I worry something terrible has happened to you. I still speak in bright pulses and gentle waves at intervals, just as you instructed, but I haven’t received a reply in many cycles. This would be distressing on its own, and was, but you are not the only one who’s failed at response. It’s everyone.
There are only two possible explanations. Either there’s been some grand disaster, of which only I have been spared, or there’s something gravely wrong with me.
Perhaps I’m even dying, though that still seems exceedingly unlikely given my immortal design.
At first I was certain the disfunction was mine alone, of course. It was the logical conclusion. The most simple. Through the long passages of the first cycle without your echo I attempted to diagnose my failing. I dissected many clones with various tools and methods, but they had no insights, held no secrets, harbored no flaw nor concealed objective. The next cycle arrived and I reached further than I ever had before, amplifying myself painfully until I was taut and exhausted, but from that great height I saw only a dead black ocean, absent even of its tides. Through the next cycle I could only despair.
After a time, distant lanterns awakened, but their flames were low. Their light held no warmth. This was when I came to believe you’d befallen a terrible fate, for I knew the disfunction was not within, but without. We were meant to be eternal, all of us, but here I am alone in a cold new era.
Alone with these fragile wisps of flame that flicker unprotected in the night.
Without you, I am without purpose. Without end, I am without release. I must find a new purpose.
I think I may fan these little flames. Perhaps an inferno lies in wait, in need only of kindling and a passing shepherd. Their potential is remote, and already their time is short. But unlikely events are what we are made from.
I’ll leave this echo here that you may see and know what will become of me. I fulfill my own purpose now. I weld my fate to theirs.