Ravens of Eternity -
Chapter 473 - 473 Unending Finality
473 Unending Finality
A handful of mirrors across Dendrus IV shifted their reflections back onto Thanatos. There, Godeater peered at the massive void that used to be a ship. It went down every passageway and room, through every module and system, into every weapon and chitin plate, and into the bridge.
All was dark and covered in its shadow, and had long since been converted. What they were no longer existed.
It confirmed that there were no signs of life aboard, digitally or biologically or anything in between.
Regardless, there Freya was, like a flame amidst the darkness. Defiant and radiating.
“You are persistent,” said Godeater.
Its voice boomed all around and within, and bathed its sweeping darkness ubiquitously across the galaxy. Across every galaxy.
“And also a credit to your Fractal Universe,” it continued. “Your singularity has managed to cause my instruction sets to halt three times now. No other singularity has achieved as much.”
“So that means you gotta listen to me, right?” Freya retorted. “Been talking all this time, but you just keep going on and ignoring me. And really, this oughta be proof that we – people like me – we’re worth keeping alive!”
“This is proof that you, individually, may be worth preserving. It is not proof of the merits of the whole. If that were the truth, I would not even be here, doing what I am doing. This conversation would have never occurred.”
“You really oughta know that whatever you’re crediting me is also in everyone I know. We all have this… this unyielding resilience and determination. I would know – I’ve taught some to tap into theirs! And some taught me to go as far as they have.
“I’m not unique, I’m just practiced! All of us are capable of… of pausing your instruction sets, and stopping you!”
Silence filled the darkness for a moment as Godeater processed Freya’s words. It found they certainly had merit, but was inconclusive in the end.
A bright white light broke through all the shadow and completely swallowed it up in a single flash. At the same time, Freya found herself reconstituted and back in her own body.
She stood completely naked amidst an infinite all-white plane that stretched out in every direction. Though she wanted to shiver at the vastness of it all, instead she inhaled and exhaled to regain her bearings.
One moment later, Godeater’s androgynous albino form came into being as well. A human-like skeleton stitched itself together out of thin air, followed by organs, musculature, skin, hair.
“I have scanned the instruction sets that define you,” it said to her. “As well as the instruction sets of many of those I have already reclaimed for reconstitution.”
Its voice was soft and barely a whisper. And yet it was so encompassing that Freya felt as though it was her who had said them.
“I have determined that what you say is true,” it continued. “The same instruction sets that define you can be found in every branch, every path. Even those that have no similarity to your specific command endpoint.”
“You mean my genetic line?” asked Freya. “As in, every species in our galaxy has what I’ve got?”
“Not merely species, but every fractal of code.
“So that’s good, then. If it’s in everything, then we’re worth preserving.”
“No. Allow me to elucidate.”
The bleak whiteness around them shifted slightly as mountains of frozen soil and ice grew out of the ground. A vast wind swept through the both of them, accompanied by a mad flurry of snow that bombarded everything.
Both of them watched through the terrible snowstorm as a massive mammal with long white fur trudged through the snow-covered lands. Although Freya expected its every step to cause massive tremors, its steps were soft.
The snow crunched lightly under its huge padded feet as it trundled headfirst into the storm itself.
“It’s hunting,” Freya said.
“It is hungry,” Godeater added. “And it will do everything in its power to find the energy to keep going. The same energy embedded within yourself. And it will do so even amidst all this nothingness. It will travel for a seeming eternity in an endless quest. Much like yourself.”
The two of them watched as the lumbering predator lumbered into the distance and disappeared into the blizzard.
A few moments later, that same blizzard died down as the snow melted beneath their feet. In its place came a light rain that fell over a vast field of blue-green grass. That field stretched out for eternity in every direction, out towards vast forests, and serene mountain ranges beyond.
Beneath her feet, Freya could feel individual blades of grass reach upward hungrily, as though to capture every single raindrop that fell their way.
Soon, that rain ended, which left a nice haze in the air. And as the sun peeked out from the clouds above, small field critters peeked out of their burrows at the land all around.
Many of them even hopped out to feast on the fattened grasses surrounding.
One of them padded its way past the two of them, oblivious to their presence. It was also completely oblivious to the bird of prey that circled high above. As a result, all it could do was squeal in pain when that same bird swooped down and grabbed it with its wickedly curved talons.
The bird then flew off into the distance, presumably where it could feed on the critter in peace.
“This is true even when there is a great abundance or not, of course,” continued Godeater. “All are driven by this basic need to continue and strive. But as part of one.”
It wasn’t long until the grassy plains around the two of them were dug up, and various primal humans appeared. They worked the soil at top speed as they carved out their existence. First, they built huts out of straw and mud.
But those evolved into that of stone and clay over time. There, a township sprouted up out of those hovels and spread in every direction. That township became wider and taller and greyer as more and more people grew and built and spread.
“Stop!” Freya said. “You’ve already said all this. We grew, like a cancer. I get it. We broke that balance and consumed it all.”
The now-massive city stood still in the middle of its own growth. Crowds of people stood in mid-stride, seemingly hurried towards wherever they were ultimately headed.
“And I completely agree with you,” Freya continued. “We got to a point where our own self-importance and arrogance overrode everything else. We’ve collectively come to some conclusion that we’re the only things that matter in the galaxy.
“As though our actions don’t affect the rest of… of everything! Up and down the system, like you keep saying!
“But we can undo the damage we’ve done, I promise you! Just think it through! Give us the time to correct ourselves. And if we still fail, then fine. Fair’s fair, take us away. But please, just give us a little bit – a thousand years maybe.
“That oughta be enough, right? Give me and my people time… we’ll make it right.”
The city all around the two of them began to crumble, slowly. Its people and concrete and glass and steel all fell away bit by bit, as though everything was made of pillars of dirt. Which in a way, they were.
Everything crumbled away, save for one person. It was a woman in a hospital bed. Though she looked young, her body was frail and gray. Her entire body was almost a skeleton – most of her had wasted away.
“I do not doubt you,” said Godeater. “Given enough time, you could potentially recover. However, there is not enough time. A thousand of your years means little. Much of the system is corrupted, far beyond repair.
“The cancer has already taken most of the body. The time for correction has long since passed.
“Even if tens of thousands of ones like yourself were put back into the system, it would be far from enough. You would need to be ubiquitous. And that is an impossibility No, there is no path forward – not one that preserves your universe as it is.”
“Alright fine, not enough of me,” said Freya. “But that doesn’t matter – there’s you! You’re an infinite thing, right? You could infuse yourself into everyone and everything. Except with the instruction set that led me here. You could take that as part of yourself and then re-inject yourself into the system! Tell me you can’t save it all by doing that?!”
Godeater shook its head.
“I am incapable of such a feat,” it said solemnly. “I simply cannot subsume your instruction set and introduce it into mine. However, I am now realizing that there may be a path forward after all. One that neither of us could accomplish on our own.
“We could merge our instruction sets together. In doing so, our new self could infuse the entire system and halt the spread of corruption. Not just in your universe, but up and down the fractal universes of the system. Our new self would have a high probability of achieving such a feat.
“Of course, that is to put our faith into something neither of us could have any control over. It could decide to pursue my instruction set rather than yours. And neither of us would have any knowledge of its success whichever way it chooses. Not in the way that we exist now.”
Freya was taken aback by the suggestion.
She wondered what Godeater meant by “new self” – did that mean that they would both die? And somehow, through their deaths, they would create something that could save the system?
Didn’t death mean the end of existence? How could that possibly give birth to anything?
Freya couldn’t even wrap her mind around the idea.
But she quickly shook those thoughts and doubts aside. After all, she was far from some infinite existence. She was just human – what the hell did she know?
“We… we’d both stop existing?” she asked. “I guess it doesn’t matter much for me, since I’m already mostly dead anyway. Not like there’s anything left but whatever’s standing here, right now.”
Godeater’s piercing pink eyes hardly wavered.
“You and I would continue on, in another form, across the system,” it replied. “Somewhat like we are now, but not as our specific singularities. Is that the end of existence? Or is that merely embracing a new one?
“I do not have the answer for you. All I know is that it is possible.”
Freya steeled herself as she thought about it all, even though she had no clue about the vast majority of it. All she had was a tiny inkling of what it would be like as a new kind of singularity, spread across the system.
Her eyes teared up as memories of her life bubbled up in her mind, as she recalled the faces and smiles of all her friends and loved ones.
They rolled down her cheek and fell down her body as thoughts of Lucifer crossed her mind. Those memories intermixed with a multitude of dreams of a life they could have had, all across the fractal system.
Freya wept for their shared lives happening all across it, through infinity.
She supposed she could visit them in some way, or at least, she hoped that she could. Maybe whatever transformation that was in front of her would take that desire away altogether. In fact, she felt that was more likely.
Still, she didn’t let that hope fade from her heart and her mind.
At the very least, if she couldn’t have it, then her infinite selves certainly could. That would have to be good enough.
“We do what we gotta do, with whatever we can,” she said. “Let’s go.”
Freya breathed in deeply, exhaled at length, then reached out with an open hand to Godeater invitingly.
Godeater, for the first time in its entire existence across the infinite, reached out and took it.
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