The first unmanned probe orbiting Alpha Centauri A’s Mars twin--a solar sail craft with a lander carrying nanobots intended to build a modest rover and science station using local resources--is officially defunded and cancelled due to an alleged lack of public interest. Then the whole mission is quietly chucked over to the military, and the project goes on steroids. Instead of its humble original tasks, the nanobots in the lander, under new and way more powerful software, are directed to replicate human beings... A young Dr. John Austin Gutierrez was among the small group of Army reservists with scientific and technical degrees whose information was beamed to ACA5 for the nanobots to recreate them from local resources. Some twenty years later he is sitting in a car, listening to his FBI handler and trying to wrap his head around what is going on now--or rather, his ACA self is. The good news is, of course, the Earth won't perish yet. The bad news is, he is the Messiah.... ........(Excerpt) “Dr. Gutierrez? Can you hear me?” Sure, I could hear him all right. I just didn’t feel like answering. Or moving. Or anything. I didn’t even know who that guy was they were calling. The name sounded familiar, though. A second and then a third voice joined in. “EEG read.” “Checks.” A rich contralto, this one. “Takes a while.” Hey, that’s me, I suddenly thought. Gutierrez, yep. I was still congratulating myself on my powers of deduction when something cold touched my arm briefly. A hypodermic jet, I said to myself sleepily. Yes—I was on a roll all right. Nothing could get past me. “Wakey-wakey,” said First Voice. I opened my eyes. “Time of recovery twelve oh seven. Good job, y’all.”
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