Kepa wasn’t sure what time it was when he woke up. If there was a way to access the time in his room, he couldn’t find it. And, while he suspected the pod next to his cot was meant to help him with his… bodily functions… he couldn’t figure it out either.
He approached his door, the sphere in his hand, and it silently opened. The big circular room had about the same number of people as before – maybe ten to fifteen – but they were scattered in different parts of the room at different tables. He scanned the room and saw Latxe sitting at one of the tables with a couple of other people, a man and a woman.
He approached the table. Before he got there, Latxe looked up. “Kepa!” she greeted him enthusiastically. “How did you sleep?”
“Good,” admitted Kepa. “Um…” he began and paused. “Could I talk to you for a minute?” He looked at the other two at the table. “In private?”
Latxe shrugged and stood up. She and Kepa walked a few steps away. “Zer gertatzen da?” she asked. “What’s up?”
Kepa looked sheepishly at his feet. “I… I can’t figure out how to use the toilet,” he mumbled.
Latxe smiled, explained to him how the pod worked, and let Kepa find his way back to his room. A few moments later he returned, completely groomed and refreshed. He sat at the table.
“That was amazing!” he said.
“What?” asked the other woman. She was blond, with her hair cut short and various patterns that didn’t mean anything to Kepa cut into the stubble.
“The toilet!” exclaimed Kepa.
The woman looked at Latxe. “What’s he on about?”
“He’s never seen one of our pods before,” she said.
“Seriously?” asked the man, who was probably shorter than Kepa but much more muscular. He had longer dark hair that fell past his shoulders. “Where did you come from where you didn’t have a pod?”
“The countryside…” began Kepa before Latxe interrupted him.
“He’s been away for many years, in what used to be the United States, living off the land and all.”
The man nodded as if he understood. “That’s cool!” he said. “I’ve always thought about trying that.”
Kepa looked around the room. “What happened to the door we came in?” he asked, noticing there was just a blank wall.
“It’s gone,” said Latxe matter of factly. “Like it never existed.”
“How?” stammered Kepa.
“Nanobots,” said Latxe. “They are everywhere, they build everything and destroy everything. They clean up our waste. They tend our gardens. They do everything.” She held up a small tablet about the size of her palm. “With this, we can control a small cluster of them, within a few meters. We can get them to do what we want, like create a door out of nothing.”
“And make it disappear,” added the other woman.
“Wow!” said Kepa, just staring at the blank wall. “This time is so amazing!”
Latxe, the woman, and the man exchanged questioning glances.
“This time?” asked Latxe.
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