The token makes an exaggerated, comic rattle as it descends inside the human-machine. As it settles with a drum-roll finish, the HM takes an enormous inhalation, her screen flickering with blue light.
“What?!” She bellows from the voice box in her chest.
The pain from your head shoots down your spine and you fight a wave of nausea.
“Where’s volume adjust?” you ask.
She lifts her arm like a dog wanting to be scratched and you locate the volume control, winding it down a few decibels.
“You’re not supposed to be awake yet,” she says, her voice lower.
You seem to remember then; some kind of operation, an underground hospital, being wheeled back to your apartment on that strange bed.
Just then, something warm drips down your back.
“What’s in my head?” you ask.
A baby appears on the HM’s screen. It begins to chuckle fatly and the HM coughs along with it, sending discrete puffs of exhaust across the kitchen.
“Idiot, you’re knocking to be let out,” the HM says. “Turn around.”
Turning warily, you see a small, bright blade extend from between her fingers.
“Relax,” she says, “I’ve Googled this a hundred times.”
A burning sensation tears down the back of your head. You gasp as something slops wetly between your shoulders, but then, finally, the awful pain seems to evaporate, leaving you clear-headed.
A small cry shoots through the room. Was it your own voice?
You turn. The HM’s screen flicks from the chuckling baby to real-time footage outside your front door. Four women dressed in running gear are feeding an explosive into the keyhole.
In an unpleasant sing-song voice the HM announces, “The midwives are here.”
You look down. Cradled in her arms is the creature from your head, kicking and mewling. A naked human form. Not a baby, but an adult of perfect, tiny proportions.
You bend down and see; it is you. Your mini-clone looks back up at you.