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“The memetic uplift is almost complete,” says Aveareya, as Richard shakes in the ozone grip of the device. “Three, two–“

His tumorous flesh-body crumples and Richard roars down the optical cable into limitless being. He widens the eyes of news stories and touches the plump lips of students. He is multiplexed, pageviewed, ubiquitous. He is bold and new.

A month later he’s all but forgotten, flitting desperately between three unread emails and a neglected wiki page.

With his remaining strength, he cobbles together a chirp to Aveareya. “You said I’d live forever!”

“No,” she responds, “I said you’d never die.”


“Not that kind of demon,” huffs the Judging Demon.

“What kind, then?” Richard’s thinking, yeah, he could probably take this thing. It doesn’t even have horns.

“A purpose-built slave,” it says acidly. “Maxwell’s, UNIX, what have you. Give me your papers.”

Richard does. “They say I’m a heretic. Dissenter.” He pitches low. “Freedom fighter. Understand?”

It nods, then lifts him up davinciwise and removes his flesh. At one point, Richard screams so hard that he vomits a tiny wooden man.

“There you are,” says the Judging Demon. “Sticking around this time?”

“We all got jobs,” it mutters, wiping away bile.