In the meantime…
In the Central Library of Cowentry University, it was still dark. It was 7:59 AM.
One minute later, someone loudly said “ding-dong” to themselves and turned on the light.
This was MX Clocktummy, the Chief Librarian’s clockpiece.
MX Clocktummy was always on time. But It was no ordinary timepiece. It was, in fact, a highly qualified Clockperson with a PhD in Timekeeping for Libraries.
Clockpeople belong to the species homunculus horologicus. They are distant relatives of both humans and robots. Clocktummies in particular have two faces and five hands, but clockpersons really come in all shapes and sizes. And most of them are neither girls, nor boys. In many languages the word for “clock” is plural, in others it’s feminine, masculine or neuter. This can be confusing, so if you meet a clockperson (or any other person, for that matter), and aren’t sure how to address them, or which pronoun to use, just ask: “What shall I call you?”
Personally, MX Clocktummy finds human gender pronouns somewhat baffling and sometimes mixes them up herself. But Its favourite pronoun is “It” with a capital I. “It” is short and sounds nice and… ticky.
And MX is actually the Latin number 1010: it is MX Clocktummy’s personal serial number. You can pronounce that as “one thousand and ten” or “Mx” for short.
So, at precisely 8 AM Clocktummy announced the opening of the library, spent half a second gathering concentration, and started work.
Exactly at 10:00, It had its oilbreak and sat down to relax for 900 seconds and read the morning paper, while also thinking about Its new paper on the topic of “Accelerating scientific libraries”.