Even posthumans need a childhood. Zǔ is now 6, and will receive three great gifts. Each of these gifts will define a future spanning huindreds of years and billions of lives, and it all begins here.
More importantly, this is the tale of a unique and lonely being finding their first true friend.
Also, a completely new way of communicating, the rise of of true AI, and a friendly lady made of forests More
Each story in this sequence is set five years apart in order to allow the tale to be determined by the content, not a frame, and so the voice and style of each is distinct.
As such, it is simpler to let it speak for itself than describe it:
Whatever fate awaits this inhuman creature, Zǔ will be a hero, and must receive puissant gifts. This is as it has always been, and always will be. The three kings from orient; a wolf, fox and crow; the mother, maiden, and crone.
The figures vary, but the song remains the same.
Each gift will define the adult Zǔ becomes. The first will give heritage, the combined force of what came before. The second will birthing a new language of power and ability. The third will bring life and strangeness where before there was only stasis and mundanity.
Great as they are, the gifts are not important to this tale. This is the story of a child finding their first and perhaps only true friend. The gifts mean little when compared to this child’s tearful joy, the simple knowledge that I am not alone.
There is a fourth and final gift, from a player long absent from the world of politics and power. This gift is the least influential but most important. It is an aegis that will protect and nurture Zǔ’s deepest self. Later, it will suffuse and consolidate this new friendship.
Mia’s gift will ensure that Zǔ reaches maturity as something other than a pawn, though Zǔ will not know of her until much later.
Not of Mia the person, at least.
Somewhere in the tropics
Mia floats is in deep water, swimming between shafts of bright sunlight like moments of rapture, soft bubbles rising from her breather. She turns lazily, and swims through a shoal of barracuda, marvelling as the silver tunnel breaks and reforms around her.
Thrusting downwards, she moves beneath an overhanging ledge. Mantas sweep gracefully up out of the depths to greet her, like diamond shadows of a sublime god. She settles into place, watching them dive joyously in the current.
She closes her eyes and focuses on a childhood memory, of a rocky beach and a sun that felt like it would last forever. The shadowed depths illuminate, projectors hidden in the reef and floating in the water bringing her control room to her.
She has never felt younger, she reflects, as her consciousness dissolves and she becomes inhuman.