Images flooded my mind’s eye, never staying in one place. Phantoms danced before my eyes. The sky, pristine and sparkling blue by day, glittering with a radiant array of starlight, slowly grew colder and hazed, the thick dust of urban waste thickening with the passage of time. Filth. Visions of megalithic cities, masses of people creating and building, all leveled in an instant by the wars of human history. Decimation. Crowds of people hunched over and sickly, unable to seek help while they die in the streets. Pestilence. Disparity between those who have and those who have not, the squandering of good health, good fortune, and clean habitat by the fortunate few, scowling down on those underneath them for no reason aside from an inborn animosity. Hatred. Again the apocalyptic flames burned in the sky, the streets, and the buildings. People tore each other apart, the end of the world playing out again and again in my head. This had all happened before. I could not explain it. This was something I simply knew. This was the insight to Cook’s vision, his cause, his motivation. He was intent to destroy what humanity had become and rebuild as it was in the beginning. The thoughts he had revealed to me in the ice cave echoed through my mind as I watched the planet being torn to pieces. He was right, we have allowed ourselves to be consumed with hatred. I could attest to that with firsthand experience. I finally saw the meaning. His goal was just, this much he had finally revealed to me. Was I wrong after all?
“No.” A tired, ragged voice spoke clear in my mind. “His goal is just, this much is true; however, he himself is not devoid of the human corruption of which he seeks to rid the world. His cause is to fight fire with fire, stop hatred with more hatred. You will be the key. You, who have witnessed firsthand the grotesque reality of corruption, understand this one simple truth: That it is not the goal alone which justifies the cause, but the means with which one gets there.”
A ghostly image of my own face, aged and weary, faded through the apocalyptic visions, leaving them to dim out to black behind it. It continued to speak the prophetic words.
“The end to your current struggle grows near, child, and though you are broken and weary, you will soon find yourself capable of far more than you could have ever imagined. This much is certain. Whether or not you will succeed, however, you must decide for yourself. Sending this message will be the last thing you ever do, a truth you must be well aware of when you send it, for as things were in the beginning, so to must they be in the end. These truths will escape you for a period of time, for you are only human, but you must always remember that your enterprise is just, and that even your own death is surpassed by the importance of the greater good.” The face faded to black, its eyes slowly shutting as mine opened, seeing the barren world ahead of me as if for the very first time.
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