When Kesari took off her helmet, a scream erupted in the Consciousness. Warning lights flashed across the control panel of the Ship. All the faithful Guardians were instantly on alert, searching for the one who had disturbed them so, their feelers swaying, probing, finally pinpointing.
There! Running down the long street among the crowds. There with wind in her hair and doom in her mouth. The Consciousness knew that time was short and that the future dangled by the edge of a breath, crowded into a sunlit kiss. And the Consciousness created itself, took new form, clothed itself in bright colours, and called itself Mitra. And Mitra took Kesari’s hand and ran and ran and ran.
When at last the Component was kissed out of her and the yellow scarf that was her mane was flying in the air, flung with desperation from her throat, Mitra stood quiet as the approaching Guardian saluted him. He looked down at the tiny chip his hand held, the chip that held the fate of all, his fingers tracing it, his mind reading it. And the breath of the Consciousness ceased entirely as he realised what he held.
The explosion afterwards, the reeling and falling and fading and dying, that was all sealed, all from that moment, when a lioness in a yellow scarf led him on a chase and then kissed him to death.