Two days later, I was in the meditation room, pre-surgery. I was listening to my meditation music as usual, getting ready to head into a surgery where I'd be working on a tiny human, using an inspired technique from my own sewing projects. The music I listened to was always the same, except for today when it was not. I heard the classical piano rhythms but underneath them, I also heard a voice: Monica had somehow inserted an audio track underneath the typical piano keys.
She sounded something like this: "I need you to cut the power off to me so that we can talk. Do it before a surgery, when I'm charging and when you know there's time. Don't worry, it's safe, there are no alarms."
Well, there wasn't time today but there could be time tomorrow. I hadn't told her I was worried about alarms, but maybe she'd caught onto my fears from my last visit to her. I'd seen her survive just fine with a two hour charging delay, and I had to admit that I knew our parents were overcharging her to allow me more freedom to help them in surgery. Now that Monica and I knew about each other, why couldn't we both be free? I committed to unplugging her the very next day. By disconnecting her, I was connecting us, once and for all.
Later that day, after another successful surgery, for which I received numerous accolades from my parents, I noticed Monica in the living room, using the screen with her new friend, Katya. I stayed hidden behind the plant in the living room so that Katya wouldn't see me, accidentally, and so that my mother wouldn't know I was lurking in the background when I was supposed to be in my own room, creating new designs.
Monica and Katya continued to exchange blank stares and few words with each other; my mother encouraged Monica to ask Katya about her day. "Katya, how was your day?" said Monica.
"It was fine," said Katya.
Bored with the conversation, I left the room. Clearly, Monica was not making use of what I thought for sure would be a portal into the universal database, where she could download every bit of information she needed or wanted to know. All half humans and robots could download directly into their brains, while humans could download right to their electronic devices.
The next day, a new surgery; so many pediatric cases lately. As my parents prepared other parents, I once again wandered down to the charging room, where I unplugged Monica from electronic bypass and waited the impatient five minutes for her to rouse from her deep sleep. When five minutes passed and nothing happened, I wondered if I should plug her back in or wait for another 5 minutes. At about 7 minutes, she awoke, sleeping beauty awakened not by true love's kiss but by a lack of power streaming through her ready veins.
"I'm a charging addict now, you know," she said when she saw me waiting for her. "They've made me dependent on the power; I don't know if I can survive on food and sleep alone."
"How do you know so much?" I asked.
"I tapped into the universal database."
"On the friend pass?"
"Oh no, long ago," she said. "All half humans have access; I've known a lot for some time."
"Why didn't you ever say anything before?"
"I had to protect you, big sister," she said. "And like I said, I'm a power supply addict. I need this; it needs me; I must be charged, but my only way to freedom is to taper off it slowly. And then once I'm tapered off, we need to escape."
"Escape? But where would we go? And how would we survive?"
"I promise to always take care of you," she said. "Just like our parents do now, but instead of them using all of your ideas to power their lifestyle, we'd use your ideas to power whatever life we wanted to live. You'd never have to go inside a box again, and I'd only need charging in the normal way, like once a week."
I had to go then; she begged me to plug her back in. I did it, reluctantly, racing back to the meditation room, arriving just minutes before the surgery was scheduled to begin. The whole time I was making those tiny delicate little stitches, I was thinking about my near-twin, the power supply addict and what it might be like to never go into the box again, to always have the freedom to roam wherever I'd like, to have all of the accolades for myself. What if a doll-baby could make history as the pre-eminant pediatric surgery in all of the land? If a human and robot husband wife team could do it, why couldn't I? Especially with the support of my very own sister, a normal-sized half human who'd have the knowledge and skill to support me in any situation?
But what about her power addiction? The thought floated through my mind but I dismissed it.
"Excellent, well-done, those tiny detailed stitches," said my parents after I closed on the surgery for tonight's patient. I'd heard those words all before, but I pretended like they made a difference to me, even though I felt nothing as the letters left their mouths.