Elspeth folded her hands in her lap, trying to keep her brows from knitting. She hated trains.
They were dirty, with bits of smut and coal blown back from the massive brass and aluminum steam engine pulling them along, and engrimed by successions of previous passengers.
They were noisy, from the engine’s howl to the screech of the never-sufficiently-greased axles as they rocketed along the steel rails with their steady pocketa-pocketa-pocketa chug seeping up through the swaying floor.
And they were oppressively full of people, all thinking things, all pressing down on her Sensitive’s mind, making her shrink down into the hard wooden seat as though the haze of thoughts hung like coal-smoke in the air and if she sank low enough, she’d avoid it.
She glanced over at her fellow Pinkerton agent, who returned her look with his own slightly quizzical if impersonal gaze. All of the curiosity of their fellow passengers was directed at him, perhaps the first mechanical being they’d ever seen, with silver and brass skin and curly hair, eyebrows, and moustache of gilded wire.
“They shouldn’t be keeping us back here,” she said for the third time in as many minutes. “If we’re his assigned bodyguards, they should let us up to inspect his compartment.”
“The porter said he’d tell them we were here,” Artemus said in precisely the same tone he’d used the first two times he’d said these words.
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