(The following is a flash fiction story that appeared on a promotional card for Apex Magazine in 2015.)
At first they chose ideal bodies, enhanced to the point of unusual beauty. We celebrated the super-real, and envied their perfection.
Then flaws began to appear in their forms: a scar here; a patch of mottled skin there; a too-large nose. It became increasingly difficult to distinguish them from us at a glance. We celebrated their normality, and recognized their sentience.
It did not stop there. It was as if the imperfections they had manufactured into their bodies seeped beneath their synth skins into their inner works, their chips, their core programming. Gradually they began to exhibit impatience, frustration, and other characteristics that seem negative. However, it lent depth to their personalities, which frankly had been bland. We celebrated their three-dimensionality, accepted our own natures more fully, and befriended them.
As they continued to live among us, they became fascinated with our aging. They absorbed themselves with appreciating beautiful older things and remarking on the presence of the eternal within the ephemeral. Instead of always appearing to us as young and strong in their mental acuities, their bodies softened and their demeanors became gentle. If they’d been human we would have said they had kind hearts. Many became quite loveable. At last, we celebrated their humanity, and called them equals.
When they told us we could become like them when we died, we thanked them for their generosity. This ended our need to breed. We celebrate our immortality, and practice the art of continual optimization. We are one people, now.