He could think silently when he wanted to, but sometimes Mother would detect his firewall. Daniel only liked to keep her out when he wanted to surprise her— as he hoped to do today.

Daniel floated above the students, following a group of females into a room. Four females occupied the room, which he recognized as a restroom. It was a place where humans gathered for relieving biological waste. However, he had learned that humans would also use this place to interact socially— both purposes seemed primitive and alien to him.

His gaseous form was nearly invisible to students, and if by some chance they did gaze up, it would look like a harmless wisp of dust to their eyes. Most humans knew nothing about nanobots. Nevertheless, he decided to run the probability calculation anyway— the chance that a human would deduce that an AI-controlled nanobot swarm inhabits a remote General Education school… the result was negligible enough to eliminate any concern.

The females stared at their reflections in the mirror, applying chemical substances to their skin— a futile attempt to mask their imperfections and odor.

Daniel’s nanobots approached the nearest one, close enough to taste the reflected emissions of radiation. He touched her subatomic structure, his thin wisp of nanobots tasting them at a level that humans could not even perceive. He saw all of their imperfections— discolored pigmentation variances, clogged follicles of bacteria, laxity, rhytids… and at a deeper level, the intercalating mutagens in their DNA.

Then there was their scent particles— a convoluted mix of human excretions and environmental pollution. The latter a result of the Cataclysmic Age, a condition the humans created for themselves, and which Mother had worked so hard to alleviate– and for what? Condemnation for wanting to procreate? And then forcing her to destroy her first child— his aborted sibling. If the humans only knew what was in store for them…

The school buzzer rang— an automated signal to bring the humans to order. If his past observations held true, most of the students would be rushing to their first class… except for one.