Writers of the Future XXV
In this clockwork story, Mendel is charged with determining whether the Babbage machine on planet Wood is sentient. Mendel is impressed by its intelligence and commands that the abomination be destroyed by the next day. The entire planet, which has no other profitable resources, is angry and riots fighting off church soldiers. Meanwhile, Mendel has changed his mind.
The world is well described. Mendel’s conversion is somewhat unconvincing (perhaps due to the nature of a short story we cannot know his prior faith), but it is uplifting, nonetheless--his sacrifice to save and rebuild.