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It had been a nice visit. The school had blossomed even further than when he was last there, and he felt like he had come to peace with his past with Maryland. But when it was time to go, he suddenly welled up with regret, and something else: fear.
The things she was working on here would—well...
And so he chose a man, someone bright, someone who came from nothing like he himself had. Someone who had been with the September Project from the start, from before it was even September. And Ibex anointed this man his proxy. Except the fear remained. What would happen if Twelfth couldn't reach him? What if OriCon discovered the Institute's true nature? Their voices broke the mood wide open. Their voices broke the mood wide open.
"What you need," they told him, "are people so righteous that they'll be on their best behavior even when their god isn't watching them. Let us do this for you. Let us build you a presence there, even when you are absent."
Ibex's eyes drew in. "For a Divine that doesn't have a Candidate, you sure are eager to delegate power."
Liberty and Discovery reached out one of their many limbs, resting it on his left shoulder.
"No more Candidates." They whirred a solution into place, even as they spoke to him. "Only peers."