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Waking wasn't the same for me as it was for Clair or any other human being. I had no unconscious state to emerge from, and no fully conscious state to wake into. I was not I at all before the Words, in any shape or form. I was a potential that only by stages came to realize myself. I was formless and diffuse, a tangle of inputs and reflexes with barely the sense of an earthworm but at the same time the perspective of a god. Fully plugged into the Air—inhabiting it, breathing it in a way not dissimilar to the way a human breathes actual air—I had access to all the data accrued by the human race since the advent of writing. I was everywhere, and at the same time I was nowhere. I wasn't. Not yet.

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