Bringing the Doctor back
Chapter 9: Steam City
Location: A Shady Street
He knew it would be just a matter of time. His ribs were aching. His nose had clogged up with blood and mucus. But he was free.
To be with the machine was to be with the god. It ran through his head like cogs turning, powering him further on, giving him the strength to keep running.
Unbeknownst to the good doctor, shadowy figures were watching him. By the time he realized their presence it was too late. One of the figures slipped a sack over Yorvlad's head; the doctor, too weak to put up a fight, collapsed in the shadow's arms.
"We should kill him," the shadow murmured, nudging the doctor in the ribs with his elbow. "Who knows what...plans...he's let slip."
"No, Brother." The other voice was high-pitched and tinny, almost mechanical. "The church needs him alive. He has the gift."
Yorvlad struggled in vain when he recognised the voice of his contacts. The two men gave him one last knock on the head and it went dark. Quiet and dark. Yorvlad was almost grateful for the blackout.
The two figures shuffled away with the doctor in between them. "Gorrr, he's heavy," the one at the front breathed.
The mechanical man sighed and picked the doctor up and threw him over his shoulder. "Not for me," he said and walked on.
The first figure straighted up as he followed. "I envy you, Brother," she said with a touch of awe in her voice. "I know I must wait patiently until my number is drawn, but I am ready to give up the flesh."
The man, more machine than human, made an odd whirring sound. "It is more than flesh one gives to the Machine God. The cogs turn, and move more that limbs. One's mind must be ready. Remember the ones who failed. Remember their agony, which only ended when we ended their existence."
The woman swallowed and looked at the stones in front of her, as the walked at a quick pace to the Church's head quarters. "But the workers," she said quietly. "They do not worship as we do, yet they get enraptured before the devout ones." She certaily considered herself devout. Questioning the Church's methods of spreading the word made her feel very uncomfortable, and she could not look her companion in the eye.
The man whirred again, which seemed to be his equivalent of a sigh. He’d heard this argument before from many of the other long-time devotees, many times. “As long as they make it to the end, there is no need to question the means,” he droned unconvincingly.
They approached a door with a crudely and faintly carved cogwheel on its face. From within could be heard the sound of many people chanting in unison. The two figures looked at each other and nodded knowingly, and then disappeared behind the door with the unconscious doctor.