Astrid spent the evening after her parents left being bored. The hospital staff wouldn’t let her watch TV, surf the web, or listen to the radio. They wouldn’t even get her a three year old magazine from a waiting room to read. Finally, after much begging and pleading, Niri the night nurse, a large woman with brown skin and blond hair, brought her a dog-eared Isaac Asimov paperback entitled The Naked Sun. She read two thirds of the book before bedtime.
The following morning, Astrid woke to a doctor, along with Amelia the day nurse, examining her.
“How are you feeling this morning, Astrid?” the doctor, a thin red-haired woman asked.
“How many doctors do I have anyway?” Astrid asked.
“More than is usual,” the doctor laughed. “I’m Dr. Crawford, your neurologist. I performed the surgery on your head. You also have an orthopedist and a supervising physician.”
“I hope all that’s covered by insurance.”
“You don’t need to worry about that,” said Amelia. “You’re a…”
Dr. Crawford stopped her, amid sentence, with a raised hand.
“Do you remember anything more this morning?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
“Well, there’s no guarantee, but I feel very optimistic about your recovery. In the meantime, I brought you something to occupy your time.” She set a notebook computer in Astrid’s lap. “I’d like you to try out this game. You might like it.”
“This isn’t really a game, is it?” asked Astrid. “This is a brain test. You want to see if I’ve got all my marbles.”
“Yes, it is a brain test, but it’s also a game. I want to see if anything besides your memory has been affected.”
Astrid spent the next few hours running through the various brain puzzles that made up the game. Just after noon, Amelia brought her a sandwich and soup for lunch, and afterwards gave her a sponge bath. Not long after that, she arrived to tell Astrid that she had more visitors.
“Shall I send them in one at a time, or do you feel up to seeing them all at once?”
“How many of them are there?”
“I guess they can all come in, if there’s room.”
A minute later the room was crowded with teenagers. Astrid smiled when she saw her best friend Denise Brown. Slightly on the skinny side, with long blond hair and green eyes, Denise had been Astrid’s friend since they were little. Next to her was Christopher Harris, a tall handsome boy with chocolate brown skin and black hair. He had the highest grades of anyone at school, with the exception of Astrid. Then there was Austin Tretower, a sandy-haired boy, who despite seeming to be thoroughly average in just about every way, was one of Astrid’s best friends. Next to him were two tall boys. One was thin with black hair. The other was muscular and very handsome, with brown bangs that hung down just above his eyes. Finally, there were two other girls. Both were shorter than Denise with flashing eyes. The first had long black hair, while the other had blue hair and bluish-metallic skin.
“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Astrid. “You’re a robot! Just like in The Naked Sun!”
“The naked what?” exclaimed the robot.
“Astrid, don’t you remember Valerie?” asked the black-haired girl next to her.
“Um, sorry. She looks just like you. Did you build her?”
“No, Astrid. You did.”