"Into You": After spending what seemed like an eternity falling through half-formed worlds and ephemeral realities, Squid was plucked out of that torment by Ex Nihilo. Her intent was to bring back the Squid's old companion - Abyss. Now, with Squid'
- Poor Nietzsche. Everyone always quotes that bit. But they always leave off what comes just before. "He - Or She - who fights with monsters should look to it that he doesn't become a monster."
- -- Squid
Appearing in "Into You"
- Baroness Resin
Synopsis for "Into You"
After spending what seemed like an eternity falling through half-formed worlds and ephemeral realities, Squid was plucked out of that torment by Ex Nihilo. Her intent was to bring back the Squid's old companion - Abyss. Now, with Squid's knowledge and Ex Nihilo's research, they have succeeded in bringing Abyss back.
Ex Nihilo attempts to bind the entity to her, but this only seems to anger Abyss. Squid's appeals to his old travelling companion's memories do little to help. Meanwhile, Manteau and Nelson Jent (in the form of Baroness Resin) struggle to find anything they can do to attack Abyss effectively. Staring into the entity, Nelson spots another being somewhere within Abyss. In frustration, Manteau throws a chair into Abyss, and he disappears, suddenly.
Annoyed, Ex Nihilo turns on the heroes, knocking Manteau out. She turns on Nelson, whose powers fade away, leaving him merely an overweight, middle-aged man. As Squid drags Manteau away, Ex Nihilo reveals her identity to Nelson. He is surprised to see that she is Doctor Wald, who treated his friend Darren in the hospital. She explains how she grew to understand the nature of magic, spending thirty years learning how to bring Abyss back; all for that. Now, Nelson's bungling has let it escape her. Squid steps in, spraying Nelson in the face with his ink, dragging Ex Nihilo back, and reminding that now, she has the H-Dial.
Despite Squid's ink-spray, Nelson is surprised to find himself still alive. Knowing that Wald has a dial now, he realizes that he must escape and rescue Manteau with the help of his own broken dial. Unfortunately, the device doesn't seem to be working. Hoping she left some kind of instructions on how to fix it, Nelson lets himself into her house. While he searches her desk, he watches a TV news broadcast indicating that Abyss is attacking in the jewellery district. Seeing things quickly becoming horrific, Nelson desperately dials his number over and over, hoping for some response.
Manteau wakes strapped to a gurney in Ex Nihilo's lab. Despite Squid's warnings that Nelson and Manteau had nothing to do with Abyss turning on them, she plans to extract the truth from Manteau. She tears the mask from the woman's face, throwing it aside, and demands to be told what Manteau knows about Abyss. Squid continues to warn that she knows nothing, but Ex Nihilo persists in torturing her. When she finally realizes that Manteau knows nothing, Ex Nihilo turns her attention to her victim's dial. She hopes that with some kind of additional power, she can amplify her nullomancy - the magic of nothingness - and regain control over Abyss. So, she demands to know how to control the dial.
Nelson watches Abyss' destructiveness on the TV, recalling an old quotation: "Gaze long into an abyss, and the abyss also gazes into you." Suddenly, a new hero appears, obviously a creation of the H Dial. From behind him, Nelson is startled to hear the Squid's voice. The creature points out that there is a portion of that quote that is too often left out: one who fights with monsters should see that he doesn't become a monster himself. The hero that is on the scene now is one such monster, he claims. He admits that his ink was not poisonous back at the hotel. He let Nelson live because he regrets killing Darren. He got the address from Manteau's torture session. He came looking for help. He has been wounded by Abyss, and Ex Nihilo has refused to help him. All he ever wanted was to go home, and maybe, Nelson is the kind of man who would help him do that.
Squid's people are herders and wranglers of nothingness in the region known as the unplace. One day, he discovered a particularly intelligent bit of nothingness, and raised it himself. He used its power to travel and gather treasures, but as the void's hunger grew, it began to command its master. The Abyss was hungry for light, and it commanded him to steal jewellery, which reflected it so well. For that, Squid was condemned to fall within the nothingness for decades, until Ex Nihilo found him. Even with the power of the H Dial behind her, Squid believes that the Abyss has been mad too long to conform to her will. She must be stopped from angering the Abyss, lest it remember that it also can consume suns. Hopefully, Nelson can help with the use of his own dial, which Ex Nihilo is mercifully unaware of.
Nelson persuades Squid that the only one who can get his dial working again is Manteau, so the pair of them will have to rescue her from Vernon Boyne's men. Vernon's men are already afraid that there is a new gang of super-heroes, given all of Nelson's recent activities, so Squid suggests that Nelson simply make one up - even if he can't truly transform. Nelson dresses himself in a home-made costume, and calls himself Rescue Jack. He and Squid burst into Vernon's warehouse and begin beating their way to the room where Manteau is held.
Nelson makes his way in first, but all he sees is a weak older woman. Eventually, he realizes that this is Manteau. He sets her free and gives her a mask to wear, just as Squid arrives. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back by Vernon Boyne. Angrily, Nelson clubs him over the head with a hammer, and he and Manteau escape with Squid leaning on them for support.
Meanwhile, Ex Nihilo stands before Abyss desperately shouting and trying to convince it to join her. He shows her that Squid is in cahoots with Manteau and another hero, and in her anger, she leaps through the Abyss to pursue them.
- This book was first published on August 1, 2012.
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