Wild-eyed, Shambo staggered into the networking pit where the group of them had made beds amid the cables and synth detritus.

“I think I can wrangle sonic weapons out of the Watcher, we can get the Master to barf out a Hasver, then we’ll take out the Tech on our way out and high-tail it for that shithole I grew up in!”

There was a beat in the room as Roz and Takir looked up from the flat green-phopshor projection of Hasver pixelated in the tiny calligraphic characters of a long-gone language.

Calmly, in his way, Takir took back the reins of the conversation, “Yes. Well. To reiterate, the Tech seems inured from the political considerations of the Erulians. We have pooled our knowledge, and in exchange for the Zauzich exotelligence download – insofar as it still exists in my memory – the Tech has agreed to team its skills with Roz’ dexterity to attempt to use the Impossible Blade and our shared understanding of human physiobiology to remove the Parasite from me, thereby obviating the need to kill the Tech, see the Nagaina or return to… yes, the shithole you grew up in.”

After a hard blink, Roz slapped Takir on the back so hard he nearly fell over. She thumbed a gesture at him, “Tall skinny transformer thinks his new bioskills will help him survive the surgery. All we have to do is get that machine upstairs we ruined fixed as a recovery creche, and let the Tech swim around inside my head. What could go wrong?”

Green Phosphor Hasver’s eyes were hollow pits, and somehow blue. “My e-shadows are returning from scouring the Network. Let me know of your progress. I have had several detentes with the Master and do not believe he is any longer inclined to facilitate my release. I believe I have discovered one of the reasons they may be here – something the Gaians are doing is activating their old technology. I think the Master wants to claim his old technology and steal the future from humanity.”


“Oh my…” sighs Shambo in his dulcet and unoffended tones, “Well, that seems to concur with what the Devotee told me. Apparently Erulian culture is on the verge of abandoning their brain-shapes in favor of moving more deeply into the non-physical string realities. Allegedly, the Master led them here to recover some lost technologies to take with them in their Transition. However, the Devotee believes the Master intends to lead these Erulians and possibly their entire culture in another direction, and is not pleased.”

The others all stare at Shambo. He shrugs, a smile widening his green face, “Well someone had to start talking to Monsters…”