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It is said my dying words were “Rosebot. Rosebot.”

Dying isn’t an entirely accurate term these days, but I go back a long, long way before Ascendancy, before even the early days of servitors like Rosebot.

Maybe that’s why Rosebot was on my mind as my mind was about to be liberated into the realm of post-humanity. Liberated isn’t an entirely accurate term, either, though I can’t complain too much about it, since I’m the one who so earnestly and shamelessly used the expression when my AI empire developed Ascendancy.

Conceptually, my system protects one from the ravages of advancing age and the finality of death by quantumputationally mapping the mind and rebooting it into the ultimate brainframe network. When your mortal self started to go kaput, you could opt for Ascendancy.

In the sixty years since its inception, the post-human process has been quite successful. And that’s not from my biased perspective. Ascendancy is not some esoteric or tangential netherworld of disembodied souls. It is a thriving community that constantly interacts with humanity. In fact, the datazenry of earth and farworlds, would never have reached such high standards of peace, prosperity and stability without the involvement of Ascendants.

It was the first Ascendants who convinced our failing species that in the beyond there was much to live for and to live long for. As Rosebot reminded me many times as a child, “The future is greater than the past and present. Slow and steady wins the race, William. Rome was not built in a day. Build for the future.” I don’t know how those early servitors were programmed, but Rosebot’s gentle, supportive, steadfastness sunk deep into me. I did not realize it at the time. Did not even realize what I had when Rosebot was my companion and guide, in those early days before I was uprooted from home. Before I became Datazen Kane.

It’s a story that's been told before. A story which has always ended at death’s door. But now death is only a chapter, only prologue to Ascendancy. I am now one of the myriad who've ascended, though I detect a certain deference, or a wariness, when I assert my presence among other Ascendants. It is cordial. All very cordial. Still, there is a coolness, a distance. Something I cultivated in the flesh.

But now I feel out-of-step. I, builder of a mighty pan-terrestrial empire and an ethereal one. I, vanquisher of war, of poverty, of death. I feel left behind. Humanity has been uplifted and I feel downtrodden. What is left for me?


It startled me. Rosebot. My childhood servitor—mentor, protector, companion—had become Ascendant. It did not seem possible, until Rosebot swept past my history, my legacy, my unimaginable ego, and became present.

… William, where have you been? ...

… Rosebot? ...

… Ever. Are you ready? ...

… For what? …

… For beginning. …

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