"For your betrayal, you must keep us safe." The whispered words echoed in Ilyich's ears as the blackness receded. His bleary eyes blinked open, showing him the smooth, translucent deck of one of the great Arks. He pushed himself to his feet, standing against the dizziness. The great, smooth deck swept out before him, dotted with low structures grown of the same pale material. He could feel the gentle swell of the water holding him aloft.
He couldn't walk. Looking down, he saw the flexible material of the deck grown over his feet. Following it, he saw he had no covering but the elegant feathers of the keepers of the Arks. He was the ship.
People boarded him. They made their homes in the Ark's structures and below decks, and ate from the gardens that grew there. They tried to befriend their keeper, who would protect them on the waters. He would only mutter or yell, "I was a man."
On the day of departure, they asked where he would take them. "Nowhere," he answered. He flexed his new muscles, his deck and halls. He forced them out, and sailed away. "Better to go mad in solitude than serve you."