The crest embossed on the front is unmistakable. The ziggurat with a pyre at its peak, flanked by batlike wings. As the pages turn you catch scents that are familiar, perhaps not pleasurable but somehow reassuring. It may be absinthe, soot, sulfur, or the lingering vapors of reanimation serum.
Handwritten inside the front cover, addressed to you by name:
It is my dedication you and the many friends I have made in the Steamlands and beyond that has compelled me to return. As a fugitive, the smog and brick canyons grant me anonymity. The sea of tuxedos in allow me to blend in with the other dapper gents on the ballroom floor. The tunnels beneath the streets echo my whispers to your ears.
I have made my presence known to many of you. Some of you have glimpsed me as I raced in silence from one danger to another. Some of you have prayed for my return. I thank you for your prayers, for they have been answered. For you, I write this book so enchanted that only those I trust may see and read.
Is this selflessness or sheer folly to return with nothing more than the clothes on my back and an inoculation pistol? Only time will tell. As Surgeon, Sorcerer and Spark, I will help you however I can, whenever I can. My life has no meaning otherwise.
All I ask in return is that you refer to me in your tales only as "The Scientist", and that you never publish an image of my face or otherwise explicitly reveal my identity. In this regard, my life is in your hands.
Be Well, my Friend.
The book then vanishes in the blink of an eye. Were you only dreaming?