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The Unveiling of Form

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Unifex stood on Molakar. He had at first thought of hovering bodiless in the atmosphere to observe, but in the end he put on flesh and stood in the mouth of a black stone cave at the edge of one of the nutrient-rich seas. He was alone here; he was always alone.

Prolepsis had kept him away from the planet before, and prolepsis brought him here now. He had chosen not to stop this: how much from fear, how much from selfishness? The Lylmik would have reached coadunation and Unity without his help, surely; they would have brought the Krondaku and other races with them. Humanity might have destroyed itself without his intervention, true, but why not? Were those lives – was his life -- worth the destruction about to happen? Playing god, he thought to himself, the old accusation, and then Lord, let this chalice pass.

As if in response, he sensed first blow from the Rebel metaconcert on the structure of the planet. A moment longer, and it was felt by the more powerful Krondaku on the planet, and then by the rest: he sensed their confusion and growing horror even as the increased heat in the planet’s core began to affect the atmosphere. The rough stone under his feet became warm: the crust would soon break apart, unveiling the formless, burning nature of the world. It was like the rending of flesh, peeling muscle back from bone – and even now he was distant enough from it to mock himself for the physicality of the simile – not the loss of a limb, something one might imagine surviving, but the loss of half a mind, the loss of half a self. The howling grief and pain of the Krondaku Mind mixed with the howl of the elements themselves, and Unifex waited, wondering a moment as he felt the flesh he had created begin to burn and refused the corner of his mind preparing the mitigator routine, whether at this moment there would be a change, whether soon some great Krondaku fleet would gather to rain down destruction on some Human world.

But no: they would not. The planet burned around him, and Unifex let the body he had created burn with it. He held the dying minds of the Krondaku in his own until he felt them pass into the Light he knew should never be his. Then, as the flesh he had made melted into the surface of the planet, he took his refuge in the darkness of space.

He had felt the deaths of 2,024,338,403 Krondaku; a lesser mind would have been destroyed as well. He had not been entirely certain that he could survive the destruction of Molakar; he was not entirely certain that he was grateful that he had. But gradually, as he waited, as he felt the echoes of that terrible grief, he became aware of something else: of horror, of rejection, of resolve. Of Unity, still greater than himself. He hung, bodiless, but within himself, he bent his head and wept.