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"Calibration": The Metal has located the Grove in Swamp Thing's absence, and has begun burning the sapling growing from its centre. Within The Green, Capucine reacts with horror as Brother Jonah


Quote1 We cannot know if having an Avatar would make us stronger or weaker until we have an Avatar. Our lack of knowledge on this subject is itself a weakness. We must appoint one. Quote2
-- A Calculus



Appearing in "Calibration"

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Synopsis for "Calibration"

The Metal has located the Grove in Swamp Thing's absence, and has begun burning the sapling growing from its centre. Within The Green, Capucine reacts with horror as Brother Jonah slumps back unresponsive with the fire approaching him. Taking a wooden blade, she cuts through the burning wood, saving him from the flames. Jonah recovers, and explains that he had warned Alec not to let it come to this. War with the machines was inevitable, and he had not expected them to strike so soon.

Alec, meanwhile, realizes what has happened and attacks the machines, outraged that they failed to heed his warnings. He refuses to hold back as he fights their calculated, mechanical methods of battle with unpredictable creativity. When he proves that he is superior, he grabs the A Calculus in his fist, and tears its head from its body. He explains that he is everywhere and he cannot be hurt, only annoyed. He does not wish to destroy the new intelligence of the Metal, but he will not warn them again. With that, he crushes the head in his fingers.

With some effort, Alec reopens the Grove and checks to see that his friends are still all right. Jonah warns that more will come. Alec admits that he sees now that things will get worse before they get better. He warns that he will have to seal the grove off again, for now. In the mean time, though, he is excited to do something he has long wanted to do.

Alec travels to the gateway to the stronghold of The Rot, and begs to be allowed in. The gate opens, and as he journeys into the darkness, he discovers that the Rot's avatar has built a house for herself that mirrors the home he built for her in the swamp. Abby steps down from the threshold and warns him not to touch her—nor to give her hope that one day they might. Much as they might want to be together, they can't, as opposing forces of life and death. She admits that this is why she has never come to see him, though she should have. She believes her uncle Anton Arcane has returned, somehow. Alec explains that he has come to warn her of something else.

At Servus, the fortress of the Metal, the Calculi discuss A Calculus' failure against the Swamp Thing. A Calculus reminds that new data was collected, which will help them correct course. The fact that the other realms use humans as their avatars seems to suggest the cause of why they appear to be stronger than the Metal. Previously, the Calculi had rejected humanity as a weakness and Avatars as useless. A Calculus argues that without having tried an Avatar for themselves, their data set is incomplete. They cannot know if they would be stronger with one if they don't try one. While B and C Calucli reject this point outright, they are overruled by Omega Calculus, who insists that they select an avatar for the Metal.

Alec and Abby form an alliance against the Metal—should it be necessary. Abby comments that they should not go so long without seeing each other—they shouldn't need to use a robot uprising as an excuse, even if seeing each other hurts.

The Calculi suggest several machine-related options, but find flaws in each. A Calculus suggests that they needn't restrict their options so much. They are machines—their avatar does not need to be have a pre-established association with machines to serve. What they require is skill; someone with experience and desire. A Calculus has just such a person in mind: Lady Weeds.



Notes

  • This book was first published on November 5, 2014.
  • No special notes.

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