"Disconnected": Nelson Jent is nervous. His dial isn't working, and he has teamed with the Squid that killed his best friend in order to rescue Manteau - whom he has just recently discovered is a much
- *puCAARK* I'll spin you askew!
- -- Cock-a-Hoop
Appearing in "Disconnected"
- Nelson Jent
Synopsis for "Disconnected"
Nelson Jent is nervous. His dial isn't working, and he has teamed with the Squid that killed his best friend in order to rescue Manteau - whom he has just recently discovered is a much older woman - from Ex Nihilo, a nullomancer who has stolen Manteau's own dial, and is now wreaking havoc, trying to control the dangerous Abyss. Worst of all, Nelson has to face all of this without any powers, as an overweight average joe in a make-shift costume.
Abyss, though, refuses to be controlled by Ex Nihilo, and abandons her, leaving her to face Nelson and company alone. As a nullomancer, though, she has control over the holes of nothingness that permeate the Squid's body since his last encounter with Abyss, and he urges Nelson and Manteau to escape and fix their dial while he sacrifices himself.
Nelson returns Manteau to her house, where she tinkers with his broken dial. In the meantime, Nelson watches the Twitter feeds for any mention that might lead them to Abyss. While they work, Nelson finally introduces himself by name, and the elder woman finally reveals her name as Roxie Hodder.
When Roxie had been Nelson's age, it was the 60s, and she was working on her PhD in Telephony at Boulder. The Joy Festival in 1967. There, she discovered the artist commune known as Drop City, which later evolved into Criss-Cross. She became determined to combine her knowledge of telephony and science with the spiritualism and philosophy of the communes. When she discovered her dial, she had found the culmination of those studies.
Nelson sees that Abyss has returned to Littleville, and Ex Nihilo has moved on, leaving the Squid near death. Wald has dialed again, and is now in the form of Hairbringer. Combined with her nullomancy, she is very powerful. Hurriedly, Roxie patches up Nelson's dial, but it is not in full working order yet. Any form it calls on will be unstable. Roxie moves to dial it for herself, but Nelson claims that it is his right. Roxie suggests that they flip a coin, but Nelson snatches the device from her hands and dials it before she can stop him.
Ex Nihilo struggles to banish Abyss, but she isn't strong enough, prompting Nelson to charge into the scene in the heoric form of Cock-a-Hoop. He orders Roxie to look to the Squid, hoping the creature might know what to do. Unfortunately, the Squid is not long for this world, and Nelson's already ridiculous powers are unstable with the hastily repaired dial.
Against Nelson's protests, the US Army flies in, and launches missiles into Abyss, hoping to destroy it, but to no avail. Abyss simply absorbs the light, hungrily. Unsatisfied, it begins darkening the light of the moon as well. Meanwhile, Nelson tries to take on Abyss's smaller voids by spinning them within his hoop. Squid watches, and explains that, when disoriented, the smaller nothings are more easily controlled by Ex Nihilo, and that Nelson should team with her to send those nothings back to Abyss.
The two pair up, and as the nothings return to Abyss, the nothing eating nothing results in something. Matter is produced in place of the nothing, causing dangerous rockfalls and debris to rain down on Littleville. In the meantime, Nelson's power runs out, and he is returned to his normal self, watching as Ex Nihilo finishes the job, turning Abyss to stone.
Suddenly, a strange figure flies out from what little nothingness remains of Abyss, with a dial affixed to its chest. Nelson and Roxie realize that this was the presence they felt down the line, even before Abyss appeared. The new player produces a screwdriver to damage Ex Nihilo's dial, returning her to humanity, high above the ground. Without any powers, she simply falls straight down onto the pavement below, incurring fatal injuries.
With Abyss turned to stone, Ex Nihilo and Squid dead, Nelson and Roxie decide to return home, worrying about what will happen when this recent arrival discovers that there is another dial in their possession. Will it come for them next?
- This book was first published on October 3, 2012.
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