Baby in space

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Baby in space

Submitted: August 12, 2013

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Submitted: August 12, 2013

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Preston sat in his resting pod gazing up at the multicolored glassite that surfaced the ceiling of the nursery. So many colors from red to blue, to bright yellows and greens. 

He was just one cycle old and his dark black hair already curled slightly around the back of his ears and neck. The child was only two gaunts in length and was on the low end of the scale when it came to percentiles. His tiny blue one piece outfit had dark navy circular patterns on the knees, elbows and back. The patches were thicker with grid lines spaced out horizontally within the fiber. 
A golden crest adorned most of his back, an 17th century sailing vessel with 8 sails. Two eagles wings sat in the backdrop of the ship on both sides. The outfit was almost military if not slightly aeronautic in nature. A silver zipper was covered by a velcro flap that neatly concealed the seam. His fair white skin greatly contrasted the darker colors of his attire.

The nursery aboard the Pardeen Clipper was monitored by a pediatric droid that was formerly programmed as a sentry. The need for battle droids disappeared a long time ago. Lethal force was now replaced with tender care and bedtime stories, all be it in a monotone low pitch voice. But when your one, even a mechanized being can fill a good majority of the needs. The 6 foot metallic robot had a rough exterior with scratches and battle scars. At one point his surface had shined like the finest anti-plasti in the galaxy.  The cybernetic's name was Klax and had he had similar features to a human. His  legs were longer than a person with a short torso and narrow shoulder plates. An optical array made up of a single blue lit lens was mounted in the center of his orb shaped head. The glow of the eye cycled from bright to dim every few jots.

Klax attended to all the babies in the 20 something pods that filled the modified laboratory. Toddlers and older children were cared for on the next deck up. The subtle hum of his core fluxing and the sound of hydronic cylinders in his various flange reverberated off the steel walls and tinted glass that closed in the some 700 square gant space. His torso pivoted in one direction first, and then his bottom side and legs would follow in rotation. He turned abruptly and walked the length of the several rows of pods. His internal sensors picked up vital signs, dietary needs, and required waste removal. Militant baby watching in the army of child rearing was in operation.

The giggling and cooing of the other babies emanated from nearby pods as Klax went from pod to pod scanning neural caps. These small Yamaka looking devices sat atop each infants head (halo). They contained synaptic relays within the surface that connected to the dome of the humanoids. A holo chip in the center of the cap relayed translated synaptic info for those that did not have the luxury of a built in scanner such as Klax had. A faint pea colored beam would project about a gaunt from the chip when new data stream as it was translated. Fluorescent green text would appear at the top of this cone of light. Different messages fired off in all the individual pods, "Tired, sleepy, constipated, happy.

This translation was nowhere near exact. It was merely a vague rendering of activity within the neural network. After all, how complex could the communication of a small baby be. Goo goo gaga does not exactly wax poetic or studious. However, the simple needs and desires could be perceived to a certain degree. In the early conception of these devices liberties were taken in the translation as a marketing ploy to generate fan fare and abundant credits for greedy cyber-corps. Late night  sales people Harolded the ability of the "Synaptastic Halo" over the relay declaring they could read the intricate thoughts of the youngest of babies.  Infomercials with babies wearing the caps and messages like "I love you mommy and daddy" being displayed plagued all advertising. And of course everyone that could afford one went out and bought one, and guess what, their babies did the same thing. Or at least a pleasant thought was bent into something more than what was there. Life was much different now In space, bare necessity and reality dictated a more conservative approach to technology. The Halos aboard the Pardeen were stripped down to the brass tax so to speak.

Preston wiggled in his little space cubby waving his hands and squealing. The entire pod rocked slightly on its magnetic base. His halo band clicked on and the message "Play" ticked over his head in radiant light. A string of sticky drool bowed between his parted lips and his left thumb, which had recently been residing in his mouth. About 8 teeth lined the upper and lower parts of his mouth, and they were being put to good use. They weren't being used as much for solid food as they were for biting others around him. Amazing how a little one can bite others with no regard, but with its own members be gentle as a lamb. Klax's programming was labored by keeping up with Preston and the other trouble makers. The droid had done 15 different tours of duty in the most hostile wars known to man and machine alike. This baby mission was beneath his programming so why was he seeming to fail tasks. 

Klax picked up Preston's prompting to play on his scanner. He finished changing a little girl at the last station and made a B line for Preston. The incident  log indicated once more that  Preston did not stick to any type of schedule. The other children slept, ate, went potty, and played in a general time frame that could be counted on like clock work. All the other kids had been in near space sleep for the last two plats. After reaching the target, He paused over Preston for a moment to look him over. Preston gazed up into Klax's eye as if memorized by the light that rolled around inside his mechanical cranium. The boys legs were now part of the action as all limbs now went every which way "Play...Play...Play".

The cold metal of Klax's hands reached down and gripped Preston's torso lifting him several gaunts above his bed. Bending at the waist, the robot lowered baby down to the grey glassite floor. Preston look briefly at the faint image of cables and plumbing that could be made out through the smooth surface.

Preston did not waste a moment when his for limbs made contact with the terrain. He did his speed crawl towards the door to play with his reflection off the glass. The other side of the door was forbidden, but it's always fun to play where were not supposed to. His feet planted firmly, he raised himself up to do the ceremonial banging on the glass. Bang..bang...bang... bang

Klax could not sigh, but somewhere in his computer code there was a sub program that would pop up when he got flustered. An ancient pop up from the days of Internet would flash in his visual que. The DB output from Preston's playtime was gaining the threshold of waking up others who were already in REM sleep. A sound barrier must be erected or Klax's quiet time would be spent comforting  screaming children. He reached for the control panel on his left arm and diverted power to a 30 square gaunt sound dampening field around Preston. Immediately electric sparks arched out of the power grid on the far end of the room. The crackle of electricity would normally be an exciting sound for a droid. But Klax was way past the pleasantries of such occasions and more  mission driven. Self pleasing machines usually wind up at a recycling center. The bright lights flickered and then shut off, followed by a red dim glow radiated by backup spots. The gravity system gave way during the power outage. This was evident by the barrage of floating babies randomly gliding around the room. 

Preston immediately flew forward through the door when it opened. The  safety routine opens cabin exits in the event of gravity loss. When environmental systems were out this gave tenants an opportunity to get to a sector of the ship that still sustained life support.

Preston slid out into the hallway and pounced onto the metal grid. The door behind him closed a few jots later. 

Preston was now in the forbidden zone. "Excitement" blipped over the holo chip in his Halo. But now what? Where would a baby go?

 

 


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