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Domicile 4.5

“Son!” Gerald objected. “St. Anne’s is a prestigious institution, and their insistence on
traditional methods is hardly a mark of underdevelopment. It is, far from it, a conscious choice
to promote self-reliance and encourage us to remember how blessed we are.”
“Yes, father,” Timmy said obligingly. “I just don’t understand why we can’t use the
lighter equipment. It’s not like their expensive or anything.”
Gerald shook his head ruefully. But eyeing the pile his son had made, he acknowledged
that he had a point. Sports equipment made of wood and plastic might be solid to the touch, but
was cumbersome and awkward, especially when accompanied by paper tomes that were encased
in cellulose bindings. And they certainly weren’t anywhere near as good at keeping dirt and dust
It was all food for thought as Martha plugged a vacuum line into the room’s main feed
and began running it over their son and his dirty possessions. Within seconds, tiny nanomites
poured out of the hose and began filtering through his clothes, hair and pores to comb away
outside intruders. Dust, dirt, molds, spores, and infections that they had programmed the house’s
main directional computer to recognize and target. Unrecognized nanomites (hostiles, perhaps)
were also targeted and neutralized using tiny shocks of EM radiation to their central cores,
knocking out their power supplies and then carried back like dead drones to the house’ Seed.
When the vacuum job was complete, the unit dinged and Margaret withdrew it to its hole.
Had she read the indicator on the line, she would have noticed that Timmy was now clean based
on household specifications. While all families knew the importance of allowing their children
to be exposed to some degree of filth in exchange for the benefits it held for their immune
systems, every family was at their own discretion to decide how much of it they wanted in their
house. The Wilkinson’s were a rustic family by most standards, choosing to program their
nanomites to filter out harmful E Coli, Tetanus and other such things, but keeping just enough
cold and flu bacteria in the air to keep themselves strong. What was the occasional runny nose
so long as their white cells continued to function?
“Learn anything new and exciting?” Gerald asked once they were all seated at the dining
room table and eating their food. Timmy shrugged, looking up from Rufus, who needed to be
shooed away from begging at his feet.
“Miss Tomlin spent the whole morning telling us about the breakup of the old nation
state system. I didn’t get it much, seemed stupid to me.”
“Son, studying the past is important,” Gerald said. “It is how we got to the period we
know as the now, after all.”
“Yeah, but why did people ever live like that? She said they used paper to simulate
currency, paid a central government to take care of them, even though everyone complained
about it, and went to war over flags.”
“People still go to war, son. Remember the nanocausts?”
“Yes, father,” Timmy nodded. “But why fight over a strip of cloth? Why pay a bunch of
people you never even met to take care of you?”
“It was a different time,” his father reminded him. “They had not yet realized these
things were obsolete, or they would have abandoned them. For that to happen, they needed the
means. The nanoindustrial revolution changed not only the way people think, but the way they
lived and did things.”
“I’ll say,” Timmy said, poking at his lunch. “She also said they cut down trees a lot, used
paper for everything.”