Lo, Ham, Shay, Nu, Bett & Fen take a few moments to gather their possessions before they are led away between the two Securities robots, Jess walking apace, smiling nervously. Word has gotten out that they are leaving; before they arrive at the elevators, they hear a fight break out for their former home. They will never return here.
Lo grips his father’s hand tightly as the elevator rises, leaving the slave decks behind and passing the refinery floor as well. The stop on the medical deck; Lo has been here before. A year ago, a hot piece of machinery burned his arm and he was brought here. Lo touches the scar on his arm in memory. The Securities stay on the elevator and Jess leads the family into a large examination room.
“We need to take a few tests, make sure you have some vaccinations,” Jess says. “You’ll be going to a place with more humans, and they don’t want anybody getting sick. The doctors will be here in a moment, make yourselves comfortable.” Ham nods but the family is too nervous. They stand together in a group.
“What’s vaccination,” Lo asks Shay.
“It’s something that makes you strong against sickness,” Shay responds. “Don’t worry.”
Two large Ammt doctors enter the room, followed by three robot nurses. Lo has never seen an Ammt before – thick, boxy, heavily furred, their voices rumble out of their lower halves as they introduce themselves.
“I am Doctor Mmmnnnr, and this is my colleague Doctor Rrrb,” the first Ammt gestures at the second, who stands slightly shorter with a thin stripe of white hair on her upper torso. “We will run some simple tests on you, they will be painless. They will require blood, but you will not experience discomfort. This will not take long. Are you ready for us to begin?”
Ham and Shay look at each other, then the children, then to Fen. Fen nods, they nod back. “Yes,” Ham says. “We are ready for your tests.”
The Ammt are true to their word and after running their painless tests, excuse themselves for a few moments. Ham and Shay check each other and the children but there appear to be no lasting marks from having blood drawn.
Doctor Rrrb returns with a tray of injection ampules containing a bright yellow liquid. “We have completed the analysis of the data from the tests, and we have created tailored immunizations for each of you. These injections also contain a number of vitamins as well as a compound to remove the contractually-obligated DigestAll from your system. Where you’re going you’ll be eating a more metabolically appropriate diet.”
Ham looks at Shay; she knows he’s thinking “where ARE we going?”
Doctor Rrrb continues, “These injections will be painless, but there may be some swelling in the days afterwards. You may experience slight digestive discomfort, diarrhea, loss of appetite and dizziness. Drink salted water to replace fluids and electrolytes. Are you ready for us to begin?”
Fen chuckles, “Start a new life with the shits, why not?”
“Fen!” Shay is sharp, but everyone laughs. She turns back to the Ammt. “Go ahead.”