We hadn’t intended to include this faction in the chapter until its final pages, but Flo saw an opportunity to link our two main plots and went with it.

In line with what I said earlier about HR The Inevitable Eyeball and his purplezerker ex-Cultists, you could read this sequence as the end of a nearly static period for them. Seems like maybe they’d just consumed everything sentient nearby and HR thought he was done, but then he saw the mushroom cloud and was like “Oh, right, there’s still sentience out there that isn’t me, can’t have that” and sicced his crew on it. But that doesn’t really line up with Ulak’s appearance later, so I think we have to treat HR’s last scene as a bit of a flash-forward.

FB: If you thought the Ultimate Engine was impressive tech hardware, you’ll be really excited about the debut of the new eyeDrones.