Author : Michael Varian Daly

Roegher was dying, which he did not think a tragedy. Everyone was dying one way or another. He was just dying a bit faster and, as he was The Last True Man, his impending death was ‘special’.

He had actually been ‘dying’ for nearly a century and a half, starting right after The Prohibition when the augmentations that gave him longevity were turned off or dialed back. There had been much beating of breasts and rending of garments over that, but Roegher had not been a part of that nonsense.

He knew that The Time of True Men was over. The Rebellion of The Sons of Hercules had proved that to all but the most die hard Masculinists. He himself had lost a daughter and two grand daughters in that nightmare.

There had been seven centuries of peace before that. Yes, there were violent feuds between Cult Clans, but those were resolved with personal duels or, if need be, by Cavalry Wars; hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Sisters on horseback with sabers and lances upon an open plain.

Once the fighting was done – usually with few killed – both sides held a festival for the dead, sang, danced, got drunk, and had sex together…and the matter was settled.

But the Supermen of Ashkelon, engineered to be Perfect Men by one Cult of well meaning but misguided Sisters, proved to be too Perfect and founded a Masculinist Republic. After a century of conflict, a dozen worlds had been ravaged, Ashkelon was reduced to a slagheap, and the Sons were all dead, along with over twenty million others.

The Grand Council and Assemble of The Sisterhood declared The End of Men, a Prohibition, and no more True Men were to be born. Males in the womb would be allowed come to term, but most were aborted anyway. What was the point?

Some True Men protested or bemoaned their fate. Many simply committed suicide or downloaded into Mandroids.

Not that it mattered all that much. Even before The Prohibition, three quarters of all Full Humans – Mandroids were not counted – were Sisters, a steady trend for centuries. Why bring male children into a Matriarchy?

While all that raged around him, Roegher tended to his garden. The Soil was Mother no matter what sun shone in the sky.

Roegher had laughed at all the Masculine/Feminine ‘balance of energy’ debates. There were thousands of Mandroids for every Sister, all cyborgs based on Y-Chromosome DNA. “That balances out nicely,” he thought.

For a while he had been an advisor on Mandroid psychology and trained many Sisters in that field. He got along well with the simple minded Workers and the idiot savant Harlequins. The Sliders, the Sisterhood’s living starships, unnerved him, their brilliant minds like sharp cold steel. But he lived most his life dirtside, so no matter.

He had however visited Gaea one last time before it was encased in a Temporal Variance Sphere to be healed. That was a cherished event.

Now, as his life wound down to its end, he was content. His four life mates had borne two dozen daughters by him and there were many, many more grand, and great grand, daughters. They came to visit him, some out of love, some out of curiosity. But they were all kind and gentle with him and many would be there when he passed.

Plus The Priestesses of Eriskigal had assured him that his next Reincarnation was as a Sister. All things considered, Roegher knew he had nothing to complain about and planed to go out smiling….as befitted The Last True Man.

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