All hearts must break, and so know new life. There comes a time when each person must grasp or reject their fate. This is that time for three very different people, tied by the bonds of time and power, face a decision. Something of each dies, and something new is born.
Also, a millennia-long fight using ecosystems as weapons, serial killing for a higher cause and beans excreted by cats. More
The first time that he kills a man himself, he feels much better. Feng had been responsible for millions of deaths, but at a distance. Until now, he has only known of his crimes through reports on a screen and voices in shadowed rooms. Now, for the first time, the sting of ending a life breaks through the distance he has always felt. He watches the blood crawl and pool at his feet, silvery with nanites, his reflection gazing up at him from the abyss. It has been a long time since he could look into a mirror, but now he meets its eyes with sanguine grace. A gently euphoric tranquility fills him and silences the chaos, both inside and out. Time stops, and he feels something deep within him reset. As he stoops to close the man’s eyes, a feeling of serendipity and circularity comes over him. He finally lets go of the trials and tribulations that had brought him here, and accepts his new place in the world. A new determination takes hold, and he sees that he has always been headed to this place, and should have taken this step long ago. With a sigh, he turns away. The next one will be easier, he is sure.