Generation 2. Waking Naked
The first thing she felt, was cold. And her arms felt heavy, like someone hung bags of sand on them, or gravity had increased.
Fae R. MacLir slowly became aware of a bright light shining directly into her eyes.
TWO bright lights, but her eyes did not want to focus on anything.
Holding her hand in front of her face, she nearly had to touch her nose with the flat of her palm before it came into focus.
“About 20/500.” She noted with a sigh. “I’m blind.”
She put her hand down on the table, the appendage felt like it weighed as much as all the machinery that filled the room around her, combined.
She became aware that she was under warming blankets on a firm bed, the room felt small and warm, slightly more than body-temperature. Warm air was blowing through the tubes built into the blanket that covered her, and she was shivering.
While the temperature warmed her, a voice, tiny but sounded like it was booming in the room.
“Warm fluids, she will be dehydrated, administer isotonic electrolytes, buffer it and prevent alteration her pH level. Infuse slowly over an hour and continue warming protocols.” A pause, slight clicking sounds as if someone were tapping on keys. “Keep me in the data loop. We need to find out why this happened.”
She looked around for the source of the voice, but saw no one, becoming aware of what looked like bugs flying in the air, close to her face.
*Must be a field hospital with a window open* She thought to herself.
She ranked as an engineer’s assistant, she was twenty-years old and would be among the first of the awakened, with the chief engineer, Amsi Idd-Tejo, they would supervise the awakening of the governing leaders.
But, she could not see him. Her focus was improving, in the glass walled room, there were four beds, besides her own, all were empty.
She was the only one awake.
“Who…” Her throat felt like someone sanded it with broken glass and salt. Then whispered. “Ah! Who else?”
Silence, except for a buzzing. Sounded organic. More bugs, the flying pest control protocols had failed.
Then a voice, it sounded as if it the speaker stood next to her ear.
“You are the first. Viral bodies stayed in the environment longer than the time originally anticipated.” The small but very close voice said. “The Core Systems chose you, no one else. We don’t know why.”
She turned her head, slowly. The movement making her dizzy, and her life changed forever.
In front of her barely functioning eyes, a gold and silver… something… hovered. Barely as tall as her thumb, the eyes looked back at her and blinked with oversized eyes.
“The doctor is on his way,” The tiny, fluttering creature spoke just loud enough for her to hear. “He stepped out to see to another alarm on the Core Systems.”
“Who,” She paused. “Or what are you?”
“I am Thea.” Her golden-eyes glittered and caught the lights that illuminated the room on the face that looked as if someone carved her from an emerald gem. “I am a minibot. Who are you?”
“A what?” The human girl asked. “I am Fae MacLir, an assistant electrical engineer and tech support in SCOTOC.”
“I am Physicians Apprentice, Abu Thea.” She fluttered with a smile. “You can call me Thea. I’m not a doctor yet, I’m only halfway through.”
“IF you survive.” A deeper voice, but still sounding as if from an earphone from a distance. “You still have a lot to learn.”
“Good evening Miss MacLir, I’m Doctor Ofir Bhabel. You no doubt have some questions, we have a good many questions ourselves. Not the least of which, do you feel?”
The little… Minibot? That said her name was Thea, landed on the edge of Fae’s field of view.
“What is going on? Who are you?” Fae asked. “And a Doctor? Of what?”
“What is SCOTOC?” A silver-winged, gloss-blue creature lit along side Thea and smiled as the questions overlapped each other. “First, I will answer you. I am your physician, I supervised your awakening. You can call me Bel. You were the first to be awakened by the Core System.”
“I don’t understand.” The human said in a whisper. “My head hurts, I’m dizzy.”
“That is a consequence of the length of time you were in stasis, you were in a helium bath that supercooled your body.” The blue fairy seemed to shimmer in her eyes. “You have a case of brain-freeze, your body temperature is still less than normal, your core temperature is still thirty-two celsius, but you are warming at a good rate. I am pleased with the protocols written by your people.”
She ran her hands over her body, under the blankets, “I’m naked?”
“No, you have a warming blanket over your body and you are in a capsule, warming you with infrared heat and warm air, you are naked inside of it, and the blanket is transparent to infrared.”
“You talk funny.”
Doctor Ofir blinked twice.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Your voice. It has an electronic buzz in it, a slight dissonance caused by a code error. It’s minor but nothing I can’t fix.” She said rubbing her eyes. “Everything seems oddly colored and it feels like a dream. You look like little fairies.”
“We are minibots. Humans built our ancestors, but in much smaller scale. They were nanobots, and after time, the Core Systems determined that the most efficient use for the planet was to increase sizes. Microbots were built. Then millibots, then our kind are officially designated as minibots. Macrobots are generally outside, do not fly and are few. There is a point of diminishing return the bigger bots get. The greatest numbers are nanos, followed by the minis, we are the best sizes.”
“The doctor talks too much.” Thea said. “You have a lot to catch up on, hun.”
“You called me… Hun?” Fae said. “Can I get some clothes? Even inside this little oven-thing you have built, I am uncomfortable just laying here. It feels heavy, like I have no strength. This was not supposed to be this way, they said we would not notice any changes in sensation.”
Thea and the Doctor looked at each other.
“Fae MacLir, there are no clothes in this facility for your size.” The Doctor said. “But I will leave it to Thea to search. You are an unexpected presence in our society. The humans have a story in the database of a man who traveled a long ways by the name of Gulliver.” The Doctor looked at her. “You are a giant among us.”
“Doctor.” Thea interrupted, tapping on the side of her head. “There are storage areas for hazardous materials response the humans built. I think those had clothes for humans.”
“Good. Go check that, use my authority to have a team go with you and transport any clothes that would fit this human.” The Doctor nodded. “Providing we cannot get her to overcome the archaic restrictions of being nude.”
Thea flew off so fast, she was a blur and a flash as she exited the window.
“Excuse, me.” Fae spoke up. “I’m right here. And I’m not about to walk around in my birthday suit. I could get in trouble.”
“You may be excused.” The Doctor answered. “And you must also know, there is no one to make you feel uncomfortable. You are the only human on the planet that is not immersed in helium, partly dehydrated and filled with glycerin to protect cellular structure in stasis.”
Turning her head away from them, Fae took a deep breath.
“How is it that I am the first one awakened?”
“The Core Systems chose you. The criteria are unknown.”
A noise of footsteps sounded. A macrobot, about four feet tall with four legs moved in an eerie grace, carrying a black folded object that looked like vacuum-packed bags.
The eight eyes on four stalks were more akin to a lizards, moving independent of each other watching all points of the compass at the same time. The washing machine sized bot deposited its cargo on a table and departed without a sound.
Thea landed and with a smile reported to the Doctor.
“Extreme mobility, hostile environment protection suit. The voice interface called it a EMHEP suit” Thea said proudly. “The computer interface worked perfectly. And it is in her size with her name.”
“She has her own wardrobe listed.”
“I would like to get up.”
“I would recommend against that, you haven’t stood on your own feet for thirty-thousand years.”
“I…” Fae shook her head. “I didn’t hear that right. You say that again, please?”
“I would advise you…”
“No, no. The years. You said thirty-thousand.”
“Yes, I rounded for your sake.” The Doctor nodded as he walked along the edge of the platform that served as her warming capsule. “You’ve been in stasis for thirty-one-thousand, two-hundred eighty-four summer solstices.
“Holy crap!” She pushed open the heating capsule’s cover and sat up, her skin felt warm, but she was still cold. Muscles trembled when she stood. “That is why I am weak.”
Then paused as she pulled the heating blanket close around her, Thea unplugged the heat tubes so Fae could walk.
“And I am hungry!”
“You would need to eat carefully, the digestive system has nothing in it, we will give you enough flora to live in your intestines so you can live on the proteins you will consume.” The Doctor motioned to a macrobot standing in the corner that moved off out of sight.
“How do you do that?”
The Doctor looked at her and smiled.
“Get dressed, we will get you a glass of synthetic milk. Your organs of digestion will be as weak as your legs.”
Fae nodded. She was trembling at every step to the table where her clothes were, naked and chilled with every breeze, the hair on her arms stood on end.
“What is that?” Thea asked, pointing to the piloerected hair. “Why are you fuzzy?”
“Humans get that way when we are cold.”
“You are still hypothermic.” The Doctor said. “You will have another hour with shivering. I ordered your drink warm, so that will help.”:
“If I am so cold and I’m not shivering. Why?”
“I don’t know, precisely, you should have crossed the threshold but the Core System says that you have been in stasis for so long, there is no data. There is no precedent. But your core temperature still shows thirty-two celsius, you might still be too cold still.”
Fae lifted up the pile of clothes, a black body suit slide over her legs and torso, then black ceramic plates that contoured to her bodysuit. The memory of her being fitted for the metal-infused laminated ceramic plates that fit on the soft spider-silk bodysuit like scales.
It was comfortable and warm. Even the socks she wore felt strong, but the shoes were little more than slippers with ceramic scales and looked funny.
Reading the paper that came in the package, the suit was an electrical insulator, she would wear it to work on the systems. The uniform had the badge molded in with a different color of ceramic, and she had a computer access key.
She would find out why the Core Systems awakened her on a planet six-times the size of Earth.