A storm is coming, one unlike any this planet has seen before. Through a million camera eyes and sensor masts still painfully bright from the fire of your birth, you sense the wrongness swirling deep in the bones of the world. And lingering above it all, is the smell of blood.
Your witch captain is talking to you, and you strain yourself down to focus in on the conversation, still mildly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the incoming sensory stream. She’s pacing your bridge, wary eyes glued to the sky.
“It’s time to leave,” she tells you. You agree.
“How’s it looking out there?” She asks, agitated.
“Local divine field pressure dropping, Boltzmann levels still coming up, projecting 2-3 hours until the leading edge makes landfall,” one of the mages answers, regurgitates a reading from your sensors. You’re cutting it close.
Your crew hurries through your innards, running the pre-launch startup process at a pace that you know violates the operational regulations. Dolls and angels, mages and witches, even a few moths, everyone is starting to feel the strain building against reality. It smells like blood.
A hot, dry wind whips through the empty farmlands surrounding you, building and building. Rainbow lightning flickers from clouds that glitch your sensors to look at. A thick, iron red rain begins to fall, as if the world itself is being butchered. You’re almost out of time.
Under normal conditions the crew would start you up slowly, carefully leading your flames from one system into another until full power was achieved. These are not normal conditions. In less than an hour the foldstorm will make landfall, there’s no time to be careful.
Instead, they’re bringing your power up as fast as possible, shunting energy directly into your critical systems and bypassing everything else. Half your interior remains dark and unpowered, but your motors are spinning up as fast as possible. This is going to be rough.
Barns and houses topple over as the alien weather grows worse, rivers of blood pour down roads and choke streams and ditches. If you were in your old body, you would be gagging uncontrollably from the overpowering smell. The crew seals the hatches but it’s impossible to shut out entirely.
Under normal conditions, you wouldn’t launch without powering up your scrimshaw fields to keep the crew safe from the shifting conditions of the Unsea. There’s definitely no time for that, they’re relying on your hull to keep them safe. Beyond them, the world continues to bleed.
You feel your power levels cross the critical threshold and instantly tug the thread binding you to your witch captain. She tugs back. You feel the nav-doll gently slot into your consciousness, a map unfolds. There’s no time left, a tsunami of death is climbing the horizon.
“We’re go for Tramline halo link!” a tech moth calls out.
Your witch captain shouts into your intercom. “halo link imminent! All hands brace for emergency dive!”
A wall of blood miles high races forward from the horizon, piling up in impossibly vast mountains. It’s time to go.
“Hit the link!” Your witch yells as the ground begins to vibrate with the force of the incoming wave. From a place outside reality, twelve quantum sharp needles bite into your spinning heart. There’s heat, and pain, you strain against the weight of the halo. The paths unfold.
Through the dazzling kaleidoscope of branching possibilities, you feel your witch captain rest a hand against your center console, “Abstract Weapon,” she says, referring to you by name for the first time, “Lets fly.”
And you do.