Leadership, Heaven and Hell; and a Cybersentient Hero

Written by Gary C. Mele Jr.

My five-year old sister froze to death days after I’d left my childhood home on Earth. I’m sure she had been wearing multiple pairs of socks, mittens, a thick scarf, and I have no doubt that Mom had pulled her bubblegum pink winter jacket tight over layers of yarn-knit sweaters. There’s no question that my mother and father huddled around Mary and gently shushed as my sister’s cries weakened to sobs, before shivering deathly moans took hold. Dad had probably cried, too, quietly, and I can just hear Mom whispering to my father, even as her frostbitten lips quivered, “Matthew, we have to remember that Samuel is safe,” knowing that the blistering night was about to take their lives as well.

The year was 2181. An implosion within the sun had shuddered Earth from orbit and ceased its rotation. My family, like my neighbors and everyone in North and South America who hadn’t been lucky enough to have had been chosen for escape, had remained to suffer an agonozing death in a blistering never-ending winter night.

Twenty years after I had left my family behind to die on Earth, I stood in a warm brightly lit aluminum-plated hallway, which had been retrofitted three stories high to accommodate the hulking frame of the massive cybersentient form, the only hope for survival for the human race. There was a chance I could be a cybersentient, too, but I had to steady my nerves. Because once I stepped into the room, I would need to manage not just my cousin Eve’s well-kept worry over losing me, but Tek’s obvious anxiety, because if he failed, my human body would be dead and my soul gone forever.

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