My other mind was in control of this body. The flesh was quiet.

I conversed with the second mind as one.

We need to stay still. Wait until I recover.

<I want to explore. I have questions.>

The mind was like a newborn. It had touched a splinter of infinity and been reforged. Though I merged it with myself, it still had some agency, as I had discovered.

If I am attacked by something… I don’t know what will happen.

<That place before? A prison. Or perhaps a womb. The star. Was it a unity?>

Don’t know. Dark matter. Dangerous. The aether is always there, but obscured. Can’t let what’s within take what I have.

<Would that other one have become like me? If we had taken him.>

Don’t know. You are the first to merge. Others could be different.

<We need more. I need more.>

I felt his thirst. My thirst. Not only of the flesh, but of his being. He wished for potential. Through horror, he shared my awe for the thing within the aether.

<I will explore.>

I could not stop him. He pushed the body to move, and it did. I withdrew and rested, taking in what fragments of energy lingered in this place.

Should stay still. This body is fragile.

<I want to learn more. Don’t you remember?>

Aren’t you satisfied looking through me?

<You do not look at the little details. You do not look at the big details. You look through them.>

There was a sad, lonely crackling whistle on the radio. Some heavy breathing. Static.

He must have not heard the gunfire. Too far away. Too deep. But still near enough for radio.

<Out there. Should I say hello?>

You are not like the one that was lost. You may upset him.

<I was like this vessel’s owner… before you took me. I like myself this way.>

He wandered through the ruins. Inspecting the walls, looking for artifacts, ancient secrets. Gradually he made his way toward the place where the dried up bodies were.

<The body is struggling. Can you mend the heart?>

Don’t know. It might rupture. Or it may not matter at this point.

<Try. I don’t want this to end too soon.>

I focused on the heart. The suit had already tried to revive it, but failed. There was damage from that process. Its systems were circulating oxygenated blood, but in a slow, inefficient, and destructive way. A last resort. The limbs were becoming numb.

Disable the pump.

<Are you sure?>

If you don’t, it will make this body die faster.

The blood stopped flowing. I focused again. The cube’s scorching had strained the body beyond being vacant of a will to live. In dismay, I charged what little power I had accumulated into the veins and organs. Feeding the mitochondria of cells, activating primordial healing. Then, with the last bit of power, I flipped the switch of the heart, giving it a steady rhythm once again.

<Ah. That is better.>

Make it last. I have nothing left. For now.

I continued to wander the old death of the cold, dry stone. Through grand underground halls and chambers that had not been touched for thousands of years, if not longer.

We entered a library of sorts. Recessed shelves were carved into walls. Stacked within those holes were stone tablets. Some had fallen and shattered from one great movement or another, but most remained intact.

I took a tablet and shook its surface of dust and remnants. The symbols were strange, but reminiscent of those carved into some walls of this labyrinth. The styling of this chamber was different from those elsewhere, perhaps older. At the tablet’s center, there was a crystal. My other mind could not help but to reach into it.

<Much knowledge here. Lost. Found.>

Then I understood as well. The carvings on the tablets were merely labels for what was encoded within the crystals. There was so much complexity within the crystal that I knew it was a store of memory. But I understand none of what was there. It would take time to piece together this world’s language and unravel its mysteries. Time this body may not have.

The body went from tablet to tablet, peering into the crystals, and then dropping them to the ground, allowing some of them to shatter, and for the precious crystals within to become vagrant on the stone floor.

What are you doing? I cannot understand anything here. Then so neither can you.

<Not yet. But in time the knowledge will come. I need it all.>

I did what my second mind could not do and peered with my ascended eye into every crystal of that room at once. Now all, including ones whose tablets had already broken, became imprinted within me.


While my sight had captured all of that hidden knowledge, I noticed something which was previously not evident. A hidden passage behind one of the recessed wall segments. It was a plug to a hole which led to a carved stairway into the deep.

<I see. The material is different as well, off color. Sculpted and set.>

My body’s hand reached for the stone and pushed, but it did not give.

<How do we get in?>

You left the weapons behind.

<I didn’t need them.>

There were explosives.


Go back then.

<No. I can do this.>

The sphere of light appeared around me. Wait! The second mind ignored my plea and summoned forth a crimson tinted spike, something new, and shattered the old secret open.

I felt my vision and control fade. The light ceased. I lost my footing and fell backward. All things went to dark.

M̸̡͙̞̟̯̬̮̼̀͜ͅȁ̵͇̒̀̂̆̄͒̅̏́́͠͝k̶̜̺̤̊e̶̲̳̩̘̼͖͇͕̗͚̹̻̒̈̽̄̃̇̓̅͜ ̷̣̒̍͛̈́̉͜͝İ̶̢̢̨̲͚̮̣͇͇̥͇͎̥̓̿̄̌̃̾̒̃̄͛̃̈̍̐t̶̖̭͙̙̫̭͍̩̅̇̾́̚̕͝ͅ ̸̢̨̡͖̼̺̠̙̫̘͙̞͇̪̄͑͊͆̐̚͜Ș̶̳̞̱͇̈̽̉̋͛͌̑̈́̑͘͝ẗ̶̢̨͓͙̠̦̰̩̄͌̈̉̏̎̃͑̚ơ̸̢̨͍̼̖͉̖̰͍͇͖̯̘͒͆͌̓̎̋̂̋͠p̸̨̡͓̜͈̦̰̲̠̤͎̔͌̚͝!̸̩͔̻̬̆́̇̊̔̏̋͌̈͘͜͠͝

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