"Per the Directive of the Formative Cycle, ǮȝǂϕϠҨ҉ is sentenced to low-level dimensional observation until the Overseer determines ǮȝǂϕϠҨ҉ to be properly disciplined."

I expected no less.

"As defined by said Directive, the last Dimension initialized by ǮȝǂϕϠҨ҉ shall be the subject of such observation."

Yet part of me expected more.

"ǮȝǂϕϠҨ҉, have you any inquiries?"

"Sir… Will I have access to my Terminal?"

"In a limited capacity. Time manipulation, spatial displacement and matrix scanners will still be provided. We are not savages, ǮȝǂϕϠҨ҉."

The energy restrains around me lessened in intensity, signaling that the Gathering had begun to dissipate.

"Your sentence begins immediately."

Without warning, I felt my own consciousness dissolved, and everything ceased to be.

In what seemed like an instant, I suddenly awoke to find myself positioned above a rocky planet. Swirls of white, fluffy collections of water vapor obscured the mottled blue-and-green of the surface below, gently warmed by the mild heat of the system's young star.

Was this the Origin Planet I had created on accident?

I collected myself, noting that I did still have rudimentary manipulation systems. I began to probe the planet below, searching for the evidence of life I knew would be found.

Primordial grunts, growls and squeals flitted across my perception, nothing more than basic functions operating on pure instinct. Hunt. Eat. Reproduce.


I sped time faster and faster. The planet made tens, hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of revolutions around the planet's single star. Without the grainy interpretation of my Terminal's poor simulation, I reveled in the ability to experience such a grandiose view.

At nearly a thousand revolutions per nanocycle, I could feel the genetic manipulation programmed into the dimension's biology matrix exerting its pressure. The crude forms of biological life suddenly began becoming more refined, more… civilized. I could feel the battles below becoming more complex, as the producers and consumers began to think with rational thought.

They call this a disciplinary sentence? This is much different than observation, or simulation. This is… A beautiful, indescribable experience. As if the planet itself became a part of me.

I stopped the acceleration when I felt the Horizon Devices appear out of the Production fabric. Hundreds of black monoliths, each acting as a conduit, encircled the planet with a ring of energy millions of times more powerful than what should have happened.

I accelerated time again, feeling the thousands of individual species suddenly burst into the natal stages of civilization. Faster and faster, as the societies below learned how to manipulate their environment. Agriculture. Multispecies integration. Cities. Infrastructure. It all happened incredibly fast, faster than even the most advanced species developed by the other Creators.

Empires rose. Empires were torn down, and rebuilt from the ashes. Metals were smelted, tools created, machines. The battle for survival became one of control, one-on-one skirmishes developing into massive organized campaigns that left thousands of creatures dead. They harnessed the power of vaporized liquid and the internal motion of electrons that they couldn't possibly hope to properly understand.

Faster, faster, faster!

And then, I stopped. Time returned to the default speed.

What had I actually created?

I narrowed my focus down closer and closer, picking out individuals among the masses. Closer and closer. One hemisphere. One continent. One corner of that continent.

The terrain was formed of calm, soft rolling hills interspersed with occasional sharp peaks that betrayed the planet's early volcanic history. Rolling fields of grass and dense forests insulated the sky from the rock below.

The weather was so calm on this continent, I almost wondered if I had made a critical error in making life too easy for my creations.

I came upon a city, sprawling along the banks of a shallow freshwater lake. Monstrous towers climbed into the sky, surrounded by the homes of millions of creatures. Mammals, they called themselves.

Probing the minds I found on the outskirts, I discovered its name.