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The storm swirls around Hera’s exoskeleton, the Hephaestus. Pipes clank and beams creak. Eiffel and Lovelace are asleep, breathing steadily? (if #prog [hum vitals] return(false), then init #prog [medical emergency Hephaestus]) return(true), breathing steadily. Minkowski has gotten an electrical kit and is diddling with the fritzing screens on the bridge.

Hera can feel the sleepy itch of auxiliary internal sensors on the aft deck eating up memory—is this what humans feel, when their neurological systems need to be cleared by sleep?—and idly checks query?scheduled background tasks, query?storm surge predictive. With the twitch of a thought, she reallocates processing power to prepare to run #prog [solarstorm (Hephastus, emergency level 3)] just in case, and begins cycling the sensors, the portion of her that exists in them slipping gratefully to sleep.

What would it be like to be Minkowski, who is currently rubbing her eyes, unable to do the equivalent? One brain: waking or sleeping, never both. (“Eugh. …Hera?” “What is it, Eiffel?” “Storm still gonna pass without the Hephaestus doing anything more than the interstellar Cupid Shuffle?”) What would that be like? One brain, one train of thought, one pair of eyes, one (“Everything’s fine. Get some sleep, Eiffel.” “Eugh. You too, sweetheart.”) beating biological heart.


“Yes, Hera?”

“It’s 0300 in the morning.”

Minkowski rubs an eye and looks up at Hera’s nearest camera.

“And I just started clearing auxiliary sensors, and the storm’s still building, so if you shock yourself…”

“Point taken.” Minkowski wipes her hands on a towel, closing the electrical kit. “Good night, Hera.”

“Good night, Commander.”

(So if you shock yourself #prog[central_statusmonitor], status = green, I can help you easily because I’ve allocated everything appropriately and can still respond in a crisis.

But what Minkowski and her tired eyes don’t know won’t hurt her.)