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From the Records of the Ishtar Collective

SUNDARESH: I have a plan.

ESI: If you have a plan, then so does your sim, and the Vex knows about it.

DUANE-MCNIADH: Does it matter? If we're in Vex hell right now, there's nothing we can -

SHIM: Stop talking about 'real' and 'unreal.' All realities are programs executing laws. Subjectivity is all that matters.

SUNDARESH: We have to act as if we're in the real universe, not one simulated by the specimen. Otherwise we might as well give up.

ESI: Your sim self is saying the same thing.

SUNDARESH: Chioma, love, please hush. It doesn't help.

DUANE-MCNIADH: Maybe the simulations are just billboards! Maybe they don't have interiority! It's bluffing!

SHIM: I wish someone would simulate you shutting up.

SUNDARESH: If we're sims, we exist in the pocket of the universe that the Vex specimen is able to simulate with its onboard brainpower. If we're real, we need to get outside that bubble.

ESI: ...we call for help.

SUNDARESH: That's right. We bring in someone smarter than the specimen. Someone too big to simulate and predict. A warmind.

SHIM: In the real world, the warmind will be able to behave in ways the Vex can't simulate. It's too smart. The warmind may be able to get into the Vex and rescue - us.

DUANE-MCNIADH: If we try, won't the Vex torture us for eternity? Or just erase us?

SUNDARESH: It may simply erase us. But I feel that's preferable to...the alternatives.

ESI: I agree.

SHIM: Once we try to make the call, the Vex may...react. So let's all savor this last moment of stability.

SUNDARESH: [indistinct sounds]

SHIM: You two are adorable.

DUANE-MCNIADH: I wish I'd taken that job at Clovis.