"That's a beautiful name." The woman smiled back. "We'll have one of the Reds take her into the back while you get some rest."
"Reds? You mean a Bloke?" Ferris frowned. "I don't want one of them touching my baby!"
The nurse looked sympathetic. "We prefer to call them Reds. They wear red. It's more... politically correct, perhaps... Although, I understand your feelings. If it were my baby, I'd be just as edgy, but I guarantee you, they're entirely capable."
Ferris hesitated, but nodded. The nurse punched something in on a laptop on the table next to her. "He'll be in in a moment. You don't have to speak to him." With that, the nurse was out of the room and Ferris and her newborn were alone.
Softly, gently, Ferris sang to the baby. "Rockaby baby, in the treetop..."
Suddenly, Ferris jumped as the door cracked open. A Bloke walked in, and the sight of him made her slightly sick. He was a Bloke. A Guy. A Blade. A Man.
Whatever you wanted to call him, he made Ferris uneasy. She looked down at her innocent little girl and didn't want to let her go. Especially with a Bloke.
His walk was very hard and heavy, not at all how she stepped. When he reached her side at the bed, she looked up at him, barely, but enough to see his rough, unshaven face and his short jet black hair. Enough to see the uneven features of his face, not delicate like hers and those of the herself and all the Birds she knew. Come to think of it, everybody she knew. He was close enough for her to notice the scar across his left eyebrow, and the white line it formed where the hair did not grow.
"She's beautiful." He spoke, his voice deep and harsh. She wasn't used to the sound, she'd hardly heard anything similar save for when she watched old movies.
"Of course she is." Ferris had stopped looking at him. Now she was looking at Alexis again.
"She's going to look exactly like you. Exactly. Every freckle, every perfection, every flaw..."
"I know. Just like me of my mother." Ferris smiled at the thought. This baby wasn't just her baby - It was an of herself. A clone, as they used to be called by some.
Now, she was simply a baby.
"Someone across the hall just had a baby boy." The Bloke directed his words at her.
Ferris looked disappointed. "It's terrible they bring them... You... into this world. There's no place for you."
The Bloke suddenly looked distant. "I know," He whispered.
"I don't understand why they do it... The woman who seek out dirty Blokes and have the sex. It's disgusting really, when they could have a perfectly healthy child... They have to make more goddamned Blokes."
"You don't have to be so harsh." He insisted, as he tried to take her baby in his arms.
"Let me hold her another minute," Ferris insisted. Her eyes fazed from Alexis to the Bloke's arm, which had a tattoo that stretched from his elbow to his wrist. It was plain, black, numbers, and they read 3686-8114-0643-99. The same number was printing on a dog tag around his neck, like a military solider from an old movie. She started to wonder if he had a name... She hated Blokes, but nobody, not even a dog, deserved to be nameless.
"Do you have a name... or just a number?" She finally had the courage to ask.
"Legally... Just a number. But people call me Mark."
Ferris bit her lip, but held Alexis out slightly for him to take. "Be careful," She warned.
Almost laughing, Mark took the baby and told her, "Don't worry. I do this every day."
"Not with my baby. Just be extra careful with Alexis, all right?"
He nodded, "That's a pretty name."
Carrying the baby, he left Ferris alone in the room by herself. How was she supposed to rest when she didn't know where her baby was going? She certainly knew she was safer in her own arms... But the nurse and the Bloke had insisted. It was procedure.
Her eyes drifted to the floor, which was dirty and made of stone, and then all around the room. It wasn't the nicest Hospital room, but it was where Alexis was born, so truly the most beautiful place in all the world. Even in the hands of a Bloke, Alexis could not get dirty. She could never become any less beautiful.
I was that beautiful as a baby too. Ferris smiled, now she finally knew what her Mother felt 23 years earlier. Her mind rushing, suddenly she thought again of the Bloke holding her baby.
She'd almost felt sorry for him when she saw the number on his arm, and the dog tag around his neck. But he was a Bloke, which in itself she could get over... But she remembered the stories her great grandmother used to tell before she passed away. She remembered the books she'd read, and the films she'd seen. A Bloke was not just a name, he was nothing but a man.
Men used to be terrible, awful creatures. Still were, she was sure. They treated women so terrible for so so long. They raped, they killed, they assaulted, they fucked, they abused women. Hunted the Birds like, well, birds. They weren't human beings, they were animals, and they were being treated far too well as it was. Now that women finally had the upper hand - They were too good at heart to kill the men. And one day, they might need a Bloke again.
Ferris closed her eyes and tried to sleep. It was hard, but she tried to focus her mind away from Alexis and away from the Bloke.
It didn't last, as soon as she'd begun to feel peaceful, her head lifted to the same harsh voice she'd just recently come to know. "Get up, Miss Harvey, we've got to evacuate. Alexis is safe with the nurses, but you've got to come with me."