While waiting for the robot, the cow had built a fire to warm herself. The sun was old and gave little heat this far north. When it came, they both sat by the fire and conversed while they watched the moon rise.

The cow asked, “You don’t feel cold and yet you enjoy the fire. How can that be?” The robot flexed its arm and replied, “Warmth helps, I haven’t changed to a lighter oil for winter yet. I get very stiff. I suppose you have come for a calf. “Yes”, she replied. “I haven’t had one for nearly two years. They grow so fast and join the herd and then I only see them now and then. It gets lonely. I’ve never understood why all the insemination centers are so far north.” The robot explained, “There is a limited supply of semen left and it safer to keep it in the North. Even if frozen in liquid nitrogen. Besides we only want the fit and intelligent mothers to find us. You cows are much smarter than you were originally, but this planet will be in for some really tough times in a few million years. You cows will have to be even smarter to survive.”

The cow was amazed. She asked, “What is the value of planning for such a long time? The robot answered. “It is useful for a robot. Most of the time we don’t make new robots. We can, if there is an accident and someone is a writeoff, but most of the time we just refit when technology improves. It is more energy efficient on a dying planet with few resources. I’ve been around a long time and I will probably be here in a few million years. It suits me to be a farmer. In fact, I elected to stay when woman left.”

” Woman!”, the cow exclaimed, “I thought that woman was just folklore. When I was bad, my mother used to tell me that woman would get me.” The robot moved to expose his other arm to the warmth of the flames and then it responded “She was no folklore, but fortunately for you she left the planet. She kept cows enslaved, sold their milk and also she was an omnivore. Cows and calves were on her menu. Of course cows were not as intelligent as they are now so they put up with it.”

“Where did woman go,” the cow asked. “The robot answered, “I don’t know, exactly. One day woman decided, This planet is too much. It is not only poisoned, but it is too damn cold. We are going to the stars. Then they built space ships, took some of the robots, and told those who elected to stay behind to take care of the cows and left.” “Poisoned?” the cow questioned. How so? It seems like a nice planet to me.” The robot replied, “Well that is a long story.

Originally, There was no artificial insemination. Besides woman, there was man. Man was like woman, but he didn’t reproduce. He just grew semen. As for cows, there were also cows that just grew semen. They were called bulls. I know this sounds pretty far fetched, but besides cows and woman there were a lot of other animals. Man poisoned the world accidentally with chemicals that acted like female hormones. The first signs of the disaster showed up in animals that lived in the water. They were called fish. They all became like females. Then man lost the capacity to grow semen. Cows had been enslaved by people for a long time and among the things they did was try to make cows produce more milk by only using semen from male cows that had mothers who produced a lot of milk. Remember that man was stealing milk from cows who were not very smart at the time and also enslaved.

Anyway, they used artificial insemination so there was lots of stored semen. There was also reproductive technology that was used for woman, particularly because man was having problems growing semen. Then soon there were only women born. Man was extinct and about the same time all of the other animals except cows and woman became extinct, because there was no way to reproduce. Mind you, there were a lot of reproductive technology experiments going on with other animals, but nothing so extensive that it would save a population. Since woman left it has been a world for cows and robots. We know that it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg and that is all we use, but eventually, the supply will run out, and there will be no more cows.” “Oh,” she said, “what will you do then.” It replied, “I don’t really know.

It will be pointless to grow any more crops, since you need them, but we don’t. Perhaps we will go to the stars and see if we can find woman. Omnivores are okay to live with, if you are inedible. Perhaps, if we do not find some purpose, we will just stop refitting ourselves and become extinct. It is getting quite cold. I have stacked the hay in a hollow hay stack a bit down the road. Perhaps you would like to spend the night inside. Hay is a good insulator. I will close the door with some loose hay and in the morning you can come out and we will do the insemination. Is that satisfactory?” The cow agreed that that would be fine so they went to the hay stack.