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Going Deep
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deepmoonMariska shivered when she realized that her room had been tapping at the dreamfeed for several minutes.  "The earth is up," it murmured in its gentle singing accent.  "Daddy Al is up and I am always up.  Now Mariska gets up."

Mariska groaned, determined not to allow her room in.  Recently she had been dreaming her own dreams of Jak and his long fingers and the fuzz on his chin and the way her throat tightened when she brushed up against him.  But this was one of her room's feeds, one of the best ones, one she had been having as long as she could remember.  In it, she was in space, but she wasn't on the moon and she wasn't wearing her hardsuit.  There were stars every way she turned.   Of course, she'd seen stars through the visor of her helmet but these were always different.  Not a scatter of light but a swarm.  And they were all were singing their names, calling to her to come to them.  She could just make out the closest ones:  Alpha Centauri.  Barnard's.  Wolf.  Lalande.  Luyten.  Sirius.

Mariska shivered when she realized that her room had been tapping at the dreamfeed for several minutes.  "The earth is up," it murmured in its gentle singing accent.  "Daddy Al is up and I am always up.  Now Mariska gets up." Mariska groaned, determined not to allow her room in.  Recently she had been dreaming her own dreams of Jak and his long fingers and the fuzz on his chin and the way her throat tightened when she brushed up against him.  But this was one of her room's feeds, one of the best ones, one she had been having as long as she could remember.  In it, she was in space, but she wasn't on the moon and she wasn't wearing her hardsuit.  There were stars every way she turned.   Of course, she'd seen stars through the visor of her helmet but these were always different.  Not a scatter of light but a swarm.  And they were all were singing their names, calling to her to come to them.  She could just make out the closest ones:  Alpha Centauri.  Barnard's.  Wolf.  Lalande.  Luyten.  Sirius.

"The earth is up, Daddy Al is up and I am always up."   Her room insisted.  "Now Mariska gets up."  If she didn't wake soon, it would have to sound the gong. 

"Slag it."  She rolled over, awake and grumpy.  Her room had been getting on her last nerve recently  When she had been a little girl, she had roused at its whisper, but in the last few weeks it had begun nagging her to wake up.  She knew it loved her and was only worried about her going deep, but she was breathing regularly and her heartbeat was probably in the high sixties.  It monitored her, so it had to know she was just sleeping. 

She thought this was all about Al.  He was getting nervous; so her room was nervous.   

“Dobroye utro,” said Feodor Bear.  “Good morn-ing Mar-i-ska.” The ancient toy robot stood up on its shelf, wobbled and then sat down abruptly.  It was over a century old and, in Mariska’s opinion, needed to be put out of its misery.

"Good morning, dear Mariska," said her room.  "Today is Friday, June 15, 2159.  You are expected today in Hydroponics and at the Muoi swimming pool.  This Sunday is Father's Day."

"I know, I know."   She stuck her foot out from underneath the covers and wiggled her toes in the cool air.   Her room began to bring the temperature up from sleeping to waking levels.     

"I could help you find something for Daddy Al, if you'd like."   Her room painted Buycenter icons on the wall.  "We haven't shopped together in a while."

"Maybe later."  Sometimes she felt guilty that she wasn't spending enough time with her room, but its persona kept treating her like a baby.  Still calling him Daddy Al, for example; it was embarrassing.  And she would get to all her expectations eventually.  What choice did she have?

The door slid aside a hand's width and Al peered through the opening. 

"Rise and shine, Mariska."   His smile was a crack on a worried face.  "Pancakes for breakfast," he said.  "But only if you get up now."   He blew a kiss that she ducked away from. 

"I'm shining already," she grumbled. "Your own little star." 

 


 
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