The Nanogatherers
a sci-fi novel in progress

4 Eggs Benedict

     There were chairs around a table she’d folded down from the side of the wagon under the “roofed” space created by the frame arms the boys had extended.

The tarp serves as the roof so the Tribe can loll in the shade outside of the wagon during the day, the main living area for the Tribe. At night the bottom of the tarp emitted light to illuminate the evening’s drinking and carousing.

     Two flutes of orange juice were on the table.

     “Come on, sit down,” Granny said. “It’s ham and eggs on a muffin with sauce. It’s really good.”

     Tobe sat down and cautiously tasted a first forkful. Granny had funny ideas about what “tasted good.” Then he took another bite. “Wow,” he said. It was good.

     “This is to show you that there’s a lot more to the food universe than you know about. Mmm,” she said, taking a bite from her own plate, “ham, hot buttered toasted English muffins, eggs perfectly poached, and a warm creamy Hollandaise sauce.” She drank from her glass of orange juice. “And a mimosa makes it all just perfect.

     “It took four printers running simultaneous and timed perfectly and then some manual assembly. A hand made breakfast for your birthday!

     “Yep, today’s your birthday and things are going to be very different for you.”

     “What do you mean, birthday? Alfy said it was my birthday.”

     “That brat, I told him not to tell you. Tobe, you were born exactly five thousand days ago today, and now the rules for you have changed.

     “Your uncle Joe is going to talk to you. There’s a lot that you don’t know, that your mother should been telling you about, and now it’s your birthday and things are going to change.”

     “My mother should have told me? Why does everybody hate me because of my mother?” Tobe said.

     “You’ve got to get over it about your mom, it was too bad, but it’s in the past and can’t be changed, time to set all that old stuff aside,” Granny  said.

     Tobe said, “It’s not me, it’s all of you blaming me for what she did. And

what did you mean, earlier, that I can hear them now?”

     “The Tribe’s filters are no longer active,” Granny said. “Uncle Joe will explain. Eat your eggs. You’re going to discover there’s a lot more to eat than just pizza and beer,” she said.

     “I don’t drink beer,” Tobe said.

     “Or whatever you kids are drinking these days. Anyway, Tobe, I found out you are my great-great grandchild.” “Your great-grandmother was…was…” She touched the tattoo ring on her thigh and Phoebe appeared standing next to the table in Tobe’s headband view. “Your great-grandmother Phoebe was my thirty seventh child. And your mother Aurora was my great-granddaughter.” Now a beautiful woman was standing next to Phoebe and it Tobe several moments before he recognized her. A young man appeared next to Phoebe. “Your father, Lacon. He uploaded a few tendays after you were born.

     “Your mother was a brainy one, and the brainy ones can figure out the filters. That’s how she uploaded early. Most of the other kids, the robots make you think you are smart when it’s really the robots who are smart.”

     “My mother uploaded? You never told me that before.”

     “Well, we don’t know for sure. She was just gone. Anyway, this is a sample of some of the new things you’ll be able to do now. The past will be open to you.”

     “I can see in the past,” Tobe said.

     “Sure, you can see your own snapshots. This is different. Uncle Joe is going to explain it all to you.”

     Tobe didn’t know what to say. “Why are we here at the Grand Canyon?” he said.

     “Last night Joe and I and some of the other elders were sitting and drinking and talking about where to go next, and Joe said we hadn’t checked the Grandview copper patch in a while. And Joe was just skimming through the info and he saw something funny about the old hotel that used to be here and we decided to come here right away. We only just arrived a few minutes ago.” She yawned. “And I’m tired and I’m going to bed.” She stood up. “Let’s get you and Uncle Joe going. Take care of this stuff.”

     Tobe picked up the plates and glasses and tableware and put them in the side matterbin.

     “It’s a lucky thing for you that Uncle Joe happens to be here for your five thousandth, he’s the perfect man to explain things to you. He’s been around a long time, he’s almost as old as I am, he has the perspective you’re going to need.”

     She changed her focus to her headband and said, ” Come on, Joe, you’ve got to find out about the hotel early so we can get Geen and Vivace and the others up here, if the stuff is there.” 

     There was a muffled assent heard from inside the wagon.

     “And I just found out that today is Tobe’s 5K birthday, and you need to give him The Talk, so why don’t you take him with you to the hotel?”