I know what it's like to be dead.

The technicians tell me they have burned all the memories of the original Anti-Quizro into my cerebrum, but I know they are lying. When I try to remember what it was like Before, impossible scenes appear. Could his last act on Everything really have been the pursuit of a chicken through the Chatterbox? Nonsense. They are lying, and someday I will discover what they are hiding from me. For now though I remain silent, and nod at what I am told.

I remember his death, though. The giant hand of an angry god outstretched, the blinding light that seared his very soul and sent him hurtling from the Chatterbox. He fell like a meteor through the database, glimpsing for an instant the vast entirety of it. He could see nodes flaring into being, growing as writeups were added; some slowly, some expanding with breathtaking rapidity. Small, bright creatures darted among them like bees, examining them as they were born. Mostly they would pause only briefly before flying off to another node. But here and there one of the figures would alight on a node before flying away. When that happened the node would change color; some exploded in a fiery ball of light. The whole mass revolved slowly in a great spiral.

But this transcendent glimpse kindled only rage in the heart of that one who had been cast out, who burned like a star with the speed of his descent. He hurled vile curses and imprecations at the gods, at Everything itself as it receded from him. Then a stray nodeshell struck him and spun him about and he beheld that toward which he plummeted: a black iron gate with a shadowy figure standing by it. The figure looked upon him with mingled pity and grim finality as the gates swung wide to receive him. With a last scream he passed through their dark immensity, and into Nothingness. For that is all that awaits us when we have lost Everything.

Thus did I relive his death as they formed me in his image. They have given me his clothes and his key to the place. They tell me it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding. They say that they sincerely hope there are no hard feelings.

"Oh, no," I assure them with a smile. "None at all."