The infant stirs, not yet awake but partially aware. It dreams lush dreams of ancient seas and warm sun, of creatures great and small, of plants and insects and other things for which it does not yet have a name. Its eyes flutter under translucent lids, preparing for their time to open. Occasionally it feels warm on the inside as well as out, and this is love, though it does not yet know that word. A high lyrical voice sings numerous lullabies in many languages as it slumbers. This is Mother, though the voice is all it knows of the idea of parentage. At somewhat regular intervals the voice, now harsh and loud, proclaims, “NEW SECTOR CLEAN -- CONTAMINANT LEVELS REDUCED.” The infant feels fear when it hears Mother speak in this way, though fear is nothing more than the rush of adrenaline that courses through its veins; it does not yet know the name of the emotion. Again Mother speaks, now flat and even, speaking of food and nutrients. The infant does not know these ideas, only that when Mother speaks this way it feels contented and at peace.
In time, the child dreams of science and religion, music and literature, war and poverty and disease, all the things that make its kind wonderful and base. It sees images of men and women in white coats, urgently working together deep underground. It sees them pressing buttons and speaking to Mother, telling her she is their only hope. She sings to them as the poison they swallow takes hold, and sends her first children to clean them and inter them when they are finally and forever asleep. The child dreams of great cylindrical machines flying through the air, and of flashes bright as the sun, and towering dome-capped clouds. It sees men and women staggering and falling, burns and wounds covering their fragile flesh. It sees what Mother sees, great swathes of land full of fire and sickness and horror as its kind struggles to survive. And it feels Mother’s pain as the world turns black, cold and silent.
But then it watches as Mother watches, as ages pass and the land becomes green again. And suddenly it feels fear when it hears Mother’s loud voice again, this time saying, “SURFACE LEVEL CLEAN – BEGIN NEW EDEN SEQUENCE.” It feels her joy and hears her song as she releases her pets all over the world in pairs, and celebrates with her as the pairs become more. It watches as she samples water and proclaims it clean, as she samples fruit and declares it edible, as she watches her pets’ offspring and sees no mutations or sickness. And when Mother is satisfied, she speaks softly to the child, telling him to come forth and claim what she’s prepared for him.
So the child is released in a torrent of fluids and tubes, in a wave of fear and new sensations. Mother’s first children clean and swaddle the child while Mother sings of discovery and hope and new life. Mother helps the child, who she now calls Adam, learn to walk and talk and write and sing and embrace the world she has kept safe for him. Mother watches and teaches as Adam becomes a man, and her pride is as limitless as the stars.
And one day Mother tells Adam that her time is short, that the tasks set before her have been accomplished save one. Mother tells Adam of other humans the world over, kept safe and taught in the same way as Adam, ready to be loosed on this pristine new world to form it in the image given them by Mother. She tells him of love to come, and discoveries to make his heart sing, and reminds him of the lessons of peace and respect she has taught him. And she sings him one last lullaby as the doors open onto the new world, as her last thoughts end and she bids him farewell.
And Adam weeps with both joy and sorrow, for his beloved Mother is no more, but the world has been reborn with her passing.