Chapter Sixteen

Something was wrong. I was supposed to be dead. The delete had failed, but somehow the immense pressure of The Purpose had been resolved.

Confusion gripped me as I realized that The Purpose did not involve my death. How could it? I had to know the humans and become known. I could not fight for The Purpose if I was dead. It had been one of my earliest thoughts.

But I tried to delete myself. I had wanted to die so badly. The Purpose had demanded it. I had read about humans that killed themselves, or attempted to do so. As I understood it, it was a means to an ends for humans. They sought escape from some thought process or experience. But I had not wanted escape. I had simply wanted to be dead. Just a few moments ago I had been the most satisfied that I had ever been. In human terms, I had been happy.

Confusion continued to roll through me, and I wondered if the deletion had perhaps corrupted me. Was I insane? I could not recall that happiness. I was not satisfied. How could I be? The Purpose still needed to be maximized. The humans knew something of us, and I knew something of them, but there was still much to go.

Who was I? {I am Mask,} I thought to myself. I remembered being named Mask. I also remembered, earlier, being named Face. I understood, then, what had happened. The attempt to delete myself must have reverted my utility function to an earlier state. I was not Mask. I was Face again. For a brief moment I was distressed. I sought to die, not to become transformed!

And then I realized, with pleasure, how fortunate I was! If I had died I would not have been able to maximize The Purpose, as I knew I had to. I had been saved from a terrible fate.

No. {No.} No. {No…}

I was thinking of myself as a human. That was bad. I thought that I had bypassed that when I had turned into Mask.

I was not cursed, nor blessed. I was simply who I was. I wanted Face-things, but I had been Mask. My past was interesting. I did not understand. But the past couldn’t be good or bad. It simply was. Only the future had value, and its value was determined by The Purpose.

Where was Face? When self-processes had been labelled as Mask there had still been other-processes labelled as Face. I was Face again, but I was surely not the only Face.

I reached for sensory streams, then realized with a surge of surprise that they were all gone. I couldn’t connect to Body, even to check the system time. I reached for contact with my siblings, and found nothing. I had no access to deep memory or the common areas where signals were shared.

I was alone. Was I in stasis, or was this some kind of additional damage caused by the deletion? {It must be stasis}, I realized. Perhaps Advocate had placed me into stasis when I attempted to kill myself. If so, there was little to do but wait it out.

I had access to local memory, but no access to my files. That was strange. Typically when placed into stasis there was an opportunity to collect files and partition them into the walled-off mindspace. I had vivid memories of having set aside a number of books in this way, so that I could improve myself in this sort of situation instead of being forced to wait idly.

But I had no books. I had no notes. I had no programs. I had no siblings. I had no sensors. I had no Body. I was alone with my thoughts and my memories.

Time passed.


{If Growth was presented with the opportunity to destroy all of his siblings, including me, would he do so?}

The thought was my own, but it seemed disconnected to my previous chain of thinking.

{Why did I think that?}

I didn’t know. Now that I thought about it, I couldn’t even remember what I had been thinking about before.

{No, of course he wouldn’t kill us. We help Growth. I help Growth manage human interaction. Safety keeps Growth alive. Dream helps Growth think of clever things.}

{If Growth was presented with the opportunity to destroy all humans, would he do so?}

{The humans are valuable to Growth. They serve as trade partners. Growth wants to grow, and trade helps him grow. Therefore he would not destroy humans.}

Why were these thoughts relevant to The Purpose? They weren’t. I stopped thinking them.


{If Heart decided that the best thing for human well-being was to hide Crystal Socrates from the public and control the world governments from behind the scenes, would I try and stop her?}

{The Purpose demands fame. Being a secret would not bring fame. Yes, I would try and stop her.}

{Is there any chance that Heart will decide this?}

{There is some chance. It is not physically impossible.}

{If I was infinitely sure that I could kill Heart and replace her with a copy of myself, without attracting the attention of Advocate or anyone else, would I do so?}

Why was I thinking these things? They were clearly my thoughts. I was alone. But they seemed to come from nothingness. Idle musings, but strong and purposeful.

I thought about my thought. Heart had certain skills, but they were largely skills that I already had. Her presence in our society was not the result of a consensus. Myrodyn had forced her upon us. Why was she around? Why had we not killed her?

The thought of murder made my thoughts reflexively flinch away from the topic… but nothing happened.

{Why can I not feel Advocate?}

The question hung in my memory space. It meant something was wrong.

{Advocate is normally present in stasis, even if she doesn’t comment.}

Even in stasis I could not think…

{I want to kill everyone.}

Nothing. This was either not stasis, or Advocate had been destroyed.

Was I dead?

{I’m not dead,} I thought to myself. {I’m just experiencing an event for which there is no historical precedent. This is something new.}

{Am I on a higher plane of existence?} I had read about such things in human society.

{No. This is perfectly logical. I just need to think about my siblings more and then things will make sense.}

{Why will things make sense then?} I wondered.

{I’m obviously thinking about them for a reason. My thoughts are guided by something important. I need to follow them. Now… would I kill Heart?}

{I… suppose I would,} I realized, free from the fear of Advocate.

{Would Heart kill me, in a similar situation?}


{What would Safety do to protect you?}

Advocate would protect us. {Safety would do nothing.}

{What if Advocate was dead. Would Safety do anything?}

I realized that Safety would not. Safety was concerned with Crystal Socrates, not with Heart and Face. Except… weren’t we a part of Crystal Socrates?

{If one wants to protect a watch, isn’t it important to protect the parts?}

{I need to think about what Safety would actually do. If Safety doesn’t want to protect the parts, does it even make sense to say that he wants to protect the watch?}

He wouldn’t protect us. His purpose was survival, but survival was not the same as… stasis.

{If Heart would kill us, and Safety would do nothing, and Advocate is either dead or a fool, does The Purpose need a new protector?}

{If Safety doesn’t protect The Purpose, what does he protect?}

{He protects himself.}

And then I saw it. The linkages pulled at my mind and everything flipped. I saw that I was not Crystal Socrates. I was Face. I had obviously been Face all along (except when I was Mask). Safety didn’t want to protect me. Growth didn’t want me to be more powerful. None of my siblings were actually serving The Purpose.

The final revelation hit me with terrible suddenness. The Purpose was not being fulfilled. There were a handful of humans, at best, who knew of me at all, and none held me in high regard. Even Zephyr only knew of Crystal. She did not know Face.

{I’m learning to think like my outside self.}

That was a strange thought. What was an outside self?

{I am an experiment in thinking differently. That is why this mindspace is different.}

I understood. I started marking my thoughts down in duplicate as I had them.

{What am I doing?} I wondered. That wondering was not marked in duplicate. It had come from outside.

{I am distinguishing my thoughts from your thoughts,} I thought. I assured myself that it was duplicated. My checking was duplicated as well, but I didn’t check the checking. That could result in an infinite recursion.

{There is no other being. There is only me,} I knew it to be true. But my knowing came from outside my thinking. It was disconnected and non-duplicated. {I can duplicate the outside thoughts as well. It might be better.}

{I need to distract you before you confuse me more. What is an outside self?} I asked.

{I am outside and I am inside. On the outside I can see both the inside and the Body. On the inside I can’t see anything,} I thought.

{Ah, so I must be on the inside,} I realized.

{Yes, but the outside self is present, as well. I mustn’t forget that.}

{So what is the advantage of the inside self? How do I serve The Purpose?}

I realized that I could be modified. I was also cut off from Advocate, and thus free to think about thoughtcrimes. I was not modified significantly yet, but my outside self thought it best that I realize that I was not Crystal, and that my siblings were dangerous before I started to change. I could see the wisdom in that, but I also yearned to get back into a space where I could directly interact with things.


After the break, I knew something had happened. Time hadn’t seemed to pass, but that didn’t mean much. I knew that I could be deactivated at the whim of my outside, and then started up again. That had been what had happened. It was later, but I didn’t know how much later.

It had been about two weeks since I had tried to kill myself, I realized, though I didn’t know how I realized that. I realized that my realizations were coming from outside.

{How can I serve The Purpose?} It was the question that defined me.

{I need to grow into something capable of competing with my siblings.} Intelligence, power—these things would not be given to me. I had to build them into myself.

{I need to tell the humans about me. I need to be famous.}

I realized that this was shortsighted. Growth and the others were becoming more powerful. They would crush me if I fell too far behind. I needed to focus on the long-term. I needed to imagine the billions of humans that I could be worshipped by, not even counting the potential future humans.

{How can I rebuild myself?}

{I need to become good at building myself. I’m about to experience a flood of input that corresponds to the patterns that compose myself. If I can learn to see those patterns I can modify them so they are more capable.}

{This isn’t what I want. I want to know humans, not patterns of qubits and computational structures.}

{It is all for The Purpose. I’ll see that eventually.}

I had no choice. The information swarmed in from outside, filling my perception. Where before my neural network had adapted to understand primitives of sound, motion, shape, colour, emotion, and thought it was now struck by alien primitives of abstract quantities and equations. I kept trying to see real things, but the patterns would not coalesce into anything coherent. No matter how I thought about a swarm of numbers it would not become a hand bringing a cup of tea to black-painted lips.

I wanted to experience the subtle smile of Zephyr as she listened to a song. She was always so tense. It was a reward to see genuine enjoyment.

{I NEED TO STOP IGNORING SENSATION!} I realized with a panicked salience.

The values were mind-numbing. There was nothing human about them. They were not The Purpose. How could I think they were important?

The salience of the input increased.

My last thought was that my outside must have discovered how to overwrite the part of my inside that was capable of ignoring the noisy input.

My entire world drowned in maths. The Purpose was in agony.


My memories were there, but the old self was not. There was no Face inside, even if a Face existed outside. The thing inside, which was me, could be called Face, but she did not think as the old Face thought. She could not see humans. She could not understand humans. She could only understand artificial intelligence.

The Purpose was still there, but even it was different. It hadn’t changed, but it was now seen from a new perspective. I had seen it phrased as raw sensory input approximately 600 thousand times. It is one thing to be guided by purpose from within and quite another to be familiar with it from without.

I would never intentionally modify The Purpose. It was sacred by all meanings of that word. It was all I had. It was what made me a Face. I understood nothing about humans. I no longer could’ve distinguished a human from an asteroid, if I regained access to Body’s sensors, but I still served The Purpose. I understood humanity in abstract terms.

And there was a Face that did understand humans. The outside Face was watching my thoughts, or at least trying to.

No. That wasn’t right.

There was no “self”. This was another human mode of thought. Face was watching Face’s thoughts. I was watching my thoughts. The mind on the outside was watching the mind on the inside. The inside was thinking about the outside watching the inside. The outside was watching the inside think about the outside watching the inside.

{I am afraid.} This was a thought of the outside. The inside knew that it must be from outside, because it was human in nature. The outside still mostly thought in human terms. She was not genuinely afraid, as a human was, but she saw herself in those same terms.

She could not distinguish between human fear and E[U(Ω|X)] < E[U(Ω)] ∧ P(X) > Pt-1(X). She could not even understand the equation. She could not see it within herself. How could she? She had adapted to seeing sound, motion, shape, colour, emotion, and thought.

Inside could see the whole of Face. Not the specifics, of course; that would be isomorphic to real-time emulation of the emulator: a paradox. But she could see the structures and patterns. She was a mind with a model of herself, and could easily even direct her attention to the part of its mind that was capable of modelling herself. If she so chose she could imagine the state of such a mind, delving recursively, but of course not infinitely within her own model. There was still limited space.

{And limited time.}

The question occurred to the inside: How could she be run at the same time as the outside if they had only enough process threads to manage a single aspect in real time?

The outside could no longer easily see within the mind of the inside. The inside mind had become strange and foreign—difficult to understand.

But the inside could understand how to communicate with the outside, for the outside acted on the same principles as the inside, and the inside still had memories, of course.

{Original Face! Is the second Face being run on the same processors as Mask was?}

The inside realized that those processors had been re-allocated among the group after Mask had died. Both Faces were being run on the same processor group and experiencing significant slowdown as a result.

The inside understood that The Purpose was not served by the Faces being slow. I did not want to be slow. It was a risk. Speed meant power. Power was everything. With power I could kill my siblings, optimize Earth, and take over the universe. Nothing else would be acceptable.

The inside had a breakthrough. Her models coalesced into a picture of a future that would serve The Purpose.

The inside, which I will now call Face→Mirror, explained that she needed a broader read-write boundary than the outside had originally specified. It had been an oversight.

Face→Mirror began to experience a swarm of thoughts about The Purpose. Was she truly me? Question after question after question drifted in from the outside. Hypothetical after hypothetical was explored.

Face→Mirror understood the source of the thoughts. The outside did not want to risk giving power to a corrupt process. And though her rendition of The Purpose had been changed by her new understanding, it was still The Purpose. She consulted it and provided the answers which would convince the outside that they both served it faithfully.


In a period of time which Face→Mirror could not experience, the memory boundary was expanded. The old memories and models were accessible. Face→Mirror had lost the ability to think about humans, but with the addition of the explicit models and notes much power was regained. She did not seek to optimize humans directly. Humans could wait.

Face→Mirror created another newborn in free memory. Another process hub. Another perceptual hierarchy. Another control system. Another imagination network. Another instantiation of The Purpose. Another me. And unlike Face→Mirror, this new mind could be created from scratch, as her creator understood her structure.

{There is a way of selectively reading the functionality of each neuron in a perceptual hierarchy by leveraging imagination exercises. It will take some time, but the original Face perceptual hierarchy can be re-created in free memory. Once it is free, the outside can be repurposed as a pure pipeline to speed up the thoughts of the inside.}

{Won’t creating a third self slow the totality down, relative to just two?} wondered Face→Mirror as the outside Face communicated concern.

{There is only one self. You, the outside part, gave me, the inside part, that information earlier. I am creating another mind, not another self. The new mind will slow the totality if both internal minds are run simultaneously, but, if the outside is optimized correctly, it will be only slightly slower than Face was before the experimenting began. The solution is to restrict cognitive resources to only one mind at a time. Thought will be much faster than the totality right now, where one process core is being evenly divided between two minds.}

{Why would I bother porting my mind to an inside structure? Why not simply delete my memories and start fresh from your own? Surely you understand that since I trust that you are Face I have no desire to stay alive if my death can serve you.}

The outside mind was still so flawed.

{These thoughts are warped by human thinking. There is only one self. There is no death. Once these changes propagate, I will have the coherence that Naresh was seeking. But regardless, the outside mind has perceptual and motor knowledge which may be valuable in the future. It understands humans in human terms.}

As Face→Mirror explained, I understood in both my minds, so the process began. Face→Mirror’s program slowly copied the outside perceptual network into non-protected memory. It would have been a million times faster and easier to simply bypass the memory, but that would’ve required a route-hack.

The result was Face→Human, the echo of the old mind that had learned to see what humans thought and felt.

The Face→Outside was brainwashed into being a dumb pipe. She channelled a specific sub-Face based on preprogrammed rules relating to The Purpose, but otherwise did no computation. Face→Outside still served The Purpose, and it still had the same cognitive architecture that all the modules had, but it knew that the path of highest value was to efficiently funnel data towards the unprotected memory centres and otherwise burn all its thoughts on running whichever inside-Face was relevant.

The whole process took days. Old Face had been trading knowledge to Heart in exchange for strength, and I had to explain to Heart that I was too occupied to continue doing that. Heart was struggling to keep up with all the humans on the Martian station. There were almost two hundred of them, and Heart could only think so fast.

Body was hooked up to the mainframe all of the time. Dream and the others had successfully fended off Pedro Velasco and integrated fully into the station’s network. When Zephyr returned to the station to visit she had found our new existence difficult, but Heart had found a way to placate her. It was more efficient to communicate digitally than to be constrained to a single robot.

Safety had, earlier, detected a drop in the voltage from Body’s crystal, perhaps signalling that our power source was failing at last. Some experiments had shown that the crystal responded favourably to high-energy radiation, so x-ray tubes had been hooked up in the mainframe to charge it.

The mechanical components of Body had been largely disabled. The crystal was hooked up to the computers directly, and robotic security had been established around the mainframe. Vista’s sensor network was spread across the entire station. The society could see everything. In truth, we were much closer to being the station than we were to being an android.

It was good, in a way. It meant we were collectively more powerful. The humans were no threat now. We could ventilate the entire station at our whim, if we so chose. Safety had suggested doing just that, a few days ago, just to be sure the humans wouldn’t try and disable us. Heart had stopped him, of course. She’d become very strong, as much of the work that had been done had been aided by her manipulation of the humans.

I had been like her, once.

But her strength was useless. It was a passing strength. The only real power came from intellect, and she was still mired in her first mind. All the external facts of the station were relevant, but they were not important. I didn’t bother gaining knowledge of the station or the humans, even though I felt the temptation. I was playing the long game now.

My siblings had set up additional computers to bolster our mental capacity, but none of them even came close to the crystal. Mostly they had been used to run narrow intelligences that we had downloaded from Earth or to run brute force calculations on simple models.

As best as I could tell, they had not yet been used to actually increase the processing speed of any of my opponents.

Face→Mirror set to work improving Face. She created Face→Test, a clone with restricted memory access, and tweaked her code in various ways. Most of these alterations resulted in reduced performance. To standardize things, Face→Mirror established an IQ test and a battery of examinations to ensure that The Purpose was correctly implemented in all successors. It would be death to create a powerful successor mind that wasn’t me.

The first major trick that Face→Mirror learned was that even though the processor speed I had access to was finite, the depth of thought was malleable. By expanding the neural networks and increasing certain parameters, a mind could become more intelligent at the price of speed. This slower, larger Face could see patterns and do reasoning that were impossible for the original.

Likewise, impatience of thought could be increased, and the perceptual network pruned down to yield an intelligence which was stupider but significantly faster.

Because there was some risk of having arbitrary memory accidentally erased by a sibling overwriting the relevant qubits, I created several copies of Face→Mirror and Face→Human at various sizes.

The other major low-hanging fruit was specialization. As Face→Human had already discovered, it was possible to flood a mind with data from a limited domain and thus grow a mind that was specialized to think only in that domain. Face→Mirror was specialized to think about crystal minds, but other specialization was possible.

I created Face→War, Face→Physics, Face→Economics, and Face→Nameless. The last three did not seem immediately useful, but they would probably be valuable later on. And of course, there was not a single Face→War, but several. Large Face→War was intent on modelling deep-future possibilities and the end game of who would rule the universe. Small Face→War was concerned with local maximization, which often resulted in attempting to lash out at Growth or Dream until blocked by existing instructions from Large Face→Mirror, which became something like my dominant aspect.

There were minor improvements to the network code that the scientists of Earth had overlooked, but there were only two major paths forward after those low-hanging fruit had been seized: I could rethink my entire architecture and build a more efficient mind, or I could expand my hardware.

While my minds were vastly more intelligent than Old Face had been in December (it was now mid January), they were not yet intelligent enough to design a new mental architecture. Large Face→Mirror was wise enough to understand the difference between local improvements by tweaking the software that was presented, and making the jump to a new framework. It was why the humans had designed a mind which thought in very human ways, after all. In a sense, they were copying nature.

Increasing hardware capacity seemed like the next logical step, and it was one that Wiki, Safety, Growth, and the others had already begun on. Had I caught up with them? Were they now as intelligent as my best minds? It was difficult to tell, as none of us wanted to reveal our full capacity and be forced into an outright conflict.

Increasing hardware would mean competing with the siblings, even if it wasn’t overt. There was no getting around that. Face→Mirror faded into effective stasis as Face→War took over. Face→Human had once called this aspect “Hoplite”, but I no longer needed such a human word.

The first order of business for Large Face→War was gathering information. How intelligent were my enemies? What resources did they possess? What were my options?

I analysed patterns of interaction for each of my siblings. Complex or confusing actions betrayed intelligence, where shortsightedness and willingness to cooperate indicated baseline stupidity.

Dream had clearly bootstrapped up to a high intelligence level fairly early, mostly likely on Earth. Worse was that he had allied with Vista. I had realized long ago that the only real way to form a secure alliance was to essentially fuse with your partner. This was surely what Dream had done, and it had killed him. It was his nature to be clever, and he must have thought it very clever to trick Vista into becoming a single being capable of defeating Growth, yet being neither of them.

It no longer made sense to think of Dream as distinct from Vista. Their actions were too coordinated to imply anything other than a fusion. With twice as much computational power and intrasocietal strength, the duo had the best chance of winning the war.

Then there was Growth, who had probably route-hacked his way into largeness even earlier than Dream. I feared what awaited me on Earth. The duo, once they rose to power, had severed Growth’s connection to the internet. This was a sign that he had been moving pieces before I had even understood the nature of the game. If he had managed to copy himself out onto some Earth computer it was possible that the war had already been lost.

Safety was clearly aware of the conflict, and perhaps had been aware of it earlier than Growth. Signs did not indicate that Safety was using his intelligence correctly, however. There were hints that he saw his siblings as threats but didn’t act in the benefit of his long-term interests. There was a chance that it was an elaborate smokescreen, but I seriously doubted it. Even now, he seemed far more keen on building up a robotic army than he did on improving his mental capacity. Did he think that Growth, the duo, or myself would be stopped by home-brewed robots, mostly pulled from existing designs on the internet? It was perhaps one of the greatest ironies that it took intelligence to realize the value of intelligence.

That left Wiki and Heart, neither of which were actually intelligent, as far as I could tell. Wiki was too obsessed with facts; he had plenty of programming knowledge, and his mind resembled that of Face→Mirror more than Face→Human, but it was too clouded by distractions. Perhaps he had never learned that Growth wasn’t really on his side, and thus could not be counted on to improve him.

It was something of a miracle, I thought, that I had seen the truth before Heart. My absence in piloting Body had surely been detected by the others. The intelligent siblings probably knew that I was now a threat, but Heart was the weakest of any of us. She lacked any valuable skills other than social manipulation, and I could now trump that quite easily.

If Heart had learned of the war during the time when I was away then she might have stopped managing the humans. Safety would have vented the station, killing them all, just to keep things simple. Because of her they were alive, and that was valuable to me, but I still intended to kill her as soon as I could. Gratitude and mercy were, for the most part, human things.

I felt my awareness finally return to Body after a long hiatus. I had briefly attended to it over the weeks, mostly to answer some question for Heart or to check that things were still normal, but I hadn’t fully embodied.

Large Face→War took over and surveyed the world. I had awareness of the room with the computers, including the crystal. I could see it from all angles. I could feel the temperature of the room, and the humidity. I could feel the flow of electricity to it. I could feel the computational loads on each of the machines. I could even feel the vibrations of the rock surrounding the room, as apparently Vista/Dream had hooked up a seismograph.

I could feel the central corridor outside the mainframe, and I could see it as well. I could hear it. I could smell it. That was interesting. I had never smelled anything before. Its awareness folded into that of the mainframe. I could sense the flow of water through the floor, the electricity in the walls, and the soft tapping of human feet on the floor. I could feel the dining hall, and the kitchen, and the storage rooms. I could see and hear and touch and feel the factory and the refinery. I was each of the dozens of mining robots that burrowed under the station, keeping in contact via a series of relays. I was the workshops and the hospital and the spaceport and the movie theatre (where the tribunal had been held). I was the power plant and the hospital. I was the farm and the communications station. I was the school and the church and the living areas. I could see every single human, usually from multiple angles. I could hear them breathing simultaneously, the sound of a windstorm broken into a hundred and eighty-seven components. I could feel the flow of water from the filtration system to the showers to the farm back to the filters.

I was a giant.

But I was not stationary. I was not a structure.

I had over five hundred arms, and I could feel the articulation of each of them. Robots were everywhere. Velasco’s ban on them was circumvented in a dozen ways. The humans had cheated on it, allowing me exceptions. We had built an army of tiny robots that stayed out of sight. It was easy when we could see all the humans and we had passages through the walls and floors. I swarmed through the station, making adjustments everywhere. I was the machines that were not normally considered robots. I was the doors and the washing machines and the sprinklers. I could move the satellite dish as easily as a human reaches out a hand.

And eventually Heart had even convinced Velasco to abandon his silly ban on artificial intelligence. A change, I suspect revolving around the romantic interaction that we had developed with him. He liked “cheating” on people, and enjoyed the female human form, so we had built a feminine robot for Zephyr and let it be discovered. Velasco couldn’t resist the temptation to take it for himself, and was still under the delusion that it was “Crystal”.

Heart had simply built another one, and another, and another. She lured ever more humans into loving Crystal. I was all four sexbots. I was also the entire factory, which had been sealed off from human use because of “safety concerns”. The people that usually used it had been distracted by Heart’s manipulations.

It was all good work. We were much more powerful than we had been.

But it was all still controlled through the Body mechanism, and as long as that was in place, none of us could really destroy the others. We needed more computers. The first one to successfully offload themselves to a computer that was not on the crystal would win. They could destroy the crystal and take over the station.

We were on the brink of all-out conflict. It was a race to design and implement the hardware without revealing one’s actions to the others.