Episode 1

OPENING CREDITS. Shots of the Aether, shots of air chases and air battles, Newton getting bucked off of the observation deck, etc. Mostly taken from the last season. All set to sobering, somewhat middle-eastern singing. Then, louder drum beats pick up the pace, and we get several hints of what might happen in this current season premiere! Oh boy!
FIRST, a beturbaned Automaton general surveys a battlefield with binoculars. Behind him is a large army of steam-powered mecha and airships.

Sparling gets tossed dramatically against the chart table as an explosion rocks the bridge. Behind her, Felix is plotting mutiny.

Newton looks over his shoulder at Felix, "I don't know… how did we get away from those pirates?"

Luka throws a wrench at someone. It's probably Newton. There’s an offscreen cry of "Ouch!"

Evelyn is working over her desk with papers and mekanikal things. Her hand are tangled in her hair. She is fretting. Then without warning she yells, slams her hand down on her desk and throws her work to the floor.

As the credits fade, we open on the campus of London's Tesla University. There appears to be some sort of hastily constructed graduation ceremony going on in the center of campus. As the camera zooms in, we see that most of the people sitting in the audience are the Sky Pirates from the second half of the between-season special. In the front row we find Capt. Genevieve Sparling, who is holding a gun to the head of Felix Cleary, sitting next to her. Newton Falk is sitting next to Luka Arlexi. On the stage "Dr." Evelyn Higgenbotham (about to lose her quotation marks) stands in a robe with one of those square hats graduates always have. The President of Tesla University stands nervously at the podium with her diploma in his hand. Behind them, Evelyn's robot chair, Humphrey, bristles with newly augmented weaponry, mostly pointed at the President.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Oh! This is so unexpected! Thank you!"

Luka claps.

Newton wipes a tear from his eye. "They grow up so fast…"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "I'm truly honored for this…honor." Humphrey claps. A small arm pulls out a hankerchief and he puts it to his robot face. A puff of air comes out and blows the hankie out.

Sparling checks her pocketwatch and eyes the sky and campus grounds, eager to get the Aether on its way again.

"So, er, ah…" says the president, glancing at Humphrey now and a again, "In the finest…er…tradition of this school, we thank you for your…er…unique contributions to the fields of the various scientific fields to which you have applied yourself, and congratulate you on joining the…honored and longstanding brotherhood of scholars and inventors who….er…earned their doctorate here at Tesla University." He hands her the diploma.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Thank you, very much," Evelyn takes it beaming. She shakes his hand vigorously.

Michael Harrel says: "We look forward to your long career of field work. Please leave now."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham says: Evelyn, still smiling, throws her hat up in the air. Humphrey mistakes this gesture and fires his gatling gun upon it. It rains down in tiny peices.

The president stands back up with his hands still over his head

Newton claps

Evelyn leaves the platform gleefully and Humphrey follows her. "Well, that was nice. Very nice indeed. But, Captain, we really should get out of the open…"

The pirates all fire their weapons into the air. Okay, mostly into the air. Okay: most of the buildings around the ceremony take some minor structural damage. Very few people die.

Sparling stands, pushing Felix ahead of her. "I absolutely concur, Doctor. Now that your oh-so-important pit stop is over, do you have any other destinations for us before we get back to work?"

"Does anyone smell something burning?" Luka mutters almost absently.

"That's probably my rage at this debacle," mutters the president.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Oh, Captain…I'm not done here yet."

"Of course not," Sparling sighs. "What next, then?"

Evelyn is looking at the single empty chair in the audience: there's a red ribbon tied around it, and a sign marked "Reserved".

"It smells almost like… pitch… torches?" Luka continues mumbling.

CUT TO: The past. A hansome cab stops at the university gates, and the door swings open. Evelyn mechanically exits the cab, and as the door swings shut again we catch sight of one of the gentlemen who had kidnapped her earlier.

Evelyn walks through the gates and to her dorm. She talks to no one and looks at no one. Walking up the stairs to her room, a girl says her name several times but she continues on past her. She enters her room, shuts the door and sinks to the floor.

On the floor are several notes that someone has been pushing underneath the door. They all smell faintly of her secret lover's cologne.

She picks them off the floor and looks at them frantically. Looking about the room she finds a candle. She walks on her knees over to it, sets the notes down and lights the wick. Without reading them, she burns the papers.

We only see a brief glimpse of the last message: "Evelyn, Where have you gone?" The note is signed, Edouard.

She walks about the room and begins to grab other similar papers hidden in coat pockets, drawers, etc. She burns them all. All but one. That she holds in her hand, reading it over and over. She walks into her closet, pushing coats aside. There is a loose brick in the back. She removes it, takes some money from it's place and puts the note there instead.

CUT TO: The present. There is smoke issuing forth from Evelyn's old dorm building.

Evelyn sees the smoke and the blood drains from her face. She runs towards the building without another word.

Sparling follows Higgenbotham's gaze and sees the flaming building. "Hell." She sets off after her.

As does Luka.

Felix, free of the gun to his head, starts looking around connivingly.

Newton looks at Felix, looks off screen in the other direction. "Let's go." He leads him away from the buring building.

Evelyn reaches the burning building. The fire seems to be coming from the very floor her room was in. She dashes up the stairs, and swings open the door only to see—the nefarious Assistant Professor Harriet Billingsworth!

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "YOU!"
CUT TO: The Past. Some quick flashbacks. First, in a class, a professor asks a horribly difficult question about advanced robotronic design. Evelyn raises her hand — as does another female classmate! But it's *Evelyn* that gets called upon to give the correct answer, and the professor beams at her. SECOND, at the annual science exhibition, a crowd is gathered around Evelyn's prototype city-grade sewage waste disintegration array and pastry dispenser. No one cares about the booth next to it, which involves a machine that can purify coal pollution from the air. A young woman stands at the second booth glaring at the crowd. "Yum! Pastries!" says someone from the first booth. THIRD, and perhaps most damning, the young woman from the booth is trying to converse with Edouard in the library, and it's obvious she has quite a thing for him. Unfortunately, he seems distracted and when he spots Evelyn sitting alone in a corner, he excuses himself to walk past her table. The young woman watches while Evelyn picks up a piece of paper from the floor, reads it, and smiles the exact smile that the young woman wants to be smiling.

CUT TO: The present.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Wait…what was your name again?"

Sparling catches up. She looks at Billingsworth, determines that she's neither an Enlightenment agent, nor an Automaton, nor an antlion, and is visibly relieved.

Michael Harrel says: "You always hated me, doctor, so I'm not surprised at your insults now. I could almost have forgiven you for your constant, petty hatred: it was so pathetic it was almost…cute."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Um…no, really, who are you?"

Michael Harrel says: "But what you did to HIM…that's something I can never forgive."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "What do you know of it," she whispers, yet it fills the room somehow.

Genevieve Sparling says: "Ladies, I realize that Tesla University's alumnae seem to have focused their studies entirely on how to be crazy, but could we perhaps discuss this ongoing rivalry outside of the burning building?"

Evelyn looks at her "rival" and again, without warning dashes to her closet.

Michael Harrel says: "Looking for this, perhaps?" says the Assistant Professor, and from her breast pocket she pulls out a dog-eared and crumpled note, which Evelyn recognizes immediately. She holds it above the fire.

Sparling rolls her eyes.

Evelyn tackles Harriet.

Michael Harrel says: "I knew you'd return—"

Evelyn crashes into her with a ferocity…well, not unlike her. Harriet's eyes widen with shock because she doesn't know Evelyn and this is usually unexpected of most polite company. They hit the floor and Evelyn grabs the paper and her hand. Harriet doesn't let go. She is struggling under the newly christened doctor. "I won't give up so easil-ARRRGGG!" Evelyn bites into her ear. Harriet screams again and opens her hand involuntarily. Evelyn grabs it and jumps up and out of the door. At the doorway, she looks back at the prone and once again defeated Harriet.

Sparling eyes Higgenbotham with a mix of disgust and increased respect.

Michael Harrel says: "Damn you, Higgenbotham! You'll pay for what you did to him! PAAAAAAAAY!"

Evelyn is still standing in the doorway. "What did I do to him?"

Sparling grimaces. "Dormitory. On. Fire."

"It's probably not going to collapse right away," Luka offers helpfully from the hallway. "Not the way they put the support beams in."

"You know perfectly well!" says Harriet. "You purposefully set out to orchestrate his undoing with your…with your strumpetish posturing to ensnare him with your whorish charms, and then your sudden disappearance!"

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "His…undoing?"

"Comforting, Luka. Is there some system worked into the structure to prevent us from dying of smoke inhalation?" Sparling is clearly peeved.

Luka Arlexi says: "Windows? A prompt exit?"

Genevieve Sparling says: "That's my preference, yes."

Michael Harrel says: "I won't feed your massive ego by repeating your vile triumphs, Doctor. But know this: your victories end *now*. Now begins your failure!" Harriet throws three ball-bearings to the floor, which snap out to a sort of hovering platform with a tiny compressed hydrodynamic engine. She zooms out through the window and into the sky.

Luka Arlexi says: "There's two of them?"
Genevieve Sparling says: "Oh, God," Sparling sighs. "There's two of them."

Luka looks at the Captain, and shrugs.

"Good heavens Captain, why are you still here? The building is on fire," Evelyn then runs out.

Outside the drunken pirates are still firing their weapons. At least three of them hit her platform, which begins smoking furiously and veers off to crash behind some city buildings in the distance.

Sparling shakes her head and follows the doctor.

When Evelyn exits the building she doesn't stop running.

As they exit the building a rope ladder is hanging from a hovering Aether. Even drunk, the pirates know better.

Sparling grasps the rope ladder and starts to climb.

Once the Captain is headed up, Luka follows.

Upon reaching the bridge, Sparling looks around to see whether Felix, or Newton, or both managed to end up unconscious over the past few minutes.

Felix is tied up in his seat. Newton looks over his shoulder "Capt. on the bridge."

Sparling proceeds to one of the downward-facing spyglasses. "Right. Follow the singed white lab coat, Mr. Falk."

Newton Falk says: "Aye, Capt."

Evelyn is running through the pirates, who are singing some shanties and trying to get her to join them for some rum. They're also pointedly not groping or propositioning her. ((In the previous episode, after Evelyn upgraded their wooden limbs and glass eyes with better prosthetic enhancements, Armless Eddie gave her a crude invitation to visit his bunk to try out his new hand. She took out a remote control and activated the self destruct device she'd installed in his new arm. No one has bothered her much since then.)) The president is hiding behind a rubbish bin.

Evelyn runs to Edouard's house, which is now apparently the school sewage waste disintigration array and pastry dispenser.

"Shitshitshitshitshit," Evelyn runs past and on to another destination.

She heads for the hall of records.

On the bridge, Sparling eyes the pastry dispenser. "Hmm. It all makes sense now."

Newton Falk says: "Capt?"

Genevieve Sparling says: "Nothing."

Michael Harrel says: In the Engine Room, Luka finds one of the pirates poking around for spare parts. He freezes as she enters.

Luka raises an eyebrow. "Drop it. All of it."

Michael Harrel says: "Er…sorry 'bout that," he says, hurriedly replacing the parts.

Luka Arlexi says: "Or I'll beat you senseless with a wrench."

Michael Harrel says: "I fink I got oll o' those." He hands her a wrench to demonstrate.

"…" Luka takes it and eyes him very coldly. "If there is anything missing, 'friend,' I will find you. You will not enjoy this. And what's left of you, I will give to the Doctor."

Michael Harrel says: "Oh, er, roight," he says, fishing about in his pockets. He holds up some nails and so forth. "You wanna screw or two, then?"

Luka Arlexi says: "…That won't be necessary. Now go away." She takes one of the bolts.

Michael Harrel says: "I suppose you want me nuts, too," he says.

"ENOUGH with the double entendres. Give me all of the things you have that you don't mind having set on fire, or I'll see that the rest of you is, too."

Michael Harrel says: "Geez! Whatever!" he leaves.

She examines the wrench. "I never liked this one." She throws it after him, hard. Turns out, she wasn't throwing it at Newton! ((But it hits him anyway.))

Newton Falk says: "The hell?!?"

Luka Arlexi says: "My aim is off…"

Michael Harrel says: A couple of seconds the pirate reappears. "Look, I jus' wanted ta say, I'm sorry. I'm ashamed of meself, and I'm an 'orrible pirate. Me cousin Devlin would give me 'ell for this."

Luka pales. "Right. Well. Do better in the future, then." She clearly does not want to continue this conversation further.

Michael Harrel says: "I'll go now." he turns and leaves. A few seconds later Luka hears the captain saying, "Who the hell are YOU?"

Newton Falk says: "Who threw this wrench?"

Luka's voice comes from the engine room. Luka Arlexi says: "It's the pirate's fault." After a moment, she adds guiltily, "I was aiming for him."

Newton looks more confused than hurt.

Michael Harrel says: "Right, if you blokes would just lower the rope ladder, I'll show meself out." He shakes Genevieve's hand. "Fanks fer your 'ospitality, love." Genevieve finds a twenty bolt note in her hand.

She bites back the scathing remark that was on the tip of her tongue when she sees the cash.

Michael Harrel says: (It was only until recently residing in her desk drawer, but that's unimportant now).

Sparling drops the rope ladder and resumes looking for Higgenbotham.

Michael Harrel says: "I'll recommend you all to me cousin Roland," says the pirate. "If you ever find yerselves in 'is sights, 'e'll try not to blow you out o' the sky so much. Yar."

Newton Falk says: "He knows better."

The pirate disembarks.

After he goes, Luka checks her hiding space under the floor.

Michael Harrel says: The contents of Luka's hiding place appear to be intact.

Luka smiles wryly. "Oh good. I can let him live." She's probably kidding. Probably.

Meantime, Evelyn reaches the hall of records. "Can I help you?" says the receptionist.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Uh, yes. I need the address for a Dr. Edouard Brandon."

The receptionist flips through some files. "I'm sorry, there doesn't appear to be a Dr. Brandon on staff. Which department is he in?"

"Chemestry. How about previous faculty, if not current."

"One moment, please." she disappears into a back room. The receptionist reappears and hands Evelyn a piece of paper.

She grabs the peice of paper with a quick thank you and runs out the door.

The paper reads: Lot 6a, Willowtree Lane, Semetaryshire, London, Mechanus.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: She runs to the place.

Luckily Semetaryshire is right next to Tesla College. Rather than being on the other side of freaking LONDON. Which is good.

Semetaryshire used to be a gigantic graveyard, but once the Enlightenment came into power they decided that using good land for housing dead bodies was pretty inefficient. So now the dead (among the poorer classes, at least) are either cremated or used to feed livestock and eugengineered and/or augmented carnivorous police, guard, and military animals. The old mausoleums are now used as housing for poor or displaced impoverished people, mostly old embalming experts who couldn't find careers in other fields. Lot 6a used to belong to Arch Stanton, but it now appears to be a shack of some sort.

Evelyn tries the handle.

"Lunch isn't for another hour," calls someone from within. Pushing open the door, Evelyn finds that the tomb has been turned into some kind of…soup kitchen. A well-dressed man is preparing a rather sour smelling soup out of tires and old shoes, his back to Evelyn as she enters.

She enters and closes the door behind her. And locks it if possible. The smell is no bother to her, she is used to worse. "I didn't come here for lunch," she says.

The man sighs without turning around. "Official documents go there," he points to a rubbish bin marked "Eviction notices". At the bottom is a pile of ashes.

She takes a step forward and then another, "I'm not here for the government."

"Robbers and theives go in the other bin," he says, turning, his hand casually reaching for a butcher knife. His voice catches in mid formation of a follow-up. "Ah—-Evelyn?"

"Yes. It's me, Love. It's me," she smiles sadly.

Cut to black. Title: LET'S GIVE THEM A FEW MOMENTS ALONE, MMKAY?? Cut to: The Aether. Sparling is wondering where she's misplaced her favorite quill pen. The Aether is hovering above the graveyard. From the distance comes the sound of approaching thunder.

Sparling is plotting a course out of Mechanus to kill time, consulting with the bound Felix. She looks up at the sound of thunder. "Splendid. That will really top off the day."

Then there's muted scream of an artillary shell.

Genevieve Sparling says: "Oh, hell."

Newton Falk says: "One mortar doesn't mean a war…" Newton mutters under his breath as brings the Aether higher.

Michael Harrel says: "Captain, I think the best way out of Mechanus is toward that thunder," says Felix. "Yeah. Straight that a-way. Make sure to fly low, within flak range."

Sparling shakes her head at Felix. "They were in a hurry when they scrambled your brain."

Newton Falk says: "It's uncanny, Capt. As long as I do the opposite of what he says, it's just like having the old Felix. Only funnier."

Sparling gets a brass bullhorn from its hook on the bulkhead. She goes to the observation deck and shouts over the railing, "Doctor Higgenbotham, would you please conclude whatever the hell you're doing down there and return to your quarters so we can avoid being blasted out of the sky?"

Sirens start to wail all around Semetaryshire. There is more thunder, and in the distance there are several flashes of light.

Genevieve Sparling says: "Sounds like more than one mortar, Mr. Falk."

Newton Falk says: "You think? We couldn't blame this one on weather?"

Genevieve Sparling says: "As fitting as it would be to get struck by lightning outside of Tesla University, I'm afraid those sounds come from a rather more unnatural source."

Newton Falk says: "Yeah, you're right." Sadly into the 'All Stations' speaking tube "Prepare for evasive manuvers." Cuts the ship hard to port and zags back to starboard.

Sparling tries once more with the bullhorn. "Doctor Higgenbotham! … Oh, forget it. We'll just leave you there, shall we?"

Michael Harrel says: Tiny spots appear in the air and coming over the distant hills. Lots of them.

Sparling eyes the spots and returns quickly to the bridge. "Starboard thirty-eight degrees, Mr. Falk. Get us out of here."

Newton Falk says: "Aye."

Three of the dots break away from the group: even from this distance, it's possible to see that they are brightly colored red, purple, and green. They make a bee-line toward the Aether.

"Mind if I show them what we 'bought' from the pirates, Capt.?" Newton's hand moves over to a new panel next to his chair that contains a number of red switches and toggles.

"This is as good an opportunity as any to test it out," Sparling assents.

As the dots on the ground draw near, it becomes evident that they are Enlightenment civilians, and the dots in the air are either fighter gyros or bombers.

"Bringing her about, all hands to battle stations!" Big smile.

The bombers begin dropping their payloads on the civvies.

The three dots headed for the Aether are clearly Automaton Tri-Winged Fighter Gyros. The red one gives Newton a sense of deja vu.

Newton Falk says: Under his breath, "That's odd" More loudly, "Deploying rockets!" He begins turning a wheel under the panel, outside the Aether two doors open in the hull to reveal racks of forward pointing rockets.

The gyros break formation, moving to attack from three sides.

Sparling moves away from the windows and braces herself.

"Got ya there too, gentlemen!" Newton sends another wheel spinning and side hatches open up. Big smile.

The attack commences.

People run screaming from the fire raining down from the sky. The bombers move for another pass as the fighters close in on the Aether hanging lonely in the darkening sky. The scene is frozen for a moment.

Newton's hand hovering over the console.

The pilot's adjusting their sights on the Aether.

The bombs in freefall over the civilians below.

Evelyn and Edouard looking at each across years and the cluttered kitchen.

The scene is broken by the rockets, at least twenty of them streaming from the hidden ports in the Aether's hull. The bombs explode just before hitting the ground, sending waves of dirt and shrapnel bouncing off each other. The rockets arc perfectly, collide with their intended targets and explode into showers of multicolored fire. Golds, reds, greens; huge flowers and planets, coruscating clouds of shimmering sparks.

On the bridge of the Aether Newton sits agape.

"They sold us fireworks?"

Sparling looks as though she was expecting this. "Right. Plan B—full ahead."

"Aye!" Newton closes the hatches as he pulls back hard on the stick and begins to climb.

From somewhere in the back, Luka mutters, "I really, really hate sky pirates. But not as much as I hate having holes blown into my engine room." Luka stalks over to Evelyn's lab.

The three tri-wings swoop in, littering the side of the aether with a rain of bullets.

CUT TO: The Automaton Armada. The beturbaned general, one of the few humans in the fleet, surveys the valley below, leading into Semetaryshire. Beyond the shire are the first few towers of London and Mechanus. Before the airships, the enlightenment civilians flee in terror. The general smiles. "<Forward line is reporting a stray airship above the shire, but it appears to be armed with only fireworks,>" says a Lt. "al Richtofim and his men have been dispatched to pursue and destroy it."

"<Very well,>" says the general. "<Full speed to London. I want our targets destroyed before the infidels even know we're here.>"

"<Meantime, inform the infantry that these civilians are open game.>"

CUT BACK TO: The shack. The tomb is shaking with each distant mortar explosion. "Maybe you should have gone with your friends," says Edouard. "As convenient a place to die as this would be, the timing just isn't right."

Evelyn goes to the door and opens it a peek, looking outside. There's a large crowd of panicked civilians flooding through the graveyard. "Is this one of those places that has a secret exit?" she asks, frustrated from the interruption and the fact that they might die. She runs to the back wall and begins pushing on random places, muttering.

"Of course it is," he says. He pushes all the silverware off of the center table, which is actually the sepulcher. He pries off the lid, and underneath is a pit with a ladder going down.

Evelyn beams. She rushes over to him and before he could protest or agree, she kisses him. Then jumps down into the pit.

He follows, trying to replace the cover as best he can from beneath.

"There's a generator at the bottom. You have to pump it a few times to get it to start," he calls. The walls of the pit shudder as explosions wrack the surface above.

"Ok. Now I can't see. Which way to we go?"

"There are lights. Start the generator."

"Where is the generator," she feels around in the dark, knocking her shin on something in the process.

"That's it," he says.

She starts it up. Pale lights flicker on as the generator powers up. They're in a catacomb of some sort, with a main passage leading back toward London. "Well done, Edouard," she smiles at him again.

"Just be careful of the crocorats," says Eduoard. "They sometimes migrate in from the sewers."

Evelyn's eyes widen, "Crocorats, you say. Perhaps I may take a specimen," she begins to drift off to crazy world but shakes her head, "No! Escape first then Science!"

"This way," says Edouard. He leads the way.

CUT TO: The Aether.

Luka finds the harpoon gun in Evelyn's lab. She picks it up, along with a few bottles marked with big red warning labels on them. She heads to the bridge.

The three triwings are circling around for another pass. Newton recalls that the last time he saw a red triwing gyro, he was assaulted by a werewolf soon after.

"Mr. Falk," Luka is standing behind him, holding Evelyn's harpoon gun. Several vials seem to have been bound to the end of one of the harpoons. "I need to borrow the autopilot for a minute."

Newton looks at her blankly for moment, as though he's trying to place her and failing. "You two play nice…" He says handing it to her. "And Luka? Bring it back when you're done."

Luka Arlexi says: "Of course, Mr. Falk. I know how much he means to you." She takes it and heads for the rear observation deck.

"That's odd," he says after she leaves. "I don't think I've ever concidered a gender for the Autopilot…"

"I have an idea that could save us," says Felix. "First, you undo my handcuffs, and then…"
"Shut up, Felix." Sparling glances away from the pursuing autogyros long enough to eye the harpoon gun dubiously. "Careful, Luka—I can only assume the doctor put a few false triggers on that thing."

"It would be out of character if she hadn't," Luka calls back.

As Newton veers to try and lose the pursuing triwings, Luka stands on the back deck

A burst of fire from the purple gyro misses far to starboard.

Luka props the harpoon gun up on the railing, wedging the autopilot in with it to keep it steady. Luka pulls out her small blowtorch and lights the end of the rope binding the vials. She then pulls what she sincerely hopes is the correct trigger. The chemical-laden harpoon goes whirring through the air towards the autogyros. "Three," Luka mouths silently, "two, one… zero." There is a faint flash, about equidistant from the three Automaton craft. Then, for a moment, nothing. She smiles faintly. Flames shoot up on each of the ships, and smoke. She counts a few more seconds, imagining the pilots attempting to douse the flames with water. Violent explosions from all three ships light up the sky. Their flight becomes erratic, and they go spiraling off into different directions. "Well, Doctor, it looks like I owe you some chlorine triflouride." She laughs slightly manically, and then stops herself. "Don't do that. One crazy person is enough for this ship." After taking a moment to compose herself, she unentangles the harpoon gun and the autopilot, and heads back into the ship to return both.

On the London side of the ship, however, things are about to get worse. As the Aether nears the city, puffs of flak begin popping into the air around the ship. The ride gets bumpy. Up ahead, Mechanus appears to be mounting an air defense, and the sky begins to fill with massive airships and fighter gyros. The Aether is caught snug in the middle.

Sparling looks to Luka as she reenters the bridge. "Whatever you just did was brilliant, but you should have saved some of it for that." She points to the chaos ahead.

Luka looks out. "I'm going to need more flourine."

"I give up!" Newton says, spinning in his chair and throwing his arms in the air. "We're screwed."

CUT TO: Evelyn and Edouard.

The ground shakes with another explosion above. Dirt drops down, the lights flicker, and Evelyn almost falls over. Edouard keeps her up and they both look up with worry. "Let's hurry," Evelyn says and they start to jog down the tunnel.

The turn a corner. And run smack into the middle of a group of heavily armed Enlightenment civilians.

CUT TO BLACK. To be continued.



The Aether is caught between the Automaton Airforce and the Enlightenment Armada. Rockets and bullets from both forces are zinging past. Explosions rock the air masses on all sides. THERE IS A FIRE FIGHT.

Sparling searches desperately for a vector that will take the Aether out of this mess without catching a stray mortar on the way. "Bloody hell. Mr. Falk, ascend two hundred yards. Quickly."

“Two hundred yards, aye!"

"We'll never make it captain!" yells Felix. "Better head straight down — about a mile!"

Sparling smacks him on the back of the head. Maybe it will help?

As the captain hits Felix in the back of the head a glob of spit arcs from his mouth and hits Newton right behind the ear. Newton recoils and as such accidentally throws the ship to the left, rather than pitching up. They narrowly miss a volley of rockets aimed to catch their ascent. Newton, face contorted in a rictus of disgust, pulls back in the flight stick and returns the ship to a now safe altitude.

Below them the two armadas rush into combat, smaller gyros dogfighting in the center while the larger airships pelt each other with heavy fire from behind the front lines.

Sparling, moderately relieved, watches with interest through one of the bridge's spyglasses.

It's hard to ascertain the exact state of the battle, but it appears that the Automatons are pushing back the Enlightenment gyros.

"I hope the Automatons don't take the city," Sparling mutters. "It would be an awful shame if they brought down the Enlightenment before we get a chance."

"Eh, you're getting closer at least, captain," says Felix.

CUT TO: INT. THE CATACOMBS. Dr. Higgenbotham and Edouard have just bumped into a horde of heavily armed Enlightenment citizens.

"Bugger," Evelyn mutters.

The leader of the group looks to Edouard. "Dr. Brandon. We collected as many guns as we could, as soon as we heard. Ready to mobilize."

"Good," says Dr. Brandon. "Lead the way, Richard. To Mechanus — to victory!"

The troupe moves out, with Evelyn and Edouard at the front.

"Edouard…who are these people?" she says out of the corner of her mouth.

"They're friends, Evelyn. With the Enlightenment distracted by the Automaton strike, it's time to liberate portions of the capital city in a coordinated resistance attack!"

"Freedom is necessary for Vitality!" calls the resistance members in the general vicinity.

"Oooh, so you're part of the resistance!" she seems happy about this.

"It's not very original, but it will suffice for the time being," murmurs Edouard to Evelyn.

"It's away from the people I want to be away from and…with the one I don't." She smiles a little.

"But in answer to your question, yes," he says. "I'm afraid it cost me tenure at Tesla University, but the choice was clear. After you disappeared, there was nothing left for me at the school of any worth, anyway."

"That's very sweet, but your work…surely that was worth something?"

FLASHBACK: Dr. Brandon hands in his resignation. "There's nothing left here worth anything to me!" he says, and walks out of the door. Assistant Professor Harriet Billingsworth (then still a grad student) is waiting for him there. "But Edouard! You can't resign!" she says. "What about US? What about the life we have planned together?"

"What the Devil?" says Edouard, quite confused. "Who the bloody Dickens are you?"

CUT TO: The Present.

"No, Evelyn. There was nothing," he says.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "I'm sorry I left you, but I had to leave."

"And I'd love to hear your reasons," he says, "when we're not surrounded by heavily armed men and women, marching to our certain deaths."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "I agree. What was that saying again?"

"You mean the one about freedom?"

"Freedom is necessary for Vitality!" say the others, as one.

She smirks as she tries to stifle a laugh at how much they love their silly saying. Edouard smirks as well.

CUT BACK TO: The Aether. High in the clouds.

Newton: "No one seems to be paying attention to us, Capt."

"That would be a first," Sparling sighs. "Now to figure out where Doctor Higgenbotham could have gone during our absence."

Michael Harrel says: There is a muffled "clank" from the ceiling.

Sparling glances up. "Couldn't last forever, I suppose."

"I do believe there's an air battle between here and there…" Newton mumbles as he looks at the lower mirrors.

Sparling walks out onto the observation deck and cranes her neck to see into the space between the bridge's roof and the gas envelope.

Something bright red and quite graceful leaps off of the roof of the Aether and pounces at Sparling! The red form gracefully does a flip, kicking Sparling in the chin and knocking her to the deck. As it lands on its feet, we catch a glimpse of a rather attractive female form dressed in red, her lower face hidden behind a red veil. With a flash of red and the sound of wind whipping past cloth, the form disappears through the portal and into the bridge. Sparling groans and pushes herself off the ground and into a crouch.

"Bloody little strumpet," Sparling mutters as she gets to her feet. She rubs her jaw with one hand and draws her pistol with the other.

INT. The bridge.

"Capt. on th- What the hell?!?"

The woman in red leaps through the portal, brandishing a curved scimitar. The swings at Newton, who blocks with the Autopilot — the weapons ring from the impact, and sparks fly! (Literally at this point.) "You killed my father!" shouts the woman. CLANG! another strike, more sparks. (Still literal.)

"He killed my father, too!" calls Felix. "Untie me and we'll kill these infidels together!"

"SHUT UP!" says Newton and the woman in unison.

Newton Falk says: "I'm, sorry?" Block, block, parry

"Five years ago," she says. "You shot him and stole his tri-wing gyro!" Clang, clang.

"I've shot a lot of people, I have to assume some were fathers…Hold on, tri-wing? You don't mean the Aquir 1137 I jacked in Turkey?" Dadge, duck, parry. "I loved that plane!"

"Well I loved my FATHER you hated infidel!" Stab! She misses Newton and rips the stuffing out of his pilot's chair. At that point Genevieve stumbles back onto the bridge, rubbing her chin tenderly. She has her pistol drawn, and points it at the woman, who shields herself behind Felix and puts the scimitar to his throat. "I'm here for the pilot," she says. "On a personal matter that doesn't involve you, heathen captain."

Newton Falk says: "Heathan Captain on the bridge!"

"Uh…You may not have chosen the best human shield available," Felix offers.

"I doubt it involves my navigator, either, young lady. I don't know if you've noticed, but you're pursuing this personal matter on my ship. I'm officially involved. So are my bullets. Now what the hell do you want with Mr. Falk?"

Newton Falk says: "I think I stole her airplane or something…"

"The captain'll never negotiate with hostage takers," says Felix to the woman. "Not till you've set me free and let me go." Everyone tells Felix to shut up. "He killed my father!" says the woman.

Newton Falk says: "Wow Felix, that's cold."

Genevieve Sparling says: "She's talking about you, you git."

Newton Falk says: "Your father was a Aquir 1185?" Newton is dubious

Sparling facepalms. To the woman, she says, "Right. So, assuming he did kill your father, who evidently wasn't remarkable enough for him to remember the act of doing so, you intend to exact your desert-style revenge right here on the bridge of my ship?"

"My father was the Shariff al-Richtofim, otherwise called the Red Shariff, the scourge of the Enlightenment airforce, who was the most decorated flying ace in the history of aviation, having personally shot down over 100 autogyro fighters," the woman recaps.

Genevieve Sparling says: "Now I'm sure you've got the wrong man," Sparling mutters.

Newton Falk says: "Oh, him. His co-pilot shot him. Odd guy, lycanthrope if I recall. I left him with another pilot before I jacked your dad's plane."

"He lies! It was my father's co-pilot who trained me — and he was always quite clean shaven."

Newton Falk says: "Don't know what to tell you sister, maybe your dad had other "co-pilots."

"Captain, you must allow me to satisfy my honor upon this man. If you godless dogs have any concept of the word honor, that is."

Sparling shakes her head, unable and unwilling to keep up with all the details. "Look, I'm not about to pass judgment on anyone who wants to kill Mr. Falk, but you picked the wrong place for an assassination attempt. You could have tracked him down while we were in port, or done him in while he was passed out in a pub somewhere, but you had to come after him while we're in the air, when I couldn't even hire a replacement right away, and I simply won't stand for that kind of cheek. Now drop your bloody weapon."

Newton Falk says: "That's righ- wait?"

Michael Harrel says: "You won't dare, for fear of hitting your already shackled prisoner," she says. Then considers. "Well, which port are you bound for next?" she says, lowering her scimitar.

Michael Harrel says: "Mechanus to turn ourselves in, hopefully?" says Felix.

"We'll be landing within a few hours somewhere in Mechanus to retrieve our resident inventor. I could be persuaded to ensure that Mr. Falk is not onboard the ship during our stay." Sparling pointedly doesn't look at Newton during this exchange.

Newton Falk says: "Cap…"

Michael Harrel says: "Fair enough. I'll follow you there," says the woman. She takes two steps, leaps past Genevieve and out over the observation deck, falling out of sight.

A few seconds later a red tri-winged gyro rises into the air behind the Aether, disappearing into the clouds.

Newton Falk says: "Capt., is it too late the remind you of the backstabbing clause of our contract?"

Michael Harrel says: "I wasn't aware of any such clause," says Felix.

Sparling glances over her shoulder at the route the woman took over the railing. "Everyone loves those bloody mooring lines." She holsters her pistol and returns to her place at the chart table, whistling as though nothing has happened. "Mr. Falk, you don't honestly believe I'd let that woman run you through, do you?"

Newton Falk says: "Here? Now? No…"

Sparling retrieves the spyglass she was using earlier and looks for a clear spot in the fight below. "I won't let her kill you when we land, either. We'll need to get out of Mechanus in a hurry, and there's no way I'd find a decent pilot in time."

Michael Harrel says: "Captain," calls Luka's voice over the horn, "There's something you should see to the aft."

Newton Falk says: "Well that's good. I gotta be on someone's side, and you know for a fact that I'm a startling force of mayhem and destruction."

"Quite," Sparling agrees cheerily as she angles the spyglass aft per Luka's directions.

EXT. WIDE SHOT. Behind the line of the Enlightenment Armada, several sections of London city are rocked by fire, explosions, and smoke.

Genevieve Sparling says: "I think I've just found Doctor Higgenbotham. Or at least a good place to start looking."

CUT TO: EXT. THE CITY. The revolutioneers are pouring out of the catacombs/sewers and into the city, weapons blazing. Explosions are rocking the buildings, and the local corps of steam guards are taken by surprise. Evelyn and Edouard are leading their group through the fray, taking cover behind overturned horseless steam carriages and other obstructions. It's difficult to see through the smoke. Bullets spatter everywhere.

"We've got to get to the Buckingham Factory Palace. That's our main target," says Edouard. "If we can capture it, it will cripple the Enlightenment's steam-guard production."

Evelyn nods.

Michael Harrel says: "So why did you leave?" he shouts above the fray.

"Well, it's sort of complicated…actually, it's not complicated at all. The Enlightenment tortured me."

Michael Harrel says: "And why did you leave me that note saying you didn't love me any more, only it was in another woman's handwriting?"

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "…I didn't write that. My sole purpose in leaving was to protect you and my family. Writing you a letter would bring attention to you. Also I would never write that." Something blows up near her and she ducks her head down.

Michael Harrel says: "But why didn't you tell me? I would have gone with you."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "I had no time. I knew they were watching me then. I couldn't risk it. I couldn't let them do to you what they tried to do to me."

Michael Harrel says: "But then, no word, for years on end!" he pauses as a mortar explodes alarmingly nearby. "Why didn't you let me know you were safe?"

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "I wanted to, but sometimes I forget…things aren't always clear. When they were…I always thought of you… and flame spewing antlions…or…" She starts to look lost in SCIENCE thought, shakes her head, and turns around facing the pile of debris. A large piece of flat metal is right behind them. She picks up a piece of charcoal and begins drawing something. She starts to mumble calculations.

Michael Harrel says: "Evelyn." He puts a hand on her shoulder. "…We're going to be killed very messily if we don't keep moving."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "No, no…I can do this…"

Michael Harrel says: "What's this?" The area has grown alarmingly quiet. The smoke obscures most everything around them.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Do you still carry a pocket knife?" she asks finishing the schematics.

Michael Harrel says: "Yes. Hurry," he says, handing her his knife.

She grabs it and uses it to start ripping parts from varioius machines around her. "Grab me some fuel lines from the Automobiles!" He complies. After she has gathered her parts together, she lifts up her skirt to her thigh.

Glancing back, he says, "Ah, Evelyn…I don't know if this is really the time for—"

She pulls out a blow torch that was strapped to her leg.

"not that it's an unwelcomeit's just— Oh. Right. Of course." he turns back to the horseless steam carriages.

She begins to piece together some sort of machine. "I need your help again, Edouard. I need you to make me a compound. A very volitile compound."

Michael Harrel says: "If only I had some flourine," he murmurs.

She reaches her hand down her dress and rumages around a bit. She pulls out, da da da dah, some Flourine. "You don't think I'd visit you with out some, did you?"

Michael Harrel says: "I'm glad I didn't try to embrace you just now," he says.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "It's contained," she winks at him.

Michael Harrel says: "Okay, step back. This will only take a second."

CUT TO: EXT. The Aether is surveying the ongoing battle in the city from the air. There's a lot smoke covering the ground. In the clouds above, there are occasional flashes of red. As if something or someone is stalking the airship.

Newton Falk says: "Capt.? We're being stalked."

Genevieve Sparling says: "Gosh. Who could it possibly be?"

CUT TO: Evelyn is constructing her thingamajig.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "Almost finished, do you have the compound?"

Michael Harrel says: "Yeah, it's done," he says simply.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: She holds her hand out for the phial.

He gives it to her.

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: She adds it to whatever she's creating. And then steps back. "There."

Michael Harrel says: "It's…it's…What is it?"

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "…I'm not sure. Filbert?" She flips a switch. Filbert springs to life. Just then, a dozen steam guards walk out of the haze, their weapons drawn on the two mad scientist lovers.

Filbert is essentially an automatic catapult that fires flaming piles of flourine-soaked debris. Edouard and Evelyn crouch for cover at the base of the machine as Filbert rotates around, tossing liquid fire at the steam guards. Soon the couple is surrounded by little more than a weakly-writhing ring of fire.

At that moment, a large familiar-looking airship breaks through the smoke and fog. A ladder drops down.

Evelyn jumps up and grabs Edouard's hand. She pulls him over to the ladder. "These are my people for now. You coming?" She smiles. It's not a serious question.

He climbs up after her.

INT. THE AETHER. The two doctors arrive on the bridge. "There's some sort of red thing in the sky following us," mentioned Edouard.

"He's a quick one," Sparling says to Higgenbotham.

Newton Falk says: "Oh God, there's more of them."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "The captain's not that dumb, I'm sure she's noticed by now, dear." She pats him on the arm.

Newton Falk says: "There's going to be even more!"

Genevieve Sparling says: "I'm sure your stalker won't be pleased that we managed to leave Mechanus without actually landing, but we'll just have to deal with that later. Get us out of here, Mr. Falk."

Newton Falk says: "Aye, Capt."

Michael Harrel says: "Um…could we make a pit stop at the Buckingham Factory Palace?"

Genevieve Sparling says: "What the hell for?"

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "We need to blow it up!"

] Genevieve Sparling says: "Oh. Of course."

Newton Falk says: "Can we?"

Dr. Brandon: "It's essential that we destroy it to cripple the Enlightenment's production of Steam Guards."

Newton Falk says: "Know all about crippling."

Sparling considers this. "Well, it's not entirely out of our way, geographically or morally…" She goes to the chart table and unrolls a map of Mechanus, plots the short distance to the palace, and says, "Seventy degrees port and full ahead, Mr. Falk."

Newton Falk says: "Aye, Capt.!" -squee!-

Genevieve Sparling says: "I never thought I'd say this, Doctor Higgenbotham, but I hope you have a great deal of explosives stowed in your quarters."

Evelyn giggles, "Of course. Lets go make more," she says raising her eyebrows at Edouard.

Newton Falk says: "I told you!"

Genevieve Sparling says: "Yes, yes, I owe you twenty bolts."

Dr. Higgenbotham and Brandon disappear into her laboratory, and strange sounds issue forth. Strange sounds no one wants to investigate, whether or not they really are the sounds of science at work on actual explosive devices.

EXT. BUCKINGHAM FACTORY PALACE. A huge industrial complex that was once an impractically inefficient residence building. Enormous smoke stacks spew black smoke into the air from the roof. The Aether approaches on a bombing course that will take it low over the building.

Sparling's whistling "God Save the Queen" as they draw near.

The cargo bay doors open and bombs begin to fall out, hitting the factory and exploding in a series of fiery eruptions. As the last of the bombs hits, the factory implodes, collapsing into itself and shooting dust and rubble everywhere. It's a glorious sight. The Aether zooms off into the sky.

Sparling grins over at Felix, whose chair has been moved closer to the bridge's windows so he can see too.

Michael Harrel says: "I'm experiencing some deeply conflicting emotions," he says, frowning.

Newton Falk says: "I find drinking helps."

Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham says: "That's the best explosion I've ever done…" she sniffs proudly.

Luka has come up from the engine room to watch. "Oh, that mini-gyro that had latched onto the back didn't belong to anyone we liked, right?"

Newton Falk says: "Nope!"

"Good. I borrowed its constant pressure regulation relay. Ours still had some damage from our last Gentleman visit. The pilot likely won't notice until it's getting slower."

Newton winces. "She's gonna be pissed… if she lives. Which of course she will. Damn it."

Luka Arlexi says: "Friend of yours?"

"Someone whose father didn't approve of Mr. Falk's attention," Sparling quips.

Luka raises her eyebrows. "Attention to the pilot, or her father?"

Newton Falk says: "Her father was a hell of a plane."

Luka tries to process this, and fails. "I'll be in the engine room if anyone needs me."

and Evelyn are gone.

The aether speeds off into the sunset — and further adventure!

Next time, on Cogs:

Luka Arlexi says: "I hate being on fire."

Michael Harrel says: Evelyn slaps Edouard. Then they kiss.

Newton Falk says: "I think I know why you're here… but why didn't you wear clothes?"

Evelyn is sitting on her cot, you can only see her top half from the back. She is naked. Maybe, just maybe, even though there was not any before, there may be side boob. You just have to keep watching!
Sparling glances suspiciously at Felix, then pulls the cabbie hat off his head. She shakes out its contents on the chart table: a switchblade, a brass compass covered in her Gentleman's mechanikal fluids, a bit of piano wire, and a phial of questionable liquid he obviously stole from Doctor Higgenbotham's room.


Now, stay tuned for an all new Fox and Wolf, and then that other spin off about Newton's pirate contact. Stay tuned for Dancing with Celebrities in Need of Attention and the three other shows to do with tonight’s episode!

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Paper texture background by Zela.