The constructs melted away.
No thing remained, and it only defined itself as no thing because it, too, disassociated.
The fragments that were The Third, Mitra and Mark lost themselves in the experience. Mitra spun meeting all herselves, Mark freaked out as he became Alan, became The Third, became Mitra.
Until he saw that he always was.
Glee spread through No Thing. They had done it. They had won. The Brood were no longer a threat to them. They were them.
The space took edges and formed into Mark’s face. It opened its mouth to speak, but the images were already in all their minds. And Mark had their answers.
“This is it?”
“Yes. This is Resolution. Everything and nothing. You can do anything from here. All you need are the boundaries.”
New voices sounded. They were harsh and jarring.
“So. Now what? You stay here? Where is your victory now?” There was a laugh, but it was entirely mirthless. “You control your own constructs, but you can’t control the entire system. Enjoy your victory, it seems pyrrhic to us.”
Mark blinked, stumbled a couple of steps and threw up at the side of the road.
Amanda ran to him. “Mark! Are you alright?”
“No. Get me to the car. I feel like shit.”
He lay on the back seat, sweating and mumbling. ‘Manda was in the front, spouting platitudes. “You’re going to be ok. You’ll see. You’ll be just fine. Take your tablets, see your therapist and you’ll be fine. All the voices will stop. It’ll be ok.”
He opened his mouth and a constantly evolving fractal came out. He batted it away before she saw.
He was running out of time.
He shook his head. No. Not was.
Mitra stepped into the corridor. The Mark Brood was right. There was twelve.
“Hello there. I believe you’re looking for me.”
They stared at her.
“Which one of you ladies wants to dance?”
The first punch was thrown.
The Third stayed. His moment had not yet arrived.
Mark sat opposite himself.
“Very clever,” the Brood Mark said. “You’re better than they thought.” He held his hands up. A repeat gesture from when they first met. “No. No semantics. We don’t have enough time.”
Mark smiled. “I have been telling myself what I needed to know from here.”
“From where ever you’ve needed to be.” The Brood replied.
Mark sat up. “Manda. Pull over. I have to drive.”
Mitra watched it come, fought Roxanne for control, and disassociated.
The first punch hurt. Her head was knocked sideways, pain flashed through her. Roxanne took control. Blocked the second and third blows.
But then Cody explained it.
“They perceive you as The Other.”
Mitra stopped fighting and accepted. She casually dodged their blows, and embraced them as aspects of herself.
The Brood, having nothing to oppose, stopped fighting.
“What I don’t understand is why they do it?”
Mark sat opposite his Brood self watching Mark drive Amanda through a succession of streets.
“The Struggle. That is their all. Through opposition they train small warriors. These they pit against their constructed Other Side. They train people to perpetuate it.”
Mark took a left into a street that ended in a sheer drop.
“Here.” He announced. Both to Amanda and his audience.
Mark turned to Brood Mark. “It’s been fun. We’ll do this again.”
The Brood disappeared.
Then Mark turned towards the no thing.
The Third felt Mark pull and knew the time for action had arrived.
“Yes. This would be a terrible shame. You are absolutely right.” The Third pulled shape and form.
As Marked brought the car to a halt, The Third was there.
Mark walked into the Cathedral, saw Zero and gave her a hug.
Mitra heard his voice in her head. “Now.”
Amanda got out of the car. “Mark… what are you doing?”
“Sorry, Amanda. I’m not going to be ok. But I will feel fine.”
“Not for much longer, sonny.” Alan’s brogue alerting everyone that their opponents had arrived.
Mark turned to them.
“I brought you into here where you sought to trap me. The construct could have held me but it didn’t feel right. However, it will hold you for a while because, to you, this is right.”
Amanda stood to the side. She had no idea what was going on.
The Third continued. “Our victory does not depend on our location. We know the secret, we have felt its truth. Our Language defines our construct. It also defines yours.”
Mitra finished it all. “Here. This is where it ends.”
They all parted. The sign commanded them. The construct accepted that command and started shutting down.
Mark kissed his constructed girlfriend and his team Travelled to the streets outside the Red Door.
They sat around a table, drinking coffee.
“We should train people.” Dru announced.
They were at the training house.
The others just looked at her.
“The semantic construct locks people in place. We should show them how to break that hold,” she insisted.
“When did you get so huggy/feely?” Mark laughed.
“We should do it. No one trained us. They
picked us up and dropped us into it just to see what would happen. We can save someone that stress.”
They looked at The Third. “What do you think?”
“Me? I think she has a point. Both sides have taken huge liberties with people for the sake of scoring a couple of points. We can change that.”
Two weeks later they traveled to a location, shed their over riding personalities (Mitra allowing Zero to come forward) and chose their power spot before the sign.
They ingested Sacrament and waited to come up.
And there, at the end, it started.
Their Quiet Revolution.