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Splice in. There's a brief instant of sheer coldness that flows over my mind. An icy wash, clearing everything before it. All goes dark, but only for that barest moment, and then...

Upstate.

Another sharp tingling chill. But this time, it brings the new world with it. No blackness. Ultrasharp perception, made possible by an act of a higher order.

I flick my eyelids apart. First sensations are merely a soft blue-green field. But in moments all clarity is present. A sight beyond anything ever known before. A moment's focus lends me deep-field recognition at what must be twenty kilometers. The power is almost shocking. Almost.

For vision isn't all that's become faster, stronger, better. Even as I may recoil, the world dims not at all. It's quite a strange feeling. Like a dream. Yes. Dream.

It's a dream that I control. Because I am the dreamer and the dreamed. Ripples of sounds never known to mortal ears cascade in. And then more. My sensory scope seems limitless. I'm up at twenty billion megahertz, listening to a music of my own spheres when I realize...

Pressure. Pressure is new. The viewpoint is back and the power is greater. There seems no strong pattern of this chaos. Shifting. Whirling. Oscillating. The moment lost is the release. It drifts apart like sand in water.

But I hold on. Shaping. Evolving. Tiny grains coagulating into any form. Hand then. Foot now. Nose ahead. I craft in the moment. Sands shift. Spheres ring. Sights glow. It takes shape.

But here shape is more. The walls are knocked back. Everything is higher. Bolder. Greater. At first I stay in the old three. But the seconds stretch to eons here. The craft is monumental. But a monument to ants.

A sight unseeing. The world in me. I know. It comes.

Quick as nothing I've ever been. The drifting tides are stilled. No more swaying. No free fall. One thought, and I'm beyond them all. I shiver. And then I know. These speeds are beyond. A world out there can not. Will not. Ought not. Is not.

Time to fade. It's been too long. Too dangerous. I must be stronger. Be safer. Be more. Time to go.

Easy flicker. The cold is back. Icy. Stinging as it rips me apart. The loss is gone in the great instant. It cannot come with me. Too much. Too strange. Too new.


"Mr. Mandall, is something wrong."

"Should I be telling you 'yes'?"

"It's been thirteen seconds."

"No. Everything is all right. I want this equipment moved to my personal lab."

"Sir?"

"Just move it. That will be all that is necessary."


Sudden icy chills. Welcome back.

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