Back to the Box, I've decided to embrace it all...I guess it's in my blood.
|Looking around the space, it was easy to see that Constantine was the only thing I needed to take with me. He turned out to be surprisingly heavy, but of course he wasn't any regular cat. I sat down to take a closer look at him, and discovered he wasn't the smooth black I had first thought. Instead, he was entirely covered with very finely etched designs that seemed to range from ancient druidic runes to symbols from the Anasazi.
"Well, let me see if I can scare up a dolly to get you up to the car, my friend." Before I could even stand, Constantine's left eye closed and he simply vanished. I looked to see if he had reappeared back on the pedestal. Of course he hadn't. But once I checked to find his key still around my neck, I had a suspicion as to his whereabouts. I locked up the storage room and went upstairs to the car. Sure enough, I found him there laying on top of a large object wrapped in a green blanket that was taking up the passenger seat of the car. As I got in, it was apparent that Gloriosky and Spaulding had been quite busy, since the passenger's floorboard was also taken up with packages. They had also left me a leather aviator's helmet and a pair of goggles draped on the steering column of the car. I picked them up and was shaking my head at the notion of wearing them when I looked at the ornate hand carved steering wheel before me. I turned my head to take it all in. I was sitting in a massive vehicle with an engine that towered over the car, with red leather button-tuck seats, hand carved mahogany dash and fittings, all finished off with ornate brass work to trim it all out. In addition, I was sitting next to a clockwork cat that defied physics at will, and could travel through time and space. I put the helmet on and started the engine, laughing out loud, "Why not?!". As the engine's hum evened out, I watched as my personal parking space sign folded up and slid down into the sidewalk. I pulled the goggles down over my eyes as I pulled away from the curb, embracing it all at last. I was headed home to the Box.
It was an uneventful drive home, in spite of the many long stares and double takes I received. I stopped to stretch my legs a few times, and looked over the operations manual for the car. I learned it is a Velocitor Model 7, and that it was fueled by a mixture of 90% Aether and 10% Ectoplasm, which gave it an operating limit of 1500 hours per fueling, and as best I could ascertain I had another 1320 hours before I would have to concern myself with that. It didn't have much in the way of options, but I figured that was pretty much a standard way of things in the realm I was entering.
Once I got home, I arranged for the use of the garage with Mrs. Hudson, and made several trips back and forth between to get my new belongings into my rooms upstairs. On my last trip, I noticed that there was another set of tire tracks running into the garage. The tires were quite thin, and whatever vehicle made them was narrow enough that it's tracks fit between the wheels of the Velocitor. I remembered a photo in the front parlor of the house of a dashing man in a white duster and bowler hat with goggles, leaning against a Model A Ford. As I passed it on my last load, I looked at it for a moment, and noticed that the garage doors were closed in the picture, but there was also a set of wide, large tire tracks leading into the garage. I knew the photo was of Mrs. Hudson's grandfather. As I looked at the photo, I thought about how starkly empty the garage had seemed as I unloaded the Velocitor, as if it had been waiting decades for the small black car to return home.
Walking into my sitting room, I looked at Constantine as he sat serenely in front of the dark blue wingback chair. I realized that I needed to make some sort of arrangement to keep my landlady's curiosity at bay. He was a beautifully crafted creation, to be sure, but his "sitting" two feet off the floor might become problematic. As I thought about what to do, I remembered a small barrel-shaped table that sat in Mrs. Hudson's rear parlor that was just the right height, so I went downstairs to ask her if she had any plans for it. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, she was dusting the barrel table off there in the front hall. "You'll need this for the cat." she said, smiling as my mouth dropped open. Dumbly, I picked the table up and started back upstairs as she started whistling a bright little tune as she headed for the back of the house. It surprised me that she would have the lightness of heart to whistle at all, and it stopped me in my tracks. She heard me stop and said brightly, "Go along now, Constantine has always preferred that table." I craned out over the bannister immediately, "Excuse me?" I said. "Nothing dear boy, nothing at all," and with that she began whistling again, disappearing into the back of the house.
My head was swimming as I got upstairs and set the table down next to Constantine. I pondered for a moment how to get it under him, then shrugged and just pushed it under him gingerly with my foot. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard the floorboards creak as the table accepted his weight. Everything seemed in order now, so I went to the Box and took it out of the closet to sit in my chair as I unpacked the packages from the car. The green bundle had mostly clothing, cut in an old fashioned style, but very well made. There was a spyglass, a large piece of chalk, a fine compass and pocket watch, and another letter from Dr. Gloriosky.
You will find here several devices that you will find invaluable as you go forward in your learning and subsequent travels. There is a caveat. Once you learn how to use these devices, you must keep their instructions and manuals separate from them so that they will not be identified and wrongly used should they become lost. All Travellers on the Aether do this to maintain the ignorance of these sciences from the uninitiated.
You will find that most of us who travel the Aether have adopted clothing from the era of Her Majesty Queen Victoria as a means of identifying each other, and since they are also made well to stand up to the most arduous of circumstances. Study and investigate well, and we trust that we will see you soon.
I started sorting out the devices from the bundles, and matching them with the instructions that I found in the next section of the Box. This was going to be interesting.