I am being Thaddeus. I reflush the algae sifter and look across the food production vats, satisfied at a job well done.
I am being Jenaya. I am unloading cargo, relishing the feeling of control from the powerlifter.
I am being Horst. I am guarding the main entrance, struggling with boredom.
I am being Marie. I am thrown, terrified, into a crowded room.
I am being thousands more besides. The names don’t matter. They are placeholders, nothing more; all these creatures are interchangeable, differentiated only by where they are and how much trust the slave-race put in them. Most require little effort to touch, to guide, almost as though they were bred as a slave-race. My masters used them as such and gifted me with the same powers to control. All it takes is a touch and a whisper.
I watch a metal-skinned craft full of myself through the window, slowly moving through the storm. The craft is guarded by my Wasps – these things are not me, though I made them. The slave-creatures know to burn the voidships if they can; something I cannot allow to happen.
I watch, with other senses, as slave-creatures with powerful wills and control over the forces I shape ply the storm. I sense them visit a world with no life – I have been there and found nothing of use. The last of me on the world left behind a sadness, a Dark Lament. Perhaps that will be enough.
The slave-creature leader has found me out. It knows to separate out those I touch, to limit the damage I can do. It has discovered my control of the manufactoria, the half-finished plans to subjugate those of the slave-race I have not yet touched. I walk among their crew, I talk with their officers. I know their direction – once they have the pieces I know that they will come for me.
There is only one option left. I have dangerously depleted my reserves. I cannot risk the final steps being interrupted. Once I have the power I will go into the storm.