Our favorite world was almost over. Tonight, when I dropped, a countdown clock hung in the game sky. You couldn’t miss the bright yellow numbers up in the twilight—there were just days left in the Also, to be who we were. I zoomed to the old homestead in Gjajan, where I built my manse and gardens and dug my private sea, where Aremi came to me, but the place looked like it was having a stroke—just a throb of pixels, a cloud of bad data that fluxed and ate at the terrain. Years of questing wiped away, and I could take nothing with me, like a refugee from a dream. I moved closer, to brush the metaphysics of it all, and my machine seized. The Core was as stable as a stilt on a stilt.
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