The Lab: The Perpetual Motion Machine (Part 1)
The low hum of the Perpetual Motion Machine competed with the buzzing of bees constructing a hive beneath a shelf beside a propped-open window.
Beside the hive was a machine that went ping… whoomp every eight minutes and had been happily doing so for as long as anyone could remember. Since its function was a mystery and it caused no trouble and at least did something, the artifectors were not inclined to turn it off. They doddered, but they were not fools.
The PPM had not been commissioned by the House. This was quite usual as the House had long since learned that requests were fastidiously ignored and trying to guide the artifectors was akin to shearing a flock of cats. The PPM had been built on a whim and a dare.
The prototype was built during a rare episode of collaboration and the honour of switching the device on was given to the lead artifector at the time, Agrontus. Once they had all been located, his remains were decently cremated at a brief ceremony presided by his successor, Gravitcher.