Perrin shrieked but it wasn’t a frightened sound, it was a warbird’s fighting scream. His hands shot out and grabbed the end of the chain of light locking Glass Mountain to him, just as a mazer bolt from the real world smashed into the shield and spalled into code, Kyrus’s armour flashed into red-hot and he screamed in pain, but refused to let go. His skin reddened and the Great Hive flowed over his gauntlets, drawing heat away. The roar of their wings changed and water poured out of the air and washed over him, flooding, boiling into steam.
Hara and Kyrus and Werfas threw their hands out into code and seized the chain wound through Glass Mountain, straining from reality, through code, to the moon and the shield around Prime. Hara and Kyrus slashed at it while Werfas grabbed and snatched gaps in the woven code. It frayed and cracked as the Emperor roared and wrenched Prime’s shield from side to side, smashing into cliffs of security code.
*Let go, you ancient asshole! Let Glass Mountain go! You’re under arrest!*
*Arrest me? You natural born, unenhanced peon! This is mine, you are mine! I own all of you!*
The planet shook and the mantle groaned, water shifting and sloshing in the basins. People not in code lay flat as they could sheltering screaming children. Warbirds tried to run, bushdragons burst out of their cracks in the rock into the foggy air.
In code a pair of gigantic cats, each ridden by a person, bounded up to where they struggled to separate Prime from Glass Mountain and tumbled off to fling their help to Werfas. The man who looked like a younger Perrin folded his hand around the cable and cried, *I am Perrin the Fourth, and Heir to the man currently resisting arrest! Inheritance Over Ride CODE 12-2Beta-475-Lamda-Echo-Omega-1!”
Ilax hit the shield with everything he had and his sword point drove through the shield, cracks radiating out from where he bore in with all his strength.
*No, you aren’t going to win,* the old man gasped and his shield and chain glowed blue/white with heat.
The chain where Perrin the Fourth grasped it, changed colour and texture, melting away from his hand to the disintegrating shield, wrapped three, four, five loops around the young Perrin’s forearm and shone gold bright and shining new.
The shield fell and the Emperor held Perrin by the upper arms, just above the elbows but the old man still fought, his exoskeleton creaking as he brought his own hands up to lock them around Kyrus’s neck. His own flesh was too weak but the powered network whined and Kyrus, though he didn’t let go, began to choke.
An outraged cry from one of the ice-shards on the moon, where the Immoderates still fired into the ice field; *You aren’t going to hurt my friend Homa’s great-uncle or grand-brother or… I don’t LIKE you and I’m an owner too!* Alissa reached out and grabbed the bones of Perrin’s medical exoskeleton and shut them down; began ripping them out of his failing flesh, sparking and twinkling to flee into the dark corners of the garage as if they were cockroaches.
Perrin stopped, his hands fell away from Kyrus’s throat and he choked himself, coughed once, twice, then he smiled and his mind fled into code as his old body died, hanging from Kyrus’s gauntlets.
*THE OLD FONT OF KNOWLEDGE IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE FONT OF ALL KNOWLEDGE.*