beside me. “Dr. Moore, Titus will be honored, and revered, but not in a manner you believe is appropriate. Titus and the creations he’s made will serve as the foundation for another age, a new age where machines will do more for us than anyone can possibly imagine. Trust me, Thaddeus. It is the only way.”
I knew further discussion would be fruitless. A man such as him could not be persuaded by my inconsequential arguments. Eventually fatigue and the effects of strong drink resulted in us retiring for the evening. Max showed me to my quarters and I fell into a deep and disturbing sleep.
As I slept frightening nightmares plagued me. Creatures with the body of Titus and each possessing the brilliant mind of Dr. Thatcher descended on me. They pursued me with relentless drive. I awoke, my clothes drenched in my own sweat. I felt the need to escape this cave, this dungeon and ingest the air of the Scottish highlands into my lungs. I needed to escape.
Link To Page 4
Link To Page 4
To Be Continued...