05 August, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 8:6

This is the sixth section of the eighth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“Almost there” James didn’t sound too happy about this thought Alice.
“For once arriving home isn’t the end of the journey.”
“Any news from Jo?”
“Oh he’s been outside all day measuring up the units, making sure they’ll fit correctly.”
“You’d have thought a man built to a spec sheet would be happy to trust one.”
“I don’t know, I kind of like his restlessness.”
“Very machine like of him.”
“Have you ever owned a puppy? Or watched a bee? They’re quite restless too.”
“True, but have you ever seen a man like him?”
“That then says more about us than it does Jo.”
“He really isn’t one of us is he?”
“More than I like to think.” James took Alice’s hand in his “I really mean it, he is almost aggressively human in his faults. I’ve often joked that if he took the Turing test he’d fail the human.”
“Yeah but what about Walsh?”
“What about him?”
“He’s a clone, do you class him as human.”
“Well he act’s like a duck and quacks like a duck.”
“But do you treat him as one of the men?”
“I always had done, I didn’t know he was a clone until you mentioned it, any news why?”
“Nasty disease of some form, I didn’t want to ask, so it was the only way to cure him, well of course the disease killed him, but he grew a new body for himself so to speak. Got fed up of arguing the laws of person-hood, that’s why he’s here.”
“That’s a bit expensive, how on earth did he afford that?”
“The Habitat did it” Alice carried on before James could interrupt “A few years ago it opened up its `if the technology exists I’ll let all humans have equal unlimited access to it` to medical procedures.”
“Isn’t that a ticket to immortality then?”
“No it was quite specific that the clone would always be of the same age, that was one of its qualifications on unlimited access.”
“Nothing or no-one should last forever hey?”
“You say that, I heard a rumour a little while back that the Habitat has started putting those in critical condition into suspended animation ready for the day when it will allow immortality, or at least until humans develop some form of immortality.”
“So it’s building up a stash of popsicles?”
“You’ve got to wonder why haven’t you.”
“Maybe it just doesn’t have the space yet, at the rate it’s expanding it will have enough soon enough.”
“It really is trying to get as many humans as possible onto it, doesn’t this disturb you?”
“Why else would we be where we are?”
“I know.”
“You really don’t keep up with events do you?”
“It just got too much for me. You know there’s only so long you can watch news reports of massacres before you grow immune to them and I think it’s the same with the Habitat. I didn’t want to grow immune to what it was doing. I have to hate it.”
“You think news like this would make you hate it less.”
“No, this is exactly the reason I do what I do, but it’s just always good to have new news about why we do this rather than it be trickled to me. I don’t want to be a boiled frog.”

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