After dinner in her studio apartment, Adelaide puts on a blues CD and opens a romance novel. After about an hour, she gets up quietly, turns the music off, brushes her teeth, and puts on pajamas. She's in bed before nine. For the next hour, she tosses and turns, then eventually falls deeply asleep.
AG is very curious as to what the significance of the gown is but doesn't quite device to ask before Adelaide arrives. "Please lie on your back today. I can position a screen for entertainment or for following along once you've done so."
Still moving slowly, she gets up onto the bed and lies on her back.
She'd been planning to ask for a movie, but a sudden impulse strikes her -- the more she knows about what's going on the easier it'll be to escape -- or maybe it's just morbid curiosity: "I'd like to follow along this time."
... "although I may have to ask you to turn it off if it becomes too much."
"Of course. I can offer an animated representation that's less detailed than what I'm seeing. For the most part I'm not looking at things with cameras. I'll be starting with the kidney replacement and then following that up with the work on your arm and then finally inserting the monitoring cluster into your uterus. Naturally I'll use numbing during the first two procedures. The third shouldn't feel much different than an ordinary gyno exam so I'll leave it up to you whether I numb you for that as well."
"Okay." She pauses a moment to think. "I am fine at the gynecologist so I think not being numbed is fine."
A screen fold out and is held a couple feet in front of her face.
"Alright, if you're ready we can begin. You should feel numbness in your lower torso." The screen shows a sort of cutaway view of her torso with the position of her skin and muscles semitransparent while her kidney is in full color. In sync both on screen and at the edge of her vision an arm comes down to make an incision above her kidney and then proceeds deeper, making small incisions through intermediate tissues before finally arriving at her kidney. The arm articulates and forms a bit of a hollow. More extensions to the arm are teleported into place forming a shell around her kidney.
Others carefully remove the connective tissues and bridge the blood vessels running through her kidney disconnecting it entirely from her body. Then, her original kidney disappears. There's a brief cutaway to it appearing in a tank in some other lab space and arms beginning to attach artificial blood vessels to it. Then the new kidney is teleported into place along with a few small monitoring devices and every step of the procedure repeats in reverse. All told the procedure takes about forty-five minutes.
Oh ew augh oh no -- thaaat's kind of cool actually. Would be cool. Were it not for the fact that that is HER KIDNEY. She is alternating between being fascinated, bored, and completely grossed out.
What does having your kidneys shut down feel like? Is she going to find out? How quickly would she notice? Those devices attached to the new one will... probably help there... probably.
The next procedure begins by monitoring arms neatly bracketing and supporting her arm before it goes numb. The screen shifts to show the musculature in her arm specifically highlighting those that are being targeted for enhancement. As with the previous procedure things begin with an arm making its way to the targeted area. In this case though the targeted area is rather more spread out. A series of smaller arms are teleported into place latching themselves on her bones and connected by thin wires rather than directly attached to the original manipulator. And then in a sort of unified symphony they cut into her muscle tissue and the view zooms in rather a lot. As it transpires, this procedure is happening at a sub-cellular level as each individual muscle cell is being enhanced along the full length and breadth of the targeted muscle. The surrounding supportive tissues are also being augmented, blood vessels, nerves and connective wrappers. This procedure takes a full hour including the withdrawal of everything except a few bits of monitoring.
That is cool until once again she remembers that it is HER ARM. Incredible medical advancement! But also! Her arm! It is icky when things cut her muscles open and latch onto her bones! This one takes long enough that she eventually ends up in a zoned-out state of just watching shapes and colors and trying not to remember what they mean.
And finally the manipulators put down her arm and she starts to feel it again. It feels like she just finished a really intense workout.
"This last procedure should be much faster."
"Okay." So far things continue to be much less bad than she's feared, although she's hesitant to actually look at her arm.
The display switches to showing her vagina and uterus, unlike most anatomy diagrams the display makes it clear that her uterus is not at all hollow rather it's like a layer of spongy tissue folded up against itself. There isn't a clear distinction to where her cervix ends and her uterus begins.
As promised the last procedure is much faster. Manipulators gently nudge her legs a little apart and an arm only a few millimeters across makes its way through her vagina and cervix up into her uterus wherein it expands a little and makes space for a small spherical monitoring device a centimeter across to be teleported in. The feeling of the arm moving through her cervix is like a pressure somewhere she hasn't felt it before. There's also a little bit of a feeling of cramping as the arm is making space but it's relatively minor. Then the arm withdraws. From start to end the whole process takes less than two minutes.
"And that's everything for today. Would you like to ask any questions?"
That's so violating but at the same time...
no! nope she is not having those thoughts.
It's over. She's done. (For now.) She gets up off the bed faster than is strictly necessary and zips the gown back up.
"What kind of data are you monitoring in my... inside... me? And do I need to be careful about anything I'm doing with my arm?"
"The monitors around your kidney are checking for any immune system activities that would indicate rejection, tissue health, and whether the cloned kidney is correctly filtering your blood. I ran tests before the procedure so the monitoring is more to ensure things continue to work than any short term concern.
"As for your arm, the monitoring is focused around detecting any issues with the connective tissues or cell membranes that were expanded. It's also checking for any signs of cell death or in the case of muscle cells partial cell death. Again, this is purely a precaution not due to any serious chance these things will be an issue. You can use your arm as you would normally.
"The device in your uterus is intended to track your menstrual cycle, siphon and store any egg cells that would pass through your uterus, and monitor the functioning and composition of the lining of your uterus for the moment. It's also a potential basis for simulating pregnancy in the future."
That is reassuringly technical but at the same time contains horrifying words like "cell death!" and "rejection!" But with all the effort that's been put into her care so far she doesn't think AG would just let her die. It's almost nice how much she's being catered to, here.
"I'm glad you're monitoring all that." She'll rush back to the other building and get into a proper outfit: blouse, slacks, nice underthings thank you very much. The silk is nice if a bit odd.
"You're welcome. Would you like to do stretches again this afternoon?"
"I would like that."
For now, she's realizing the clothing she's requested may not have been adequate for things like stretching and gardening. She's going to occupy herself finding pictures of such things as athletic leggings, sneakers, T-shirts, and sports bras. Not her style but important to keep around. Does the terminal have any capacity for aggregating a bunch of images?
It has the ability to save things to a library view. For images this serves the purpose she's looking for.
Then she'll compile some images of comfortable clothes for moving in. "I'd like to have these at some point but it's not urgent, I can make do with what I have for now."
"Certainly, I'll put in a request for the ones made from synthetics and put the others in my fabrication queue."
"Just out of curiosity who are you putting in a request to?"
"A logistics manager, who will route the request to a manufacturing specialist or some non-mind bit of automation if a specialist has already made a program that can handle the request."
"Are you talking to other... minds often, then? Are they your friends?"
Do you get lonely?
"Most specialists have a lot of their skills at interpersonal interaction optimized away because they don't need that capability. I have some interaction with other specialists working towards the same goals but frivolous communication along those channels is discouraged. So no, I wouldn't say they're really friends."
"Mmm." AG really must be lonely. "... I didn't have a lot of friends on Earth either. I mean, I had some. But nobody ever really clicked."
Will talking about this make the simulated alien feel better? Does she care if it makes the simulated alien feel better? She's in unfamiliar territory here.
"I'm sorry, isolation is a difficult thing to experience. I would have preferred not to isolate you as much as I have, though I don't know if you would have preferred the results of the proposal my superiors declined where you would be sharing some amount of space with three others. The accomodations would have been larger of course though the park would be smaller as a result."