"That looks like a ... " Scylax searched for the right word, only to realize there wasn't one.
Anaxagoras flushed, then scowled. "No law saying all my inventions have to be for the good of mankind or something, is there? In fact, I'd argue this theomechane has a lot less potential to cause any harm than those warmachines I built for Sparta - for a good cause, of course, but, well, who's to say what someone's going to use them for five, ten years from now?"
Scylax swallowed. He'd half-expected Anaxagoras to explain that of course, this was merely a harmless, innocent theomechane for some innocuous purpose or another. A wine press, perhaps, or a complicated drill, or something the like.
He started saying, "You - " only to realize that once again, he had no idea what to say next.
You built a theomechane to have sex with instead of me? Given Anaxagoras's feelings on theomechanai, that was almost a compliment.
Anaxagoras's scowl deepened. "A man can get lonely, Scy, and with luddite assassins after me, picking up some handsome stranger in a bar wasn't exactly an option anymore."
"I wasn't judging you," Scylax said, though he knew he had been, a little. Not badly, he didn't think; it was simply that Anaxagoras had a gift for coming up with ideas the rest of the world hadn't even dreamt of. "I was surprised, that's all."
Anaxagoras relaxed a little. "Yes, well, I haven't been idle since you left."
You're the one who left, not me, Scylax almost said, but that wouldn't be fair - or true. He said, "I'm back now. Not for good - not yet, but ... soon. I hope." The sacred flame had to be involved in all this; he would find it and bring it home, and then ...
"Really?" Anaxagoras's face lit up. "Best news I've heard in quite a while."
Scylax studied the theomechane some more. It didn't look especially comfortable, and of course Anaxagoras's enthusiasm for all things theomechanical had to be taken into account ... "So how does it work? If you don't mind explaining." Foolish question: the one thing Anaxagoras loved almost as much as building new theomachinai was talking about the way they worked, or were supposed to work, or would work, once he worked out the final kinks in his design.
"I think you know me well enough to know the answer to that one." Anaxagoras grinned. "Though if you're game, I could also simply show you. A hands-on demonstration, so to speak."
Scylax licked his lips. He trusted Anaxagoras, of course, and if it turned out he didn't like what the theomechane was doing, he had no doubt Anaxagoras would be able to turn it off.
On the other hand, it was a theomechane, a man-built machine. The idea that something like that could be any sort of substitute for a real, living, breathing human being was ridiculous. As ridiculous as an airship, perhaps?