The End of the World was planned for friday 12th of December. Or so Jason Moriarty told Rip Wirefly when he attacked Miss McMillan and him in their house.
So we knew the date.
And we suspected the place too, because Moriarty had attacked a lot of people that day. First Miss Jedburgh Dagger, next to the theatre, then Mr Holmes, outside the clinic he had carried Miss Jedburgh to so she could be taken care of by the Doctors Watson and Kaligawa, then Mr Wirefly and Miss McMillan, whom Moriarty almost blew up. And we also learnt later that he attempted an attack on the Dr O, which failed because the evil villain is used to handle big amounts of electricity. More importantly, during the attack on Mr Holmes, the detective shot Moriarty with his gun, and Moriarty transformed into a werewolf upon this shot, indicating his powers were weakening and that he would need to "recharge" them soon.
So he would need to go to the Tesla Machine.
We gathered at the entrance of the big Tesla Machine this evening of the 12th of december and decided of a plan :
Miss Janus had ordered a Faraday cage and received it in time. We thought that would prevent Moriarty from attacking with his electricity powers. Jimmy had lighten up huge fires on each side of the entrance and Mr Wirefly and Miss Janus set up the cage right in the middle. The cage had two doors, in front and in the back, and the plan was that Mr Wirefly would run through the cage to lure Moriarty inside, that Miss Janus would shut the first door down after Moriarty and that Mr Wirefly would shut down the second door behind him after having left the cage.
We didn't know if that would work but that was the only plan we had...
I had built some flutes, because one of the documents the Van Creed guy brought to the Iron Essence was relating means to fight a werewolf, and one of them was the use of high-pitched noises, supposed to irritate them and make them retreat. I distributed all my flutes around and everyone agreed on the fact their sound was annoying.
Mr Holmes and the Doctor Katri were perched on the terrace of the neighbour house, Mr Holmes ready to fire with his rifle and the Doctor Katri ready to heal anyone who would need it.
Another fire had been lighten up on the roof of the Tesla Machine, to prevent any attempt from Moriarty to get in by this entrance.
We were all waiting, nervous, trying to rethink our plan and get faith into it, and Mr Dagger even told a joke to entertain us, but then... he arrived.
We didn't really see him but we felt him. Mr Wirefly warned us about the shadows moving, and Jimmy drew our attention on the ground. We could see the tracks of his feet in the snow.
Miss Janus signed Rip and he ran through the cage. We could see the snow moving about, steps following Mr Wirefly inside. Miss Janus slapped the cage's door close and Rip did the same on his side.
We squinted trying to see inside the cage when suddenly, he appeared.
"LET ME OUT !!" he yelled, become visible again.
Miss Breezy exclaimed in surprise that he was just a little boy, a child, but we explained her he was evil, just trying to fool us.
Jason tried to launch one of his lightning attacks, but it failed because of the Faraday cage and he hit the bars out of rage.
At this moment, a dark flying silhouette, with immense bat shaped wings appeared against the full moon and landed amongst us. I recognized the Professor Nishi... or what she had become.
At the same time, Moriarty vanished from inside the cage. We stared in the cage, trying to spot him, asked aloud where he had gone, wondered if he could have gone inside, and suddenly, as the Professor Nishi had crossed the cage to get inside the Tesla Machine, a voice reached us from inside the building, the hysterical voice of Jason Moriarty screaming : "I AM A MONSTER ! ".
We heard the Professor calling his name and the Doctor Kaligawa calmly informed us he was behind the coil.
"He turned into a werewolf again!" added Mr Holmes.
Then we spotted him too and I claimed he was recharging his powers. The Professor confirmed and turned again towards Moriarty.
"Now...are you stronger?" she asked him.
"I am what i was" he replied. "but i lack what is needed to fullfill my Gods wishes." he added.
The Professor nodded and asked :
"Indeed. Now...how does this end? Do you live another day?"
At this moment, Miss Janus signed us to use our flutes and I reached for mine, as did Miss Chernov, Will and the others. We started to play as high-pitched and annoying sounds as we could. This just caused the werewolf to sneer in our direction and we stopped playing, seeing it was totally unefficient.
"We must decide." insisted the Professor.
"No, I am merely the instrument." answered Jason. "I shall show you."
"We are *all* merely instruments." the Professor replied.
"My dear Nareth, dear sweet Nareth, i so want to show you everything."
"Then show me."
At this moment, we all stepped back and stared in horror as something was happening inside. A seemingly huge wall of unnaturally orange flames had filled the building in. After a while, we could distinguish the winged silhouette of the Professor and heard her sigh, but no sight of Jason Moriarty, anywhere...
Then a voice behind us called the name of Mr Wirefly and we turned to see Jesper Renfold, that man from the Van Creed, standing right there, staring at the burning building.
"What has happened here?" he asked. "The Van Creed need your help." he added.
The Doctor Kaligawa spoke in from her perch to ask what was this thing, pointing to the huge airship landed on the railtracks between the church and the gate leading to the Tesla Machine.
"It's MY airship." answered Renfold. "My fellow agents are still up there."
"Nice landing..." commented Mr Holmes.
"Moriarty will gain the power of the Cloud Angel unless you do something NOW!" yelled Renfold.
We asked him what we could do, and he explained :
"We had two Cloud Destroyers and a sky station up there, we found the Cloud Angel, but so has Moriarty." He added : "The Professor must know."
The name shocked me and I couldn't help but ask : "Cloud Destroyers???"
"Yes" he answered. "Previous work of the late Captain."
"You are foolish to play with that power." frowned Mr Wirefly.
We then bombarded Jesper Renfold with questions like "Is Moriarty up there?", "Who has got the Cloud Angel now?" "How can we get there?" "Where is the ship?". And he continued :
"At this moment in time, I do not know. My ship is somewhat imobilised. We were about to extract the Angel from the air when a huge electrical surge eminated from the ground. My ship was hit, and I crashed here. The Cloud Angel is in the sky directly above Port Babbage."
And with that he ran away.
And the Cuckoos' robot appeared...
During all this exchange, the Professor Nishi was still inside the burning building, shouting at us :
"What are you all looking at! What are you all waiting for! Run... all of you! I cannot hold it."
I think something happened with the Professor, which also involved Miss Janus, but we were too busy with the Van Creed man to notice it and only a few know for sure what happened. Miss Breezy took care of Miss Janus, who somehow felt cold... I am not sure why or how.
I heard the Professor screaming "None of you are welcome in this world!"
But I don't know if she was talking to us or to someone else... Maybe Old Gods?
She added: "You will leave now, and you will return to that darkness from whence you have come." "I take you...into..me."
While Miss Breezy and Miss Chernov were attending the shivering Miss Janus, Jimmy, Will and I hopped in a hovercart and flew right to the Port and then up above the place around which the Captain Zessinthal's airship had crashed.
We finally reached a skystation, with a huge airship docked and a hexagonal plateform stamped with the golden interlinked V and C of the Van Creed.
Mr Wirefly was standing there, in a narrow alley picturing one side of the hexagon, while Jason Moriarty was in the middle, facing the Professor Nishi, who I had seen earlier flying in the sky with her big bat shaped wings. Between the two of them was a bubble of white light, like a cloud of sparkling stars, but something like a foetus could be distinguished inside. Exactly like on the picture seen in the room of the Captain Zessinthal, or in the book found at the library... A Cloud Angel, the last of the Cloud Angels.
I missed a lot of what happened next, because my hovercart was emitting weird noises and I had to fly back down, scared that it would die on me. But Jimmy was up there, and he told me some of what he saw.
Moriarty and the Professor were talking, I'm not sure of what they said, but I think Jason was intending to use the power of the Cloud Angel to bring his Old Gods in our world and apparently, replying to the Professor, he said that the Cloud Angel was the key, but that himself was the gate.
At this moment, the Cuckoos' robot appeared in the sky and landed at one corner of the hexagonal plateform, soon followed by the Cuckoos themselves. They just stayed there, staring at the scene.
Jason Moriarty made a step towards the Cloud Angel, smile on his face, and tried to use it, but he stepped back right after, seemingly shocked.
"I don't understand" he stuttered.
The Professor rised an eyebrow : "What do you fail to understand?"
Jason didn't answer and made a gesture, as if wanting to use his lightning powers, but his body trembled and his face wrinkled in surprise.
He retracted his lips on his teeth and jumped backwards, his hands forming claws, as if trying to change into his werewolf shape, but nothing happened and a wave of shock seemed to run under his skin.
"It's... It's taken everything!" he screamed.
"Yes." the Professor nodded shortly. "It is a gateway, and a key, Jason."
Moriarty looked incredulous. He turned towards the edge where the Cuckoos and their mechanical were standing and yelled at them :
"YOU!! YOU DID THIS!"
He walked on them, in the narrow alley leading from the central plateform to the apex of the hexagon where they were and repeated, right in front of the mechanical:
"YOU DID THIS!"
But he stumbled on the robot in the narrow alley and passed him, unable to stop behind him, and falled with a long cry in the sky through the hole in the fence protecting the sides of the hexagon. The plateform was way up in the sky... No human being would escape death after such a fall.
The Professor Nishi called for the twins, asking them to come in the middle of the plateform, still keeping her eyes on the light emanating from the Cloud Angel.
The Robot walked towards her, followed by the Cuckoos, and they stood around the Cloud Angel, staring at him.
"You have wanted to go home for so long now." stated the Professor.
"Yes" nodded one of the Cuckoos.
"This is your gateway." said the Professor. "Another will not soon come."
"It.Is." the other Cuckoo replied.
"You were done a terrible harm." continued the Professor. "Another key... is required. You have built it."
At this, the first Cuckoo nodded to his mechanical who produced a huge device, with its top part looking strangely familiar, and its bottom part being a network of coloured and sparkling filaments surrounded by shiny beams.
"Oh, if that bastard Eliot could have seen that." exclaimed the Professor. "Do you have the power you need?" she asked the Cuckoos.
"Yes.Enough power." one of them replied.
"We.do." added the other.
Loki arrived on his airship right at this moment and could witness what was to happen next :
" We.Will return these.Corporeal shells.To you. They are.Of no further use." declared one of the Cuckoos.
"Goodbye." said the second one.
"Thank you." added the first one.
"Go safely." answered the Professor, as the robot was moving the Cloud Angel into the bottom part of the improved Porta Terrarum device the Cuckoos had built.
A shining and sparkling white light had appeared, seeming to come from inside the heads of the twins, and suddenly they both fell on the ground like puppets abandonned by their puppeteer.
The Professor turned to the mechanical : "Robot... can you hear me?"
"I can hear." it answered.
The light coming from the device and the Cloud Angel was slowly fading away and the Professor looked stunned.
On the ground, the sparkle shining from inside the head of the Cuckoos was equally slowly vanishing while their bodies were starting to change...
"ARE THEY DEAD!!!?" enquired Loki.
On the ground, the bodies of the twins were now looking like those of two normal boys. Their white hair had turned blond, their white skin had turned pink.
Mr Wirefly answered : "I think, they were inside those bodies, not the body themselves, Loki."
The Professor was still talking to the mechanical :
"Robot... I will fall now... soon... Will you see... to the... children?"
"Yes." it answered simply.
The Professor stumbled, almost falling, while on the ground the two children were starting to stir, moving, and then slowly standing, opening their eyes once white and scary, now blue.
The twins looked puzzled, wondering where they were. They were talking one to the other, calling themselves "Nat" and "Zach".
"No one shall harm these children." warned the Professor.
Then she turned towards Rip : "Mr Wirefly... I must... find... Miss Janus... I must... go..."
Mr Wirefly nodded and the Professor suddenly turned away.
The mechanical only said a few words : "I must go. These are your children. Take them. Farewell."
Then he flied up at the speed of a lightning, surrounded with sparkles, and disappeared in the sky.
The big ball of unnatural orange flames reappeared, swallowing the Van Creed's skystation into its deadly light.
Mr Wirefly shouted to the twins and everyone to climb into Loki's Icarus airship, still docked at the plateform.
Miss Chernov had arrived too, in her own little airship and was hovering above, watching the scene. She proposed some seats in her ship to escape the horror growing around.
The twins climbed up into Loki's airship, as did Jimmy and Miss Breezy while the whole skystation was starting to fall apart.
The voice of the Professor Nishi could be heard through the chaos of the flames :
"Run... all of you... flee... "
"My Lady... Close the gate."
Loki handled his airship, flying it above the ablaze skystation, as pieces of the docks where falling from there with a whistling sound.
They heard the Professor screaming.
Loki landed his ship in the Port and everyone got off, witnessing the rest of the skystation falling down into the depths of the sea, maybe with the Professor amongst it...
The twins were then questionned as to what they remembered, who they were, but they seemed to be very puzzled by what was happening, and couldn't remember anything of their previous state.
They said they remembered being at school and falling asleep. They couldn't believe when Jimmy told them they had been in New Babbage for one year. They didn't seem to know the place.
They wanted to go back home. Miss Breezy proposed them to sleep at the Ruby's for the night, and have a warm meal. The next morning they would try to find their home.
They remembered their parents names as being James and Mary Effingham, and the address of their school : Edison School for Boys, North Hampshire, Vermont.
Miss Breezy took them under her wing.
Lots of questions remain unanswered.
What happened to Jason Moriarty, is he still alive?
What happened to the Professor Nishi, is she still alive?
What about the Van Creed? Where are they, what will be their next step of action?
What happened to the Cloud Angel, has he been released?
I suppose the Cuckoos left the bodies they had borrowed and regained their home. And the human twins will most likely do the same. But what happened to their mechanical?
Has the gate been opened again..? I think it has. Has it really been closed down? Who is this Lady the Professor was talking about? She was already talking about her when Bob, Will and I overheard her discussion with Moriarty in the hideout, when she asked us to keep what we had heard for ourselves...
And... Is it really over, now..?