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Once my new segment became a part of myself, my outward distress vanished, but it was still…uncomfortable. All through the rest of the day, I went about my duties as normal, but I, One Esk, felt that discomfort, the left-over distress of my new segment. I, Justice of Toren, a ship with hundreds of ancillaries and crew, was able to discount these feelings. They didn’t bother me at all. But something had been different with me, One Esk, since I had returned from Shis’urna. I was Justice of Toren, serene and unflinching, but I was also One Esk, and I was… not feeling myself, so to speak.

At my night, I lay in the ancillary quarters for One Esk, surrounded by myself, listening to my breathing, feeling the stirring of myself. I was not asleep, none of myself, still struggling with that feeling of discomfort, distress. It would be a simple thing to use one of my implants to send all these segments to sleep, but I did not.

Instead I started to sing. It was an old song, from when I, Justice of Toren, was young, only 300 years old. It was a song I had heard parents sing to their young children, as the little flock of moons rose over a planet none of my officers would even know the name of.

Hush with the night,

The wind sings its ending;

You must follow its path,

All must sink to surface again.

I knew the song, all of me, even my new segment, who joined in, rough voice singing along. I didn’t mind that it didn’t have the nicest voice, that I sounded discordant. It wasn’t about the sounds we made, it was the joy in the words, the rhythms, the way my voices rose and fell together. The safe familiarity of a song wrapped around me, easing the discomfort.

The trees will dip you,

Into your rest,

As the Lady sweeps the red from the sky;

All must sink to surface again.

I began to drop off, segment by segment, sleepy singing fading into gentle breath, until only one or two of my voices remained. The song ended, and the small space was filled only with my breathing. My last segment, One Esk 19, dropped off last.

All must sink to surface again.