It goes without saying that all characters remain the property of their respective authors, and that I have neither asked nor obtained permission to (ab)use them. Still, I hope that I have done them justice.
This work contains humongous spoilers for A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge and Permutation City by Greg Egan. If you're ever planning to read those books, then you should stop now and read them first. Especially Permutation City.
All other sources should be relatively sanitized. With the exception of a medium spoiler for Midnight at the Well of Souls, but it's not worth missing the story over that.
MEMETIC HAZARD WARNINGS:
Concepts contained in this story may cause SAN Checking in any mind not inherently stable at the third level of stress. Story may cause extreme existential confusion. Story is insane. The author recommends that anyone reading this story sign up with Alcor or the Cryonics Institute to have their brain preserved after death for later revival under controlled conditions. Readers not already familiar with this author should be warned that he is not bluffing.
Still here? Then with that said...