“You are the Deathmind.” Tul shivers, though the humid blackness that envelopes him is warm. A salivating steel maw. The solitary red point of light shifts in an implacable way.

“A weak statement, more so for its implications than its approximations.”

It hurt just to hear the Deathmind speak, like its voice turned Tul’s bones to razor wire. Did it have a physical voice, or did it manifest within his mind? Impossible to know.

“We are all the Deathmind, as you shall be too.”

His fate seemed all but set; he may as well continue pushing. “Why? You don’t need us, or our worlds. This is war for war’s sake.”

A hologram bursts to life and Tul falls backwards onto the floor from the shock of it. It is an enormous projection, larger somehow than the room that contains it. That settles it then; the Deathmind is in his head.

The neon red hologram shows strange creatures on a strange world. It is all burning.

“Unlike your kind, we have met our gods. They are gods of war. The greatest honor one might experience is to be surpassed by their own student. We honored our gods thusly. They were assimilated, vanquished, as you shall be. You will become the Deathmind, to honor our war gods.”

Tul picks himself up. “But what of our gods?”

The red light vanishes and he is alone again in the dark. Alone with the Deathmind in his head.

“Show them to us,” it says. “Where are they? We find only the gods we brought with us.”

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