The Exalt has seen it again and again. A flowering species, a burst of static across every band of visible and invisible radiation, and then…nothing. Some of them burn out, truly, floundering on the cinders to which their planets were reduced. But many more survive, only to withdraw themselves from the world and ensconce themselves in virtual coccoons of their own creation.

When their cooling remains are found, when every drop of energy has been wrung from their suns and worlds, their evitable awakening is as shocking as it is short. In the Exalt’s travels and observations, it has often seen and remarked upon the fact that these virtual realms are often simulations of the wider galaxies, sidestepping the real problems of interstellar travel in favor of a pale shadow thereof.

For what real universe can compare with the universe within?

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