"Threadbare Ontology": Nelson Jent has been training with the Dial Bunch to keep a hold of his own personality while using the H-Dial. Now, he is ElepHaunt, rescuing a civilization of frogs from the massive Barkfly, with the help of Dwan, who is unable to stop m
- Thinking later! Now, fighting zombies! Trebuchet! Let me out! I can help! Give me -- a Dial!
- -- Nelson Jent
Appearing in "Threadbare Ontology"
- Moon Monkey
- SuperOmi, Queen of Soho
- The Dial Bunch
- Ejad (Appears only as a corpse)
- Open-Window Man
- The Centipede (Flashback and main story)
- The Fixer (Flashback only)
- The Lost Operator (Behind the scenes)
- Barkfly (Dies)
- The Exhcange
Synopsis for "Threadbare Ontology"
Nelson Jent has been training with the Dial Bunch to keep a hold of his own personality while using the H-Dial. Now, he is ElepHaunt, rescuing a civilization of frogs from the massive Barkfly, with the help of Dwan, who is unable to stop morphing into new heroes every few seconds. Despite the praise of the citizens, all this effort was expended in order to avenge their friend Ejad, who was killed. That vengeance is bittersweet. One of the frogs had claimed that Nelson was a vampire for the way he steals powers with his dial. Hearing this, Roxie assures him that the fixed the dials so that they copied powers instead of siphoning them. Only Bansa's dial still steals powers, though she no longer uses it. She merely keeps it as a reminder of what its flaw does to people; of the stakes.
The Dial Bunch discovers another frayed spot in the Exchange for them to seek out the Fixer and the Centipede. Before entering the Exchange again, one of the frog-people warns Nelson not to go, because something bad is going to happen, but he assures her that he will be fine as he leaves. To herself, she finishes that she was talking about herself.
Ejad had had the power to duplicate any dialed power for himself, and had been of help in defeating the Fixer initially. Now that he is dead, Nelson doesn't know what they'll all do without him. Something bad is happening; something to do with the dials. Every world the Dial Bunch passes through, the people speak of a coming war.
Upon arriving on the other side of the fray, the Dial Bunch are surprised to find the world they landed in has already been destroyed, and the people there are hostile toward them because they use dials. A storm threatens to wash away what little remains of the poor world, and Nem manages to open up a doorway to another world, which Nelson quickly ushers his friends and the remaining survivors through. Unfortunately, the doorway closes before Yaaba, Nem, and Unbled can get through, but they have no choice but to move on without them.
Soon after arriving, they are attacked by the residents of this new world, who threaten the lives of the civilians they brought with them if the dialers do not surrender. Resigned, Bansa, Roxie, and Nelson give themselves up, and are subjected to a line of questioning from their mechanical interrogator. These people had recently been through a war caused by dialers, and by peopel who could steal powers. Fortunately, Open-Window Man and Dwan arrive to rescue them, with news that the Metacastle in which their friends are imprisoned is under attack by zombies. Soon, a booming voice comes from outside the castle, claiming to be that of a citizen of another world attacked once by those of this one. The zombies belong to him, and they have come to get revenge. To help, Nelson dials another hero, and begins fighting off the zombies, but just as quickly as the invasion began, the zombies disappear completely.
Roxie determines that in addition to the Fixer and the Centipede, there is a new problem. The lost Operator has returned, and he is dialing apocalypses for all of these worlds. This time, they were lucky, and he lost his connection, but he will try again. He will destroy every world that fought in the Dial War. And the trouble continues, as they can't find the lost Operator without a working J-Dial. Fortunately, the people of this world fixed it, while trying to figure out how it worked. Taking the J-Dial back, Roxie and Nelson warn their erstwhile captor to take care of the civilians they brought with them, and dial 0-0-0-0 to jump to the Operator's location.
Upon arriving in yet another barren wasteland, the Dial Bunch is surprised to find the Centipede waiting for them.
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