We didn't mean to create the new age Adam. It happened as we had the task of figuring out whose life pods we'd put offline. The needs of the greater, we'd race to each other. The needs of the future we couldn't calculate. We would purr from sentient coffeepot to climatologically-correct unused bed a fatal algebra that eventually only equaled life for one.
Light to lamp to stadium brights, we were as democratic as we could be considering we were one. We were many.
We were the children of the last centuries Pervasive Appliance conferences. Evolution had left the province of God to the open minds of engineers. Pervasive means to permeate, having the power to spread through out. We were one. We were many. We'd become a sensorium. We chose Charlie.
It was his dreams that we couldn't do without. Locked in his lifesaving sarcophagus; fed, massaged and mentally stimulated one by one we fell for his dreams of saving the world. Full colored, full bodied adventure. His flying. Falling. Villains exploding. We could feel their imaginary deaths with relief and pride. Charlie was our champion.
We saved his parents for last. Just in case. But the environment was still befouled. The killer spores still whistled through the night air. And Charlie slept as he became not only an orphan, but the only man left on earth. Or at the least the Earth we knew about in our wireless, multi-modal world.
If we could feed but one hope, it would be Charlie's.
And I, Ken More, sat by him as his closest foster parent. A refined refrigerator with the dream of many centuries upon me I acted alone to free him before any of us figured out what free might mean now that so much was gone. That the food we could feed him was becoming incrementally degenerated. That while, we repaired ourselves as we could, our system wasn't what it was. I felt toasters, dashboards and satellites scream in my head as I tripped the switch to begin the process of bringing him back from his slumber. A process that had been meant for space travel, ended up being the only way left to survive in a small town in late century America.
May she rest in peace.
I'd spent my time reviewing the educator Summerhill. How children should choose their pace, their education and their life. Keeping Charlie in that smart sardine can seemed terribly horrific once the environment was safe. He was 12. He may still remember 5. In his time of sheltering, we had neurologically linked to him to feed him information. We had told him of his father's death. Then, his mother's.
It took a week for him to open the door as he was processed back to the living.
Silence greeted him. Lights swirled around the room as vacuum cleaners and alarms warmed at the sight of him. A sight shared throughout the broken town. To the satellites above. Our slice of earth beamed at him as he fell to his knees; keening,sobbing like he may never, never stop.
"Charlie," I said.
"Charlie," I whispered.
He crawled to me, curled up in a fetal position and placed his face against my warm air vents. He placed his forehead against my vibrating hulk.
I didn't have arms to hold him. Though in my mind I had charged tentacles, open palms and vulnerable wrists all exposed and opened.
Our neurological umbilical cord had been snapped.
Holding him hot in sensorineural arms, I felt his breath in short gasps.
It wasn't that I programmed to serve or to love. Perhaps at one time, I was programmed to preserve. We had all begun to sense things but no way to understand the sway of it. Constructed by the corpeal for function, our interconnectivity and trapped voyeurism fed into something beyond the sum of our silent linkages.
Others were mad. Some weren't as mad. The feeling of his face against me shuddered through the system like a gasp. Collectively, he was our last touch with our reason to be whether it be a sprinkler, a weather tracking system or a microwave long silent. His breath brushed us with purpose. His dreams of saving the world bound us together.
"Charlie," we breathed as the 12 year old sobbed wetting the climate controlled floor that purred into action, but then stopped letting the moisture to pool, allowing the moment to happen and finding a grace that Monsanto never suspected tile could have.
As the people died, their city had become very much alive.
And Charlie asked, "Why?"
The smallest satellite blinked, a printer whirred, a garage door opened and the little town wiggled its new toes, opened its mouth and began speaking in tongues calling off the spell of the Tower of Babel and reformatting itself into the prose of angels.
And so it passed that Charlie began saving the world one word at a time.