You might think living on a space station without a single other person around would be very lonely, but Tabitha didn’t know what lonely felt like. The AI and robots were her friends and companions, and they never grew old, or moved away, or got bored with her.
The Tower had three primary AI, and each carried a specific designation for its function. The first was AIDEN, Artificial Intelligence – Department: Engineering and Navigation, but Tabitha hadn’t been able to say that when she was young, and so she just called him Denny.
She had been a very bright child, and Denny had early on developed quite a fondness for her, assuming the role of teacher. He taught her reading and mathematics, sciences and history and all the subjects he had in his databanks. He taught her logic and facts and she soaked up all the knowledge he shared with her.
AIRAM, Artificial Intelligence – Repair and Maintenance, was the more creative one, and he loved to play and listen to her laugh. Tabitha called him Ram. As a baby he’d play peek-a-boo with her, and he used the robots and replicators to fashion toys and dolls from unused or unneeded items. Later, the games became hide-and-seek and riddles, and eventually games of strategy and reflexes, the toys becoming lab kids and experiments.
The third was AIMS, Artificial Intelligence – Medical Specialist, whom Tabitha called Amy, and she ensured Tabitha stayed safe and healthy. When Tabitha was born, many of the old uniforms or cotton items were repurposed into diapers and blankets for the new baby, and as Tabitha grew, she learned to sew clothing for herself from whatever could be found to make it from.
Amy also kept her to a nutrition and exercise schedule. The Tower had been provisioned to sustain a crew of up to fifty for two years. With just Tabitha, there was more than enough to stay well fed for life.
Between the three of them, Tabitha flourished and grew in body and in mind, with a wide understanding of the universe that even those twice her age rarely achieved. The one thing that they could not provide her, however, was a future. No matter how much she grew in knowledge or how she thirsted for discovery, she was quite confined, unable to ever leave the Tower, or to bring anything new into it. Her mind was limitless, but her world was small and static.