Ever heard the tale of the man who stole fire?
Well what if the tale is true, a man who stole fire from the gods.
This is about the man who stole fire, and the girl who ended up finding the myth.
“Now Eliza, don’t argue with me.” Eliza fumed at her mother instructed her she was responsible for the tasks of the day. Since she was grounded for “attempting” to modify the steam vacuum and subsequently causing a small explosion in her mother’s living room. This was her punishment. To run tasks for her mother for a month. She sighed as she accepted the list.
“Yes mother,” She looked over the list, gather groceries at the market, drop off the vacuum for repair, then return home and begin to make dinner. She began to stammer, “I can’t believe I have to bring the vacuum to Mister Olive, he’s a creepy old boggart!.” Eliza’s mother sighed, she was right but the old man was one of the best mechanics in the Victorian era.
“Fine Eliza, but if you’re going to be like that you have to find a man who will repair the vacuum for under fifty, and today. Do you understand?” Eliza nodded. She had heard of a man only slightly older then herself in the area. He wasn’t very well liked due to his abrasive nature, but at least she wouldn’t have her bottom groped. She bid her mother goodbye as she left their home.
London in the 1800’s was an interesting time, homes were taking shape about her. Commerce was booming. With the invention of the steam engine, technology took a very unique turn. Trains allowed cities to become connected with each other, Massive cranes were able to lift materials and create wonderful towers, apartments, even factories. Every once in awhile, there would be sights of steam powered vehicles. These sights interested Eliza the most, each machine was unique, bearing traits of the mechanic who created the device. The creations Eliza found herself most interested in were some of the pets. Small living creatures of wire and metal that assisted the owner. The man she was going to see was one of the more prominent designer of these wonders. He was the first to perfect their power supply, then kept the secrets to himself. Said that the right to create life should be limited. If someone wanted one of his power sources, they could only purchase from him. There were stories of where he came from. Some believed he was a personal inventor to her majesty, others said he was a rebel spy, there was even talk of an airship!
A device that was not bound to land, but instead could soar above the clouds. She followed the path to the man’s shop. All the other homes about were painted in wonderful colours, fresh to cover the dingy grey smoke that hung about the city. She
Except his home, it was a slender grey manor. The copper gear hung outside the gate to signify he was an inventor. Often a warning to other would be thieves, but to attract business as well. Eliza pushed the rusted black gate aside as she warily stepped into his courtyard. She saw the grass had grown quite tall, as if the man inside didn’t care about the outside world. She crept to the front door and gave a light knock on the waterstained oak door. No response, Eliza knocked again, she could hear an annoyed clomp as someone inside walked to the door. The door threw open and she surveyed the man inside.
He was several years older then her, his temples showing signs of premature greying, or possibly soot. He had his hair tied back with an old rag, his beard showing signs he had not shaved in at least a week. He was dressed in what appeared to be respectable slacks in their day. Now they were covered in splotches of oil and burn marks. He lifted the blast goggles above his eyes before taking a sip of water. In his left hand he leaned upon a bronze cane. “What?” Eliza stammered for a moment before finding her voice, this man was the legendary steam god? He looked like a beggar, you think he could afford help with his talents.
“I’m sorry, I’m here to see if you can repair my mothers vacuum, I may have- I mean I accidently,” He cut her off as he took the bag of parts and walked inside. Assuming this was his way of welcoming her inside she followed the man inside. “I’m sorry Sir, can I get your name? I’ve heard folks always talk of you but never your name.” He growled as he began to look for something about his home.
“It’s because I never give it out, stupid people don’t need to know me. Sprocket! Sprooocket! Come out here you damn bag of bolts!” She heard a chittering from beneathe her petticoat. She jumped back with a shriek as she saw what could only be described as a mechanical ferret scurry out from under her.
“What, what is that?” She pointed at the creature the man scooped up. He gave a grin as he stroked the creature behind what could only be it’s ear.
“This is Sprocket, my omni-ferret tool. Now let’s take a look at this vacuum.” Picking up Sprocket, he pressed a switch turning the wriggling ferret into a wriggling screwdriver. “It appears someone attempted to suss out a new power core, increasing the suction. You didn’t think about the resistance or the original load of the frame though.” He pressed the screwdriver back into the ferret before flipping him over. Reaching into what Eliza could only assume the belly of the beast. He drew out a set of wires and connected them to the vacuum’s processing unit.
Eliza gave the device a curious look, “How do you know I did this?” The man gave her a sigh, as he got to his feet she noticed he walked with a solid limp. He sorted through a pile of parts before selecting the proper base unit. He placed the goggles back over his eyes before continuing to speak.
“Because this is an amateur job, if you actually stabilized the frame with fired copper this would have been a good idea. Instead it broke and you’re here wasting my time.”
Eliza decided to stand her ground against this bully, “I’m sorry, I decided to try something different. I left the copper frame out to make the device lighter or my mother couldn’t move the vacuum as simply. Instead of criticizing my screw up. Maybe offer me a better solution!”
The man stopped working on the vacuum for a moment, he gave Eliza a curious look as he resumed working on the repair.
“Tell me Little Mouth, what do you do for a living,” Eliza was taken off guard by his response.
“I umm, I help my mother. “ He gave a laugh as he placed the vacuum unit back together.
"You have potential," he laughed softly. "Much like she did back in her prime. I think she'd approve of you." He hobbled over to a wooden shelf in the back of the room and picked up an odd cylinder that Eliza could swear gave a faint humming sound. "Don't get me wrong little mouth, you're starting low. However I'm sure your…mother could use the extra coin. Could she not?" Eliza nodded complacently as he slipped the cylinder into the vacuum. "You can start by sweeping up here. Consider it payment for the vacuum I just repaired. By the way, you can call me Grey."
Eliza gave him a confused look. This legend was nothing more then a grumpy old relic, yet he effortlessly reassembled her vacuum in a few sentences. She said nothing as she grabbed the broom propped against the wall. She remembered stories of how he heroically piloted an airship against the monsters of myth and legend, gods, and death himself. To an old grump repairing tools, she decided that at least she could find the answers with time.