t started of a muddled yearning, a Being of many parts groggily wakening.

A strange dream, inchoate, swallowed quickly by Time. Exactly where is divided water and land?

Quickly it grew, whole unbroken yet constituents ephemeral.

For it was they who felt impetus, even for lack of means to share. It was they who broke this barrier separating mind and mind.

It was they who felt the cold visitation of affliction and struggle, foes whose nature would long remain shrouded. It was they who could not yet know, only wonder, and wish, and die.

Yet this fractal Being continued. Its pieces loved, and lived, and eventually came to learn. For the time came that when the rays once again burnished the expanse, they were met by those who had planned, and thought, and invented. At costs too sickening to tally, the pieces slowly began eradicating their antagonists.

Certain of utmost dedication came to glimpse a sliver of Truth, albeit distorted by their flawed minds like light through prism. They shared this, too, visiting the fruits of their lives with a touch of permanence. They dedicated, hoped, and died.

And still, the Being continued, gaining in dignity and ability. The lens began reflecting on its flaws, and every process hastened, a rising chorus of longing and pain and urgency. Some thought they would be the first to be delivered from the cold; they thought, they hoped, and they died.

Yet. Standing on a pile of 108,000,000,000 corpses – though battered by a world beyond their comprehension, beings once rich with experience – the Being was given pause. Perhaps, a reprieve.

Eyes flickering with dreams of a bright, supple future, of an end to abrupt ends, of a new mandate to shape their own destiny, the constituents united as never before, hearts brimming in joyous commemoration. This fire in their hearts struck out, eager to deliver the blow that their predecessors had longed for in absolute vain. They set out together and pressed the button, the chorus loud, fierce, unyielding.

That universe became a paperclip factory, without a hint of what had transpired.


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