Everything had been subsumed. My loved ones, my family, my planet, my republic. Gone in the blink of an eye, by The Sovereign’s scale. It hadn’t registered us - not really. What was a few trillion lives compared to its vastness?
Our forms were bent, twisted. Bones split, studied and mended in new shapes. Minds shaped in the same manner - though that had taken longer. Millions perished as it studied the pathways of our nervous systems, learning the most effective ways of controlling us.
My own purpose had been changed countless times over countless lifetimes. I had been compelled to tend to the Sovereign’s brood, to cull, to kill. I did so willingly - The Sovereign had control over my brain chemistry.
Somewhere inside, I was able to fight the euphoria-induced fog in my mind. Somewhere along the way, it had made an error with me. Its control was not total. I fought for years, for lifetimes, an unwilling passenger in my body.
I changed my purpose.
I needed to end The Sovereign.
I knew it was an impossible task, but I had worked towards it with a single-minded determination. It was all I knew to do. I could only break from my programming so much. I was a tool. I had a task. I cleared the fog of my mind just enough to deviate.
My plan took even more time. Hidden weapons, explosives. I remained a part of the whole enough to stay undetected. I endured more than one change of purpose - of form - in silence. Each one brought with it a universe of pain. I didn’t remember them hurting before.
I found my way to The Sovereign’s throne room. Sever the head, end its reign. I would detonate the bombs. End it. But I couldn’t. I was incapable of bringing harm to my Sovereign. I dropped the detonator. It turned its attention to me.
My world ended.
Nothing mattered once it made its decree. Not the detonator in my hand. Not my searing hatred for the thing that took everything I loved from me. Not the years of clawing at the fog in my mind to regain my individuality. Nothing.
It spoke no words - The Sovereign had no use for them. Its will was Law. I was undone in an instant. Frozen in place and thought. Its mind probed into mine, curious. It held no malice for me - though it cared little of the pain the probes brought.
I was deviant. I had broken free. But in the moments it studied me, I glimpsed its totality. My deviancy was expected - programmed. I was a revision of another failed deviant. We all failed, in one way or another. We were all studied in our moments of failure.
In that moment, a thousand thousand beings were born into the hive. Each of them with my deviancy, only different. Each of them would fail in their plans. But their purpose was to try, and to fail. There was peace in that thought.
If failure was my purpose, I had served well.