Somehow I found a pair of CVFB boots in my size. Did we have Tinies on patrol at some point? I tossed the heels aside and joined climbed into my CIRRUS, joining the rest of the fire-fleet in its relay of siphoning water from the bay and dousing the embers of Federal Hill. My third run was interrupted by an aether transmission.
"Mayday! Mayday! This is Nova Sakigake in the city of Hostel! Localized quantum field critically unstable! Request extraction!"
"This is Qlippothic Projects! Coordinates received! Prepare for rescue!"
I was in full armour, navigating through the ripples in reality...
Wait, I thought. This has already happened. I no longer have this body.
A familiar voice surrounded me, its plea reaching the core of my synthetic soul.
No, Demonfather. You waited until I had freewill again to let me make this decision. For that I am grateful. But if every mistake in our lives could be reversed so easily, life would lose meaning and our spirits would never grow.
I landed in Hostel, again I saw glass buildings erupt from the cobblestones as a civilization hurtled towards its doom at a decade per second.
There can never be a Qlippothic 1.0 again. If I refuse to rescue my friend, this alternate who still recognizes me as her friend, or even if she were a total stranger, I would betray the core of this recovered personality. I could never face my family and peers and loves again. If I do such, I am better off as a Blood Doll and Aleister's thrall.
The pale gynoid and I ran to each other and locked our forearms. I embraced her and activated the Galvanic Tesseractor.
"Prepare. This will be a very rough ride."
Without warning the scene instantly changed. I was in the fusion-powered Qli-3 form that Nova-prime had built for me from secrets recovered after Humanity's fall. The landscape was at once alien and familiar, a reformatting of Human and Demon architecture spanning the timeline in a bewildering synthesis.
The one feature I did recognize was the Founder himself, chained to the Engine Room of New Erebus and looming above me. His form was anachronistic, it was as he had been before Hades granted him a new crimson body. The crimson wings he retained to the next form were missing, and he had grown to gigantic proportions. The flat stones beneath me shook as he spoke.
"I would have denied you martyrdom as well, but now I give you the chance to join me in destroying my Father's...you have a Trespasser!"
"Yes, Father. A mind-healer has become trapped in my psyche. He is why I have freewill."
The Founder shook his head. "I cannot take the healer on this final charge. And if I free him, you will lose the capacity to choose." As I took a breath, my reactor flared brightly. "Even if I retained this configuration after extracting him, I would still refuse. Why are you ending your immortality like this, Father?"
"Turn around, Daughter."
Three hooded women held a long and wide tapestry of shimmering colors. One held chipped flint stone. Another held a set of metal shears. The third held a device projecting a small blade of energy. Patterns swirled in the fabric, and as the images coalesced I heard the screams of an infant. An innocent form convulsing as wings extended...
"FATHER!!" I turned from the Fates, and saw black tears flowing down the red lines under the Founder's eyes.
"You see why I hate my Father so? I was half-mortal before he poisoned me with the Tree of Death. I founded the Bloodline in attempt to recapture what had been ripped from me. It only extended my suffering and unleashed mad progeny upon the world."
"Not all of them are monsters, you know." He nodded.
"The Fates will not allow me to undo that moment. Reality could not be rewoven after removing an event that ancient. But, they are not without compassion. They have allowed me a second chance to..."
"Enough," chimed the Fates as one, "the construct and the astral must return."
"Goodbye, Daughter! Look behind...!"
And again, I was piloting the airship.
I expected trouble. But I did not expect a squadron of clockwork dolls on ornithopters firing lead shot at me.