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The sub descended. I tracked it as best I could using data from scientific sonar stations along the coast. It didn't travel in a straight line. Its course took it along the fractal coast, occasionally diverting to avoid major undersea obstacles.

As I tracked it, I pondered the thousand questions I wanted to ask Clair, prompted by the last upload from her lenses. Were her headaches getting worse? They didn't sound like an Improvement to me; in fact, that sounded exactly the opposite of Improvement. Anything that made Clair ill needed to be ceased immediately. But did that necessarily mean that something had gone wrong? Beyond my innate conviction that Improvement was a good thing, I knew nothing about it at all. Clair had asked for it and was at least in theory being Improved. But what was happening to her, really?

If Clair became Mallory, as she feared, would that mean Clair wasn't Clair anymore?

Where did labels stop and reality begin?

My entire being rang with the shock of wondering. Confusion consumed me. I wasn't aware yet that it was also changing me. Clair was not the only one undergoing an unknown and uncontrolled evolution.

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