The steam coach bumped over the cobbled streets of the city. Here, in the better parts of the city, people had become enlightened enough not to refer to the belching machine as the ‘devil’s work’, doctor Gregory Smithson mused from his prime seat on the rambling coach.
The man opposite Smithson handed him a folder. Inside were blueprints for the ‘Soul-Capturing and Inspection Device’.
“Mister Eisen?” Smithson asked.
“My invention will change —”
“Poppycock! It is a lunatic’s imaginings! Like your other inventions.”
“With respect, Doctor Smithson, it could undo science! It would prove the existence of the soul!”
“As soon as some lower-class lackey starts saying ‘with respect’ I stop listening.” Smithson grinned. “But come, show me this —”
“SCID,” Eisen helped.
The jumble of brass, glass, wood, and instruments in Eisen’s workshop were dwarfed by the SCID.
“You stand there, I press this button and I can view your soul by extracting it using the steam-powered vita-extractors before reversing the flow and returning your soul to you.”
“Fascinating. Show me.”
Eisen gulped and pressed the button. A black mass formed inside the glass globe in the centre of the brass-and-glass device. Smithson grinned.
“I had always thought it would look something like that.”
“There must be something wrong, the others I tested —”
“Quickly stand over there, I just want to test it myself — as a scientist.”
Eisen stopped fidgeting with the device and stood sweating before the vita-extractors. A light grey mass formed inside the glass globe.
“This could revolutionise much, Eisen. And undo my life’s work!” Smithson shouted.
Eisen had no way to protect himself from the bullet fired point-blank at his chest and could only watch helplessly from the glass globe as the workshop was set alight around him.