Deep below the Earth’s surface, in a steaming chamber somewhere between the Hayward and San Andreas faults, there is motion in the dancing shadows cast by the guttering torchlight. Dark, twisted creatures stir. They move slowly, their once-lean haunches soft from months of torpor. They shamble from their stony sleeping-nooks into the work chamber, and one by one they take their accustomed positions on the capstans. The great wheels resist at first, then start to turn with a shriek that slowly fades to a rumble.
From the throats of the horde comes a deep ululation punctuated by coarse barks, a sound that reverberates through the chamber until it has no source, merely presence. It is enough to weaken the knees of even the stoutest hero, a sound to chill the most stalwart heart.
The creatures are singing.
Though fearsome in sound, it is joy they express; the sublime joy of one who had no purpose being useful again. Far above them, in a peaceful neighborhood San Jose, those turning capstans once more power the forges and shrieking spark-throwing wheels of Jer’s Software Hut.
On the slab in the middle of the laboratory a figure stirs; what once was dead now breathes again.