Dear Arctic: you can have your weather back, it’s not a good fit here. Yikes, it’s cold!
Another free write courtesy of Caitlin Sweet. Enjoy!
As always, I hold all copyright…
“Mom. Listen. You know that if you keep refusing to take these age-reversing meds, the Telomere Policing Unit will come and take you away. So come on. Let us give it to you.”
Catherine’s unit, however, remained stubbornly locked. The meds sat uselessly in their feeder tubes, the computer that fed them into her unit continued to refuse them entry into the coffin. Toshi and Spen peered anxiously through the thick plexiglass at their mother’s ancient body, lit blue for sadness as it floated in the nanogels that preserved it endlessly from death.
Toshi, her voice thick with tears, tried again. “Please Mom, you know the Police will just override your controls and make you take them. Remember last time? They said they’d give you a whole new hard drive and this time they’d maintain remote access, block any overrides. You don’t want that, do you?”
“You’d be a slave,” Spen added.
Already a slave, their mother responded. The monitor’s font was also blue. Depression, then, a bad one.
Spen reached over and tapped the privacy option on the display so that he could talk to Toshi. “Has this ever happened before, this bad? I don’t remember the others noting suicidal impulses or deep depressions, just occasional sadness.”
Toshi shook her head. “I don’t know. I’d have to search the archives.”
“Do it,” Spen snapped, impatient now with her hesitation. “TPU comes, they won’t just take Mom away, they’ll take all of it, declare us unfit, assign her to the next Generation. Do you want that?”
His sister’s eyes widened as the implications of his words set in. Without another word, Toshi ran to the computer station on the other side of the room and keyed up Catherine’s archive.
Spen and Toshi were Catherine’s seventeenth generation of children. When first she entered free-float and fully integrated with Maximus, the arrangement was intended to be temporary. Singularity achieved, Catherine would detach and Maximus, hopefully sentient, would prove that artificial intelligence was indeed possible.
Catherine built the coffin, then called the integration center, with great care. Smart gels filled with nanites to care for her body. A full network of integration points surgically implanted just before insertion, all gently maintained by these small medical units, protected from disease and infection. The plan was to undo everything that was done in time for Catherine to accept her inevitable Nobel prize.
Except that, once in, Catherine didn’t want out.
Her original four children tried frantically to remove her, but then, as now, were locked out. They finally walked away, disappointed, abandoned. Many days of discussion about who was best suited to look after Catherine followed, until Catherine herself shocked everyone and spoke from one of the networked laptops on the conference table.
Harvest my eggs. Only my children will truly care for me.
A few days later, a unit rigged to receive Catherine’s ova was attached to the coffin, and the nanites went to work. Since then, generations of Keepers were assigned to her care, and life seemed calm.