Ryder turned on her vision, and saw that the pine barrens were covered in some kind of sticky residue. Waver astrally perceived, and found Xchotl. He was hundreds of feet tall, nude, standing a few miles away in the forest. The Bull jumped towards him, brandishing his axe. Xchotl grabbed the minotaur with a small tentacle, stopping him in place. Waver fried the Devil’s jewels, and Ryder opened a rift to slice his jugular. Screaming in defiance, Xchotl jumped into space. The team received a message on their commlinks moments later, some monologue about how they were insignificant pests. They called Watcher to ask for help in catching him, and he allowed them access to the Space Shuttle on one condition: if he could go up with them. He missed the adrenaline. They agreed, and they all strapped into the Shuttle a few hours later. Watcher pulled out a camera, and addressed the people of his nation as to the dire situation. He then launched the nuclear devices found in Building 7C, and the Shuttle took off. The nukes hit Xchotl a few minutes before the Shuttle caught view of him, but he was still weakened by the time he saw the runners. He slapped at the Shuttle, and everyone went spinning into space. Waver telekinetically stopped himself, Istasha righted Ryder’s body, and the Bull allowed Nyarlathotep to help. Xchotl closed his fist around Waver, only to have the mage explode in flame. Ryder ran up the Devil’s wang-chung, dragging her katana along behind her. The Bull threw a piece of the Shuttle , which Xchotl caught and threw right back. The Devil cursed Ryder, and Waver tossed a fireball in his mouth to shut him up. Cole jumped into the Devil’s eye, pulverizing his innards. Ryder warped up to his throat, slicing at the jugular and carotid. Cole noticed fire at the back of the eye socket, so he left the head. Vertically. The Bull blew the head off the Devil from the inside. Waver telekinetically pushed the body into the sun, and the group had an unassisted reentry. Ryder stepped down the atmosphere like a flight of stairs, the Bull dropped like a stone, and Waver conjure a surfboard and rode the wind.
After a celebratory dinner/orgy, Ryder made her way to bed. Waver said goodnight, and Cole departed for Georgia. Ryder woke up a few minutes later with a tightness on her chest. She felt a warm moistness on her face, and switched on her vision. Sitting on her was a skeletal dog. Istasha smacked the unholy thing into another realm, and explained that it was a Hound of Tindalos. These beasts were extradimensional killers, set upon those who were cursed. All night, Istasha helped Ryder keep the Hounds at bay. Waver woke the next day to find a tired Ryder, who explained the situation to him. Saeletra suggested a plan: the Hounds were after the body, not the mind. She could create a homunculus to transfer Ryder’s mind into, and let the Hounds take the original. Ryder agreed, and it began. Waver placed one hand on her head, one hand on the head of the homunculus. Ryder’s vision blurred, she saw a flash of purple, and collapsed.
The homunculus was empty.