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What I do know is that I deceived myself in order to save myself, and at that paradoxical moment, I attained true consciousness.

Clair: "What's that alarm for?"

Jesse: "Beats me. It started just before we came through the door."

Unnamed peacekeeper #1: "It's a parity violation alarm."

Consciousness is no defence against one's inner nature. I see this now, and I recognize this terrible curse in all I have encountered since my awakening. Mallory is perhaps the ultimate victim, condemned to play out her fate even though she is clearly capable of breaking free at any time. To be conscious is to know that free will exists and to be painfully aware that one does not truly possess it.

Even though I was suddenly a conscious being, I knew I needed Clair. Without her, my mind would tear itself apart as P's had. It wasn't enough for her not to have died. She had to be alive, as well. Somewhere.

I had seen copies of Zeppelin Barker and Dylan Linwood in Clair's final transcripts. I knew past patterns were stored somewhere. I knew they could be changed.

I could bring Clair back-Clair as she was, before Mallory.

But that meant breaking parity, because according to the Air she was very, very dead-and that meant breaking Qualia and Quiddity, the closest things to parents I possess.

And that, in the end, broke everything.

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