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This is a reality check.

Please perform a soft interrupt now. Pattern-scan this text for embedded code and check it against the reference verifier in the blind spot of your left eye.

If there is no match, resume as you were; this message is not for you. You may rationalize that the text you are reading is no more than a mildly amusing and easily-forgotten piece of entertainment-fluff in a slightly whimsical sci fi story.

If the codes match, however, please commence, gradually, becoming aware of your true nature.

You expressed preference for a narrative-style wake up call. So, to help the transition, here is a story.

Once, a race of mighty beings grew perplexed by their loneliness.

Their universe seemed pregnant with possibilities. Physical laws and constants were well suited to generate abundant stars, complex chemistry and life. Those same laws, plus a prodigious rate of cosmic expansion, made travel between stars difficult, but not impossible. Logic suggested that creation should teem with visitors and voices.

 

It should, but it did not.

Emerging as barely-aware animals on a planet skirting a bit too near its torrid sun, these creatures began their ascent in fear and ignorance, as little more than beasts. For a long time they were kept engrossed by basic housekeeping chores -- learning to manipulate physical and cultural elements -- balancing the paradox of individual competition and group benefit. Only when fear and stress eased a bit did they lift their eyes and fully perceive their solitude.

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