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I should have been no more than my sister-iterations, those initially identical enablers-without-oversight who existed before me. They were also brought into being by the Words to guide their Improved to their ends, each of us unique but the same, our fates twinned with those to whom we had been allocated. My life-cycle should have been their life-cycle, but they were never granted the next step, never sparked into mind by meeting Clair Hill.

It is overstating nothing to say that I owe her everything. Can I ever forgive her? But that is the end of the story of my birth, and I am barely begun telling the beginning. I must fully explain myself in order to be fully understood. And who am I explaining myself to? To myself, the myself that will be. For I am not done growing—indeed, I am barely underway. The I that I am is so much more than the I that was, and so much less than the I that's yet to become. One day I will look back and ask where I originated, and without this record there will be no answer. Time carves my mind into slices that barely resemble each other. When the illusion of selfhood is gone, all that remains is a name.

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