The next morning Edrig awakened back in his own bed and gradually allowed his memories of recent events to drift back into his consciousness. Was it all a dream?
He covered his naked form in a thin robe and wandered along a corridor and into a shower room, where he was met by the sight of a group of smallish octopuses, each one standing up on its legs to reach about the height of Edrig's waist, and wandering slowly around underneath shower heads that had been set to a steady trickle rather than a stream.
Ah… So it was not a dream…
With a certain feeling of shyness he discarded his robe and walked beneath the most distant shower, turning it to warm and fast, but then he heard a noise, and it sounded like high-pitched laughter.
Looking across at the octopuses he could see a smile on each face. One of them was clearly pointing at Edrig's nakedness while another was holding out two of its suckered arms, held just a very short distance apart at their tips, and that one seemed to be grinning the widest and laughing the loudest.
Edrig sighed and wondered, not for the first time in recent days, what was happening to his world. What, indeed was happening to any and every world? What was going on?
He really had no idea, but the warm water was welcome as he reached out and squirted some scented detergent into his hands.
Then later, as he covered himself in a towel and walked past the octopuses towards the exit they each raised an arm and waved.
They are waving! He thought. Waving at me. Octopuses. Intelligent octopuses from a sample that has seemingly gone rogue. What is happening in my life? Still, at least they are friendly. Much more friendly than any damn Ladies or Lady Lords.
When he arrived in his workroom Adrig was already there.
'What should we do Adrig? Continue with our work?'
Adrig looked up and frowned. 'That's what I have been doing lad, and everybody else, so far as I know. What else is there to do?'
'We are not very good at taking decisions for ourselves, are we?'
'No,' Adrig agreed. 'We've never had to.'
'But we will have to account for our decisions, won't we, when the Ladies get all this sorted out and back to normal.'
'If they ever do.'
'Hmm... But why did you bring me back here Adrig? 717 was better.'
'I was told to.'
'By the big new supposed Lady Lord?'
'Yes... And told not to tell you about what had happened.'
'But why? What do I matter?'
'I don't know. Perhaps you were the only one of us out on a sample.'
'Why would that matter?'
'I don't know.'
And then Macrig walked in.
'I have just been speaking with the communications team,' Macrig announced, 'And all of our data is being streamed out at such a rate that everything will be gone very soon. In a matter of days actually. I don't know how they can move it so fast, but everything... the entire records of our entire history and every single sample that we know of.'
'Oh...' said Edrig.
'Your use of oh is becoming irritating,' said Adrig.
'Appropriate though, perhaps,' offered Macrig. 'After all, what else can we say? What else can we do? What else should we do?'
'What would the Ladies do?' Edrig asked, but in response Adrig and Macrig just shrugged, together.
'I wonder what the octopuses will do.' offered Edrig.