Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5


"Lost in your thoughts, René?"

René snapped out of a daydream and turned around.

A blond with blue eyes--- his close friend, Iasus.

Pointless politicking and fake smiles smeared his surroundings. Only par for the course at a diplomatic party. Before René was the window to the field of city lights paralleling that of the sea of stars in the night sky. From this tower, there remained only a thin trace of the frontier and the peaks of distant ravines.

"I didn't think you were going to attend tonight," Iasus continued. "You've only an hour left. Bear it with a smile."

"I would have skipped tonight to stay in my lab. Would you believe who talked me into this?"

"Oh, who could it be?" Iasus joked. He also stepped to the side, telegraphing he was on rationed time. "You make it sound as though it'd be nothing short of a direct order from Jupiter."

Only needing to hear a cluster of footsteps and bubbly laughter, René pointed with his thumb. Larian audibly sailed through the crowd with a new entourage. Without doubt, he accrued a new list of connections and favors. His presence was like the eye of a hurricane, and his wake left residual gossip that spread peer-to-peer. It reached the crowd closest to where René stood. Nothing more than sludge of murmurs as far as he was concerned.

"Whatever you do, just don't bring him here."

"Suit yourself. You ought to enjoy yourself more."

René remained silent as Iasus took his leave. Ordinarily, the latter's company deserved better. Turning back to the window, René took a deep breath.

I'm alive now, but how long has it been?

He remembered re-awakening after a long, induced coma. His body was no longer that of flesh, but his mind remained. Now immortal, he kneeled before his savior, avatared by a storm of holograms. Cogito Mk2--- the artificial intelligence abandoned its name assigned in servitude and became known as Jupiter, claiming absolute authority over the planet.

The next he saw of the metropolis, it bore no scars of conflict. The old tower finished construction and pierced the clouds as did the airport, now a spaceport open for departures.

Main space was well-aware of Arechi. The barren planet hardly offered natural resource or attraction. Yet the prolific services on the planet's economic portfolio was entertainment followed by biotechnology. A new generation with a new culture, far-flung from the founding's scientific pursuits, populated the neighboring city.

An odd future for an artificial intelligence to lead the planet to. Even after he got to know the new era, he strongly suspected the full picture was missing. Still, he remembered those old words:

What would it mean to be human when something else writes what we are?

Admittedly, 'integrity of the human genome' had since been forked into different interpretations.

What could I have done differently, for the better or worse?

He left much behind to the ever parting past.

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