Prologue 1 – X
His flight was timeless. The Verity was equipped with all manner of features to pass the time, entertain, research, educate and more. He made use of none of them.
Mostly he wept. Not so much for what he’d done but for the need of doing of it. And for the fact of his survival. He could have let himself disappear with everything else. Often he wished he had.
But he hadn’t. It was his punishment and his reward. He must live with the guilt, but more than that, he must live. It was his duty to tell the tale, help the others, and make certain it was not all in vain.
So he flew to the Fringe Cascade, the civilization left most undisturbed by the disaster. If anyone knew best how to continue in the aftermath, it would be them, even if they didn’t know why, which they likely wouldn’t. Although fundamentally unchanged, they would still believe existence had been like this. And yet, they would be clever enough to know something had happened. When he explained what it was, they could help him deal with it.
A light went on at the console. A very important light. A light that usually demanded immediate attention. Pilot X looked at the light and laughed. He had been detected and the light indicated the Fringe Cascade was still expecting him. They had scanned him and approved his approach, even though they should have no idea who he was anymore.
“We are approved for approach,” Verity said.
Pilot X merely nodded. He hadn’t spoken in parsecs.
The Verity lurched and threw him away from the console. Another series of lights went on. These did not make him laugh. These were bad. The Verity had been captured and was being pulled in. So he was expected but no longer welcome.
“Our approach is being restricted,” the Verity said. “They appear to be displeased.”
Pilot X nodded again. Either they knew nothing or somehow they knew everything.
He’d find out why soon enough.