PC name: Theodore Meyerexternal image 800px-Old_Charity_Hospital_NOLA_1867_Lilienthal.jpg

Location: Park Ave Hospital

Date and time: 01-07-21, 4:30PM

Prompt


Theodore tugged his coat tighter around himself as he walked down the street, ignoring the lazy snowflakes drifting down in the swiftly descending darkness. He was too deep in his thoughts to notice the biting cold or the less fortunate huddled on the street corners. His feet would carry him home even if his thoughts were still cast back to the meeting he’d just concluded back in Archibald’s hospital room.


Walking through the hospital, Theodore tipped his hat to the nurses he had grown accustomed to seeing on his way up to Archibald’s room. He wasn’t the only manager under the employ of the Regiblaster to visit Archibald, but he made a point of being his boss’s most frequent visitor among his staff. The hospital staff was used to seeing him pass through after work, now, and just waved back as he passed through.

Theodore knocked on the door to his boss’s room, waiting for the gruff “Come” before entering. The hospital room was much nicer than most of the others – a large window in light during the day, and a handful of modern lightbulbs around the room cast it into brightness at night. He’d been into the room enough times by now to hardly notice the bevy of rainbow hued flowers or their perfumed scents given to Archibald by well-wishers.

Still, Theodore couldn’t help but make a note at the difference in how Archibald was treated versus the rest of the patients at the hospital. His room had come pre-furnished with fine paintings, and a nurse on staff all hours of the day. This is what I’m working towards, he thought to himself. With a little bit of diligent work here making good with Archibald and some smart work improving the Clothing Works, I’m on the fast track to wealth. Everyone will know the Meyer family name.

Archibald’s grunting brought Theodore back to the present. With a grim smile and a nod, Theodore wordlessly offered his boss the newspaper he’d bought out on the street. With Mr. Regiblaster opened to the headline, Theodore shucked his coat and hung it on the finely carved wooden standing rack, then balanced his hat calmly on top. By the time he’d finished and turned around, he could see the anger on Archibald’s face. It was the expression he expected, with the article “questioning if Archibald will be fit enough to continue managing his factory” and whether “this is a sign that he is unfit as the head of a factory altogether.

The article couldn’t have come at a worse time… With the trouble brewing in the factory, Theodore could stand to lose his job if he lost Archibald’s trust over this situation. Before either of them could discuss the potential ramifications of the article, and how to deal with the trouble, a knock at the door drew their attention. Theodore turned to see a mousy looking man in a paperboy’s outfit, out of breath and disheveled, looking like he’d been on the run for at least a week. A sneer touched his face before he smoothed it out – how dare he show himself in the presence of Archibald dressed like this? “What do you want, boy?”

The younger man glanced at Theo with a hunted look, peered past him at Archibald, then looked back and nearly squeaked. “Mr. Regiblaster summoned me.” Theodore glanced back at Archibald, who waved the mousy man in. With a grim twist to his lips, Theodore stepped aside to let him enter. The man immediately scurried to Archibald’s side, casting furtive and concerned looks back at Theodore. “Mr., Mr. Regiblaster, who is he? Why is, is he here? He, he shouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t worry about it, Dino. You’re here to help me, not to worry about him.”

“But I don’t think – “

Quiet. I said don’t worry about it.”

“I, uhm, I mean okay. Why did, why did you call me here?”

Theodore watched from the other side of the room, brows drawn together as Archibald mentioned his theory to ‘Dino.’ He’d never heard his boss cuss so much before, even when they’d discussed the apparent attack on his person earlier in the week.

“I don’t, uhm, think it was an attack on you. I think –“ Dino seemed surprised, almost cowering as Archibald cut him off with a surly growl. He would decide whether it was an attack on him, thank you very much.

Dino stammered and stumbled over his words for a moment before nodding and offering some useful info – that William Tenerly might know something about the events. Something about anarchists? Theodore scoffed – brutes that didn’t understand the intricacies and the use of steampunk technology. With a sigh, he pulled out his notepad and started scribbling notes about the mousy man’s ramblings and ignoring the continued uneasy looks he continued to receive.

The rest of the conversation was carefully transcribed onto the note paper in impeccable cursive handwriting, only a short scribble marking the place where Dino questioned Theodore once again, a slight insult against the factory manager’s family name. With ire raised, Theodore continued his note taking in a more forced hand. Still the notes made it to paper, from Archibald’s perspective leading up to the explosion until Dino turned to Theodore with questions about the Rochester Pneumatic Tube System.

“I don’t know anything about its inner workings. I was there when it was unveiled at the Steam Society. I filled out the paperwork to have a tube built to the Clothing Works, though I have a mind to put a stop to it now, in light of this attack.”

“Oh, well, you uhm, uhm, you don’t really need to, hum, stop it. I don’t really, uhm. Think it was targeted at you.”

Theodore glanced over at Archibald, who was scowling once more as he lashed at Dino with a few strong words over his obvious misopinions of the truth. The aristocrat reminded the unassuming information broker of the task to find more information about the attackers. “I trust you can get the job done.”

“Of course. But remember you need to give before you get.”

Archibald’s response put a grin on Theodore’s face, and that uppity man in his place – “I’ll give you a beat down if I don’t get what I want.”

The pair exchanged a few words of verbal sparring; Archibald was clearly the winner as Dino turned his attention to Theodore. “And what about your wife, Henrietta?” Theodore’s fists clenched as he leaned forward, eyes bulging slightly. This mouse dared to threaten his family?

A moment of silence hung heavy in the room before Theodore spoke, each word punctuated with heavy emphasis: “What. Did. You. Just. Say?”

The factory manager’s words carried the weight of one of the most influential aristocrats in the city – Archibald followed the question with one of his own. “Are you threatening us?”

“Oh no! I, uhn, I just wanted, you know, information’s not free. Lots of, uhm, people depend on me. What if, uhm, you let me write an article about your, uhm, factory in repayment? I’ll, uhm, even feature you in it, uhm, Theodore.”

A few moments later, Theodore was donning his jacket and heading back out of the hospital. That stressful encounter had a positive outcome, at least, with that mouse of a man agreeing to write a positive article about Archibald’s Prosthetics and Theodore’s role as a competent manager for the Regiblaster family.