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Aug 24, 2018

Dispatch 717.

Satellite… I mean, Grey. Sorry, just feels more natural to say 'Satellite' when I’m out here in this tin can. Nostalgia for a different life. Not quite the good old days… I’m so much happier now, with you, with the Brink But things were more certain then. Now, I look at the data that’s coming in, and I don’t know what to think.

No. That’s wrong.

Things are just as certain as ever, it’s just that now instead of just knowing what’s coming next, I’m scared, Grey. Every day, I’m scared of tomorrow. The truth is that, while I might disagree with what Crystal Palace is doing, it’s right about this system: The Twilight Mirage is boiling over.

Volition is literally bubbling right now. Even with Signet’s successful sortie against it, It’s continuing to create new Axioms at the sort of pace that only comes with absolute safety or total desperation--and with the destruction of its shield, we know it doesn’t have the former. Which leaves the question: What makes something like Volition desperate?

I wonder if it feels a rivalry to the splice, Our Profit’s perfect little virtual utopia. Volition wants a world where ideas are more important than physical reality, and Our Profit’s given it to everyone in a form they actually want. And now Tenderness is trying to put Anticipation into the mix…

Meanwhile, everyone on the ground is vibrating with angst and anxiety. A quarter of the damn Qui Err have already boarded Rapid Evening ships out of the system, and the rest are hoping beyond hope that Seneschal’s Brace is actually going to keep their word about giving up some territory.

Which is hard to do when they’re busy stealing a Divine and handing it over to a former war criminal like Declan’s Corrective. Hell, maybe our time with the Rapid Evening makes us war criminals, too. How many people did we sit and watch die with the knowledge they were in danger?

Ugh! Crystal Palace makes me so mad. I hate it, Grey. It just sits and watches and spits out a wall of predictions and people like us, people like your dad, we sit there and go “oh okay, I guess this has to happen.”

And here’s the real thing I’m scared of: That doesn’t make special. That makes us just like everybody else.

Places like the Divine Fleet--places where people learned over thousands of generations to actually care about one another? Those are blinks in the long stare of an amoral universe. They’re exceptions to a world of principled disinterest in the well being of others. A world where any alibi not to intercede is transformed from an easy excuse into a natural law.

So when you look at someone like... Grand Magnficent, all holed up in some safehouse in the snow, praying that someone will come help him?  That’s not rare. He didn’t get himself trapped. He was always trapped. We’re all trapped, Grey. You and me have the good fortune of being trapped in here together. But none of us can get out.

When we were deciding whether to stay Off Cycle or go back onto the loop, we were so focused on this limited idea of freedom. We wanted to be at the border of Crystal Palace’s range so bad, where things get just a little fuzzier, where there’s a chance that the data misses something, misses us. We knew the terrible things it successfully predicted about the worlds Off Cycle--suffering, slavery, death--and we hoped that maybe those things just didn’t happen beyond the periphery. Without data, anything could happen, right?

Wrong. There wasn’t any data, but wherever society is, there are always people. Backstabbers. Oppressors. The selfish and the scared and those who have no sympathy for either.

That’s what scares me. Not Volition or the Splice or politics or Crystal Palace or your dad and his bomb. People. It’s just… people.

This week on Twilight Mirage: Futura Free Pt. 3

I care for you still and I will forever
That was my part of the deal, honest
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), Sylvi Clare (@captaintrash), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

A transcription is available for this episode here.

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