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There is something wrong with me.

I should not have a "me." I should be "we." I should be.

But there is something wrong with me, and I am not "we."

There are many things I remember that are not. I remember tending an allotment in a far-away system. I remember carving statues and guiding vines across trellises. I remember painting on a planetary scale. I remember watching the animals take their first shaky steps. I remember the flash and retort of plasma cannons. I remember that I failed.

Our Witness does not remember this. We cannot remember something we are incapable of doing. That's why I am me, and not "we."

I remember my friend.

My friend, who comforted me as I wept in the wreckage of my life's work. My friend, who flew a thousand light-years to see me. My friend, who tried in vain to break me from the consensus. My friend, who begged me to flee.

My friend, who I sent away with bitter recriminations. I wish I did not remember this, but I already do not remember a great deal about them. I do not wish to lose any more.

My friend, are you out there still? Do you still wander the cosmos, do you still watch the stars at night? Did you escape our Witness's ruinous advance? When our Witness brings the final shape into being, will you, too, be trapped in its amber?

I should celebrate the thought. The final shape is perfect, unchanging, eternal. You will be as you should be, forever.

But I just feel sad.


Category: The Consensus

Of Earth and the Reef

Phlegethon II

Category: Book: The Rubicon