On Earth in 2262, Ramòn Réal, a 22-year-old comic artist who creates superheroes, is one of the Self-Contained—a designation for people once considered autistic. He is part of the InterGalactic Artists—which includes Benno, a giant, and Tonna and Charl, self-designed visual twins. They produce a monthly comic book, “Heroes of the Galaxy,” extremely popular in the allmind, the 23rd century descendant of the Internet. When Sunshine—one of the most advanced line of self-replicating sentient androids—is hired as housekeeper for the Réal home, a growing bond forms between the artist and the beautiful synthetic entity. She is motivated to undergo augmentation, a process which will restructure her inner wave/fiber architecture so she can achieve romantic love. Mov is Sunshine’s Companion—bonded with her at sentience. He is a verbal, four-legged android of equal intelligence. They live in an android group home. Ilsa, Ray’s reactionary mother, is outraged by her son’s new relationship. Ramòn’s cold, distant father, Armonté, is a leader of the New Northern States, one of four conglostates created in the world realignment one hundred years earlier. He is also a silent member of MPS, the Movement for the Purity of the Species. He Farbeams (teleports) home in a fury, directing his ire at V’hanie, Ramòn’s 18-year-old sister, when she refuses to condemn her brother. Ray moves to Tonna and Charl’s guesthouse. V’hanie moves in with Garth-Ann Tova Nu, her dual-gender friend, who will become her mate. Wil Tork, a young master of personal safety, links V’hanie’s friends in a circle of protection. AI Law Enforcement Self-drones (AILES)—vicious predators—are sent by the MPS (with Amonté’s blessing) to the artists’ studio to capture Raymòn. Sunshine deflects them, telling her first lie. Wil Tork takes measures to hide Raymòn’s and Sunshine’s identities from the public. Grandpa Harry, the android patriarch, councils the hybrid couple to Join together and confront the negative forces. At their Commitment Ceremony, Ramòn’s first love, Li-Li, shows up uninvited, having been compromised by the MPS. Tork saves the couple when she attempts to blow them up. Drovines, a newer, malevolent line of androids, ally with the MPS, generating more assaults on the new couple. They are about to bring a humandroid child into the world. The choice is made for Khalil-del-món to be Self-Contained. The Réal-Ludi family moves to Asuda Ýer, the most peaceful place in the world—in what used to be Turkmenistan. At eight, the android coming-of-age, Khalil is to be honored by the Global Academy. This inflames Armonté. At the ceremony, an invisible Tork yanks a protective lasso of deep space sound around the family as the podium explodes. Armonté connects with a secret clone of Tork’s father—Wil’s “evil twin”—receiving an impervious cloaking device which allows him get close enough to kill Ramòn. Ray is not actually dead; Tork had installed a “deadman’s switch” in the artist’s DNA. When Raymòn returns to life, it is seen as a Second Coming. Tork begins communicating with Ramòn through dreams, teaching him that the essence of life and the cosmos is the “No Thing;” color is the doorway into all; and transcending excessive feelings is the goal for humanity. Autism has been an evolutionary deviation installed in humans by No Thing, to prepare them for hybridization. Ramòn begins to share the mystery with others. When everyone knows of the No Thing, everyone will be God. Grandpa Harry says his time has come to an end, his purpose fulfilled. He asks Sunshine to take his place.
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