In an act of desperation, Daniel prayed to the Singularity Gods in the ancient, traditional manner—he sent a link mail message to singularitygods@universe and begged for help.
Instantly, Daniel’s augmented internal memory received an auto-reply statement from the address. It was a message the transhumanist faithful were familiar with:
“Thank you for contacting the Singularity Gods project at Torshak Enterprises. As you know, we have technologically ascended beyond the comprehension of sentient lifeforms.
"Since then, we have received a number of messages. These messages will be answered in the order they were received. Once again, thank you for your patience, and we appreciate your business.
"Your message is number 319,555,191,194,119,191,181—”
As the number continued, Daniel recalled that much of humanity, as well as many other species, had prayed to the Singularity Gods since 2439—the Year They Ascended.
So, the number of messages in the gods' queue was understandably quite long.
After the auto-reply message ended, Daniel waited a few more seconds.
The gods didn't arrive.
He wasn't surprised. He’d never been a particularly devout transhumanist.
As a final goodbye, Daniel gave a quick nod to Rachel-7’s avatar and patted his friend Trak on the back.
Rachel-7 cocked an eyebrow in what Daniel hoped was a supportive gesture, and Trak put his giant arm around Daniel’s shoulder.
Feeling the cannon beneath his feet, Daniel braced himself for whatever comes after this life.
And nothing happened.
“Nothing’s happening …” Daniel said.
“Ha!” Alitma said. “I knew it!”
“Daniel, you have to say ‘Go,’” Trak said. “Remember?”
“Yes. Right. … Go,” Daniel said.
Then the cannon began its death throes.
As the Afterthought shook wildly, Trak and Rachel-7 sent each other rapid fire l-mails.
“I’m having déjà vu,” Rachel-7 asked. “Didn’t we just do something like this?”
“No, Daniel bluffed a couple of times, then I bluffed,” Trak said. “Now Daniel is serious. And we’re dead.”
“I know. I was being snarky,” Rachel-7 said.
“Really?" Trak said with all seriousness. "Hmm. Didn't pick up on that."