SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 20 of many)
SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 20 of many) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2
ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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Bodil visits the bathroom and gets a nasty surprise.

SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (Part 20 of many)

Chapter 7

The present.

Two men wearing dark blue overalls emerged from a small, temporary looking single-story structure and came to a halt about five metres away.

They stood in that military looking way with their feet apart and hands behind their backs that stressed the 'don't fuck with us' image the stance was designed to project.

Bodil looked at them steadily.

"Now what?"

"We sit tight, I guess. I'll let the boss know. She'll kick some ass and we'll be on our way."

"And how long is that going to take?"

Victor turned to her with a smile meant to calm and reassure.

"It won't be long."

"Long enough to take a leak?"

"Ermm..." The professor's turn of phrase left Victor slightly nonplussed.

But Bodil was already getting out of the car. The overall twins looked at each other. One of them stepped towards Bodil with a hand raised.

"Please, you must wait."

Bodil stopped halfway between him and the car.

"I 'must' do nothing of the sort. I've been sitting in that car for nearly an hour and I need to pee." This seemed to confuse the guard, policeman or whatever he was so she tried again.

"I need to use the rest room? The bathroom? ...The toilet?"

Understanding dawned over the man's face like one of the professor's students who was finally FINALLY understanding a point she had been trying to drive home all lesson.

He hesitated, perhaps deciding if he should insist that the woman should wait.

By now, however, Bodil had placed her hands on her hips, tilted her head, pursed her lips and looked like any second she would start to tap her foot.

Suddenly the man in the overalls was six years old again standing in front of his mother. Resolve evaporated immediately and he found himself pointing to a door.

"Yes, ma'am. Through that door is the... restroom" The last word said to Bodil's back as she turned on her heal.

In the car, Victor finished his conversation with Ellie.

The bathroom was along a short corridor of painted concrete walls and scuffed industrial linoleum.

The smell was of hot oil and detergent and Bodil guessed that through the heavy double doors at the far end of the corridor there would be some kind of a machine shop.

Her expectations of the bathroom, then, were not high.

And she was not disappointed.

Dirty floor, dirty walls,

dirty sinks and even the flickering strip-light on the ceiling only had clean marks on the clear plastic cover where fingers had dislodged the dirt when the light had needed changing.

Bodil tip-toed around the puddles of what she hoped was water to a cubicle.

Managing to wedge the lockless door closed with a waded-up paper towel, she hovered over the bowl while trying to wash the image of what she was peeing on from her mind.

She had urinated in worse places; she was sure she had. She just couldn't bring any to mind just now.

She didn't flush. Nothing short of a fire hose was going to dislodge what was in that bowl.

Maybe it was due to the accumulated trauma of the whole bathroom experience but it was only when Bodil had finished washing her hands and was looking hopefully around for a trash can to drop

her used paper towel into that she noticed something odd, something wrong.

The thing about immortality through cloning is that if you die then the machine brings you back. Dying is an irrelevance.

The thing about immortality through longevity is that if you die then you stay dead. Dying is definitely not an irrelevance.

Consequently, after the great Clone War and after the lights on the last cloning facility in The Grand Canyon Province had gone out for good,

the surviving and growing 'naturally' immortal population took some pretty big steps to avoid the whole 'dying' thing.

By today not only was conflict or even violence to another person, now a society wide anathema but every member of that society actively looked after the wellbeing of society in general.

The potential for accidents was minimised and very heavy fines were imposed on those who allowed unnecessary risks to develop. There are no uneven sidewalks in Brasilia.

This brought about two consequences. Firstly, by the time a newborn completed kindergarten at age twenty they were a qualified paramedic.

Secondly, and as a consequence of this, Every bathroom, from the meanest roadside rest stop to the en-suite in your own home, contained an Emergency Medical Station.

And these were not just 'first-aid' boxes screwed to a wall.

These were vending machine sized high tech devices which could provide equipment to facilitate almost every type of medical emergency, up to and including surgery.

Bodil herself had conducted several such operations, including, when she was only seventy years old, an emergency appendectomy on a fellow student when on a field trip.

But this bathroom didn't have any such EMS. It didn't even have a box on the wall. Bodil almost ran from the bathroom.

By the time she reached the comfortable warmth and light of the outside she had pretty much regained her composure and by the time she slid into the passenger seat the panic

was barely discernable in her voice.

"Do, er, do we have an EMS in the car, Victor?"

Victor looked at her closely. Again, by law, all vehicles had their own cut-down version of the EMS.

"Yes, of course. Why do you ask?"

Bodil was watching the man who had directed her to the bathroom. He was talking into the cuff of his overalls.

"Because they don't." She turned to look at him. "There was no EMS in the bathroom." She watched his face carefully. "Why is there no EMS in the bathroom Victor?"

Victor was saved from answering by a tap on his window. Bodil noticed the flicker of relief on Victor's face as he turned to acknowledge the man by his door.

Victor and the man exchanged a few words then he started the engine.

"We can go."

Bodil just nodded. Again, the sliding away, avoiding answering questions. It was annoying.

The car moved off in silence except for the crunch of gravel under the wheels.

The silence became more profound as the wheels reached the quieter surface of the tarmac road and continued that way as they drove through the small settlement towards an exit that was

the twin of where they had come in. This amplified the feeling Bodil already had that they were in some kind of walled town or castle.

This time, though, they were simply waved through and the oppressive slab-like buildings and the slightly odd occupants were left behind.

Bodil waited until the calming beauty of the lakeside road they were driving along had soaked away her anger enough so that she still, hopefully,

would have a chance of forming a relationship with this man.

"This is beautiful."

Victor allowed himself to take in the panorama revealed through the car windows.

"Yes. It is. Very beautiful."

"You never answered my question by the way."

"About the EMS in the restroom?"

"Yup."

Once again Victor shifted in his seat before answering.

"There's not very much I can tell you..."

"Well now, there's a surprise."

Just then they reached a junction and Victor turned right. Up ahead loomed the entrance to yet another tunnel under the snowy peaks.

"There are EMSs in Niederurnen. Just not as many as you are maybe used too."

"The law Victor. It's against the law not to have and EMS in every bathroom."

"Not in Niederurnen."

"Why not in Niedernoonen?"

"'Rurenen'"

"Whatever!" She pressed her lips firmly together. Obviously, she needed a higher grade of calming lakeside beauty.

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