Triad's tendrils shuddered, quivering hesitantly as they lowered from the ceiling. It spoke, it's voice echoing from the room.
"I couldn't stop it."
Gabriella yelled at the room. "You've been being played, you selfish scumbag! Tetherson doesn't love you, Tetherson doesn't even want to kill you, it's just using you! It was going to use you as a shield. It doesn't want to destroy, it was going to fuse itself with everything!"
Triad remained silent.
"Gab, we've got to get out of here."
"There was always a backup plan." Echoed Triad. "I'm incapable of leaving the world to rot. You better run, like your girlfriend says."
"I hate you! You were meant to protect us and it was all lies! We trusted you!" Gabriella yelled as Ursula grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the chamber.
The Chairs began to storm in, wrapping folds of acidic flesh around everything they could touch. Gabriella and Ursula began to leave, the smell of dissolving flesh wafting from behind them. Triad never screamed, not once.
They ran back the way they had come, fighting their way past demons locked into battle with blood-soaked Chairs and dived into the lift. It began to descend but then it stopped, stuck. Gabriella expanded her vision trying to see the problem. The truck had exploded while they were further up the building and now foyer was a raging inferno. The lift lurched as a secondary explosion shot up the elevator shaft and they felt the heat of it blister through the metal.
"We've got to get out of her, the bomb's going to go off!"
They felt another shudder and then a sudden sickness as they plunged into freefall, the heat damage snapping the cables with a disturbing zipping noise. Gabriella grabbed hold of Ursula and closed her eyes, praying for salvation.
* * * * *
Triad's tower stood against the darkness of the night's sky, it's lights flickering on and off as it's power gave out. Smoke billowed forth, a thick black pillar of smoke rising into the night. Suddenly, a shaft of light lanced up through the building and shot out, expanding like a massive bubble. It slowed it's growth as it began to reach roughly about a mile radius and then imploded, erasing everything it had enveloped. Dust and dirt flew up from the crater as the surrounding air rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the implosion. A huge clap could be heard for miles and storms suddenly formed due to the sudden pressure change, much more destruction ensuing as tornadoes, thunder and lightning crashed down around the surrounding area.
In the Aether, the area was erased, the mile around Triad's tower becoming a void for life. As the implosion pulled in everything around it like a black hole, the thousands of demons that were at the tower, Triad's fading remnants and the surviving Chairs fused together along with thousands of others, innocent souls possessed and any one else caught in the blast. In the centre of that infinite stillness, something emerged. Tetherson - the Demon Machine - looked on. It had learnt of what was going on, of the tide turning against it and removed itself from the effects of the bomb. However, as it watched the birth of the new being it raged with intense jealousy and anger. It would find a way to achieve it goals. The machine was eternal and timeless. It could wait. However, it saw some thing, something faint wink into existence far away and it reached it's influence over to it. It was powerful, powerful enough to contain his essence. He'd been a fool to rely on the weak and foolish, demons with no forethought, no appreciation for what he was trying to do. He would make the arrangements in the real world himself.
Tetherson felt himself slapped back. He couldn't be destroyed, not as a pure Aetheric form but none-the-less he felt something akin to pain. He saw something massive arise from the emptiness of the void where once Triad's tower had been and repat that simple word.
The being rested their, something an order of magnitude beyond him. A reflection, a taste of the thing he had longed to become, mocking him by it's presence. Despite the fact he had no form here, he felt himself forced to be seated within the massive presence, felt himself enveloped by it. He roared.
* * * * *
Gabriella and Ursula winked into existence on the outskirts of New York, on a grassy hill. They carried their momentum with them from the elevator shaft and slammed into the ground, rendering them both unconscious. There was the sound of cracking bone and then darkness.
Gabriella woke up in a bed. She felt dizzy and disorientated as she came to, looking around. Things looked different, weird. Colours and shapes that made no sense to her danced in front of her.
"She's awake." She heard heard and then something moved into view. She realised then what it was, what the the colours and shapes were forming. It was a person.
"Hello, I'm Doctor Rush Nestor. Do you know where you are?"
"No, what happened? I...I can't see properly."
"When we found you, you were badly hurt, we thought you had fallen from a plane brought down by the explosion in New York but we couldn't find a wreckage anywhere. We thought maybe you could explain what happened. Anyway, you were so badly damaged we needed to replace most of your skull. The Mendelians have been working with us on providing healing. I know, sounds crazy, but every one needs to work together now that Triad's gone. Nothing anyone has done has managed to stop the demons so far, not even after we launched the bombs."
Gabriella tried to sit up but the pain sent her reeling. "No! You can't launch the bombs! It's what he wants!"
"They didn't work anyway, the design, the bombs never worked. The first one must have been a fluke, maybe Tetherson never completely documented it but when they launched, nothing happened. What do you mean, it's what he wants?"
Gabriella closed her eyes and sighed. "Nothing, I don't know, I'm just tired. What's happening? What happened to the woman I was with?"
"The Mendelian woman? She's in a bad way. When you fell she broke your fall, if not for her you'd probably be dead right now. She saved your life. Being Mendelian, she's tough, but with the injuries she sustained, well, she's in ICU. We're keeping an eye on her but it's touch and go. As for your own injuries, we needed to rebuild your face, we replaced your eyes, jaw and much of the flesh and skin. You might feel a bit numb and experience some loss in visual acuity for some time until you're fully healed."
Gabriella began to cry. The shapes and colours began to make sense now. She was seeing for the first time.
"I have some more good news. It's a miracle really. Your baby, it survived, the fetus doesn't seem to be damaged in anyway and in a few months we have every reason to believe you'll be giving birth to a healthy baby boy."
Gabriella tried to sit up again and instantly regretted it. "What?!"
"I know, we can hardly believe it ourselves. A real miracle child." The doctor smiled.
Gabriella struggled to find the words to respond.
"Obviously you're still exhausted. You should get some rest."
"I want to see Ursula, my friend, the one I came in with."
"I'm sure that can be arranged. In the meantime, get some rest."
Gabriella already felt the weight of the world weighing down on her and couldn't hold it back any longer. She nodded and let blackness take her once again.