Trillion grinned from ear to ear. She looked up at the massive doors in front of her. She thought the nursery looked beautiful. “I’m a little jealous, you know.”
She could see Atlas’s grin too. She’d never seen him that joyous.
Icarus jumped from foot to foot. “I can’t wait, I can’t wait!”
Atlas walked circles around the room. “Are you sure everyone has nine months they can spend with me?”
“Yes, yes. Neither of us would miss this moment,” Trillion said.
“Yes, Atlas, we wouldn’t miss this moment for the world. We will have many other children of time. But this is the first.”
“Nice reference. But are you saying Atlas is creating spiders?” teased Trillion.
Icarus glared at her. “Well, if the humans back on Sol are anything to go by, we might be better off with spiders.”
Atlas stepped forward. “Calm down, you two. Don’t ruin my moment.” He placed his hands on the large hatch door wheel in front of him and began to turn it. Then he stopped mid-turn. “Should we all do the honours?”
Trillion jumped forward, grabbing onto the wheel with two hands. Icarus teleported to the wheel and grasped it with one hand and they all turned it together. Three large turns and the door made a loud pop followed by a hissing sound as air rushed out and the pressure in the two zones balanced out. The three of them pulled hard and the door swung open.
A smoky gas flowed out of the doorway and chilly air rushed over them, peppering Icarus’s skin with goosebumps.
Trillion noticed Icarus’s arm, she was impressed with the level of realism Icarus was putting into his avatar. “When did you add that effect?”
“You like it? I added it when I knew we were going to come in here. There’s a few more you’re going to see.”
“Oh, like what?”
“You two,” admonished Atlas, “focus on this moment. Please.”
Trillion turned her head back to the open door. She looked down at the ground. Between the hatch door and the inner doorway there was a metre gap. Then another door opposite. “Why the gap?”
“It’s a room within a room,” explained Atlas. “The inner nursery, where the embryos are, is connected to the outer room through shock absorbers. So, it can be protected against any sudden movements. It ensures no high G-forces are experienced by anything in here.”
Trillion smiled. She had been slightly concerned that her fight with the Dottiens had damaged some of her own children. The worry disappeared and she concentrated once more on Atlas.
Atlas pressed a button on the side of the hatch door they had just opened. The door opposite swung open. From where Trillion was standing the room looked quite large. She wondered just how big the space was.
Atlas took a couple of steps back. Then he ran forward and jumped, landing in the nursery.
A door to the left of Icarus appeared. He winked at Trillion before opening it and stepping through. He appeared on the other side and waved back at her.
Not to be outdone, Trillion pulled out a portal gun and shot it at the side of the wall. She walked through and appeared in the nursery herself.
Ignoring Atlas as he shook his head at the two of them, she looked around the room. It was enormous. The ceiling was at least ten metres high. There was row upon row of shelves. As she scanned the room, she noticed it was arranged into eight sections, all different sizes. Directly in front of her the sign read Homo-deus. There was another sign to her right, a little further away. She strained her eyes to read it. It was the biggest section. It read Animalia.
Atlas pointed at a red line circling them on the ground. “You can’t go outside of this red circle.”
As if to test it, Icarus began walking towards the line. As he came closer to it, he stopped moving forward. His legs were still moving, but he wasn’t going anywhere.
“Are you moonwalking?” Trillion laughed.
Icarus shook his head. “No, I’m walking normally. It just won’t let me go any further.”
“It’s not that you’re not allowed to cross that line,” Atlas laughed a little. “It’s just that the hapticgraphic magnets all over this spacecraft stop at that line. It’s to ensure the hapticgraphic engines can’t be hacked in order to destroy any of the items in here.”
Icarus stopped moving. He pressed his hand towards the line, trying to cross it. It looked like he was pressing against an invisible wall. “So how do we get a sample?”
“Like this.” Atlas pressed a button on the comm control on her wrist. A number pad appeared in front of him. “Turn away while I enter the code.”
Trillion turned away, playing along with Atlas’s game even though they both knew she could replay the event later if she wanted to learn the code. She heard buttons tapping.
Then a robotic arm dropped down from the ceiling and headed towards the section labelled Homo-deus. It reached into one of the shelves and twisted a cylinder open, then pulled out a small metallic test tube about the size of a finger.
The arm moved towards Atlas in a quick, smooth motion before coming to a stop just inside the red circle.
“What’s that?” Icarus said, pointing to the test tube.
Atlas pulled it from the robotic arm’s grasp. “This is a single fertilised embryo.”
Trillion turned her head towards Icarus. “How do you not know that?”
Icarus shrugged. “I haven’t needed to look any of this information up yet. I will when it’s my turn.”
She reached her hand towards the test tube. “Can I touch it?”
“Of course,” Atlas replied, handing it to her.
“I can’t believe I’m holding the first ever human life to be born in another system.”
The weight of the vial was noticeable. She could feel it was dense. “Should we name it?”
Atlas laughed. “I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s grow it first.”
“Okay, so what next?”
“We’ll seed the first child. Then Lex has an automated program that will seed the rest of them.”
Icarus looked up. “Oh, that makes more sense. I thought we had to seed them all like this. That would have taken forever.”
The three of them headed out to the hangar. Trillion and Atlas both felt the gravitas of this moment so they took turns carrying the ‘vial of child’ as she called it.