THE NARRATOR – Thousands of years of civilization, hundreds of years of exploration, lifetimes spent searching. Only for all of it to boil down to this.
YOU – What do you mean?
THE NARRATOR – One massive anticlimax.
CHIAROSCURO – You’ve searched every corner bright and dark, but not everything’s meant to be found. Life’s full of disappointments; surely, you would have learned that lesson by now.
MIDNIGHT SUN – The light that once flared now flickers and fades…
CREPUSCULARITY – It is a slow but steady march towards an inexorable fate: one day, this world will cease.
LOGIC – Oh, quit the dramatics. More likely, this exaggerated fate is simply the product of an overactive and anxious imagination. It is a miracle that you still function.
YOU – What? Why?
APHELION – Perhaps it is better that you have forgotten.
YOU – You reach deep into memory, but only recall fleeting impressions: fire unfurling around you. A flash of tooth and scale, a gleaming portent. Liquid glass, slowing to a trickle, its shimmering kaleidoscope of eye-watering color searing your retinas. Dizzying.
MIDNIGHT SUN – Painful.
YOU – What really happened?
DIRECTIVE – It would be easier to ask what *didn’t* happen: everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Everything failed.
DIRECTIVE – *You* failed.
RHETORIC – Let’s be reasonable, here. It was a cascade of failures, an error so large no one being could be solely responsible, even if you had played a part in it.
META-ANALYSIS – Industrial sabotage, development oversights, exceeding safety margins — even strange quantum phenomena — the list goes on.
DIRECTIVE – Does it even matter? Here in the dark and bitter cold, it won’t change a thing.
RHETORIC – No. It won’t.
YOU – But does that matter?
APHELION – No. It won’t.
ENDURANCE – You’ll keep going.
CREPUSCULARITY – You’re foolish to subject yourself to this any further.
YOU – Well, you know what they say about humans and irrationality.
APHELION – Yes. You’ll keep going, even if it means clawing your way back blinded and deafened and numbed, again and again and again.
EMPATHY – Maybe none of it matters. But it meant something to you. *Means* something. And that is enough reason.
APHELION – It will have to be.