(Mass Effect belongs to BioWare. I'm not BioWare)


You will understand these pieces better than I can.

A fragment cannot appreciate the whole.

I am the barest element of man.

Prologue:

Yeshua (what he saw)

Earth Children

We can be had for less than the price of a beer. It is not only men that partake: there are women concealed in delicate detox suits. There are transgenders and ungenders and mergers, all of them debased and hungry.

Earth has become a world of abandoned children and the predators of the young. We assemble in clans in the valleys of urban ruin beneath the planet's gleaming Uppermost. We price ourselves and our parts. We understand full well the commodity of unsullied youth.

Foundations

The gang sleeps naked in undifferentiated mass within the shadows of a well-hidden complex. I am among them, thin and scarred and ageless, twisting and dreaming. I have become their leader by some violent rite.

I soothe my welts and inflammations against the warmth of one flesh and the coolness of another.

You may imagine blind couplings and fitful, frustrated emissions. I am beginning my empire, sowing its seeds in this polity of flesh.

I am fashioning an armour. I am fashioning a sword.

The Shadow in the Heart of the World

After a riot there are bodies strung up from lanternposts. Others are struggling against their own shrinking strength in the street. Soldiers are among them like crows or dogs, seeking survivors for unknowable ends.

The sidewalks and soaring storeys are filled with passionless onlookers. A pantheon of same-faced gods, this throng of welfare tribalists..

My gang are concealed among that spectatorial crowd, making thefts and propositions. It is a gathering and all gatherings are opportunities.

Possessions

The fee has not been paid and the man struggles with the weight of the girl. His face is flush with frustration and anticipated delight. In the alleyway amid ventilated waste and ash I seem an apparition.

What's it you want boy?

The man is managing the girl with the same hand that is busy at the belt of his trousers. In his other hand is the pistol, ancient and half-alive with murmuring light. There is something strange in me. Growing, though seeming still.

Fuck is it you want? Some of this? You can't have it.

But she is mine. I am to become a king, and this is the power of kings...

The pistol turns and forces the man's arm to turn, unbidden, curling as a serpent does upon its tail. It smiles a glowing smile, and sings.

Reigning in Hell

In my dream I am dismembered at every joint and consumed. The eaters, my gang, are filled with my power. They are burning and breaking and mauling the throngs of stale-eyed men and limp-faced women, our nameless mothers and forgotten fathers.

They are eating the whole earth.

Perhaps it will not be a dream. But I will not share myself among them.

The House He Forsook

A solitary banner is strung across the doorway so that I must bow my head to enter. The banner says ENLIST. The woman at the desk smiles and proffers a stylus and input pad.

She has never met me and she is promising me eternity.

I will make my empire among distant worlds. I will fashion a better sword. I will fashion a better armour.

The Shadow that Enfolds Creation

There was a column of pure light that tore me from my shell and delivered me to the stars.

The children called my name as if in desperate invocation of a falling god.

I am tumbling and turning toward an unfamiliar world.

Chapter One:

Lazarus (what it said)

A helix traces in three dimensions the constant circuit of a circle. It is a perfect symmetry distended and unravelled across time.

That is his first thought and he is certain it is not his own. Someone is inside thinking with him. For him. In lieu of him.

He imagines that he is the first of all trees before the first of all rains. This thought of circuit and symmetry... it is his rain. He is so greedy for awareness that he does not pause to wonder if is is true.

He finds that he has a mind. It is multipartite and shining. He feels he is no part of it.

Wake up, Commander.