Mike went right to bed, but he didn’t sleep well. Patience put their clothes into the dresser drawers and hung up her dresses and Mike’s suit and slacks. She set up the bathroom as close as possible to the configuration that her husband was used to at home. Periodically she would stand near him as he alternately tossed the blanket from him or pulled it back on. She was unable to tell from his vital signs if he was hot or cold at any particular moment. She was looking at him when, at 5:38AM local time, he suddenly sat up.
“Are you all right Mike?”
He looked at her for a moment. “Yeah. I have to pee.”
Getting out of bed, he made it to the small bathroom in three steps. He was back in two minutes, twelve seconds.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” Patience asked as he climbed back into bed.
“I don’t like an unfamiliar bed.”
“It seems like more than that,” she said, but almost immediately he began to snore loudly.
He woke again after three hours and climbed out of bed.
“What time is it?”
“Eight thirty-nine AM,” said Patience.
“What is that in real time?”
“Three thirty-nine AM.”
“Shit. No wonder I’m exhausted.”
“I think the time has less to do with how long you’ve slept than the quality of your sleep. After all, you slept through much of the flight down.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he said, pulling off his underwear.
Patience waited until Mike was almost finished shaving before starting the shower and laying out a bath mat. He seemed to revive a bit under the hot water and after brushing his teeth. He dressed in the clothes that she had laid out for him without complaint. Finally he stood immobile, as Patience applied a coating of special Antarctic sun block to all the exposed areas of his skin.
“Where can we get some breakfast around here?”
“I thought you would enjoy a breakfast buffet this morning.”
“That sounds good. What time does it start?”
“There are two buffets with staggered times, so we can eat any time before eleven.”
“Great. Are we waiting for your buddy and her pet human?”
“No,” said Patience. “Ryan will probably sleep in a few more hours. He didn’t go right to bed.”
“He didn’t? What did he do? Never mind, I don’t want to know.”
At that moment, Mike’s phone, which was on the dresser, rang.
“I can’t believe I have service in Antarctica.”
“Only in Adelaide or within range of the ship,” said Patience.
“Hello,” said Mike, picking up the device.
“Hi Harriet. Is everything all right? Is Selma okay? Did my house burn down?”
“No, Dad. Everything is fine. I just called to see if you got there all right.”
“Yes, we made it. What are you doing up anyway? Isn’t it the middle of the night there?”
“I have a child old enough to climb out of her crib in the middle of the night and get into mischief if I sleep too soundly. Seems like somebody could have warned me about that.”
“I did,” said Mike. “How many times did I say ‘don’t have kids’?”
“Yeah, that was a big help. Well, have fun. I’m going back to bed.”
“Okay, sweetheart. I love you. Take care of my grandkid.”
“Right. Love ya, Dad.”
The Grande Bacchanal Buffet was on the Champagne Deck and was so large that it was easy to forget it was on a ship. Approaching the size of a football field, the room was ringed with a balcony level around three sides. Along the fourth wall were the winding counters of the food islands, divided up into sections according to food variety. As he entered, Mike was handed a plastic tag with his table number on it.
“Do you want me to serve you?” Patience asked her husband.
“No. You get the drinks. I’ll get my own food.”
Patience located two drink stations, equal distance from the walls along the x-axis and in the center of the room along the y-axis. She collected two tall glasses of water and a diet soda. Next to the drinks was a selection of condiments. She grabbed a bottle of Tabasco, taking it with her to their assigned table.
While she waited for Mike, she observed others nearby. As expected, the room consisted of about one half human beings and one half robots. At the table to her right, a handsome man of African descent, about thirty years old, sat with a new model Gizmo robot. The Gizmo was a female model, with a very shapely body and platinum blond hair. She hated to admit it, but Gizmos had definitely improved their models recently, at least on the outside. On the other side of her, a man about Mike’s age, but a good six inches shorter, sat with an Amonte 2. Tall and thin, the Amonte 2 was dressed in a business suit, despite her human’s casual clothing. And directly across from Patience were a pair of women, one human and the other a Barone model Daffodil. The human was five foot six inches tall, with short brown hair, and the Barone was an inch taller with long strawberry blond tresses. They both wore yellow sundresses.
“Lesbian watching, are we?” asked Mike, setting down his tray.