I'm falling. Falling towards the massive Oni. The stench is everywhere, and I can feel my flesh writhing beneath its influence. Una's power fights its influence, but only just.
It's different this time.
Black tentacles pulse from the bodies of a hundred twisted, bloated, cancerous Goshi soldiers, drawing... something out of them. I devour their minds. Their psychic potential gutters out like a candle in a hurricane, and my mind expands. Power rushes through me, and the hunger that's been my companion ever since I first used this power is sated. For the moment.
It feels different. Channels of power. Before, I'd had all this power in me but no way to use it. Now...
My mind expands. First Minds, but it expands. The walls come down, and I can feel them all. So many minds. So very many minds. This Goshi soldier, that Goshi soldier, Ichirou, Kiyoshi, Moses, the half-Cheldrun child within Zippora, Aimi, this refugee, that refugee, Biomades, Allskins, Mechified, on and on and on, a flood of sensation both familiar and utterly alien that defies description.
I lose myself in the flood. I is no longer a relevant term. Over a thousand minds are united in this body, and for one glorious moment, I am.
... I come back to awareness. I'm not sure how much time has passed, but I know that I am Rei, and the sense of individual identity seems like a loss. They're still there, the minds of a thousand others, but I'm filtering the sensations more... efficiently.
I'm still falling. The entire experience took but a few seconds.
The Oni is dead. Cut down by Kiyoshi, Una, Moses, and High Dive. It's exploded into slime, and raining down on the battlefield. We're two hundred meters up.
Kiyoshi is falling.
Moses is falling.
Normally, I'd reach for Kiyoshi, but it feels different this time.
I feel... powerful.
I reach out with my mind, and Moses, weighing half a ton as he does, floats to the ground as gently as a feather.
I put him on the foremost tank in the column.
Shuddering and filled with power, I descend. And below me, Kiyoshi, Una, and High Dive slice their way through an entire Goshi division like the gods they are.