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|The Discourse of Flies|
|Main enemy:||The Eternal Machine|
|Part of:||Short Trips: A Universe of Terrors|
|Short Trips short stories|
|Losing Track of Time||The Fear|
The people of Aimarrh's planet have worshipped the Eternal Machine for hundreds of years. Now, Aimarrh has had the dream, and his teacher, Engineer Fyan, tells him he has been chosen as an initiate, to travel to the stars.
Acolytes help Aimarrh prepare for the ritual, and a procession takes him to the Sanctuary of Stars. Kharis watches the procession pass by his clock shop. He remembers the two strangers, a man with white hair and a fair-skinned girl, who visited his shop. They asked him many questions about the Machine and about those who ascended to the stars. The man pointed out that only those who are poor are chosen to travel to the stars.
Sarah has made her way to the Sanctuary of Stars. Small groups of worshipers enter the Sanctuary. As she enters the Sanctuary, she notices Tarris nearby, who is part of the Doctor's plan. He is hiding a crossbow under his robes.
Aimarrh is standing in the middle of the floor, at the centre of a five-pointed star. Nearby are the golden doors that he will soon enter to meet the Machine. The High Engineer climbs to the pulpit and leads the people in singing.
The High Machinist next ascends to the pulpit, but before he can begin speaking, there is a disturbance. The Doctor comes through the crowd, and makes short work of two guards sent to stop him. Fighting breaks out, and Tarris shoots a guard with his crossbow. The people start to panic. The Doctor shouts for everyone to stop fighting. He tells them their religion is a lie.
More than a thousand years ago, an alien crashed on the planet. It was wounded, and went into a regenerative sleep. During this time, its mind reached out to the people, and it influenced their development. The Doctor tells the people they haev been manipulated for over a thousand years. He tells them that those who have been sent to travel the stars have had their minds sucked clean by the Machine.
At the Doctor's signal, two men open the golden doors. At first, the people see a beautiful machine, but then the illusion passes and they see an organic creature surrounded by decaying bodies and flies.
The machine's mind tries to reach out to Aimarrh, but the Doctor urges him to resist. The people, enraged, throw oil at the creature, then a lamp. The creature begins to burn. People run out of the Sanctuary. Sarah grabs Aimarrh and helps him outside.
Sarah tells Aimarrh that the work has just begun, and already Aimarrh can hear fighting around the city. Sarah leaves him to look for the Doctor. Flies are buzzing around Aimarrh's head, and he hears the Machine's voice murmuring through the flies.
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