Mensab and Seu teleport to meet with Central, the overseeing intelligence of Toha Heavy Industries. Mensab wishes to use Central’s facilities to repair the degradation of Seu’s mind.
Central refuses, and relieves Mensab of duty within Toha. He reveals a plan to teleport Toha’s entire structure out of the City, taking its residents to “a new world”. Resorting to violence, Mensab sends Seu against Central’s sentinels.
Killy and Cibo are exploring the thirteenth cave of Toha when they perceive a change in the area’s embedded systems. Killy’s gun reactivates, and an Authority proxy materializes, indicating that Toha’s restrictions against Netsphere entities have been rescinded.
The proxy explains that the restrictions have been dropped because Central’s plan for exodus has broken Toha’s agreement to exist peacefully within the City. It predicts that the plan will fail dangerously, denying Killy and Cibo any chance to find a net terminal gene within Toha.
The Silicon creatures observe as hordes of Safeguard Exterminators travel to Central, butchering Electrofisher civilians along the way. Zuru and a group of survivors run for safety.
While approaching Central, Cibo’s head is wounded by a point-defense laser, and Killy is forced to go on without her. The wound makes her unable to concentrate on suppressing Sanakan’s persona, and Sanakan begins to possess her.
Cibo follows a drone belonging to the other Cibo from another timeline, finding her corpse. She transfers a memory device from her own skull into her counterpart, just as Sanakan regains control of her body.
Killy overcomes Central’s outer defenses and arrives at its audience chamber as Seu and the sentinels continue to battle.
Ivy and Maeve (still missing her lower half from a fight with Seu) reach a Silicon life base. The new-model Silicon creature from the fourth cave is being researched, dormant. Since its last confrontation with Killy, it has regenerated into a monstrous, many-armed form. At Ivy’s command, the creature’s head is replaced with Maeve’s torso.
- Alternate Cibo
- Central AI
- Authority Proxy
- Silicon Creatures
Notes & Trivia
- The overall structure of Toha Heavy Industries resembles an O'Neill cylinder. It is possible that teleporting Toha into space is the culmination of a plan to create such a habitat. The new “world” which Central promises may be the habitat itself, free of the City’s influence. Or, it might serve as a ‘generation ship’ for a journey to another planet or megastructure.
- The alternate Cibo’s body may have been evacuated to the thirteenth cave along with all human residents of Toha. Or, it may have been displaced there accidentally by the spacetime instability of the fourth cave, along with the new-model creature.
- The Silicon researchers are unfamiliar with the new-model creature. This may indicate that the creature emerged from a different timeline into the fourth cave, like the alternate Cibo.