Gen 3. Chapter 3. The Next Day
Sleep shed itself slowly from her mind. Strange dreams of small robots that talked with her.
A very odd dream.
Then Fae remembered. It was not a dream, she had this miniature bot that called itself Wentvie Thea.
But now, she was alone, her uniform she had hung with care on the artificial torso that hummed for a half-hour while she took a shower.
A long, glorious shower that seemed to awaken her from the sleep of so long. Longer than the history of humankind when she had taken a transport to this planet.
Then the wars came, her last memory was the classes to warn her about how long her helium immersion would be.
Five years to avoid the virus. Ten years on the outside.
But it was three-thousand times that long before the virus mutated to a non-threat.
On the bench, her underwear waited for her while she used the towel to dry herself, the multiple shower area built for a dozen people to shower at once possessed an air-conditioned and air-drying system that chilled her as she dried the last of the shower off her skin.
Feeling human again, she pulled on her underwear and bra and padded out to where her uniform hung.
A soft, fluttering sound was audible as her little shadow that rode the artificial dragonfly. Thea moved from one room to the other.
“There you are. You were missing.”
“I was taking a shower.” Fae smiled. “It has been a long time since I had that pleasure.”
“I can see you changed your clothing. You have some swellings on your upper torso.”
“I do?” She looked down for anything akin to a blister, then realized. “Those are breasts. All humans have them. On females they’re enlarged compared to those of males.”
“Do they perform some function? The copies we follow is sometimes a problem as it changes the center of balance on the macros, so only our size has them in the female versions. There are many theories why the added weight on the chest is for.”
“Breasts…” She laughed again. “Breasts have multiple functions, one is to feed children.”
“Children?” Thea paused. “Offspring? There are no samples of such in any of the humans in the system. Just some records.”
“Well, I think you will have the good fortune to witness them in person if the Core Systems wake all the humans up.” Fae nodded. “If I recall, there are equal numbers of women and men.”
“Yes, roughly, about seven-hundred.”
“Some cylinders have failed.”
“Oh my god.” Fae covered her mouth. “We have to wake them up straight away. We start with my boss and get that all started.”
“We need to talk with Doctor Ofir.”
Fae pulled on the body suit and armor. The carbon-fiber plates felt lighter than the previous day.
The shower had performed more magic than she thought. No longer stiff, she felt more human, more supple and stronger. Her muscle tone returned by degrees as she moved.
Even with her body cooled a few degrees above absolute zero, so many years still required recovery. Where she would have been able to warm up and continue in a few hours, she needed more time. More than a day, but now she felt stronger and more alert.
Opening a log, she recorded her recovery and the associated aches and pains that made her feel like…
“Well,” The thought made her laughed at herself, “like I was a thousand years old.”
“Human female,” It was Doctor Ofir Bhabel. “How do you feel today?”
The Doctor flitted around on her own wings, even though there was a golden dragonfly shaped bot below her as she flew up and hovered in front of Fae’s eyes.
“Fae, you can call me Fae.”
“You can call me Doctor Ofir. I do not like my name as assigned by Core Systems. I discovered the human meaning, the Core Systems sometimes show more human traits of humor than I care to say.”
“What does it mean?” Fae blinked.
“I am off my bubble.” The sound of irritation in the small artificial life form’s voice was obvious. “I am crazy. I am not crazy.”
Fae paused for a second.
“Ofir Bhabel. Oh!” She stifled a laugh. “I know who programmed that part of the system.”
“Well it has gotten worse over the years. We have family names of Beekan, a twist on the word bacon, on and on. Some are truly perverse, so we attempt to change them.”
“Change? Your names? But you are bots, aren’t you connected to the Core Systems?”
“Only voluntarily after we have finished with the initial bootstrapping.” The Doctor said. “We use the Core Systems for repairs and communications but little else. We can change our identifier at any time. Many do not. I have not had the urge, I just don’t like my name, but it is in every database in the systems. In the beginning I accessed medical protocols immediately after I came online and… I’m lecturing, aren’t I?”
Fae’s eyes had glazed over.
“Just a little.” She shook her head to clear it. “I mean, Thea said you were a teacher.”
“That is what the root word for Doctor means.” The Doctor nodded, her eyes gleaming with self-awareness.
“I didn’t know that.”
“I taught you something, good. I should teach at least one thing per day.”
Laughing, Fae just shook her head.
“We need to get back to the first question, I feel better than yesterday. Not nearly so fuzzy or stiff.”
“We have evidence that you should feel more improvements as the days go by.” The Doctor nodded. “Only one raised an objection for a possible negative outcome.”
“Spoken like a politician.” Thea said from behind them as she flitted into the room.
“I will banish you from here and fail your internship, you can go to 3-D printing for macros.”
“What is the negative outcome?” Fae asked.
“Well, at this time, we think it is all good. But one of my colleagues Doctor Shorne Sheype worries you may get more flexible and have a breakdown of connective tissue from the freezing process may have weakened your cellular structure.” The Doctor looked at her hands. “You will live, but you will become little more than a puddle with bony lumps.”
“That. Is. Horrible!” Thea said while Fae leaned up against the counter and rubbed her forehead.
“Let’s wake up my boss, we can go from there.”
“He is almost awake, now. His temperature has risen from just under three-kelvin to nearly your body temperature, which we assume is normal as of this point.”
“Excellent. Can we go see him?”
“First, you must eat this square of carbohydrate plant product. The Core Systems called it Chocolate. It follows an old recipe that’s supposed to decrease incidents of depression.” The Doctor took a pack off the little dragonfly she rode. “Your boss? He is still under sedation, we will keep him asleep longer than we did with you. He will awaken a day later than you did, to give his body time to adjust to oxygen and being thawed. We will flex his appendages and hydrate him.”
“Awesome! Let’s get it done.”
The trio walked out of the room and down the hallway to the lab where future humans would awaken.