Author : Suzanne Borchers

“You have a decision to make.” Her surgeon leaned forward on the chair, eyes soft with tiny wrinkles around them.

Mary glanced first at her husband sitting quietly next to her and then to their hands clasped together. She faced the surgeon. “Didn’t the microbots’ transplant work? We need a baby.”

Mary blinked away tears.

The official letter on the official letterhead screen said the government would pronounce them divorced after another year without offspring. It was an official law. The colony needed future workers. Producing offspring was the first official task of a couple.
“The operation was successful. Your replacement organ pinked up and is ready, but…”

Mary’s tentative smile died.

“…even though we counted the bots in and the bots out—twice–a mistake was made.”

Mary squeezed her husband’s hand until she felt him pull away. “What mistake?” She reached again for his hand.

“As I said before, you have a decision to make.” The surgeon shifted her position back. “One bot was missed. The scan shows that it now rests against your heart, cradled in arteries. It is inactive and not bleeping.”

Mary smiled.

Everything was all right. One inactive bot wouldn’t stop her from having children. She hardly felt her husband’s hand squeeze hers.

“The bot could activate at any time, especially if your body is under stress. Having a baby places a great deal of stress on the mother’s body. You could die.”

Mary’s mouth trembled.

“On the other hand, if we try to remove the bot from its precarious spot, it is still dangerous. You could die from the slip of a needle cutting into an artery or the bot might awaken and begin to surgically cut your heart or an artery.”

Mary looked at her husband.

He turned to meet her gaze. “It’s your decision.”

How could she decide? Do nothing and perhaps enjoy a year with her husband to then be alone forever? Have a baby and perhaps die before the birth? Have the procedure and perhaps die during it? Maybe this stress had already activated it. Die on this chair?

Mary turned to the surgeon. “What would you do?”

The surgeon retreated back on her chair. “It’s your decision. I’m sorry, but it must be made before you leave.”

Mary turned to her husband, but he continued to face forward.

Mary’s mouth trembled.

Was her ache for a baby worth taking a chance on the bot being activated? Perhaps she could have the bot extracted after the birth. Was she a gambler? She loved her husband and needed to keep him. Could she survive without him? Why wouldn’t he help with the decision? How much did he really love her?

She bit into her bottom lip.

What if she couldn’t have a child even with the transplanted uterus? Was the hope of a child worth the risk to her life?

Mary decided.

Her voice shook with the words.

Mary’s husband released her hand.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows