I took the crate downstairs, and with much dread I pried it open with a crobar. Yes, that was Qli. Not my daughter exactly, but a Creator recognizes his own handiwork. It was the same engine that Flea Bussy manufactured to my design. The chassis was original. It bore the GC mark, but it had clearly been through decades of grueling use..dents re-hammered, rips re-welded, but still meticulously well-oiled and polished.
The rest of the parts had been retooled and replaced. Some of the gears were made of alloys that I hadn't seen before. I put those aside for analysis.
But what else I found left me flabbergasted..carefully wrapped in brown paper and numbered along with every other loose screw and gear was a sliver of rock and metal, Qabalistic etchings still glimmering with energy. It was Qli-Steel's Soul Drive and it was still functioning! Also found intact was Qli's cranial sphere, the center of her analytic processing. I would have pried it open and see what sort of damage was inside..to see if I could possibly rehabilitate her.
I stared at the drive for hours. I knew if I touched it with bare skin I would have an instant neural link to her essence. I would know what she was thinking..or screaming. I sighed as I took off my left rubber glove.
I spoke down to her sliver, I knew she was shut off from her surroundings. She need a nervous system to connect to. In this case, mine.
"Now is your chance to explain yourself. Make it good. Real good."
I put my finger on the designs. The voice that spoke to my soul was familiar, but the madness that possessed it was not.
Io! Io! Blood..
I immediately threw the sliver down to the work bench where it bounced off the work bench like a bad penny before landing with a clink.
"HOW DARE YOU!", I screamed.
I cast my glance to the cranial unit. There was a slot in the orb to insert the Soul Drive..for in case she was ever disassembled to this extent. Mind and Soul in one convenient container.
I picked the Drive up with my gloved hand and slid it into the sphere with a click.
I should have known this was a trick.
The crackling energy hit me in the chest like a steam-powered elephant. I fell to cold stones of the basement, that smelled faintly of earth, oil, and spilled wine.
As I held onto consciousness I heard a clank, and then the sound of metal rolling on stone. "So I dropped her", I thought. "She deserves a lot more."
That's when I saw THIS leaning over me.
She hissed and growled at me as if she was still getting used the idea of speech. I saw rage in those green glowing eyes. I lay perfectly still..there was no spell I could invoke fast enough. I just stared back in those eyes, trying to find a glimmer of the construct I raised as my own flesh and blood.
"Qli? What have done to yourself?"
She laughed in a voice that sounded like tearing metal.
"What have you done to YOUR self, Father?'
With that, she curled into the enlarged sphere and erupted into a full galvanic tesseraction as she slammed into the basement gates to the catacombs under Steelhead.
I was ready to hear the gates shatter from the impact, but in stead I saw yet another flash of energy as she folded space to elsewhere.