a tale in weekly parts
You can see the full story so far at this link.
Albert reached out and placed his hand on Alice’s shoulder. The two of them shimmered.
“It’s done,” Albert said.
“That was quick,” Madge remarked.
“Not really, Mum,” Alex said, “They could have been gone any length of time. We don’t have any way of knowing.”
“It took about half an hour, by your reckoning,” Albert informed them, “and, in case you’re worried, guys, no-one actually touched your daughter. Jarvis just had to remotely reprogramme a few groups of nanites.”
“How does that work, then?” Al asked.
“You can look at the kids’ nanites as being kind of like stem cells. They can be programmed to emulate whatever cells we choose. We instructed these to behave as sperm cells and migrated them into position to fertilise Alice’s egg.”
“But that’s still a bit hit and miss, isn’t it?” Madge asked.
“Not at all, Madge. Don’t forget that Alice’s eggs are fifty percent bitek, too.”
“And how does that help?”
“Whenever computers communicate, they start by exchanging information about themselves, then agree on a method, a protocol that they both support. That way, communication is certain. Bitek nanites operate on the same principal. The sperm cells know how to approach the egg cell and what they have to do when they get there. The egg cell will be ready to receive them.”
“So what you’re saying, is that Alice is guaranteed to become pregnant.”
“No, Madge. I’m saying that Alice is pregnant.”
“And will her pregnancy be—”
“But the baby won’t be human, will it?”
“Madge. This child will be as human as your children are.”
“But nothing. Alice should do all the normal ante-natal stuff with the nurses and midwives, and she can give birth either at home or in a hospital maternity unit. No-one will know or even suspect that her child is any different from other children.”
“But what about the bitek stuff?”
“None of the baby’s abilities will start to show until about seven or eight years of age., You’ll remember from Alice and Alex, when you didn’t know about their bitek parts, that there was nothing much before puberty. Alice and Alex will be here to bring the child up and make sure that he or she is brought into his or her bitek status at the right time and in the right way, I’ll be here to help, too, and as you and Al have experience of raising part-bitek kids, I expect you’ll want to be involved,as well.”
“So, what next?” Alice asked.
“Next, Jarvis and I will leave you in peace. Enjoy your pregnancy. We’ll be back when the baby’s born.”
Albert faded out of view.
“Is that it?” Alex asked.
“Looks like it, Bro.”
“So, nine months from now, you’ll be a mum, and I’ll be a dad.”
“And neither of us has had—”
“No, neither of us. Yet.”
“And you should stay like that until these babies are born,” Al said.
“Why?” Alice asked.
“It wouldn’t be right.”
Like the booming voice of a god, Albert’s disembodied voice filled the room. “Says we,” he said.
“Oh shut up Allbert, you old queen,” Jarvis admonished.
“Okay, guys, point taken,” Alice laughed, “see you in forty weeks.”