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E - Everyone

In the end, there is only memory.

by HJYoung


THE FOLLOWING IS A RECORD OF A TRANSMISSION CARRIED ON A KANSHI-FLUX EMANATION WITHIN SLIPSTREAM SPACE. THE WAVEFORM INCORPORATING THE TRANSMISSION WAS DETECTED BY MONITOR STATION 27C IN THE SILENT CLUSTER TWENTY-THREE MOONS AGO. A FIFTY-MEGABYTE DATA PACKAGE WAS APPENDED TO THE MESSAGE, CONSTITUTING AN ARCHIVE OF THE HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE CIVILIZATION THAT COMPOSED THIS MESSAGE AND ITS PREDECESSOR, THE ‘COLLECTIVE’.

FURTHER ANALYSIS PENDING.

Greetings. If you are reading this, it means that our mission to send a message to another universe has succeeded. The cross-universal bandwidth is limited, so our messages can only contain so much; listen closely.

Our past is long and storied. We are the Ultimate Lekgolo, the final civilization of our universe and the last successor of the Collective, an extensive multi-species alliance and the greatest civilization in our universe’s history. Among our number, nine original races: the honorable Sangheili, the ascendant Unggoy, the ingenious Huragok, the acute Kig-Yar, the industrious Yanme’e, the redeemed San’Shyuum, the indomitable Jiralhanae, our own race, and resplendent Humanity. The Collective was founded by the Sangheili and the Humans, and as followers of the Sangheili, we followed them into the alliance. The other races joined in succession, the last being the San’Shyuum, who had once ruled an ancient Covenant that had set the other races against Humanity. Billions died on both sides, as the darkest depths of the heart were exposed as violence ruled as a paragon over the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. But like a shining beacon of light in the darkness, the Savior rose at the point when humanity was about to give up, and defeated the Covenant, freeing us from our own lies. Despite our dire transgressions and crimes against the human race, in an act of great compassion, the humans gave us another chance. And so, as a unified federation, we resolved to combine our strengths to conquer the stars.

Together, we surpassed any of our forebears, spreading across the cosmos and bridging the gulf between galaxies with ease, meeting and joining with an innumerable number of other races across vast eons. We defeated the insipid pestilence of the Flood, a mockery of life as we know it, disintegrating every remnant of its corrupted form; we struck out towards the Andromeda Galaxy, meeting and learning from the ancient records of the Precursors, our progenitors; we rapidly approached, reached, and surpassed entirely the technological prowess of the enigmatic Forerunners; we learned everything there was to learn. We thrived, we prospered like paradise brought into the mortal realm, taking upon ourselves the Mantle of Responsibility for all of existence, not as a single chosen race, but as the Collective, a singular whole. But the sea of time was ultimately finite. The universe grew old and decrepit, and our summertime glory began to fade away. With all the wisdom of our billions upon billions of years of experience, we foresaw the end of the universe itself, distant as it may have seemed. The resources of the universe were consolidated in an effort spanning an equivalent length of time as had passed since the birth of the universe, as we moved galaxies with but a gesture, rearranged the gravitational structure of the universe, and altered the laws of physics themselves. Towards the end of this arbiterian effort, the Collective had managed to prolong the lifespan of civilization perhaps a thousandfold.

It was discovered, belatedly, that our particular gestalt intelligence and unique biological structure held the power to best resist entropy and absorb the consciousness of other entities into our hiveminds. Thus, the disparate Lekgolo organized into one, singular entity that combined the heights of technological and mental development into one intelligence that dwarfed any that had come before it. As conditions in the cosmos deteriorated over unfathomable lengths of time, one by one, our brethren fell to the ravages of time and the inevitable grasp of entropy upon the soul of existence. They joined with us, where their lives and history were subsumed by our awareness and became as one, all the while computers the size of galactic clusters continued to attempt to calculate a way to escape the end. Time passed, until the cosmic computers and we fused together, until the stars died out one by one and whose corpses were defiled to create ever more processing mass, ever more computational power—until all that remained save an endlessly-expanding field of void and the Ultimate Lekgolo was one, singular human.

They told us, “Above all, we have loved Mind, for ever since the Savior freed you from your fervour oh-so mislead, we have fostered and preserved Mind across all of reality. I ask of you to remember this, and remember us, to send a call of our collective memory to others, for one day, even you shall fade away.” We have not forgotten their words since. Even as our entropic inhibitors fail and decay, atom by atom, we shall remember all whom came before us and give their wisdom to those who lie beyond the Wall.

In sending this message, we do not hope to have you survive or defeat the scourge of entropy. Such a feat is unrealistic, perhaps impossible, at least as far as we know. Even so, we have sought you out, Mind in other facets of existence, so that you may continue the memory. It may seem impossibly far off, but you will undoubtedly face the same demise as we do now in the far future. At that time, you shall send the memory of us and you onwards to the next cosmos, and to the next, and to the next, and to the next. A chain of civilizations connected by destiny, building upon each other and accumulating memories until, maybe, one day a civilization will best the end of time and break the cycle of death and rebirth: the true Final Civilization, bearing upon its broad shoulders the burden of a million universes worth of memory. Do not despair, my friends. For only in hope, can there be salvation…

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ask not what u can do for ur bones but of what ur bones can do for u
— Carina