It was the thousandth time, perhaps, that Osgood had begun to research a problem. But it was the first time that the problem had been himself.
When he'd finally left his old workshop and come to the place that would one day become Retropolis, Finnegan had taken all of his current projects and most of his research. Much more, he had left behind. It seemed to him that the Orb must have been one of those things.
It was odd to think that this strange object which had once obsessed him, and which had launched his career, had become nothing more than a bit of unwanted and forgotten detritus. But so it seemed to be: there were notes of no new observations and experiments on the Orb once he'd left his old workshop. He knew that he had not brought it with him; but he could not be positive just when he'd let it go.
And so, in his eighty-third year, Osgood Finnegan set out on another journey.
Gone were the days of carts and horses. Finnegan had failed to keep up with the times while he was engrossed in his Great Work; if pressed, he could not have described the current age's automobiles and trains. But he was still Osgood Finnegan, and that meant he had an airship.
It was the work of a week, though, to tunnel upward from his secret laboratory to get that airship above ground. He devised a clever mechanism that would open up from below and allow his ascent, but then collapse to seal the opening beneath him. His Work would remain secure. So as he had done once before at the beginning of his career, Osgood rose above the rooftops from obscurity and sailed along the winds to... something els