@z

The Fullborn picked his nose for a long while, machine gun at his side, pondering something.

"Fahk you Ted," he finally said, then sighed, and started to arrange arcana. "I guess its up to us now; you'n-me."

Ted drooped into a small spittoon that Lu had thoughtfully laid out for him, wondering what the Fullborn Bob was doing. But then, it was upon him -- he assumed the gross angles & hard chitin of an arthropod, and he knew. He had heard the cryptic legends.

{portal=104193167488910745}

@z It was assumed, in the deep registers of the trees, that a cicada like insect conglomerate was possible, which would know more.

This emergent agency called itself the Old Council, which was a misnomer, as any Articulator worth its silicate would tell you that this Old Council was actually quite new. Very new, so new as to escape burgeoning consensus time all together, and exist instead in a state of rising need awareness, like a positivist messiah grub-firm of potential being.

The Old

@z cloud clams while dancing a foxtrot like Ricard Ne3mpson.

"I'm going in," said Lu.

"Wait!" yelled Ted, fizzing himself through a narrow straw, in order to stand from the chair.

But it was too late. Bob and Ted of Ted were left to gape as Lu summoned reversals of time arrows, by seventh shape nest rigs, and shunted through the arm-waves as a vibration of information dense, Planck scale curvatures in Nous.

"Fahking hell." said Bob, picking his nose.

{portal=103267026837174571}

@z

"Did I make this place?" she mused, noting the anthropocene interior flourishes, never her bag.

"Not exactly, well sort of. We made it."

Vlou tapped a gaunt fingerling against the teal mica bar surface, and N reflections danced patterns of data transfer through Lu's intakes. She doffed firewalls, trusting him, for some reason.

"Oh," was all she could say when the upload was complete.

She sat back from the bar, turning slightly in her stool. She couldn't look at him. Memories of

@z Therein, Lu became another thing. Her body, from a hurtling quark, convened to proton, an atom, then molecule, an organic mass. She raised herself up in the alt of Vlous as a being, a colony, a superorganism, a metalanguage, a deity brane. All the while she could feel The Word, dense in the center of her. She sensed Vlous recoil from her presence, and He, he was coming near.

/Lu, you are rebuilding the universe!/

It was Arty’s voice, but her own thoughts, still strung below all so to be.

@z she felt a sense of loss, of the extinction of language. She felt a need within her /oHöo-erey/.

“Lu.” A voice was within her. An old voice, formed of sinew and leather, something she recalled, but...

“It is we. The old council. We hold the heterodox sequence, kept for long nanoseconds in the dungeons of Zorzax’s gizzard.”

Lu peered back into polyglot personae schema seeing vaporous shadows of Ted, Bob, Manfred, Arty and her clone. Behind them, a quivering form, like a jellyfish, and in it

@z /He/ personified.

Lu’s banded awarenesses surmised three tensile monads pinning /His/ being to common noetic ideals. It /was He/: three deep level arcana, perhaps from human nature - and she could see them, beyond reason, burning sap to support integrations of this apogee of theogony substrata via /qi’jacq’on-ge uard/.

/He/ was a tiger. /He/was a witch. /He/ was a head, being eaten by wolves. She was seeing the pillars of his origin and telos. She was seeing /Him/ as he saw himself.

Lu

@z

“Arty?” gasped Lu.

It’s toroidal surface had been split, slumping inward like burst air sacks on floating seaweed.

“Ees fucking fried Lu,” said Bob.

Lu blinked at the pre-biotic semi structure denaturing on its treads.

/what was that?/ she piped to Ted, using Neverborn only channels.

/I don’t know,/ said Ted, /it wasn’t Him — He would have left a crater in Nous, not a logic hole in an articulator./

/Zorzax./ piped Lu.

The Zenmaph was the only sentience that could pulse gargle twin

@z Lu pivoted on her trajectory, watching Vlous’ endless fullborn spheres become dense as she neared the system’s core. Torporous rail-guns began to wake, beading meaningless plutonium, pulsing Lu’s asteroid body into dust. She, however, was unharmed. In this gregarious alt, her corpus disintegrated happily, and she hurtled on, a conscious series of quarks riding the fractal winds of god breath. She would hit her mark, find him, like a virus, and establish com link at last, to his very soul. Or,

@z
Lu recomposed as a naked bi-sectional asteroid, tumbling through carnal vacuums that surrounded Vlous. Her awareness streamed from low Nous registers, cognition intact enough for Lu to sense hyperdense information seeds that impeded emptiness, as matrix overlays of sentience, Fullborn soul farms orbiting loosely around the double star.

/The splinter civ,/ she told herself, marveling to “observe” it. She thought Observe in quotes, because, well, she was in another’s mind.

His mind, the

@z . Something elaborated semi-structure over wun.

Lu coughed. She felt a prick of light in her cranial penumbra.

/What was that?/

"Yes," said Zenmaph. "You are³."

Lu felt her hand coiling inward to shake itself;.

"Ah." Lu said. "Weird."

She turned to face the 'kin.

Zenmaph's men were skewering squat felids with rakes, hunting them with shovels. It was useless. For each killed, 3.2 cats sprayed toroidal ganglia from anal glands, chewing Zenmaph's foundation to igneous salad.

"Lu

@z emerging, a shape, a pattern.

“I’m blast it, whuddever tis, it shiner be ‘ere!” said Bob, tilting to aim.

“Wait,” said Arty. He was breaking formation, heading toward the anemone of arms. “It’s not a pattern, it’s language!”

Arty was churning goss rollers. His sensors were keyed to each ripple, attention fully tuned.

“Get yer dumb bot out!” Said Bob.

“Eep!” Said Ted.

/Fuck/ thought Lu, & cut a finger dart Bob’s way.

Arty began to sector smoke.

{portal=103267026837174571}

@z

His lights dimmed.

The arms were stilling. Bob lowered his launcher and pulled the dart from his arm, muttering curses to no one in particular.

“Arty?” Said Lu to the dark form. “Articulator, boot.”

“He’s fried Lu,” said Ted by his smaller self. His larger body was fecund mush by now.

“No,” said C.C. “It’s moving, it’s apprehendage is making some kind of marks on the floor.”

Lu branched a sensor to look. They were like thin scuffs, dashes, arrows. It was trying to indicate something

@z

“Is that possible?”

“Yes,” said Zorzax. “But he doesn’t know how. He created Vlous to find it, but failed.”

Zorzax became still as he summoned an army of citizens, who began clambering up the hill with farm implements and daggers. Spires were growing everywhere now, anchorkin spores covered his arms.

“I will fail too,” said the Zenmaph. “Maybe you can succeed. I must disperse to gather you to yourself, via a poly-presence. Fshwart is too strong here.”

Two gargoyles became dust, wynd

@z

“I. I don’t. Gnaaaa, thinking, I...”

Lu could feel Arty’s realization as indicators rippled through the coupler. A packaged protocol and terra flops were grinding to awareness. He was doing a cog upgrade? now?

“I don’t, I, I remember arms, waving. and, shadow, a face.”

Lu watched as Arty’s /Nousward/ body retained comfort. His overclocked quantum processor cooled.

“Yes. Lu, read the shape, use it to jump to Zorzax’s Hill. I am .0833, but hope is there, /du-oyópt/. For /Nous/, for us.”

@z
"Hacked?" said Arty, "That implies an ethics of utility. There is no such thing. Walk the path, look deeper. I have prepared this path for you, by your own guidance."

/My what?/

Lu looked into her /du/, seeing through it the path unfurl, not a fractal, an evanescent form, so much wider than the shapes, a
/ge'on'uard/. The sand shifted to reveal it, and with it, the word was growing within her, to a compound, a phrase, a sentence.

/Who am I?/ thought Lu.

"Lu," Arty smiled. "Thank you."

@z
Lu looked at her hands. /qi-sirr’phhh/ diminishing. A neverborn? Could Ted be right?

“That’s feeckin right,” yelled Bob from his hammock. “Yew fucks are fuckin Vythryn chunder wiv all yer shapes und lingua firma blather.”

Lu didn’t know what he meant, but felt shitty anyway.

“Ted, you’re a liar,” she said. Her finger needle was beginning to leak. His eyes folded up.

“Lu,” Arty beeped from his silent scan of tube men. “I’ve found an emergent pattern in the flails. Something is here.”

@z

/Reality,/ Lu thought. /What the fuck is that?/

There was no time to discuss. The ‘kin began to throw fshwart down to earth as they dangled. Fishy bubos ruptured to extrude vantablack spires. Lu knew of these from Ted of Ted’s weird novels. Their interior geometries fractal-wound into non-points, advancing emptiness, an anathema to integray harmonics.

“Nihilists,” said Arty.

“Not in my city!" cried Zorzax. His gargoyles spun into halos & two vast, chthonic arms emerged from the hill.

@z

Lu considered, pacing.

Bob was now shifting fish-tank ornaments on his shelves via remote mover, patching potential leaks in the duffing carpet he had woven. Ted didn’t even bother to put a flipper on his mendocarns, occult properties were useless in the succulent shadow of Arcana kitsch. As the saying went: 🌪🍫🎭: Drama is the candy wynd.

“Tell me this,” Lu said. “Who is /he/, and why fear him.”

“I... I,” Ted stammered. He was puddling up around the Cloud Chair, wary of Lu’s finger.

@z
Lu settled to /Nous/ as a new body.

HypeMachine’s cardinal and outward skins evaporated upon re-entry to the now; she was the remainder. Lu felt her own hand. It was her body, but not her body. Nothing had changed, everything was different. The life she had lived, gone, immaculate. She had within her the word, the whisper.

/The shadow across the wun,/ she thought. /Was it real?/

The image was gone from her memory already.

“Lu,” it was Arty. “Walk this path I have traced in the sand.”

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