Today was the day. It was time for The Joining. He’d waited so long for it, learning about what it would mean, how it would elevate him to a higher plane of existence and understanding, and how it would be the most joyous moment of this life so far. And how it promised to be the start of nirvana from now on in.
He didn’t know his name, past his unique identifier, which was BK23B. Others in his class insisted on calling him BK, no matter how much he protested. He got the feeling none of them really liked him, not least because he was going to the first to Join.
It didn’t matter. Petty corporeal things like that would soon be beneath him.
BK23B stared out through the observation portal, looking at the huge mountain of amalgamated organic tissue that was to be his new state of being. It was over three miles high now, and twice as wide at the base. Tubes as thick as buses fed the mass, while helicopters buzzed around it, constantly watering it.
It was called The Bliss, even though it looked hideous and the stuff of fevered nightmares.
BK23B was called into the Joining Chamber and divested of his worldly garments. He signed over his wealth and estate to the government; where he was going he wouldn’t need any of it.
The Monk bowed reverentially, and gave him a warm smile that served only to make BK23B even more happy.
The airlock closed. Lights faded. Gas and steam blasted out through vents so violently that his hair whipped at his face, cutting into the skin, and making him howl with agony. And even then, he didn’t care. His pain was momentary. His bliss would be forever.
The world went dark.
And stayed dark for what seemed like forever.
Years later, for all BK23B knew, light began to return. Slowly, over what he would have once called weeks and months. And when the blurred shapes finally refocused into something he recognised, he realised he was halfway up The Bliss, looking back at the very observation portal he had been on the other side of a lifetime ago.
Silence burst into a screeching cacophony of noise. All he could hear was screaming. BK23B realised something was wrong. They were all supposed to be as one, a singular being of perfection and love, but he was still himself, trapped in a heaving mass of pain and suffering.
There was nothing he could do. He was stuck here. Without a voice to scream his warning at the new face now looking out from the portal with abject wonder and hope.
They had all been lied to.