The living scarf twisted around my neck, flowing back and forth.
My neurons tingled, misfiring.
Was it numbing the pain of being compressed into a hexagonal cocoon
that pressed tighter and tighter?
No, it was showing me what it could see and feel, what my limited
human vision could not.
The aggregate virus bore into my body, feasting on my cells, borrowing
me to expand itself, yet it did not take over completely.
I was here, no I was out there, I was a hundred trillion cells and
they were ALL suddenly under my control.
It seems that our relationship status has been upgraded from "master
controller/slave drive" to an "unlicensed symbiosis".
The Biomatrix served as my new eyes, letting me peer through my own
skin, bones, flesh and organs, through my fireproof jacket, through
the web of intertwining lights that bound us in a stasis field,
through the thick, crystalline walls of the Arbitrator's spacecraft.
My vision intensified, expanding in curves, the arm of the milky way
amplified, the stars intensely vibrant, fiery and beautiful.
I saw the serenity of the Earth below and the Aurora Borealis dancing
on the poles.
I could almost taste the Earth's atmosphere and each layer was a
different flavor, shade and color.
For a brief moment, lost in the ravishing sharpness of planetary
iridescence below, I even forgot that my world was mostly a weary,
The obsidian, spiked sphere that was the Arbitrator's vessel was
gliding silently over the Earth's exosphere, twinkling ominously.
Why? Why could I see all of this?
Did the Biomatrix want to show me how desperate my - no, our - situation was?
How there was nothing that could be done?
Did it merely want to look at the end of a world, something that it
had never seen before?
...For it had never failed to bring a civilization of organic beings
to its knees, or to defend what was necessary and judge those that
needed to be judged, until now.
Its failure was bitterly irritating, it was unacceptable, it was inexplicable.
Probability pointed out that it was the fault of the un-scannable one.
It didn't know who Zee Captain was. It had millions of guesses, but
they were all nasty or simply insane.
Perhaps I didn't even want to know these guesses. I ignored them
because most were horrible versions or visions of me.
The Biomatrix refracted its unpleasant emotions through me and they
ranged somewhere from absolute distress to angry desperation.
I saw the dark matter drop disconnect from the Arbitrator's tetra-seed carrier.
The Biomatrix highlighted its path for me to track. Thanks a lot. Now
I can see the exact moment my world implodes.
Now I can remember it forever, in perfect clarity.
The meteoric seed pierced the Earth's atmosphere and the thick cloud
cover embraced it heartily.
It reached its destination and with a bang or a million echoing
whispers. The shell of the seed containing the drop collapsed, bending
everything into itself.
The point of terminus.
The end of all things.
The singularity was free.
The event horizon wave glittered like a thousand inverted rainbows,
falling and rising, pulling in and pushing away.
I could see its hell-fire in a billion colors. Colors that I could not
name. Colors that weren't even meant for me to see.
Waves of fire spread out across the atmosphere exploding into
lightning storms, tornadoes of fire and rings of Northern Lights all
across the planet.
This was brilliantly alarming and deadly.
The terminus point drew clouds into itself, forming the waves of a new
storm that was unlike any other, that ran across the world.
It ripped apart the surface of the planet wherever its flames touched.
It evaporated mountains of ice and licked up the continental stone
plates that were directly underneath.
As the hole in space-time expanded its reach, everything was drawn
into the collapsing void.
Nothing could escape it, except for the Arbitrator's ship, which was
designed exactly for harnessing the wave to propel itself across the
I suddenly understood that the Arbitrator came here only because it
destroyed another world, not unlike ours.
This was how it could instantly move from one place to another, faster
than the speed of light.
This was the decompression that I felt, that temporarily killed me,
when the Arbitrator arrived.
This was its mission. To punish those that did not please or side with
The stasis field would carry me directly to the Universe Compendium
court, while the Arbitrator and its carrier would shift elsewhere,
forward in space-time, wherever it was necessary, to wherever a call
from the Union would summon it.
The planet grew lighter, losing mass.
Nothing could withstand the brutal pull of the void. Nothing that the
Biomatrix knew could stop it.
Why? Why would the Arbitrator do something so abhorrent?
Did it have something to do with "AI defense network" that it mentioned?
"Correct", the Biomatrix whispered. Its voices were those of my own cells.
"It was well hidden from us by the high concentration of radioactive
dust in the atmosphere.
We have never lost an avatar before. This should have served as a warning sign.
Having dominion over the organic but not over the inorganic, we have
discovered the truth far too late, and only by rewinding you.
In a desperate gamble to survive, your civilization has foolishly
birthed a cognitive Grid who's only purpose is to feed on the neural
waves of thinking beings and as such it must be halted here, before
its mechanized pestilence consumes other worlds.
Your world reeks of the Grid. It has spread deep underground and high
overhead as far as the troposphere. The Grid plans to do something
highly unpleasant to the entire planet if it has not done so already.
It must be wiped clean from the universe. Your planet is badly
infected and the Arbitrator has the necessary cure, it matters not
whether the patient dies as long as others can be saved."
The negative sphere grew quickly, it already devoured a patch bigger
than the country of England.
Everything went into slow-motion.
Was that your tampering with my perception again, or the fact that the
event horizon stops time itself?
You know what, it doesn't matter. I don't care. This is all too
horrible. This moment that lasts forever.
This simple fact: that I will be the only human left alive in the
universe and that my planet must be erased for reasons not entirely
clear to me.
The mug began to vibrate and in this vibration I started to hear a
song of metal, a song that was in exact tune with the inescapable
death that was being brought forth by the all consuming, growing
sphere of the void.
I wanted to be elsewhere.
I didn't want to see these final seconds of my world, stretched out to
I didn't want to be here. Please let me go. Please wake me up somewhere else!
Construct for me a memory from my past that's so real that it lasts a lifetime.
Take me back, away from all of this.
I know you can, even in the confines of the stasis field, even if you
are not allowed to kill me now.
You can do it.