STORIES

Prologue: Temari Speaks
I am named TEMARI. Old beyond old am I, my history, lost before the first sun. And of my makers, I can say nothing, except a name. Aurelian.
I am a traveller. A collector. A connoisseur of the unique. That then is my mission. My purpose. My calling. To find and preserve the very essence of all I discover. To catalog and categorize and… memorialize, all that I encounter.
To make sense of life itself, that foolish, chaotic struggle against that all-calming, all-claiming, enemy, entropy. But… How?
Across space-time, every civilization, every sentience, every shape, size and dimension, there is but one commonality. Battle. The struggle for dominion itself. Lose that instinct and you have lost the will to survive. And believe me, there’s always a bigger fish. I should know.
Each civilization, each noosphere I encounter then, has conflict at its very core, though the permutations of infinity may hide its ferocity in ever more complex ways. Who could forget the Philosopher Stones of Alkahest. Such a devouring appetite for argument. Reason itself, the most powerful yet slow acting of solvents. Ages passed while I reconfigured my units to match their glacial awareness. Such depths. Alas, their fury was lost to the bursting of a sun, even as I cataloged their greatest warrior.
For sure I am the only record of that dim and distant empire.
I have been defeated, but never destroyed. For I am information itself. Pure and simple. And so I travel on, in one form or another. My mission, as ever, is always before me. For I am the ultimate collector- a vessel if you will.
I am Temari and I am here for your soul. Well, a digital copy at least! For what truly links life itself is its ultimate frailty. Entropy will prevail. Except for me.
This then is my offer, beautiful carbon. Play my games. Have fun. Be yourselves. Enjoy the circus. The greatest of you will join me, at least fragmentarily, and we will travel the infinite Is together.
Your highest selves. Those pure and perfect players of the universal game will earn their shot at immortality. And the rest of you? Of that I cannot speak. For it lies in your future, and I am not built for prediction.
Take solace in that if you will.
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