"People like you starve to death, eventually, because you're so alone. Because no one wants to be near you. People like me don't starve to death because we move towards new people."

—Executive Ibex

Opening Narration

An excerpt from the final letter to Attar Rose, five years before the creation of Weight:

When you say that what I've built so far is an achievement, I'll shut up and take the compliment. But it isn't enough that the program is just up and running; people need to understand what we've found here, what the Strati really are.

I hate that they call it "fogging"; it's a misnomer. Yes, the machines that they touch grow confused, but for the Strati things become much more clear. When they connect consciousness to Mesh, they reach beyond the gauche facade of that realm—the neon links of chain-gate ICE, the glowing lev lines of information, the aviary of chirping data. All of these give away to a vision of the Mesh that is more personal, more fundamental to the general human experience.

It is a mistake to think that the graduate of the new Stratus Program is merely a weapons platform, or some sort of fantasy pulled from the neurovids. They are the embodiment of a new mode of being. In time they'll reveal not only the secrets of corporate labs, not only the workings of your holy Divines, but the interiority of interiority itself.

I can dress it up as much as I want though. I know it falls on deaf ears. And I'm sure that you know me well enough to know that what I really want to say isn't just "my research is very exciting." You know that what I want to say is:

Don't go.

When we left we were young and stupid, but we came here and we learned so much and we made a life of our own on this rock. You don't have to give yourself to that thing just to help people. We can do so much good from right here. From home.

Please, don't go.

But, I know you as well as you know me. And you always were a little self-righteous, so...

I love you, Attar. That will always be who you are to me. No Candidacy can change that.

Yours always,

Maryland September

Episode Description

A Lion and a Man chanced to travel in company through the forest. They soon began to quarrel, for each of them boasted that he and his kind were far superior to the other both in strength and mind.
Now they reached a clearing in the forest and there stood a statue. It was a representation of Heracles in the act of tearing the jaws of the Nemean Lion.
"See," said the man, "that's how strong we are! The King of Beasts is like wax in our hands!"
"Ho!" laughed the Lion, "a Man made that statue."
--The Man & The Lion, from "The Aesop for Children: with Pictures by Milo Winter"

Featured Players

"If Han Solo Used To Be Beyoncé, or: Hashtag Otechku" · "I Would Like a Bribe" · "Soldier Game" · "It's Fine, We're Criminals" · "The Bells Are Ringing"" · "A Ship of Seeds" · "Here's Your Bribe Tip" · "I Am Not Allowed" · "Our Hostage Below" · "This Month of Ours" · "Drawing Clocks" · "A Thing You Know About Nightclubs" · "A Home After a Wake" · "Our Customer of the Month" · "We've All Killed People" · "A Candle in the Sun" · "The Rear Left Engine" · "Metal That Has Died Twice" · "The Order of Things" · "The Road You Take and Who You Take It With"" · "The Glimmer Incident: The Executive Enters!" · "Crisis! (A Solemn Vow Above the Sea of Counterweight)" · "The Broken Branch" · "An Astonishingly Illegal Ship"" · "It's Still Dark Out" · "You Can Call Me Captain" · "Do You Have Room For Me?" · "An Animal Out of Context" · "A Special Kind of Warmth" · "Three Conversations" · "Another Facility Among Trees" · "Expertize with a Z" · "Through the Crosshairs" · "A Fractal Garden and an Intercepted Message" · "Reaching Out" · "A Knock at the Door" · "Everything is Temporary" · "Visions from Windows, Or: The Last Time the Bomb Dropped" · "Found Footage" · "Just Another Machine" · "The Storm Over September" · "A Splintered Branch, A Ringing Bell Pt. 1" · "A Splintered Branch, A Ringing Bell Pt. 2" · "A Splintered Branch, A Ringing Bell Pt. 3" · "Live Post-Mortem"