Delian’s luxury train carriage flies towards the Sierra Blanca mountains, lifted and controlled by Glend’s burgeoning psychic strength and the amplifying Galvanizer. Glend’s gifts also allow him to sense that the Super-Chief is in the mountains, and to aim the train in that direction – and into the heart of a growing storm. Elsewhere on the train, Emmett tinkers with the Box, and Cruz and Fancy reveal their secret parentages to each other. Fancy is adamant that whatever’s in the Cave must be brought back to the Temple of Solomon, and that Caligari must be stopped by any means necessary.
Suddenly the train is hit by lightning, created by the Super-Chief’s powers, which sends shockwaves through the Box’s crystals and destroys the Galvanizer; it’s all Glend can do to telekinetically slow their fall as the train crashes into the mountains!
Far behind, Elijah and Tala ride hard to try to catch up with the train, but it’s no use. Instead, Tala says she can open a secret portal to the mountains, the Burning Path, but that to walk it is to walk outside this world, and if you become lost then you will never have existed. She tells Elijah to focus on something that he knows well, something that has history, and the Path will take him to it – he chooses the Box, which he originally knew as the Ark of the Covenant. When he enters the Path, he sees the whole history of the Box – found by King Solomon, filled with magical crystals by Charlemagne, protected by the Knights Templar and stolen by first Samuel Colt and then by Delian Sisula – and in the process realises that he was wrong about Fancy killing Colt. Following the trail of history and revelation, he moves through a timeless void and emerges at the crashed train, finding only the unconscious Emmett and Glend (who he hog-ties); Tala is nowhere to be seen.
Cruz comes to in the mud near the train where he was thrown; there’s no sign of Fancy, but standing over him is Caligari, who tells him they have the chance to undo what’s broken with the world.
When Emmett wakes, he and Elijah discuss taking the Ark into the Cave, but it’s too heavy to carry – only Glend, with his awakened telekinetic power, can lift it. Elijah kicks Glend awake and intimidates him into doing so, while Emmett and Ares pick up the Super-Chief’s scent and lead the way towards the Cave.
Cruz and Caligari catch up to the Super-Chief, who easily defeats three Miagani warriors guarding the Cave entrance. Cruz and Caligari discuss what must be done to ‘set things right’ – Cruz protests the notion that it’s all right to kill to help people, but Caligari reminds him what he did to Grundy, and Cruz, chastened, follows him inside.
The Super-Chief leads Caligari and Cruz past traps and guardians to the heart of the Cave, where crystals float around a central column made of bits of clockwork and detritus; the crystals seem to reflect moments of the past, including Cruz’s own. Caligari says that this thing is what’s wrong with the world, and has been here for a very long time. He’s spent his life learning the secret history of humanity, but this device is a ‘canker sore’ that has affected that history, bringing magic and the supernatural into existence. The Miagani who use the crystals can affect time in minor ways, granting themselves second chances, but Caligari says Cruz has a greater power – the unique ability to be in the right place at the wrong time. He dismisses the Temple of Solomon as useless, but knows of their prophecy – that the Prometheus of Clocks will battle the Hand of Fate for the End of Days. Well, The Prometheus isn’t here and he thinks Cruz is the Hand of Fate who can undo the crystals’ power, destroying its well of dead time and erasing it from history. Cruz focuses on the crystals, and the ones showing moments he’d rather forget start to shatter. Caligari tells him he can fix the world the same way by focusing on the central column.
Just as he crosses the cave to do so, Elijah, Glend and Emmett arrive through another entrance, and a shot rings out – Fancy, hiding above on a ledge, has fired. Emmett freezes time and tries to disarm Fancy, restart his timeship and determine if the drive unit is safe – for that’s what this truly is. He briefly regains full knowledge of his own past, but the moment slips away and he is only able to dodge Fancy’s shots. Glend telekinetically throws the Box (the drive unit) into its housing in the central column, collecting and smashing Elijah on the way. Meanwhile Cruz challenges Emmett, telling him he has to fix what’s wrong with the world, and Emmett agrees – just as the drive unit slams home, trapping Elijah inside the core.
The machine activates, and time begins to unravel – but its history becomes clear. In the far future, Emmett discovered a way to crystalise time and used it to build a craft from time itself. On a journey, the craft crashed in the hills near Tribulation, strewing crystallised time debris backwards and forwards through thousands of years and causing temporal and psychic phenomena. Now, causality and history is threatened – the prophesied battle between the Prometheus and the Hand.
Elijah, trapped in the core, uses his temporary communion with the timestream to undo Caligari’s existence – shooting him dead when he was just a baby. Cruz sees the gap in history and senses it’s time to answer the call of a higher duty – he steps inside that gap and takes Caligari’s place, knitting together a new timeline in which he grows up in the Carnivale and becomes its leader, making the right decisions. Glend wants to go further, to use his psychic powers to interact with the ship and remove the time crystals altogether, but he’s unable to undo the time crash – all he can do is change the consequences of it, compressing the crash into a single moment, so that the debris never spreads out to create supernatural phenomena.
All of history changes.
On a sunny New Mexico day, the cheerful Carnivale arrives in Tribulation, a town that has never been of any significance. The Carnivale is led by Cruz and his oddly cold partner, Fancy. Glend Hooks, the local bank manager, has led an uneventful if lonely life. There’s no Temple of Solomon, and the Templars (Elijah included) died out long ago. And Emmett, recovering quickly from the crash, resets the coordinates and takes off on further adventures, glad to have avoided a catastrophic disaster on his maiden voyage.