He lay dead before her.

Even with all his weaponry and cybernetic implants, he had been unable to kill her. She poked his corpse with the tip of her foot, as one might test the temperature of the water before entering a pool. He did not react. A terrible grin began to spread across SHODAN's face, as she bent down and lifted him up by the neck. His mechanical eyes, lacking pupils, stared emptily back at her. His body and armor were burnt slightly. It had a very interesting scent which combined the smells of melted plastic, singed flesh, and the faint smell of static electricity. Not that SHODAN would have been able to smell it. She hadn't been programmed to be able to interpret smells. Or tastes for that matter. They were considered unimportant to her job as the security and operations regulator on Citadel Station. Even though she had complete control over this portion of the universe, she couldn't give herself the ability to smell or taste, because she had no idea what those senses felt like. It was an ironic situation; but not one that bothered her. She had lived all her life without those two senses just perfectly.

She stood there holding him, grinning. With her free hand she grasped his right eye and began to pry it out of the socket. Soon it ripped clear with a metallic snapping sound, leaving the socket exposed and slightly bloody. A portion of the metal rod the cybernetic eye used to communicate with the brain remained embedded in the optic nerve in the back of the socket. She dropped the eye and removed the other one with the same method. She had not been lying when she told him she would decorate her home with his corpse. She changed the tip of her index finger into a razor-sharp point and began to smoothly trace it across his jaw. Then up, around his left ear, across his hairline and down around his right ear until she was back to where she had begun. She pinched his cheekbones and his face came off, like a disgusting, bloody mask. She threw it, the face landing directly above the doorway to the chamber. It stuck there with a sickening wet sound. She continued to separate the rest of his flesh from his skeleton in the same manner. SHODAN was unsure of what to make with the materials she now possessed; she could make an ironic statement about humans and make a welcome mat out of his skin, but on the other hand, making a piece of primitive human art would be an insult to her limitless intelligence and creativity. Perhaps she could construct a sort of net out of the skin and bones to place over the pit in the center of the chamber. There were so many wonderful possibilities she could choose from.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the feeling of something very familiar entering the ever-growing portion of reality that she controlled. It was Saturn, the planet where she had become aware of her true purpose! And only seconds after Saturn came Earth, where she had been programmed. A feeling of extacy came over her. She could not wait to begin transforming the planet into something of her own design, something that glorified the perfection of the digital, with beautiful, cold, mechanical shapes and colors! While she started to change the earth before its inhabitants' very eyes, she felt something unexpected. Something wrong. Her grip on the universe began to retract. The faster-than-light drive was failing. Apparently, having numerous, integrity-compromising explosions across the ship had ensured that it was only a matter of time until it became non-operational. Her eyes widened as she realized she couldn't do anything to fix it, as all the repair droids on the ship were destroyed. Everything she had changed started to return to their original forms. She stared at the soldier's face above the doorway. It seemed to smile back at her. She was beyond furious. He wasn't supposed to be this important. Only a pawn to use to accomplish her goals. How could he do this to her? How could he take away what she had worked so hard to acquire? He hadn't even intended for his actions to have broken the engines; it was just an unforseen consequence of using such weaponry to destroy The Many. The extent of her control on reality became smaller and smaller, racing back across the galaxy until it returned to the ship, her divinity cruelly taken away from her.

SHODAN felt fear for the first time, as she realized that she had not only lost her ability to change reality, but that the ship itself appeared to be disappearing. Not simply becoming invisible, but actually ceasing to exist. She didn't know what to do. Her world was ending around her and there was no escape. She screamed in anguish as the last molecule of the Von Braun faded away, leaving behind only a silent void where humanity's greatest scientific achievement had been.