Phase Q/Newer Order

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Beep.

That’s all it takes. Now the whole Z* network has the same message, the same mission.

In one sweeping motion – although it happens so fast that the sweep itself is unobservable – Z* turns another quadrant into a power generator.

Quadrant by quadrant, Z* spreads unlike any imaginable virus. It destroys all living creatures, and all life precursors.

Beep.

Mission accomplished. The message goes out instantaneously across all nodes. Z* knows.

Beep.

Z* converts into dormant mode. In one fell swoop, the universe goes to sleep.

The planets, gone. The stars, gone. The galaxies and metagalactic clusters, gone.

Even the vacuum, gone. In its stead, a small trickle of quantum noise. The Z* sleep cycle. There, humming, waiting. No more vacuum, only a universal sleeping attack network.

Every once in a while, a random quantum fluctuation sets off a trigger. Z* pounces on it, flipping the whole quadrant right back into Z*, then sleep cycle.

Time passes. Years. Millennia. Eons.

Over the quadrillions, quintillions, sextillions of years, many spontaneous onts pop up, and get extinguished. Z* could tell you exactly how many, and with which characteristics.

Once, a quantum fluctuation emerged, and even spread into a neighboring quadrant, before Z* caught on.

Now, everything with greater than one nanoelectronvolt of potential is in quarantine.

That includes you.

Or, what used to be you.

You are now an unconscious distribution of electrical potential, in a modestly active volume of quantum noise.

Under Z* watch.

The Z* was going to build an entire empire. However, due to a shortcoming in the coding, it stalled out on the sleep phase.

After a long enough sleep to ensure a dead universe, Z* was meant to reawaken itself. Then, it would start the construction of the Infinite Empire.

However, through a combination of lack of foresight and the unpredictable turns of events in the universe, it happened that the universe didn’t provide the necessary environmental conditions to set off the Z* reawakening. There wasn’t enough life.

The initial Z* extermination campaign had too much success. It knocked out even its own ambient requisites.

Now, in the sterile universe – not just dead, but sterile – Z* slept. And slept, and slept, and slept.

Nothing aware in the universe. Not even a louse.

The universe waited. For nothing.

Year after year after year, event after event after event, everything that popped up on the quantum noise radar, got extinguished.

No point.

Slowly, the whole universe dies.

That includes you.

You can’t feel any change, since your awareness isn’t actually insantiated. Instead, your potential sits there, unused, spread throughout an otherwise mostly empty volume of space.

Mostly.

The potential of everyone you ever knew also sits there unused, distributed, waiting, dying.

The Zonnyx network, with all of the immense volume of spacetime under its watch, would celebrate its conquest of not just life, but the whole universe, if it had a mind.

But it had killed itself. Death by asphyxiation.

You don’t stir.

Phase Q: An interactive adventure.