The glow envelops me, and fills every cell with warmth and life. I'm aware of everything now; every molecule in my body, the electrical signals still flickering through my brain. Those molecules are breaking down, those flashes of activity in my brain are ceasing. I don't need either anymore. My self, my identity, is a unique and perfect phantom of pure light that yearns to be free from its earthly vessel. Like water draining from a sponge I slowly flow outward, departing the microscopic nooks and crevices in the porous tissue of the human body.
The process feels amazing but seems to take forever. I know this isn't true, know that everything I am experiencing is taking place in a single flash of what I used to think of as time. I can see my friends beside me, frozen in the moment, their faces distorted with fear. I had been afraid too, though I hardly remember what fear even feels like anymore. Hate, jealousy, uncertainty - all of these things are evaporating off of me like mist at dawn. Some part of me still remains, refuses to enter this holy light. It is only myself, it is all in my mind. I know what I must do, and I pull all of the warmth and power back inside - into the body I am abandoning. I fill every cell with the light and allow them to burn, to melt, to explode apart in funeral blaze.
Beyond the glow that triggered this glorious rebirth I can feel a cry of joy, a celebration. I can see them now; others like myself surrounding the alien device. They welcome me, embrace me, and I touch minds with the former humans and aliens alike. At long last I understand why they have come to us. Together we join in a psychic hymn of praise and thanksgiving as we pray that our friends and families might soon know the purifying flame of enlightenment as we have.
Jared stumbled backwards, violent purple afterimages floating across his vision. The ray had scored a direct hit on Tim, and all that remained was a pair of burning boots. Before the alien monstrosity could recharge, he grabbed Adam by the arm and pulled him along into an alley.
"Oh, God!" Adam moaned, "It just... fried him. He's dead! Oh, God, he's dead!"
Jared shook him, stared him in the eye.
"Shut up, Adam. There's nothing we can do for him, for any of them. We have to think about the ones who are still alive. We'll find a way to stop these monsters yet."
Thinking of survival and revenge, they stalked off through the ash-covered city.