#TeamSteamPunk - Part Three: The Wars at Home - @ashiqtnt

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The Wars at Home

by ashiqtnt


"Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and behold, the most amazing animatronic creatures ever created! From steam-powered swan to the gear-filled gorilla, this is truly a sight to see! You don't want to miss it!" The salesman was standing on a huge block outside the rather large carnival type tent and shouting at the top of his lungs. He was dressed in a black suit with a hat making him look more like a businessman than a salesman. Red shook her head with a smile when she saw him and decided to check it out. Despite the war she felt that little indulgences were allowed. Since her right hand was a prosthetic with a retractable blade she always felt an odd sort of connection to such creations and shows. When she approached the tent entrance, she saw a pretty woman in a similar suit who charged her to even see the merchandise.

Inside she saw various animatronic toy creatures including the aforementioned gorilla which was only about a foot or so long but had so many gears and levers inside its tiny body that it looked like a living robot. There were only about a dozen other people, all dressed well. She was in her usual wine red cloak tied at her waist with her corset and pants and knee high boots. She was silently looking around before noticing a middle aged man who was explaining the features of the various creations to the people. She joined the small crowd and listened to him as he spoke in a low voice but was highly knowledgeable and made sure to explain the nuances and working of what he called his creations. After his short presentation, some people were making purchases while others were haggling over the prices. Red decided to quietly leave but she caught the eye of the old man who smiled warmly at her. He winked and she smiled and waved at him.

He walked over to her.

"Did you see anything you like?" He asked in slightly accented English, Red couldn't quite place it but it was definitely foreign.

"Oh. I like everything, it's all so marvelous. The gorilla is very clever."

"Thank you, madam. It took many long hours and cost a lot of money. But I would say it was all worth it. By next year I can probably build a system to control it remotely. Wouldn't that be grand?"

"That would be very amazing."

He was called for by a rich industrialist; he excused himself politely and went to attend to the man.

At that instant her communicator beeped. She parted her cloak slightly and retrieved it from her pant pocket discreetly. Not many people owned one and anyone owning one was highly suspected of being an enemy spy, a government agent or very rich. She stared at the screen briefly and scrunched up her nose as she read the message.

'Broken Arrow. One hour. J'

She quickly put it back in her pocket and looked up to see the old man studying her even though he was speaking to another man. He smiled again but Red saw that his eyes were making other calculations.

She quickly waved again and left the tent. After making sure that she was not being followed, she headed towards the Broken Arrow, the pub so called because it had a literal broken arrow embedded in an outside wall.

She found Sir Jack sitting at his usual table in the back writing into a thick book with various scrolls and books on the table. There was also his communicator and what looked like a big screen with buttons and knobs on the side.

She signaled a drink to the bartender and pulled a chair and sat opposite Sir Jack.

"Don't you do anything else other than write?" she asked him.

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