Gen 3. Chapter 4. Awakenings
“Ugh.” His mouth felt like someone stuck an old, used gym-sock in it. Then the pain hit. He tried to squeak again, but his tonsils complained loudly. His voice squeaked like fingernails on a chalkboard. His throat was on fire.
“Amsi. Shhh.” It was a familiar voice. “You will need some hydration, here is some warm water with honey and lemon.”
The first swallow was painful, but heaven followed close behind the swallow. The honey settled on the surface of his throat and put out the fire, the citrus hit, but the pain produced was, while not pleasant, tolerable and worked in concert with the honey for relief.
“Thank you…” Damn! He forgot her name. She was one of his crew, but not one of the engineers.
“Fae.” This was a different voice. Smaller, but with authority and nearby. “Her name is Fae.”
Amsi’s eyes took longer to focus than he thought it should.
“Slowly.” Doctor Ofir’s voice still sounded strange in his ears. “You have been sedated for two days after taken out of stasis. You have spent the last thirty-millenia at just under three-degrees Kelvin.”
“Thirty? We were only supposed to sleep for ten years. What happened?” He blinked again, sipping on the tea of honey and lemon. His eyes focusing more. “What the f..”
“No offense but … what are you?”
“We are mini’s. Minibots. You set out to avoid the virus’ that the other system created in the ancient times, created nanobots to recycle all the machines of war. They are still around, but from them, the Core Systems evolved many more sizes.”
“Amsi, I will explain later.”
“I’m still wrapping my head around this… Robot? And how it evolved so quickly.”
“They call themselves “Bots”. They are an evolution that has happened over thousands of years, so not as swift as you think.”
“Wait.” Amsi shook his head, information was not processing. “What?”
“You need some more tea, maybe a shot of rum or vodka. I have a lot to bring you up to speed on.”
For the next two hours Fae spoke of three-hundred centuries, Core System, Thea, the Doctor, the tens of thousands of flitting artificial life forms outside the window that existed with great alloys of the machines of war that the people left sitting out when all, what the Core System logs called “Organics” went into cryogenic vitrification.
Reanimation, the Fae showed Amsi the logs, was a complicated, careful and exacting process using the nanobots and microbots and replacing the cryoprotectants that did not crystallize in ultra-low temperatures.
Even with helium as a superfluid, the crystals of ice did not form and poke holes in the cell walls of the body.
Such was the theory.
Initial numbers used, predictions estimated that one or two may not survive the freezing. (Mathematically, there would be a loss of 1.48 of the personnel.) Estimations were only for a single decade, after three-thousand times longer than anticipated, logs indicated forty-two pods showed excess cryoprotectant in the helium.
The bodies were leaking.
Nanobots, unable to function at such low temperatures were on standby.
However, after a long time, the Core Systems estimated that greater than half the fluids of the organic bodies had leached out. Rendering the humans inside little more than extremely cold, desiccated mummies.
Amsi moaned on the information she passed onto him.
“We were never meant for that length of storage. The system was never designed for that long of operation without supervision.”
“We supervised.” Thea fluttered about. “All systems were under the control of the Core System. Repairs performed by all the bots.”
“There were no qualified humans to oversee the machines.” Amsi the engineer argued.
“Sir. The bots here are as capable as anyone I have seen. They can repair cells and lift whole buildings with the megabots. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they can do what we could.” Fae frowned and pulled at her ear.
“The logs show my brother now weighs less than his clothes. There is only liquid helium in his veins now, as soon as he’s taken out, he’ll crumble like dried out leaf.”
“He still has a PICC line, like we all do.” Fae said. “We can infuse more into it in the chamber, correct?”
“No, I don’t know.” He shook his head. “Maybe. Could be. If we warmed him up to, say, four Kelvin? Special IV tubing would remain flexible and we could flow cryoprotectant into him and refill all the cells over the course of a few days and displace the helium. The helium would be at the boiling point and easy to replace.”
“What if we just replace his fluids as we warmed him up?” She asked.
“No, helium would be gone before any glucose or blood solutions would make it into his body, the cells would collapse like dried out eggshells the moment there is any pressure to refill them.” He rubbed his chin. “That’s not even medical, that is structural engineering. Right now, helium is supporting everything. It has to be a two-stage rehydration. Maybe three.”
“Okay. We warm him up first?”
“No. Oh no. We get the medical teams out first. Just because I understand the process, does not mean I understand the biological effects. What if he has a hole in something important? I can’t sew it up.”
“Oh, I understand.”
“So engineers first, medical folk second, so engineers can make things work, the ones marked here in red, they are last. Medical will need to deal with them as a team with the… What did you call them? Nanobots? But there will need to be a teamwork between everyone. Artificial or Organic.”
“Thank you.” Thea smiled as she sat up in her saddle.
“Thank me for what?”
“You acknowledged us as living beings and are part of a team. Even our nanos.”
“Miss… Uh. “
“Miss Thea. You make it easy.”
“No. Just Thea.”
“Okay, Just Thea.” He smiled. “You make it easy to feel you are real and alive. We have been here to seek contact with new life. Even if we build it.”
“My full name is Wentvie Thea. Our second name is given, our family name comes first.”
“My apologies.” Amsi winked. Then Thea knew she was victim of a human sense of humor. “I will refer to you only as Thea or Miss Wentvie.”
She laughed. It sounded like tiny windchimes.
*Humans waking up,* she felt, *A good thing.*