This week's story on the science fiction podcast Escape Pod is "Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk," a haunting Ken Scholes tale about an animatronic AI Winnie the Pooh toy aboard a doomed, pandemic-wracked survival ship, tasked with saving the human race.
"Do you know what's happened to the children?"
Edward swallowed. Suddenly, he wanted to cry. "Yes. They're…sleeping?"
He hoped and hoped and hoped and hoped, grimacing as he did. He looked around.
Makeshift beds lined the room. Small hands gripped blankets, small eyes stared at the ceiling.
"No." The boy frowned. "They've died."
"Because of Something Very Bad?"
"Yes. And I need you to be a Very Brave Bear. Can you do that?"