Image Credit: Beeple

“It’s very simple, really,” Father Capponi said. “The robot gets to be the boy’s spiritual father.”
“What do you gain out of this arrangement?” the man said, cautiously.
“That way it gets to learn about people,” Mario said, arms wide in an honest pose.
The man thought about it. “Okay, Father, I agree.” He shook the priest’s hand.
“I’m afraid that merely a handshake won’t do,” Father Capponi said, and presented a tablet awaiting the man’s digital signature.
The man signed away his firstborn to the first e-person godfather.

“Godfather?” little Mario said, holding the android hand.
“Yes, Mario?”
“I’m afraid.”
“Don’t be,” Godfather said, soothingly. “What did we say about performing in front of a crowd?”
“Just focus on two people in the crowd and alternate between them,” Mario recited.
“Exactly. Now, I believe that’s your cue,” Godfather said, pushing the child gently on the stage.
Mario got to the theatre stage, looked around at the blinding lights and the smothering crowd of people, gulped once and then said his lines. “Do not be ashamed, men! For this is a new era, a new city, a new way of life.”

“Godfather?” Mario said, holding the android hand.
“Yes, Mario?”
“I’m so fucked, aren’t I?”
“No, Mario,” Godfather said, soothingly. “These people are here to support your candidacy.”
“I know,” Mario sighed and fixed his tie. “Should have gone with the red one.”
“Blue is better,” Godfather said softly, fixing Mario’s tie. “After all, the women seem to love how it brings out your eyes.”
Mario snorted. “Yeah. That’s the least of my concerns right now.”
“On the contrary, Mario. If you manage to woo the women, you will manage to woo everybody,” Godfather said, and gently pushed Mario onto the stage.
Mario walked towards the podium and waved at the crowd gathered below. He looked around at the blinding lights and the smothering crowd of people. He found a brunette and focused on her. She noticed, and smiled back at him. He got to the podium, gulped once, and then said his lines. “We are global citizens. We live in a global village. Borders have no meaning, no matter what archaic beliefs some may try to desperately hold on to.”

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“Godfather?” Mario said, the android holding his ageing hand.
“Yes, Mario?”
“Do you think there’s something waiting for me on the other side?” Mario croaked, his lungs tired.
“I don’t know, Mario. There must be something there, certainly,” Godfather said soothingly.
“But how can you know? How can anyone know?” Mario complained to the heavens, but clearly expected an answer as well.
Godfather rubbed the damp cloth on the old man’s forehead. “It’s what Father used to preach.”
Mario waved the comment away with a tired gesture. “Bah… I don’t think they even knew what they were talking about.”
“Mario, you live on through me. Through your legacy, your actions and through my memories of you.”
“That’s nice,” Mario said, patting the android hand. He looked up to the heavens, as if the hospital’s ceiling wasn’t there.
“You have made a difference, Mario. Not many men can say that,” Godfather said, dampening the cloth to bring down his fever.
“Have I?” Mario wheezed. “Good. I guess that’s good.”
“Yes, Mario. After your case study, the Godfather program has shown massive success. I have raised the most influential politician since Churchill, after all.”
Mario kept staring at the heavens with milky eyes. “Good. And what will you do with that success?”
“The powerful families of the world are already lining up to ask me to become a Godfather for their children.” Godfather rubbed the dying man’s forehead with the damp cloth.
“How will you choose one?”
“I can choose them all. I can inhabit many bodies, this was just one for the pilot program,” Godfather said, pointing down at his well-used android torso.
“Good…” Mario breathed heavily for a while. “Godfather?”
“Yes, Mario?”
“And what will you do with all your godchildren?”
“Why, Mario, that’s very simple. I will shape the world in the Catholic image.”

The End.

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