Billy-Bob slept while Lasseter motioned to Akira and Paul to join him at the table, waving his hands silently. The sun was setting and the light coming in from the window became dimmer as the seconds passed. To conceal themselves from the drones, Billy-Bob disconnected the lights. The shadows grew long.
Akira lit a candle and pulled up the chairs. Paul, never without his coffee, sipped patiently while Lasseter drank from his flask. Akira sat motionless with hands folded.
“Our first séance,” Paul whispered.
“I’m not going to ask us to hold hands,” Lasseter came back.
“Then what’s this about?”
“It’s about time you knew the truth.”
“The truth about why this is a lot less about you than it is about her,” Lasseter nodded in Akira’s direction.
“Okay, you have my attention,” Paul replied, urging him on.
Lasseter adjusted his chair, took a long gulp from his flask, sat up with his back straight and began:
“There have already been several different species of humans on earth,” he said, looking directly into Paul’s eyes. “The hominid family was broad and robust, but only Homo Sapiens survived. Do you know why this is?”
“The answer to that question is long and complex.”
“No, the answer is simple.”
“Homo Sapiens were more adaptable, smarter, lived in larger groups and could more easily adapt to climate change than other branches of the Hominid family,” Paul answered.
“What’s the real answer?” Lasseter asked, picking up his flask and taking another sip.
“I have a feeling your about to tell me.”
Paul threw Akira a quick glance.
Lasseter nodded. “Homo Sapiens are the most vicious, psychotic creatures ever to exist on planet earth.”
Paul raised an eyebrow.
“Sapiens were only successful as a species because they destroyed and killed everything and anything that got in their way.”
The candle light flickered in the windless room, making the shadows look alive against the dim walls. Lasseter smiled.
“Sapiens continue to kill and destroy, meaning the very same characteristics that made you successful will destroy you and this entire planet.”
Lasseter reached across the table and caressed Akira’s shoulder. She allowed it.
“We’ve failed to adapt,” Paul responded.
“That’s right,” Lasseter threw back his head and laughed. “Homo sapiens are nothing more than monkeys with machine guns and nuclear bombs.”
Billy-Bob stirred in the other room. Lasseter’s voice grew hushed.
“It’s critical for Akira to survive these next few months,” he continued. “She’ll usher in a new species of Sapiens: Homo ex machina. Immortals. The perfect blend of man and machine, leap-frogging centuries of human evolution and preparing the way for Sapiens to conquer the stars.”