Qli's tremors started this morning. Then her body started shifting between human and construct, one piece at a time. Ash tried to help her, but the last time she shifted to metal it damaged Ash's neural network. Now I'm the one holding her down in the null-suit Doc Mason built for me for the Steal Head raid just to keep from getting electrocuted.
Doc tossed his monitor console into the sand bucket as it started to smoke and catch fire.
"I'm afraid my theory is correct, Koen. By turning human she's lost control of the nanobytes that remained with her body. She's caught in a vicious cycle..."
Qli screamed as electricity wrapped around her arm.
"...the more human she gets, the harder her nanobytes work to change her back into a form they can recognize..."
Her arm turned to brass. Luckily she didn't thrash when she was metal.
"...and when she turns back into a construct they fall back to their last command to rebuild her as human. And now they're all completely out of sync!"
"What happened to Ash?"
"The nanobytes started stealing the silicon in his nervous system, it very nearly damaged the circuitry in his soul chip."
"Can you fix this, Doc? ... Dad? Come on!"
"This is far beyond Steamlands technology, Son. She must have added this to her system in one of her trips forward. This is Nova's territory."
"So where the HELL is...?"
"She and Six skipped town in their own ship to get replacement parts for the Revenge. They could be anywhere or anywhen by now."
Qli whimpered as she fell asleep in a rare painless moment of stability.
He rolled down a map of the Steamlands on the Consulate wall.
"Her pain comes from the nanobytes craving silicon. They literally tear her apart to rebuild her. Steelhead's humidity only makes it worse. She needs to rest somewhere dry and sandy..."
He tapped on a spot in a desert, far west of Caledon.
"There's an oasis of Steam technology here...it's region called Cala Mondrago..."
Back in the swing
6 months ago