The Warrior took Nanku's hand. He took all of their hands. And he smiled deeply as he felt his hand probe their identities. Truly lost, these people were. What had the god deprived them of? A life? Love? Friends? There was no end to the pain inflicted.

No, no. The worst part of all is that they could not feel this loss. They could not even take satisfaction in endurance, for their nerves were cauterized and dull.

And he placed his favored hand over theirs. "I'm sorry you've had to go through this. It's been a long time since you've felt, hasn't it?"

"Felt…?" Onru asked.

"Joy. Pain. Loss. Discovery."

"Pain?" Irantu tasted the word, having heard it before but utterly ignorant to what it entailed.

"Don't worry. This will hurt. I promise."

For a moment, the members of Mobile Task Force Tau-5 "Samsara" felt the unusual and strange sensation of searing pain through their bodies. They could sample it, taste it, like a fine wine. The burning sensation felt like fire ants crawling through their veins. It felt like their stomachs were molten lava. Like their souls were ripped from their bodies.

The Warrior could feel it too. His hand connected them, and through it they were one. The Mobile Task Force ceased to be themselves, and the Warrior followed suit. The body and the spirit became coupled. An instant later, everything was back to normal. But the Warrior knew it was not. He could feel the power he now possessed; more than any human could ever have held. He'd been preparing for a thousand years.

Before the imprisoned Mind could even think to protest, the Warrior had plucked it from its cage. In his hand, the Warrior held one-third of the God that thought it could be patron to humanity. Didn't it know? Humanity must be patron to itself. And the Warrior devoured it.

In a dusty room underneath most of Site-30, MTF Tau-5 Captain Sarah Hughes banged on a door. The stocky man who opened it was Amil Escamilla, technical chief of Project "Samsara".

Sarah looked impatient. "The desk said there was an emergency. What's going on?"

"Come in, come in," Amil whispered as he shuffled her into the darkened office. Papers with scribbled maths were flown about by her footsteps. The only light in the room came from an observation window set into the opposite door—the door that led to the regeneration bay.

Captain Hughes crossed her arms. "What is it?"

"Something's wrong with the regen. We were bringing up new shells, right, in case anything goes wrong with two-nine-seventy, but… the regen rate's gone crazy. The estimate was three days, but now it's ten minutes. And it's not listening to commands to stop."

"Why call me?" Hughes squinted. "This is a site security issue. Have them pull the plug."

"Yeah, but… what if they pull the plug entirely? They could sterilize the whole project if they knew this was happening."

"Calm down, Amil. I'll get security on the li-"

The captain was interrupted by a sound of breaking glass and wrenching metal. This sound was followed by a firm knock on the observation window.

On the other side, a now-growing crowd of angry shells beat on the door.

The Warrior felt his body expand; not his form, the influence of his multiplying bodies. Behind him, the four soldiers were transfixed. They were no longer shells, tokens of a piece of a dying god. They were the fingers of a being just born.

As the Warrior breathed, he knew he was complete. Every function was restored. Every memory was pristine. No surface marred by the dying throes of a jealous being. In the back of his head. The Mind as it was no longer existed. The Warrior's Mind was godly, and Samsara was his Body.

All across the world, there were struggles. There were wars. There was man, attempting to kill man, to destroy them. Those who walked on the downtrodden. There were those who derived pleasure from the pain of others, those who hindered progress.

But every one of them must walk on the Earth. And when he touched it, the Warrior was the Earth. And so too was he them. The Warrior, god with ten thousand hands and ten thousand feet.

One thousand years ago, a god became flesh. Now, flesh has become god again.

And it walks upon the Earth.

And it is the Earth.

And it spreads with tendrils of unified flesh.

And all become one.

And all became the Warrior.

And the Warrior knew his true name.

He was the True Patron of Humanity.

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