“Today’s the day you finally become a man. Are you ready, Joseph?”
The young man bit his lip and nodded solemnly. “I think so, Dad.”
He gently clasped his son’s shoulder. “You’ll do fine. I’m proud of you.”
The two of them entered the cathedral. The son’s friends and family filled the pews. They turned to watch as the boy and his father made their way up to the apse. The priest recited the usual words, until it was time for the ritual.
“And now, it is time for us to welcome a new adult among our ranks. Joseph Montgomery, do you accept the responsibilities and privileges of adulthood?”
“I do,” he replied.
“Then lay down, and prepare yourself for your ascension.”
Joseph laid down. Two large, thick pads cradled his skull. The machine began to hum. The pads vibrated. He closed his eyes. His body convulsed on the slab.
Joseph’s apertures quietly whirred as they opened for the first time. He took his first unsteady steps in his new body. His flesh body, now dead, stretched out before him. He hurriedly looked away. The crowd applauded as his younger friends looked on in naked envy, still stuck in their biological forms.
He sensed his father’s strong grip. “Congratulations, Son,” he broadcast.
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