- See Also: Chapters
|Ardent watches a toy bird transformed by nanotech in Comic 88|
◄ Ch. 2
Ch. 4 ►
Chapter 3 of Alice Grove began with Comic 71 on July 1st 2015 and concluded on October 29th 2015 with Comic 100. It continues on from Chapter 2 after a real-world break of three weeks. Unlike the break between Chapters 1 and 2 there is no in-universe time-skip; the story resumes mid-conversation where it left off.
In this Chapter, Ardent's hostile payload of nanotechnology is introduced.
- Main Article: Minor characters
The chapter begins by continuing the conversation between Alice and Gavia. Gavia want evidence for Alice's apparent immortality and her story of the Blink. Meanwhile Ardent has been talking with Amos, and raiding his larder. By the time Alice has finished talking to Gavia he has gone off in search of Margaret Wheelwright, or other big bottomed girls.
He finds a girl to flirt with by the water pump, which is an electric pump, as may be found today in remote areas. She finds it to be broken and is going to find "the witch" to fix it. Ardent investigates, and lays his hand on the pump...there is a rumble and the pump is upgraded to a hyper-efficient pump which has a sci-fi style.
Alice rushes up, slaps Ardent and takes him back to the house: Ardent was, in Alice's words, "the real threat". Unknown to anyone, Ardent carries with him a payload of nanotech that upgrades any machine. This threatens to destabilise the world. The nanotech has been planted on Ardent by the Praeses with the intention of ultimately taking over the world. Alice's first thought is that she should just kill Ardent. But she finds she is unable to murder in cold blood, despite saying that she too "was a weapon once".
Instead she decides to experiment to find what kind of machines Ardent's nanotech can upgrade. Simple machines like levers are unaffected, but a clockwork toy bird is upgraded to a lifelike bird that flies out the window. Alice speculates that the effects of the nanotech is directed by Ardent's subconscious. But there are practical affairs to deal with first. She repairs the window with the siblings help, and is then reminded that the well had become a fountain.
Rushing back to town, she finds that Jack and the other townsfolk have done a good job of managing the flow and installing a pipe, and have stopped for pie. So Alice and the siblings eat pie. The villagers have worked out that Ardent has "magical" powers to upgrade mechanical things, and begin quietly asking him if he can give them a "tune up", but Ardent has to refuse them all, even the good looking girls that he would have been flirting with earlier.
Alice allow the villagers to take Ardent to a bar. She decides to look for answers about Ardent outside the village, and will take the siblings with her.
The next morning Ardent is dreaming of a whale swimming in pink clouds, when he is woken up by Alice. She drags him out of the bed where he has been sleeping with Cora Goodwell to get him ready for the journey. They are going to walk through the undeveloped woods to find an "acquaintance" of Alice, who may be able to provide answers. Alice gives Jack the responsibility for getting the villagers to shelter in case something happens, and heads out through the woods with the siblings