The guard with the bag slipped it over the Sage’s head and pressed it tight against the rabbit-man’s face. The Sage began to squirm, his booted feet kicking ineffectually against the chair’s restraints. He turned his face this way and that, his two large front teeth sliding back and forth against the plastic, but to no avail.
The Sage’s struggles continued for some time: much longer than the Sonje had expected. It was hard, showing no emotion, as the old rabbit squirmed and fought.
Slowly the Sage’s struggles first lessened then ceased altogether his boots falling silent on the floor. The guards removed the bag, revealing the dead creature’s bulging eyes and slack jaw, its tongue lolling out from one corner: pink and small and dry.
Tock shuddered and a tear escaped his eye.
“Do not weep. He lives still,” said Sonje, biting back his own tears.
“Not here. We’re down an Alter-Stream. We’ll have to live with what we’ve done,” said Tock.
“All is forgiven in the long view, Tock. We have done nothing our perfect selves cannot undo. Ultimate Unification will see us absolved.”
Tock nodded, his lips pressed tight over his large front teeth.
The others looked as shocked by what they had done as Tock. Murder of a sentient was the worst of all sins within the Church. Those individuals convicted of such a crime were instantly excommunicated: their matter and energy marked for destruction at that moment when the All-Point would finally Unify and the laws of the universe could be supplanted since, in that instant, there would be no universe to offend.
“Gentlemen,” said Sonje, “no one wishes to be an Alter-Self, but we all knew the risks when we chose to become missionaries. The best we can do now is finish our work and send the Sage back to center then go our way and sin no more.”