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BABY APRIL is a book-on-disk that you read at your computer monitor, using the supplied viewing system. This is a science fiction retelling of the Galatea myth, but updated to include aesthetics, politics, liberated women, and a whole range of contemporary subjects. In this story, an advanced extraterrestrial civilization sends one of its members to earth in order to learn more about humans and their culture. He gets more than he bargained for! This is the abridged version...perfect escapist reading for coffee breaks with your PC!
***************************************************** ** BABY APRIL - A Novel By John Peter ** ** ** ** Version 0.55a ** ** COPYRIGHT 1984, 1987 by Serendipity Systems ** ** All rights reserved ** ***************************************************** NOTE: Words enclosed within a pair of smiling face symbols (ASCII 01) are to be understood as being in bold print; words enclosed within double exclamation marks (ASCII 19) are to be understood as being underlined. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 1 Carl stood on the trunk of a tree that leaned out horizontally over the water. He looked for signs of activity in the rapids below, but couldn't see any. Too early in the season? Perhaps. But he didn't mind not catching fish. Just to be out on the open air, alone, and away from the bustle of the office for three whole days was sufficient. The trout could wait. There would be time enough for trout when he had his annual, September, two-week vacation. Carl smiled to himself, thinking of the prospect of cooking freshly caught Newfoundland trout--or perhaps a salmon--over an open fire with Sally hovering nearby, waiting to sample his gourmet delights; she in her Woolrich down vest, corduroy slacks, and the rubber-soled boots that he got for her at L.L. Beans' for Christmas and he in his usual unkempt, backwoods regulars of faded denims and flannel. His tent would be just behind them with its snugly inviting nest of zipped together sleeping bags. A gentle breeze coming off the water would have just enough force to keep away any errant mosquitoes. A salmon would leap up the rapids on its spawning journey upstream. A huge red sun would hang in the boughs of the trees on the far bank of the river... Was that a trout rise? Or was it just a current swirl behind that boulder? Carl watched the water intensely for a moment, but the movement that he caught out of the corner of his eye, if indeed there actually had been any movement, did not return. However, the large boulder amid stream some fifty feet away was as good a casting target as any. Besides, it was starting to get dark, and he had only enough light to make a few more casts before returning upstream to his campsite. Carl stripped the line from his reel, then roll-cast to get the line onto the water. He double-hauled the line to get it up into the air and, after a few false-casts, dropped his fly on he far side of the boulder. It danced on the edge of the eddy for a fraction of a second, then disappeared underwater. He gave his line a little tug to scud the fly into the pocket of calm water behind the boulder, then retrieved the line with short jerks to give the fly action. There was no strike. He tried several more casts around that boulder, but the results were the same: no trout. Yes, it is too early in the season, but there will be plenty of time later, Carl thought as he climbed back off his perch. It was now well into dusk. Carl would just barely have time enough to get back to camp before it became too dark to see where he was walking. The river made a large, snake-like bend between the place where he had been fishing and the spot where he had set up his camp. The forest appeared to be all of widely-spaced, hardwood trees. Carl thought that he could save some time by cutting cross-country rather than following the river back. He consulted his topographic map. His camp was near a small, unnamed stream. He questimaed that following a compass heading of 5 degees would bring him directly to his camp, and even if he was off a little bit, he would hit either the river, which he could then follow upstream to his camp, or hit the brook which would lead him directly to the camp. This seemed to him to be an excellent, time-saving maneuver. Carl clipped the Royal Coachman from the end of his leader, put the fly in his hatband, wound the line onto the reel, disassembled his rod, and set out following a 5 degree line with his Sunnto compass. Carl hadn't been walking for more than five minutes before he began to have the feeling that something was wrong. It seemed to him that, even though he had been religiously following the path indicated by the compass, somehow he wasn't walking in a straight line. Although he had never been a Boy Scout, he knew that trusting your compass and not your instincts was the prime rule for not getting lost. It must be the fading light that is giving me this feeling, he thought. "Follow the compass," he told himself. Carl followed the compass for a few hundred yards more only to become more convinced that there was something wrong. The forest trees had become more spaced apart and park-like, and he could see quite a distance ahead of him. Most of the trees were either maple or beech, but in the distance he could see several white birches. He could see two birches which were lined up and spaced a hundred or so feet apart. They were slightly to the right of his intended path. He decided to check his compass, mostly to reassure himself of the infallibity of Finnish compasses, by sighting the trees, then walking to the first one, and resighting the furthest one. This, he thought to himself, will demonstrate that the compass is giving a straight line and should be followed irregardless of any hunches to the contrary. When Carl got to the first birch tree, he pulled the compass out of his pocket and sighted the second tree. It had moved. Moved? "No, that's impossible," he told himself, "it must be the compass." A quick inspection revealed no apparent damage, no bubbles in the fluid, no dents in the housing, nothing. Yet in a hundred feet the tree had moved several degrees. But if the tree hadn't moved--surely I would have noticed the tree moving, he thought to himself--then there must be something wrong with the compass. "Now don't panic," he told himself, "there is a logical explanation for this." Perhaps I misread the compass that first time, he thought. Carl chose another tree, a large beech, that was in line with his heading and set out to it in a straight-line- of-sight march. Now he had three points of reference to give him a straight line to check his compass against. Again he backsighted. Again the trees moved. Not only that, but according to the compass they shifted nearly 90 degrees. Yet he could see that they were really in a line. Carl rapidly considered he possibilities open to him. He could go back the way he came, then follow the river to his camp, but by then it would be dark, and besides, the forest's growth was much more tangled along the river than it was here inland. He could go foward, ignoring the compass and following his instincts, but in what direction was he now heading? Was he headed towards his camp, or was he headed towards somewhere into the wild interior of Maine? Even if he were able to instinctively follow a straight line, if he headed in the wrong direction, it might mean walking fifty or one hundred miles before he came to civilization. He might even end up in Canada first. Well, no, that's not going to happen, he thought as he checked his wrist watch, because it will be dark in twenty minutes. "Now don't panic," he told himself again. He didn't have to be at work until the day after tomorrow, so he actually had a whole day to get himself out of this silly situation. And he would have to get himself out of it because no one would have the vaguest idea of where to look for him should he turn up missing. Even Sally knew only that he was going to do some fishing on his long weekend. "When in doubt, don't," he told himself. Carl sat down at the base of a birch tree and pondered what to do next. He got out his pipe, filled it with Amphora tobacco, and lit it. He tried to figure out which direction was west, but the light coming through the budding branches seemed to come equally from all directions. He couldn't use the sunset compass to get his bearings. He couldn't hear the river either. He had no point of reference. "Lost," he admitted. Carl looked at the compass again and shook his head in disbelief. The trees, of course, weren't moving. Not unless he had entered into some kind of Alice's Wonderland, and he wasn't ready to believe that. May as well find a comfortable spot to spend the night, he thought. Carl noticed a clump of softwoods, pines and firs, off to what he thought of as being the east, but which the compass said was north. He set off in that direction, thinking that he could make himself a comfortable bed out of pine needles. As he entered the softwoods, he could see what appeared to be a large ledge of cliff ahead of him. He knew that this area was all river bottom land, flat and some six to eight feet above water level. He couldn't exactly make out the thing's shape because of the intervening trees, but whatever it was, it wasn't a forest tree. It was too dark and massive. Perhaps it is a large, glacial boulder that will offer shelter for the night, he thought as he made his way through the firs to it. It wasn't a boulder. 2 Carl stood, leaning against the trunk of a tree, and looked up at the monolith that was before him. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before. It was unlike anything he had ever read about. It was unlike anything he had ever imagined. What he thought might have been a glacial boulder turned out to be a large cube some fifty feet to a side. It was matte black in color and starkly plain. Is it a prehistoric relic like Stonehenge, he wondered. No, it is too smoothly finished. Carl went up to it and tapped it with the tip of his fishing rod. It was no mirage or hallucination, for it appeared to be solid. He touched it. It was slightly cool and seemed to him to have the hard texture of glass. It was like a gigantic, opaque rock crystal. A few paces brought him to a corner. The angle was crisp, as if it had been cut off and polished smooth. The second face proved to be as featureless as the first. He continued to walk around the block, wondering how someone could build such a bizarre structure in this isolated place. Then he tripped over a branch. As he picked himself up, he noticed that the branch, a pine bough, protruded out from under the structure. He stared at it for a long, indeterminate time. The branch was under the block. The block was on top of the branch. The branch was here first. Someone put the block on top of the branch. Carl could see all this, but he didn't want to believe it. It was all too strange. Carl then thought of his compass and took it out of his pocket. The needle was pointing directly at the block. He walked around the next corner of the block, but the needle continued to point to the monolith. He wondered if the block was radioactive. Would radioactivity affect a compass needle, or was it just magnetism? He didn't know. Was he in any danger from this thing? He didn't feel anything, but he knew from his anti-nuclear protest activities that radioactivity gave no indication of its presence. He would need a geiger counter, which, of course, he didn't happen to have, it not being standard equipment for fishing trips to remote areas of Maine. If this thing is hot, he thought, it's probably too late as it is. Carl continued to walk around the monolith; it proved to be universally featureless. However, when he came back to his starting side for the second time, he found that there was now an opening about six feet off the ground. It was a square aperture about ten feet to a side. There was a whitish light coming from inside. "'Curiouser and curiouser,' Alice said, and so it is," he mumbled. He couldn't see anything of the interior, except that the opening seemed to be a square tunnel. He leaned his fishing pole against the block and hoisted himself up to the opening chin-up fashion. He pulled himself up high enough to look in. There was no evidence of a door. Could this opening have been there before, but with the light off so that he didn't notice it? It didn't seem likely. Besides, the light seemed to be coming from the interior walls themselves. Along the walls of the passageway Carl could see that there was a graduation from the dark outside to the lighted inside. The innermost part seemed to be translucent. Again, except for the smooth texture, the walls seemed featureless. He couldn't see anything beyond the passageway which was a ten-foot long corridor which lead to an open,interior space. His arms began to ache from holding himself up, so he dropped back to the ground. "Now what?" he wondered. It was now nearly dark, and except for the area illuminated by the glow from the opening, the forest was an indistinct mass of dark shapes. There was now no possibility that Carl could make any progress hiking through the woods, even if he had any idea about which direction to go, which he didn't. He wasn't even sure if he could find a good place to bed down. He looked up at the lighted opening. Again Carl wondered about the possibility of radiation. If the glow was radiation, but not powerful enough to kill him, would it give him cancer? Would it render him sterile? That last though would have been even more frightening last month, before Sally announced that she was pregnant. Even if she didn't marry him--and he fully expected that she eventually would, in spite of her independent and liberated ideas--he would have that one progeny no matter what the results would be from his encounter with this strange cube. Carl had been so busy thinking about the monolith that it took him a few minutes to notice that the sensation he was feeling was the pelting of occasional rain drops. A faint, distant lightning flash warned him that a storm was coming. Again he looked up at the illuminated opening. Well, if anything, it might be a dry sort of cave, he thought. Carl placed his fishing pole on the lip of the opening and hoisted himself up. It wasn't an easy task because there wasn't anything to grab. He lost his grip on the smooth surface and tumbled to the ground twice before he as able to swing a leg up and muscle his way up and in. He lay on his back for a moment, recovering his expended energy. His entrance had been, he discovered, complicated by the fact that the floor of the passageway actually angled upward, thus giving the lip of the opening an angle of greater than ninety degrees. Carl stood and picked up his fishing pole. He then walked slowly and cautiously towards the interior. It seemed to him that not only did the walls become brighter towards the interior, they became softer. He touched the wall and found that his idea was correct. The walls were also warmer. At the end of the passageway Carl found himself standing before a huge, empty room. The ceiling must have been thirty feet high and the far wall about as far away. The light was bright, but not blinding. Excellent reading light. This would make a great library, Carl thought as he stepped into the room. Behind him, Carl could hear the rain and the wind. He turned and looked back at the forest. A flash of lightning gave him a brief glimpse of the storm that was just starting, but the interior of this strange cube was warm and dry. He walked to the center of the room. He noticed that he had no shadow. He had equal light from all sides. Wouldn't Sally love this for a studio? What absolutely marvelous lighting, he thought. Carl looked around at the walls. They were all as featureless as the outside walls. It was a minute before he realized that there was something missing. He spun around. All six interior walls were identical. There was no passageway. END OF FILE
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Baby April rapidly goes through the stages of infancy and quickly goes from the crawling to the walking stage. Robert suggests that a program of physical exercise be undertaken to maintain their muscles during the voyage. A bicycle for exercise is replicated. END OF FILE *********** *
"Good. What I want you to do is to project a rural road scene, either an actual scene, or one that is made up of ecclectic views, on the walls before the exercise bike so that the impression will be of riding down that road. Furthermore, I want the scene to change with a rapidity which is coordinated with the pedaling speed of the exercise bike. Now, can you do that?" "CARL WISHES THE SCENE TO DUPLICATE THE VIEW THAT WOULD BE HAD BY RIDING DOWN THE HYPOTHETICAL ROAD AND HAVE THE SCENE GO PAST ON THE TWO WINGS OF THE CORNER?" "That is the exact idea. Can it be done?" "AFFIRMATIVE. ROBERT ONCE OBSERVED MARY ... SPECIMEN QR23 AS SPECIMEN QR23 WALKED ALONG A RURAL, UNOCCUPIED COUNTRY LANE. SEVERAL MILES OF AMBULATING WERE RECORDED. ROBERT THINKS THAT THE SCENE WOULD PROVE SATISFACTORY FOR THE PURPOSES REQUIRED BY CARL." "Good. Let's give it a try." The woods scene winked in on the walls, and Carl climbed aboard the exercise bicycle. April stood slightly behind and to one side of Carl, watching. Carl started off very slowly, the balloons and baseball cards giving off lazy clicks, and the scene changing almost imperceptively. Then he started picking up speed. The trees started flashing past them as the scene followed the tempo of the noisemakers. April had moved in and held on to Carl's waist, staring at the moving scene in front of them. Then the road appeared to veer to the right and dip through a little valley. April's squeal of delight brought Carl back from the momentary fantasy that he was again a child, riding his bicycle. He slowed the bike down and stopped it; the scene followed exactly. "Now it's your turn," he said to April as he got off the bike. It didn't take April very long to become a bicycle enthusiast, and when the balloons burst and the baseball cards fell off, she didn't even notice. She pedaled in happy silence down a country lane in Maine that was, in reality, hundreds of lightyears away. Later Robert suggested that a repertoire of different scenes be offered to April. Rides along the beach, through the desert, and along various other roads in different seasons were added. Carl thought that it might be nice to have scenes from different planets, but Robert insisted on confining the scenes to April and Carl's own planet, since the disposition of their case couldn't be determined until after the voyage, and the offering of such scenes might be construed as a violation of the non-dissemination clause of the Regulations of Robert's own cultural matrix. Carl argued that the addition of a ride around Mars' Mt. Olympus wouldn't present anything which would be "new knowledge," since that scene has already been viewed by Earth's robot explorers, but Robert declined; he said that it would be better for all concerned to err on the side of caution because he had no idea how this unprecedented matter would be handled by his superiors. The exercise bike, cum scenery, proved to be a great success with April. Carl, watching her one morning, commented to Robert that, while this was a great form of exercise for the legs, the arms were being somewhat shortchanged. Robert agreed that it was not a complete form of exercise, but it was contributing to the maintenance of Carl and April's muscle tone. "THE OBJECTIVE WAS NOT THE DEVELOPMENT OF ATHLETIC ABILITIES, BUT TO PREVENT MUSCLE DETERIORATION." "Perhaps true, but there is no harm in doing more than just maintaining the status quo. What about adding a rowing machine for developing the arms, shoulder, and back muscles?" "THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH MACHINES IS MENTIONED IN 3 VOLUMES IN STORAGE, BUT SPECIFICATIONS ARE NOT GIVEN." Carl laughed. "For a man who has replicated a fully functioning human being, the development of a simple exercise machine should be a piece of cake." "STATEMENT NOT LOGICAL. 'PIECE OF CAKE' IS TAKEN AS AN IDIOMATIC PHRASE INDICATING EASE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. IS THAT CORRECT?" "Yes, but don't worry about it. I'll build a rowing machine myself. I've used a couple on my rare excursions to commercial gyms, so I have some ideas about them, and besides, it'll give me something to do." "WILL CARL DESIRE VISUAL SIMULATION TO ACCOMPANY ROWING?" "Let's just leave it as a simple exercise machine. If April ever has to fit back into her society on Earth, then it would probably be best if she weren't treated to too much of a fantasy world. As it is now, she has already been exposed to powers far beyond our cultural matrix." "AFFIRMATIVE. ROBERT HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT NEGLIGENT IN LIMITING THE EXPOSURE OF CARL AND APRIL TO DEVELOPMENTS MADE BY ADVANCED CULTURAL MATRIXES. HOWEVER, SOME DEGREE OF EXPOSURE WAS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE SATISFACTORY LIVING CONDITIONS FOR THIS VOYAGE. ROBERT TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL SUCH INSTANCES, BUT DOES NOT WISH TO INCUR ANY PENALTY FOR EXCEEDING WHAT IS MINIMALLY REQUIRED. BESIDES, SHOULD CARL AND APRIL BE RETURNED TO THE PLANET THEY CALL EARTH, NO ONE ON THAT PLANET WILL BELIEVE THEIR ACCOUNT OF THIS VOYAGE." "Oh, so true," Carl agreed, "so why not pull out all the stops, and show us what your cultural matrix can really do?" "WILLFUL VOILATION OF THE NON-DISSEMINATION CLAUSE IS CONSIDERED TO BE A MOST SERIOUS CRIME. ALL TRANSGRESSIONS MADE TO DATE HAVE BEEN NECESSITATED BY THE UNIQUE AND UNPRECEDENTED CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS VOYAGE." "Oh. I'd find you not guilty, but I'd still like to take that bike ride around Mt. Olympus. "WERE CARL TO BECOME AN INTEGRATED PART OF THE INFORMATION GATHERERS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF ROBERT, SUCH A BICYCLE TRIP WOULD BE POSSIBLE. SUCH CONSIDERATIONS MUST AWAIT THE JUDGEMENTS OF THE SUPERIORS OF ROBERT." "Well, while we're wating, I'm going to go build that rowing machine." 26 "Just between you and me, I don't mind admitting that this pregnancy thing scares me. I mean, what do I know about birthing babies? The making part is easy, but the delivering part ... what if something should go wrong?" "CARL WILL HAVE ROBERT TO ASSIST CARL." "Yeah, but you're on one side of the wall, and we're on the other. For me it's going to be all hands-on experience." "CIRCUMSTANCES ARE INALTERABLE." "Yeah, well, I'll just have to muddle through. I'm concerned about April, though. She can't intellectualize about what's going on. I don't know how well she understands what's been happening inside her body. When the birth pains come, she'll be terrified. Talk about a traumatic experience: she's having a baby when she is no more than a big baby herself. What kind of effect will that have on her psyche? What a mess!" "SINCE CARL REFUSED TO LET ROBERT RETURN APRIL TO MOLECULAR STORAGE, CARL MUST DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ACTS OF CARL." "That's what I've been trying to do. I've even thought of not having sex with her, but ... well, I need it, and she enjoys it too. It makes her so happy she purrs like a kitten. She doesn't know that infants aren't supposed to enjoy sex ... even infants with eighteen-year-old bodies. She enjoys it so much ... what kind of monster have we created? An infant nymphomaniac with an eighteen-year-old body. I know, nymphomania is a sexist myth, but what would the Baptists say about us?" "BAPTIST OPINIONS ARE IRRELEVANT. APRIL DOES NOT BELONG TO THE BAPTIST CULTURAL MATRIX. APRIL DOES NOT BELONG TO ANY CULTURAL MATRIX. CARL IS THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF APRIL." "That makes me one hundred percent responsible, doesn't it?" "WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF ALMOST ALL CULTURAL MATRIXRES, ESPECIALLY THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL, CARL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR APRIL. ALSO, WITHIN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF ROBERT, CARL ADDITIONALLY LEGALLY OWNS APRIL: CARL PAID FOR THE REPLICATION OF APRIL. THEREFORE, CARL HAS DOUBLE RESPONSIBILITY. FURTHER COMPLICATION: CARL COULD BE INTERPRETED--NEBULOSITY OF LEGAL SYSTEM EXISTS ON THIS POINT--AS BEING THE FATHER OF APRIL. THEREFORE, CARL HAS TRIPPLE RESPONSIBILITY. ALSO POSSIBLE ..." "Enough of your legalisms! I plead nolo contendre and take full responsibility for April. She's my ward, my child, my girl friend, my lover, my mate, my ... my everything. It's just that I'm worried about how to get her through this pregnancy without doing her any harm ... physical harm or psychological harm. And then there is the baby to consider. I'm not worried about after it's born, after all, I've been doing alright with Baby April, I think, but getting it born bothers me. I've been trying to figure out what you do with the unbilical cord. When, where, and how is that taken care of?" "STORAGE LEVEL CONTAINS 5 VOLUMES ON THE HUMANOID BIRTH PROCESS IN THE LANGUAGE OF CARL, 3 VOLUMES IN THE FRENCH LANGUAGE, 6 IN THE ..." "Oh, I intend to read everything I can, but it is one thing to read a page of a book, and it is quite something else to have a wet, squirming new-born in your hands. Oh, Dr. Spock, where are you when I need you ... or even Mr. Spock ... or even a country midwife--a wise, gentle country midwife for Baby April's baby." "MARY JANE ... SPECIMEN QR23 WROTE AND SANG A SONG CALLED 'THE MIDWIFE'S HYMN.' PERHAPS SPECIMEN QR23 KNEW OF THE ARTS OF MIDWIFERY." "Perhaps, but then you let her escape, didn't you, so she's no help to us in this fix, is she?" "IF SPECIMEN QR23 DID NOT REMOVE HERSELF FROM THE SPECIMEN CHAMBER, THEN STOWAWAY CARL EDWARD CHANDLER WOULD NEVER HAVE COME ON BOARD, AND THIS SITUATION WOULD NOT EXIST." "True enough, but I don't mind telling you that, if specimen Mary Jane had any midwifery skills, I wouldn't mind having her on board right now. It's too bad that you couldn't replicate a midwife, but then if you did, then we'd just have another adult-like infant to worry about, and that wouldn't solve our birth problem." "HMMMM ... CARL MAY HAVE AN IDEA ..." "Now wait a minute, I'm not ready to start a nursery school for grown-up infants. April is about all I can handle at one time." "REPLICATON OF APRIL PROCEEDED ALONG STANDARD PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL LINES. ALMOST COMPLETE DATA EXISTS ON THAT SUBJECT IN STORAGE. WHERE INCOMPLETE DATA OR NON-EXISTENT DATA WAS FOUND, INTERPOLATION WAS MADE ... INTUITIVE GUESS BASED UPON DATA FROM OTHER CULTURAL MATRIXES. EVIDENCE OF SUCCESSFUL REPRODUCTION--MONITORS INDICATE DEVELOPMENT PROCEEDING EXACTLY ALONG EXPECTED PATTERNS--INDICATES THE FEW AREAS OF GUESS WERE CORRECT. PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT NOT UNDERTAKEN BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT DATA ON SPECIFIC SPECIMEN, MISS APRIL, USED AS MODEL. PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPONENT THEREFORE LEFT TABULA RASA. PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF SPECIMEN QR23 COMPLETED PRIOR TO ... ESCAPE. FIRST LEVEL MEMORY PATTERNS RECORDED. SECONDARY LEVEL MEMORY PATTERNS PARTIALLY RECORDED, INTERRUPTED BY ... ESCAPE." "What exactly are you driving at?" "LARGE MINORITY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPONENT OF SPECIMEN QR23 RECORDED IN STORAGE. TECHNIQUE FOR REPLICATING HUMANOIDS PERFECTED. CONCLUSION: REPLICATION OF HUMANOID SPECIMEN QR23 AT NON-INFANT LEVEL POSSIBLE. HIGH PROBABILITY OF REPLICATION AT FULLY FUNCTIONING ADULT LEVEL. POSSIBILITY OF MIDWIFING SKILLS CONTAINED IN FIRST MEMORY LEVEL. THEREFORE: REPLICATION OF SPECIMEN QR23 WITH FUNCTIONAL MIDWIFERY SKILLS POSSIBLE." "Let me think about that for a minute. It took you six days to replicate April, and during that time the climatic systems were functioning at a minimal level. I can take that kind of stuff, but I'm not sure how well a pregnant woman, especially a pregnant April ... the psychological factors, I mean ... how well she could take it." "MINIMUM MAINTENANCE OF CLIMATIC CONDITIONS NECESSATATED BY REQUIREMENT OF DIVERSION OF ENERGY INTO RESEARCH OF STORAGE AND ANALYSIS OF COMPONENTS OF INCOMPLETE INFORMATION. REPEAT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF REPLICATION TECHNIQUES UNNECESSARY. REPLICATION OF HUMANOID ESTIMATED TO NOW REQUIRE ONLY DIVERSION OF .52 PERCENT OF ENERGY LEVELS FOR .6 CYCLES. REPLICATION COULD BE DONE DURING SLEEP PHASE TO MINIMIZE EFFECTS ON APRIL." "Let's give this a day's thought, or even several day's thought. What we're talking about is creating a human being, not just a handy tool. It wouldn't be fair to replicate this person, use her, then just return her to molecular storage." "ROBERT HAS NO INTENTION OF RETURNING MARY JANE TO MOLECULAR STORAGE!" "That is even more reason for giving this thing careful thought." "ROBERT HAS MADE CAREFUL THOUGHT. ROBERT SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF REPLICATING SPECIMEN QR23 BEFORE." "Can you analyze your own motivations, Robert? An unbiased observer might suspect that you were acting on an emotional level, not an intellectual one." "IS AN INSULT INTENDED?" "On the contrary, my friend, on the contrary. Look at April and me. There is very little in our relationship that could be called intellectual. It's almost all emotional. That doesn't mean that she hasn't become very important to me. Could a similar situation have been happening between you and this Mary Jane?" "IMPOSSIBLE! ROBERT IS ATTEMPTING TO AID CARL IN THE MIDWIFE REQUIREMENTS. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR ROBERT TO CROSS THE BARRIER BETWEEN CHAMBERS TO PERSONALLY ASSIST CARL AND APRIL, BUT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ROBERT TO REPLICATE THE ONE HUMANOID FOR WHOM A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE PARTIALLY EXISTS AND WHO MAY HAVE MIDWIFERY SKILLS." "Okay, you're just trying to help. Thanks. But give me some time to think about this replicating business. There wasn't really a whole lot of thought on my part on the consequences of this kind of thing with April." "REPLICATION OF SPECIMEN QR23 WILL BE MADE PRIOR TO THE TERMINATION OF THIS VOYAGE. IF CARL OBJECTS, REPLICATION WILL BE DELAYED UNTIL THE LAST CYCLE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT SERIOUS CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO REPLICATION OF SPECIMEN QR23 AS BIRTHING ASSISTANT. SUGGEST SERIOUS CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO IMMEDIATE REPLICATION TO ALLOW FOR AMPLE TIME FOR PLANNING OF BIRTH ACTIVITY." "What you say does make sense, it's just my quams about going around manufacturing people. But you are right, I am going to need help, and the earlier I get it, the better off the whole situation will be for April and her baby. Okay, but let's wait until April is asleep. Tomorrow night, let's say. I've got to prepare her for having another person come into her life. After all, all she's ever known is me and your voice." "AFFIRMATIVE. REPLICATION OF MARY JANE GALATEA TO COMMENCE DURING THE NEXT CYCLE WHILE APRIL SLEEPS." "Mary Jane Galatea?" "NAME OF SPECIMEN QR23: MARY JANE GALATEA." "The Mary Jane Galatea?" "ONLY ONE MARY JANE GALATEA KNOWN IN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL. OTHERS OF THAT NAME MIGHT BE POSSIBLE, BUT NEVER HAVE BEEN ENCOUNTERED." "Mary Jane Galatea! I'll be damned." "MOST LIKELY." **************************************************************** This is the end of VOLUME 1. To continue reading, put VOLUME 2 in your computer. COPYRIGHT 1984, 1986 - SEREDIPITY SYSTEMS All rights reservd. * * * * * END OF FILE
**************************************************************** BABY APRIL - A Novel by John Peter >>> VOLUME TWO <<< COPYRIGHT 1984, 1987 SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS *************************************************************** 27 Just a moment after specimen QR23 winked in, she did a double-take. "What the hell am I doing back here?" Then she noticed Carl who had been sitting at the table cube with a glass of brandy before him. "You in charge here, or are you another ... specimen?" "I am not in charge here in the way that you mean, nor am I a specimen in the ordinary sense. Other than that, my status here is somewhat undefined. One could consider me to be a paying passenger, except that I have never seen the coin of this realm, and I don't know where we're going. I am somewhat of an employee--a junior research assistant, sort of. Sometimes I am a hired artisan. Sometimes I am a babysitter--a service performed gratis. Other times, I don't do much of anything. When required, I serve as the welcoming committee." She glared at him in silence. "I also offer damsels with distressed looks on their faces glasses of brandy." "This nightmare just goes on and on and gets stranger at every turn." Carl filled an empty brandy snifter and held it out to her, saying: "I'm Carl Chandler." After a moment's hesitation, she took the glass. "Thanks. I'm Mary Jane Galatea." "Welcome, Mary Jane Galatea, to Robert's cube." "You will excuse me if I don't act overjoyed to be here. Only a few minutes ago I got out of here, but now I'm back again, and in the interval the place has filled up with all this." She indicated the contents of the cube with a sweep of her hand. "In fact, I suspect that I'm in a different cube." "No, it is the same cube, but the interval of time between your escape and the present is almost a year." "Impossible!" "Impossible? No, the impossible is commonplace here, the improbable barely raises an eyebrow, and the unlikely is everyday fare." "Oh, I know that there is some kind of trap door mechanism here someplace because food kept appearing, but I know that it is just a slick magician's trick." "Yes, it does appear to be magic, but it is not. Advanced technology always seems to be magical to members of a primitive society." "Primitive?" "We both are, we members of Homo sapiens--a colossal misnomer, if ever there was one. It takes awhile to get used to it all, but you adjust." "I prefer to think of it as magic." "Oh, but it is that too. What do you wish? An elephant? No, too common a trick. Something more exotic? Niagara Falls in your living room perhaps?" "Humph!" "Robert, I know that you're listening. Turn that wall into Niagara Falls please." The shelves, tool benches, and art objects winked out. For a brief instant the wall was a plain, glowing, white plane. Then Niagara Falls winked in. Water plunged from near the top of the ceiling and fell to the floor were it disappeared. The air filled with a fine mist and the smell of water. The roar of the waterfall filled the chamber. Mary Jane stared at the sight open-mouthed. Slowly, timidly, she walked to the falls, then, standing on the edge where the water disappeared, she stuck her hand out into the cascade. Her sleeve instantly got wet to the elbow. "Thank you, Robert, that is an excellent job; a first rate piece of work for such short notice. We can turn things back to normal now." The waterfall winked out to a blank wall, then all Carl and April's stuff returned. "How did you do that?" "Magic. Illusion. Technology. God. All of the above. None of the above. Take your pick." "Carl? Noise gone?" "Oh. Yes, April, the noise is gone. Go back to sleep." "April thirsty. Milk please?" "Okay. Come have a glass of milk." April pushed back the opaque curtain and jumped out of bed. She stopped short when she saw Mary Jane who had returned to join Carl at the table cube. "It's okay, April, we have a visitor. You remember that I told you we were going to have a visitor. Come meet Mary Jane." April approached cautiously. "This is April," Carl said to Mary Jane as he handed April her glass of milk. "Hello, April." "Marr Jame?" "Mary Jane," Carl corrected. "Mary Jame?" "No, Mary Jane" "Mary Jane?" "Yes, that's right. Her name is Mary Jane." "Mary Jane stand please," April requested. Mary Jane, puzzled, stood. April grinned. "Mary Jane high." She turned to Carl. "Is Mary Jane giant?" "No, April, Mary Jane is not a giant, she is just a tall woman," Carl said with a smile. In her stocking feet Mary Jane stood at six feet even. The high-lofted, dark, curly hair which framed her face and fell over her shoulders and her slim figure made her appear even taller. April, of course, had only herself, at five foot four, and Carl, with two more inches, as height references. "Mary Jane tall because May Jane old?" Carl laughed. "No, April, you don't keep getting bigger as you get older." He glanced at Mary Jane. "Mary Jane is probably younger than Carl, but older than April." April patted her rotund belly. "April getting bigger." She grinned and put her now empty milk glass back on the table. Then she touched her breasts. "April bigger lots of places." "Yes, April is doing very well," Carl agreed, "but soon April will be smaller." "How old?" April asked Mary Jane. "I am twenty-two." "April eight." She held up her hands with eight fingers extended. Then she grabbed a piece of carrot stick from a bowl on the table and stuffed it into her mouth. "April ate!" She giggles, then scampered back to bed. "Yes, go back to sleep, April," Carl called after her. "Good night, Carl. Good night, Mary Jane." "Good night, April." Carl and Mary Jane said together. April pulled the curtain shut behind her. "She thinks she's eight? Retarded?" "April is not retarded! And she is eight. Eight months." "You mean eight months pregnant?" "Yeah, that too." "Hugh?" "April has existed for eight months, and she's been pregnant for almost as long." "Now wait a minute. Magic and technology tricks are one thing, but she acts like a three-year-old and is about as pregnant as you can get, and you say she isn't a 'tard?" "Look, you were in this cube for less than a day, right?" "Yes." "And what did you do during that time?" "Most of the time I was interrogated about anything and everything by some invisible guy with a creepy voice. I slept for what seemed to be a long period of time--more than my usual. I think that I was drugged, but I'm not sure. This creepy-voiced guy said that he was going to take me on a long trip to someplace from which I would never return. It was bizarre. The questioning was bizarre too. It didn't seem to follow any pattern. It seemed that he didn't care what I said, just as long as I kept talking." "Yes, your answers were being reassembled in logical order by the translating mechanism." "Whatever. Then I escaped. I went out the door, and then I was back here again, but suddenly the place was filled with all this stuff and you and the retarded girl ..." "Damn it! She's not retarded. She's eight months old. How many eight-month-old kids do you know who can speak in complete sentences? How many eight-month-old kids do you know who can make a pun on the word 'eight?' Retarded? I think that she just might be a genius." Mary Jane didn't say anything. "Don't get fooled by her body. She's built like an eighteen-year-old sex kitten because that's the way she was made. Now she's a pregnant eighteen-year-old sex kitten." "Pregnant by you?" "You don't see anyone else about, do you?" Mary Jane said nothing, but Carl could see her tense up. "Yeah, I know it looks bad. Had I known then what I know now, it never would have happened, but there is no way to go back and correct the past. April is a child in a woman's body, and soon she is going to have a child of her own. I am presuming that the kid will be normal in development. I guestimate that April's intelligence will catch up with her apparent biological age in three years. Until then I'll have the job of bringing up both babies." "Well, don't let me interfere with your plans. Just let me off at the next corner." "That, I'm afraid, is absolutely impossible. We are probably hundreds of lightyears away from planet Earth." "But just a few minutes ago ..." "No. I know what you're going to say, but you're wrong." Carl refilled her brandy snifter. "Have a good stiff drink. I'm going to fill you in on some startling details." She took a sip of brandy and waited for him to continue. "A few basic facts: it is now some eleven months since Mary Jane Galatea escaped from this cube ..." She started to protest, but he held up his hand for silence. "Let me finish. It is eleven months as time apparently flows here inside the cube. I don't know if they've been able to get around Einstein's relativity of time or not--I suspect that they have, but perhaps a million years have elapsed back on Earth. Perhaps Einstein's time and light- speed ideas aren't valid. I don't know, and it doesn't make any difference. Mary Jane Galatea exited, then I entered this cube. Three months after I started this voyage. April was replicated ... was born a full grown woman, but her intelligence wasn't developed. She came into the world innocent and fertile; I was drunk and horny. Viola! One pregnant woman. I didn't discover her mental condition until the next day. She was a toy, made for my amusement. Her pregnancy was a surprise. Everything about April was a surprise. Time passed and the pregnancy became obvious. I'm not a doctor. Delivering a baby scares the bejesus out of me. What if something starts to go wrong? What, me worry? You'd better believe it. So along comes the idea that what we need is, if not a doctor, then at least a midwife. Now the situation is this: April and I are locked in this cube until the voyage is over, which is to say, until after the baby is due. There is no way to get outside help. However, Robert--that creepy-voiced fellow--gets the idea that, since he has perfected the technique for replicating people--and April is a replicated humanoid, a manufactured human being-- then the only way for us to get help for the baby is to replicate another human being. However, replications result in a developed body, but not a developed mind. The only other mind, other than April or me, available is the psychological recordings of one Mary Jane Galatea. Robert suspects that this Mary Jane Galatea may know something about midwifery because she once wrote a song called 'The Midwife's Hymn.' It was a long shot, but the situation was desperate, and there was no other possible source of help. Using the information developed during the replication of April, and using the information collected by the monitors and recorded from Mary Jane's replies to questions and also the probings of her mind made while she as in a hypnotically induced deep sleep ... with all of that, Mary Jane Galatea was replicated. You are that replication." "What? That's impossible!" "Is it? Today is ..." Carl consulted the wrist watch which was on the table, "April 15th, l984. Do you have any recollection of the events between today and that May day when you escaped." "The last thing I remember is going out the door, but that doesn't mean anything if I don't accept your assertion that today is April 15th, l984." Carl laughed. "I just thought of something," he said, still smiling, "I'm going to be in big trouble for not filing my income tax. Can you imagine trying to explain to the Internal Revenue Service that you failed to file because you were on a 'flying saucer' in outer space for the last year. Just think about that for a minute." Mary Jane was silent. "Okay, back to business. How can I prove to you that you are not Mary Jane Galatea, but a copy of Mary Jane Galatea ... replicaion, a clone, an entirely new creature, but one with a large portion of Mary Jane Galatea's memory and psychology and all of her body?" "This is insane. I was kidnaped by some force that I don't understand. I was held in a strange cube and questioned. Was, by your admission, hypnotized and examined somehow. Then I escaped, but almost instantly was brought to a different cube ... this cube with you and that girl. And now I am here, and you are telling me this strange story that I am a copy of myself. That's all I know." "Is there something about Mary Jane Galatea that wasn't revealed during those interrogations?" "I don't know." "Perhaps something physical?" "The voice even wanted to examine my body. I don't know why I did it, but I disrobed for it ... spite, I think, or maybe I was trying to seduce it. In any case, it didn't work, but it saw all of me." "A dead end." "I have a small birthmark inside my thigh, maybe it didn't notice that ... or maybe it did ..." "Is it still there?" "You expect me to strip?" "Well I am naked, and April was naked. In fact, except for diapers before she was toilet trained, April has never worn clothes. I haven't worn anything myself for months. The climate is controled, so clothes are unnecessary." Mary Jane didn't say anything. "You just shy, or are you afraid that I might try and rape you or something." "The idea crossed m mind." "It would be an interesting match. The monitor says that we have exactly the same weight, even though you are a lot taller than I am. Besides, rape is really an act of violence, not sex, and I am a very non-violent person. Furthermore, I can get all my sexual needs satisfied by April. Her condition makes regular intercourse inadvisable, but she has a very talented tongue." "You're disgusting!" "You mean you've never tried fellatio?" "I'm not going to discuss my sexual activities with a stranger." "Nor are you required to. Besides, you aren't eight months pregnant, so there are no limits on your sexual activities. The issue at hand, however, is not our sexual practices, but who you are. Let's see your birthmark." Silently, Mary Jane stood up, then pulled down her jeans. She looked at herself, then went wide-eyed. "It was right there!" She pointed to a spot on her inner thigh about three inches below her crotch. "A tiny, wine-colored splotch. It's gone, but that's impossible." "No, the mark continues to exist on Mary Jane Galatea, but you are someone else." She looked at him, then looked back at her body. She sat back down without bothering to pull up her jeans. "I'm sorry, but you had to be made to face the facts of this admittedly bizarre situation." "But, damn it! I feel like me." "Yes, and a goodly part of you is Mary Jane Galatea, but she escaped from this cube nearly a year ago and wasn't recaptured. Her life, in whatever fashion it exists, goes on back on Earth, while you, an entirely new person, exist in this cube." "I don't know ... maybe this is all some sort of a trick." "It's no trick. Apparently Robert's replication techniques involve separate steps for the physical and the psychological components. Thus, you were aware of your birthmark, but it was overlooked by Robert's physical scan of your body. It's nice to know he's not infallible ... perhaps he was distracted at the time. Anyway, if my understanding of his analysis is correct, there should be a lot of gaps in your memory--things that weren't recorded by Robert's preliminary investigation. Let's give it a test. What do you remember about your fifth grade?" "Fifth grade? Let's see ... fifth grade? I can't think of anything. My mind is a blank. God! Maybe I'm going crazy." "No, you're not going crazy." "But I'm not really a person. I'm just a thing. Something someone made." "You are a person. What difference does it make how you came into the world? You're here. Your body is as full functional as anyone's. April's pregnancy proves that the technology of replication equals that of human birth. Okay, you have a borrowed personality. A lot of Mary Jane Galatea exists in you. But you are now your own person. What happens to you from now on depends on you, not Mary Jane Galatea." "But I feel like I am Mary Jane Galatea. I have her memories, don't I?" "Yes, but they are your memories too." "If I look in a mirror, except for the missing birthmark, I see Mary Jane Galatea, but who am I?" "You are Mary Jane Galatea. No the same one as the other, but similar. You are a six foot tall woman with pale blue eyes and curly, rich auburn hair. Your body is thin, your breasts small, your hips narrow, your legs long ... all exactly like Mary Jane Galatea. What you don't have is your birthmark and perhaps some other minor physical characteristics. You don't have all her childhood memories. There are gaps where Mary Jane didn't get recorded by the translator while she was captive. But what you do have is a life to live in any way that you choose. Admittedly it is limited in potential at the moment by the fact that you are confined in this cube. April and I are also confined here, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? What next year will bring? Can you accept being this new person?" "I don't have any choice,do I?" "If a situation becomes too unbearable, there is always the choice of not continuing to exist." "Suicide?" "In this particular case all you'd have to do is have yourself unreplicated, and you'd wink out of existence. Just think of all the money we could make if we could peddle this technology to the Mafia." "Buster, that's not even funny." "Isn't it? Isn't this whole situation ludicrous. Think about it for a minute. Here we are with more power at our fingertips than any human being ever had before ... power to do whatever we wish. What do you want? Diamonds? Furs? Fancy cars? Money? How about a pile of gold as tall as you are? All we need do is say: Robert, may I have a cube of pure gold, six feet on a side please ..." Mary Jane jumped as a huge cube of gold winked in beside her. "Robert! I was speaking retorically, and you bloody well know it. Take that thing back, and don't credit it to my account." "REPLICATION OF 216 CUBIC FEET OF GOLD NOT CHARGED TO THE ACCOUNT OF CARL. REPLICATION WILL BE CHARGED TO DISCRETIONARY FUNDS OF ROBERT. SENSE OF HUMOR OF CARL DEFICIENT. SUGGEST EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL THE CAUSE." "I will thank you not to monitor my drinking. Besides, I am merely sharing a drink with this slightly distressed damsel." "HUMOR SENSE CONTINUES DEFICIENT. ROBERT ENTERING REST PERIOD. COMMUNICATIONS TERMINATED." "You don't think that I'm going to believe you, do you? Just when you have this opportunity to eavesdrop?" There was no reply from Robert. "Was that gold for real, or did I just dream that," Mary Jane asked. "Oh, it was quite real. Two hundred and sixteen cubic feet of gold, probably a quarter of a million pounds of it, probaby worth something on the order of a billion dollars. Since Robert's paying for the replication himself, that was probably an expensive little joke, unless it was hollow. Like I was saying, we've go all this fantastic power and no way to use it. A six foot cube of gold is as useful to us as ... in fact it is less than useful. It is totally useless, valueless, since it takes up useful space, and the one thing we have in limited supply is space. You see, it is a very funny situation. It brings you down to the bare essentials of what is valuable and what is not valuable." Mary Jane was silent for a minute, then took a sip of her brandy. "You said that this replication business was charged to accounts?" "I'm charged for the energy that is used to replicate something, not for the 'value' of the item itself, for in this situation, all things are of equal value, but each thing requires a different amount of energy for its replication. There is no charge for unreplicating things, however." "You said that I am ... am replicated. Somebody had to pay for me?" "Hmmm. Now that you mention it, yes. Hey, Robert, I know you're listening. Put down Mary Jane's replication on my account, but charge it at one monitary unit per energy unit-- she's an essential item, not a luxury." "Buster, if you think that you own me ..." "Damp down the hostile vibrations. I'll gladly sign any proclamation of emancipation for you. You're on your own, even though the legal system of Robert's culture may continue to consider you to be my responsibiity. Robert, start a new account for Mary Jane Galatea and start charging her now. Keep the brandy on me, but her air is her own affair." "Air? I'm being charged for air?" "Anything requiring energy is charged for. Keeping us supplied with fresh oxygen takes energy for which we are charged at a rate of one monitary unit per energy unit. Luxuries, like cubes of gold, are charged at two monitary units per energy unit." "But I don't have any money." "Then you'll just have to earn some. Perhaps you can entertain Robert by doing strip teases." Mary Jane went grim faced, then: "Oh!" She go up and pulled up her jeans. "I seem to have forgotten that my jeans were down." Carl laughed. "I had forgotten how erotic a semi-clothed woman could be. You may have noticed that I'm naked ..." "Well, yes." "... and April doesn't even have any clothes. The only thing she's ever worn was diapers--that was before she was toilet trained, of course. Oh, I made a couple of attempts at getting her properly dressed, but she didn't like it at all. April is the best-natured person I've ever met, but she does have a rarely exhibited stubborn streak. If April sets her mind to not doing something, she's not going to do it, and that is that. Wearing clothes was one of those things. Of course, with the climate in here clothes are superfluous." "Diapers?" "I told you, April is eight months old. Being a genius, she was toilet trained before two months, but even with her super development rate, she did start at the same place were all babies start, meaning that someone had to change her diapers and wipe her pretty, little ass for her." "Am I expected to run around here nude too" "You'll find that rather little is expected from you, and as far as your clothing, or lack of clothing is concerned, that is entirely up to you." "Just what is expected of me?" "The only thing expected of you is to assist at the birth of April's baby. A midwife." "What?" "You aren't a midwife?" "Of course not." "I really didn't think so. Robert thought that, since you wrote a song on the subject, you would know something about it. It is, of course, entirely possible to write a song about something and know only a little about the subject. I knew that. That was a basic flaw in Robert's logic. Perhaps in his cultural matrix only experts write songs about things on which they are expert." "Well, I don't have any experience as a midwife. You should have had someone else replicated." "I would have preferred a medical doctor, but that wasn't possible. You see, although Robert has perfected the technique of replicating human beings--he can make any kind of physical body--he has no way of replicating a personality. You--Mary Jane Galatea--were the only personality he had a record of. You were the only intellectually devloped entity that we could call upon for help. And we do need help. I need help. April needs help. Even if you aren't a midwife, you are a woman. Will you help us with the delivery of April's baby." "I don't know how much help I'd be ... but ... yes, I'll do what I can for April when the time comes." "That's all anyone could ask. Now I'll pour us a nightcap, and we can call it a night. We don't have a spare bedroom, obviously. Robert, are you there?" There was no response. "Either he is really resting, or he is going to do a good job of imitating it. In either case, we won't be able to replicate you a bed tonight. If you aren't a restless sleeper, you can join April and me. The bed is plenty large enough." "Yesterday ... I mean, when I was here before, when Mary Jane Galatea was here before, I, she, we slept on the floor. It kept saying: 'Does specimen require resting apparatus?' but I ... she ignored it. The floor wasn't uncomfortable." "It is obvious that you can't differentiate between the replicated you and the original one, so why make things confusing for yourself by trying? As far as I am concerned, you are the one and only Mary Jane Galatea." "It is confusing, knowing that you are not who you think you are. But you're right. I'm Mary Jane Galatea, and if there is another one someplace, that's her problem." "Yes, your problem is bed." "I'm not going to sleep with you." "I'm talking about sleep as in rest, not sleep as in sex. I've slept on the floor here too, and I assure you that our bed is a lot more comfortable." "Might that cause trouble with your girlfriend?" "I don't think that April is aware of the word jealousy yet and all that it means. In any case, she won't have anything to be jealous of since I'll be snuggled up with her the way we usually are, and what goes on on the other side of the bed ... who cares who's there?" "The idea of sleeping in a bed, rather than the floor, does sound appealing." "I'm glad that you're going to be sensible. You can throw your clothes on that box beside the bed. April likes this edge, so you can have the far side to yourself." "My clothes ...? I'm expected to join you nudists?" "Does nudity bother you?" "Among friends, no. But I don't know you, and I'm not sure what to expect. Everything that's happened to me today has been so unexpected." "Did you notice the commode?" Carl indicated the water closet in the corner behind him with his hand. "Out in the open. The shower: no partition or shower curtain. We all will be seeing each other naked in performing our ordinary bodily functions. That's the way we've been living, but if you can't live in that kind of openness, say so, and we'll fix things up so that you won't be uneasy." "No, it's okay. It'll just take a little getting used to. I'm not a Victorian. Maybe I'll even come to like this sort of Polynesian nakedness that you've got here." "Good. I've seen you with your pants pulled down, and I'm curious to see what you look like without the panties and tee shirt." "Listen, buster, I'm not some kind of object to be put on display." "Now don't take offense. I'm just saying that I liked what I saw, and I'm looking foward to seeing more of it. After all, it's only fair. You've seem all of me and all of April." Mary Jane laughed. "If you weren't so young, I'd suspect you of being a dirty, old man." "Au contraire, mademoiselle, a dirty, young man," Carl said with a smile as he set their glasses in the center of the cube and put the bottle away on the set of shelves beside his chair. Then he pushed a button on the side of the cube, and the dirty glass winked out. "Did I mention that the highest achievement of Robert's culture is that they never have to do the dishes?" "I won't object to not doing dishes." "Nor I. Even liberated, dirty, young men hate to do the dishes. But it is late, so we'll leave the exploring of the housekeeping wonders of this place for tomorrow. Come. Time for bed." Carl noticed hesitation in Mary Jane. "Relax," he said, "I'm only interested in seeing that that lean, viginal body of yours gets its forty winks of beauty rest." "Listen, buster, my sexual history is none of your business. Humph! Virginal, indeed!" "You may think that you're experienced, and Mary Jane Galatea's hymen may have been battered out of existence long ago, but the fact remains that that body," he poked her in the shoulder with his finger, "was replicated only a short time ago, and, unlike your mind, is absolutely pure and virginal." Mary Jane said nothing. "Well you may do as you wish, Mary Jane, but I am going to sleep. So good night and welcome to the menagerie," Carl said as he strolled over to the bed, then disappeared behind its opaque curtains. A minute later Mary Jane cautiously entered the bed from the other side. They looked at each other in silence over the curled up, sleeping body of April. Mary Jane was still wearing her bra and panties. Carl just smiled. "Oh, what the hell," she said, unclasping her bra and tossing it out. She slid off her panties and threw them out also. "There, satisfied? There's not much meat on my bones. I'm not like your voluptuous friend." "Who cares how you're built, just as long as you don't snore." "Humph! Good night, Mr. Chandler." She pulled the curtain shut, plunging the bed into darkness. "Good night, Mary Jane, and again welcome." END OF FILE
28 April was awake and sitting up in bed. Carl was still asleep on her left. Mary Jane was lying on her back, awake. April put a finger to her mouth. "Ssssss. Carl sleep. April 'wake," she whispered. She put her hand on her stomach. "Baby 'wake, too. Feel?" Mary Jane got up on one elbow and gently touched April's belly. "That's going to be a big baby." April grinned. "Wanna see baby?" "Er ... all right." "Out bed!" April ordered. Mary Jane go out of the bed. April followed, then scampered past her to the workbench where she got Carl's sketchbook from the bottom shelf. April sat on the floor and opened the book. "Come look." Mary Jane hunkered beside April. "See baby!" In the pages of the sketchbook, Carl had drawn the various stages of the development of the fetus. The last sketch was of a baby. "Carl sat baby soon." "Yes, another month, April."` April touched Mary Jane's flat stomach with a tentative caress. "Mary Jane thin. No baby?" "No. No baby." "Oh." There was a moment of disappointment, then April brightened. "Want Carl give Mary Jane baby?" Mary Jane smiled at April's innocence. "No, I think not. I'm not ready for a baby, April." Just then Carl poked his head outside the bed's curtains. "Ah, there you two are. I had wondered what became of my bedmates." "Carl 'wake!" April announced. She abandoned the sketchbook and Mary Jane to rush (as much as she could in her condition) back to the bed and threw her arms around Carl. They kissed. By now April had the art of kissing perfected to the Nth degree. Carl got out of the bed and went to the water closet where he urinated. Then he stepped under the showerhead and turned on the water. April followed him and then joined him under the hot spray. "Hey! You want to join us?" Carl called to Mary Jane as April soaped his back. He stepped back under the spray, then came out and soaped April all over. Mary Jane now stood a few feet away. "I feel like an intruder in your lives." "Nonsense. Get wet and I'll soap you." When she didn't move, Carl reached out and grabbed her arm. Then he shoved her under the spray. He pulled her out and began rubbing her body down roughly with soap. "Hey," she protested, "take it easy." "We've got plenty of soap, and one thing we don't need here is dirty, young women. House rules require a minimum of a daily shower," Carl said as he propelled her back under the spray to wash the soap off. April, drying herself off with a fluffy, white towel, stood by watching Carl and Mary Jane. "Carl, be more gentle with Mary Jane," she admonished in a serious tone. "All right, I will be gentle with Mary Jane from now on, but we had to make sure that she was clean." Mary Jane, still under the shower, said: "Clean? You just wanted to ..." "Wanted what? To touch you all over? Guilty as charged. I hereby sentence me to provide you with a scrumptious breakfast," Carl said as he shut off the water, then handed her a towel. "Three minutes to breakfast." "Carl, can I make breakfast?" April asked. "Sure you can. What do you want to make?" "Can I make waffles?" April grinned with eager anticipation. "Waffles with strawberry jam and maple syrup?" "Can I? Can I?" "How does that sound to you?" Carl asked Mary Jane. "That sounds very nice." "April, you may make three plates-full of waffles with strawberry jam and syrup, and you may make three glasses of orange juice, and you may make two cups of coffee, and you may make one large glass of milk." "May ... oh, I forgot." "You'll remember the next time." "I may make waffles. Oh, goodie!" April went off towards the table cube to request breakfast from Robert. "Grammar lessons?" Mary Jane asked. "She may be a genius, but you've got to keep after the kid's grammar all the time, especially because I'm the one unthinkingly making the mistakes, and she just copies me. Keeping tract of her is doing wonders for my own grammar. After breakfast was finished, April remembered: "Carl forget exercise! Exercise now?" "It's not good to do exercise so soon after eating. We'll do our exercising before lunch, okay?" "'Kay." "Do you want to finish your drawing this morning." "'Kay. Carl do dishes?" "Yes, I will unreplicate the dishes." "Um-replicate? New word?" "Hmmm. I guess so. I must have used it only with Robert. It's a technical word that means to make something wink out, as in making the dirty dishes disappear." "Um-replicate." "No. Unreplicate." "Unreplicate?" "Yes, unreplicate." "Unreplicate. Unreplicate. April got it." "Good. Now go finish your drawing." April went over to the workbench, cleared a space for herself, and began to work in her sketchbook. "She sort of talks baby talk, but you don't answer her that way," Mary Jane commented. "If I did, she'd never learn. She's actually doing very well. She used to have only a collection of nouns and a collection of verbs at her disposal. She's only recently started putting the two kinds of words together to make sentences. It's really a fascinating process because her progess is so rapid that you can almost hear her language complexity develop daily. It's a good thing that we've got a good library at out disposal because I've got the feeling that it won't be long before she outstrips my ability to teach her. Then she'll be on her own." "Then you'll have to retire from the classroom." "Not necessarily. Perhaps it will be April teaching me. That is, however, a future problem, not one that we have to worry about this week." "April said that you forgot your exercise?" "Yes, you arrival disrupted our schedule, but what are schedules for if not to be disrupted? Besides, now that you are here, a new schedule will have to be devised." "What was the original schedule like?" "Extermely lax in most matters. Being confined in this cube, it would be an easy matter to let our bodies deteriorate into flabby jelly. As a preventative, we usually do a half hour's exercise before breakfast. We have an exercise bike and a rowing machine. We would alternate on the two machines. Today was my day to row. A tipical day was exercise, showers, breakfast, school, lunch, an afternoon of work for me and play or self-entertainment for April, dinner, music hour--we have a good music library from which we can replicate either classical or comtemporary selections--, and any of a variety of activities between music hour and bed ... that final activity often being immediately proceeded by sex, an activity which might interrupt any other activity, including music hour, showers, story time, et cetera. The day is concluded with snuggled sleep." Mary Jane didn't comment. "That brings us around to the original question of schedules for exercise. So that you don't get flabby, you should have a half hour's exercise a day. What do you think of our pedal and paddle program?" "I'm not much of a physical enthusiast, but I do see your point about being cooped up in here. There's not much opportunity for long hikes, so I guess I'll join your pedlar's row." "As a long-time fisherman, rowing was my form of exercise, and every kid should have a bike, hence the exercise bike for April, but now that there are three of us, we should expand our repetoire to include something particularly suited to you." I'm afraid that, except for long walks along the sea shore or in the country, swimming was the only form of exercise that I enjoyed. Considering our circumstances, that is not a very practical sport to have indulged in." "Swimming. Hmmmm. I'll bet April would enjoy that. She's never even been in a bath tub. I can see her now just lazily floating on her back with just her face, tits, and big, baby-filled belly above the surface ... and I can see your long, lean body going past her, doing the breast stroke, churning up the water, and making April bob up and down." Mary Jane's nervous little laugh proceeded: "You've got sex on the brain ... and maybe water on the brain too." "Perhaps it is that, being confined to this cube for so long, I am beginning to revert to primitive archetypes. Ancient man worshiped female fertility. Many of our oldest art artifacts depict women in the last stages of pregnancy. Having watched April's body develop to that state, I know exactly how they felt." "Don't get any ideas about me, buster. You just keep your thing in your pants." Carl laughed. "Pants? I did have a pair of pants somewhere around here, but I haven't seen them for months." Mary Jane was grimly silent. "Our nudity aside, the subject under discussion was your exercise requirements. As you can see, we have just begun to make use of the fact that our vertical space equals our other dimensions," Carl said as he gestured towards the mezzanine above the table cube. "We have room for several more balconies. I don't see why Robert couldn't make one of them into a swimming pool." "Are you serious? "It might be expensive--all that water won't come cheap--and I'm not sure about the structural strength of Robert's building materials ... all that water suspended up there will weigh quite a bit, but we can inquire. Are you afraid of heights?" "No. Why do you ask?" "I was thinking that, if we install a pool, the best out-of-the-way place would be up near the ceiling. How about diagonally across the ceiling? That would give you he longest distance." Mary Jane looked up at the ceiling, trying to imagine a swimming pool up there. Carl did a couple of rapid sketches which resulted in a design of an eight foot wide and five foot deep pool going from corner to corner. It had seven feet of clearance between the water level and the ceiling. One of the corners was filled in as a deck with an opening in it to allow access from the mezzanine via a sloped ladder. Carl stretched his sketch out on the table and said: "Robert, is this feasible from a structural, supply, and financial point of view?" "STRUCTURE INDICATED WOULD CONTAIN 1540 UNITS OF AQUEOUS FLUID AT A WEIGHT OF 28.3 UNITS PER VOLUME UNIT. SUSPENSION OF SUCH MASS IS POSSIBLE AT THE POINT INDICATED. REPLICATION OF SUCH A STRUCTURE CONTAINING THE REQUISITE VOLUME OF LIQUID WOULD DEPLETE THE FINANCIAL BALANCE OF CARL BY A FACTOR OF 93 PERCENT. MAINTENANCE OF TEMPERATURE AND PURITY OF FLUID ESTIMATED TO BE 2 MONITARY UNITS PER CYCLE." "In other words, my bank account would be wiped out again," "SUBSTANTIALLY AFFIRMATIVE." "Are you figuring this at the luxury rate or the necessity rate?" "SWIMMING POOL ADJUDGED LUXURY ITEM WITHIN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL, APRIL AND MARY JANE." "Ah, but under these restrictions of limited space, such a pool is necessary for the maintenance of the health and muscle tone of this lithe body," Carl said, placing his hand on Mary Jane's shoulder." "REPLICATION OF SWIMMING POOL CLASSIFIED AS LUXURY. SEARCH OF INFORMATION STORAGE INDICATES THAT EQUIVALENT SITUATION ADJUDGED SIMILARLY BY ORGANIZATION IDENTIFIED AS INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. IS DOCCUMENTATION OF THIS CULTURAL MATRIX PHENOMENON REQUIRED?" Carl burst into laughter. "Billions of miles away, and the IRS is still putting the screws to me. What the hell are you doing with IRS regulations anyway, Robert?" "INFORMATION DERIVED FROM PUBLICATION CALLED 'THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.' INFORMATION STORAGE CONTAINS ALL SQUENCES OF PUBLICATION FOR 300 CYCLES UP TO 6 CYCLES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. CATALOGING OF INFORMATION IN PUBLICATION PROCEEDING DURING VOYAGE." "You mean that you've been breaking all the information in the newspaper down into catagories and them filing them appropriately." "AFFIRMATIVE." "Why on Earth--or elsewhere--for?" "INFORMATION REQUIRED IN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND COMPLICATED FINANCIAL SYSTEMS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL. SECURITIES AND COMMODIIES TRADING COMMON PHENOMENON. FUTURES TRADING PHENOMENON HIGHLY UNUASUAL. UNDERSTANDING OF FINANCIAL SYSTEMS NECESSARY TO UNDERSTANDING OF CULTURAL MATRIX." "Perhaps, but what about our swimming pool? Do we have to consider it as a luxury?" "AFFIRMATIVE. MAINTENANCE OF SWIMMING POOL MAY BE CLASSIFIED AS CONTRIBUTING TO THE MAINTENANCE OF SATISFACTORY CLIMATIC CONDITIONS FOR SPECIMENS DUE TO LESSENING OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE FOR MAINTAINING OF RELATIVE HUMIDITY. SWIMMING POOL MAINTENANCE WILL BE ASSESSED AT NECESSITY LEVEL." "Okay, if that's the best you can do, we'll take it." Carl turned to Mary Jane. "I'm glad I'm not trying to buy a car from this character. He drives a hard bargain." "Are you really going to buy me a swimming pool?" "I'm buying us a swimming pool." "PREPARE FOR DIVERSION OF 35 PERCENT OF ENERGY FROM CLIMATIC CONTROLS SYSTEM DURING REPLICATION OF AQUEOUS FLUID SUPPLY." The lights dimmed for a minute, then immediately returned to full power as the swimming pool winked in. "Good God!" Mary Jane exclaimed as she stared up at the pool. Except for a slight translucency on the vertical sides, it appeared to be made of glass. "Mademoiselle, would you care to inspect our new swimming pool?" "Is that real?" "As real as you are." "Why roof change?" April demanded. She too was staring up at the new addition. "Come, April, it is time that you learned to swim," Carl said. "What is swim?" "You'll see. Come on. Everyone up to the pool." A minute later they stood on the deck at the edge of the pool. Only the slight translucency of the pool's sides indicated the change from solid to liquid, for the water was colorless, still, and came up even to the deck. "This, April, is a swimming pool," Carl said as he hunkered down and splashed a bit of water at April's feet. "Water!" she squealed in wide-eyed amazement. Carl's disturbance sent small ripples fanning out across the pool. "Yes, and it is deep water, so we'll have to teach you how to move in it. Moving in water is called swimming, April." "I'll be glad to give a demonstration," Mary Jane offered. She hesitated about diving in because the appearance was of diving into space--she could clearly see their living area down below through the clear bottom of the pool. She eased herself in and held onto the edge until she felt the bottom with her feet. Then she pushed herself off gently and floated on her back for a moment. "Mary Jane fly!" April exclaimed. Carl laughed, then said: No, you don't fly in water, you float in it. You can also swim in it." "What noise?" April asked. "Damn! We've got a flood!" Water was cascading over the far rim of the pool and falling onto the floor below. The addition of Mary Jane's body volume caused the already full pool to overflow. "Quick! Out of the pool!" Carl shouted at Mary Jane. She clambered out of the water. "What's the matter?" she asked. Carl merely pointed to the water still going over the edge. "Oh, no. Did it ruin anything, do you think?" "It doesn't look like it, but we may have to sleep in a soggy bed." "Oh." "Why water fall?" April asked. "The pool was already full, and Mary Jane made it over full by getting in. The water had to go someplace. See, some of it lapped at out feet, and some went over the edge." April studied the situation for a moment with a frown on her face. "Pool no good?" she asked. "We'll just have to change it. Robert, can you draw down about four inches of water and make the far edge about a foot higher?" "ADJUSTMENT PROCEEDING." The modifications winked in. "Thank you, Robert. Now, Mary Jane, you can give April a demonstration of the fine art of swimming." Looking down at the room below, she again hesitated at the edge of the pool. She then took a deep breath and dove in. For the next twenty minutes, Mary Jane put on a fine display of aquatic skills. Later in the morning, she taught April the rudiments of swimming. April was delighted. "April swim-fly," she proclaimed as she dog-paddled around the pool. In spite of the requirements of gramatical exegesis, Carl had to agree that swimming in a glass-bottomed pool suspended from a ceiling was akin to flying. 29 Mary Jane noticed Carl's harmonica on the workbench where it was serving in the humble capacity of a paperweight. She picked it up and blew a few practice notes, then launched into a quick-paced tune. When she realized that she had an audience, she abruptly stopped. "Sorry, your harmonica? I should have asked first," she said, starting to put it back. "Not my harmonica, our harmonica. Everything here is community property. You are, I am happy to report, in the midsts of the universe's most anarchistic, communist state ... perhaps anarchistic communism can only be successful with a population of three citizens and one benevolent, unseen patron, but while it lasts we'll make the most of it. Go on with the harmonica playing. It's certainly a lot better than mine," Carl said. "Mary Jane play good. Carl play bad," April commented. Carl laughed, then said: "Out of the mouths of babes ... but do play on." Mary Jane returned to the harmonica, finishing her tune, then launching into a spirited rendition of "San Francisco Bay Blues." "Goodie! Goodie! Goodie!" April said in appreciation, and Carl applauded. "Clap your hands, April. When you approve of someone's performance, you show it by clapping like I'm doing," Carl said. April began to clap with enthusiasm. Mary Jane smiled a bit sheepishly. "It wasn't that good, but it is always nice to have a friendly audience." "Of course it was good! You're the best damn harmonica player within a billion miles--me being the only other harmonica in the territory and, as April said: 'Carl bad.'" "I'm not really a harmonica player, but everybody goes through their Dylan phase--non-electric, early Dylan, that is. When he went electric, I didn't mind, but when he got religion ... exit me." "But when Dylan went electric, you must have been just a little kid," Carl suggested. "Precocious, I guess." "Carl laughed, then said: "As a kid, I was more in the line of obnoxious myself." "That's funny ... not your pun ... wait a minute." Mary Jane closed her eyes and paused for a moment. "I can remember the musical stuff from my early years, but the rest has been wiped clean." "That's understandable. Music was a major part of Mary Jane Galatea's life. It stands to reason that, when her primary levels of memory were recorded, all of the music was included." "You must be right. I'm glad I haven't lost that." "Me too. Otherwise we'd have to listen to my harmonica playing." "Carl no play harmonica. Mary Jane play harmonica," April said. "Yes, give us another tune, please.... No, wait. Robert, are you going to pay Mary Jane union scale for her performance?" "FINANCIAL CREDITS AT APPROPRIATE LEVELS WILL BE CREDITED PROVIDED THAT RECORDING OF PERFORMANCES BE ALLOWED." "As her new agent, that sounds okay to me. How long will she have to play to earn her keep?" "PERFORMANCE OF .03125 CYCLES DURATION WILL YIELD BALANCED ACCOUNT FOR EACH CYCLE. SUGGEST THAT MARY JANE RECEIVE REMUNERATION FROM CARL AND APRIL ALSO." "Should we pay? But we're her roadies!" "ROADIES NULL CONCEPT. SEARCH OF ALL LEVELS FAILS TO YIELD INTERPRETATION." "I mean that we're her assistants. I polish her harmonica and April is in charge of seeing that it is restored to its proper place after each performance as my paperweight." "REMUNERATION FROM 'ROADIES' TO BE DECISION OF MARY JANE. ACCOUNTS WILL BE ADJUSTED ACCORDINGLY." Mary Jane chuckled, the said: "Roadies don't pay, but in this case ... they don't get any salary either. Accounts between Carl, April, and myself are balanced as far as my music playing goes." ""ACCOUNTS SO ADJUSTED." "If Mary Jane is goint to be musician-in-residence, then she should have more instruments than a cheap harmonca. Mary Jane Galatea's guitar playing is, of course, legendary. What other instruments do you play?" "I started with a ukulele at age two, but I positively refuse to play that instrument, the sound is so ... poor. I do credible work on a dulcimer, panio, harpsichord, silver flute and fiddle ... and the guitar, of course." "This sounds like the addition of a music room is necessary. Robert? How about extending the mezzanine over the bed to make it L-shaped? A twenty-two by eight space should easily accomodate a baby grand panio and the other instruments that Mary Jane plays. Do you have plans for musical instuments in storage?" "AFFIRMATIVE. INFORMATION STORAGE CONTAINS PLANS FOR 3 TYPES OF PANIO, INCLUDING THE BABY GRAND TYPE, 1 HARPSICHORD, COPIED BY A BOSTON CRAFTSMAN FROM A 17TH CENTURY FRENCH MODEL, 2 DULCIMER DESIGNS, 4 FLUTE DESIGNS, 6 GUITAR DESIGNS, OF WHICH 3 ARE ACOUSTIC AND 3 ELECTRIC, 7 VIOLIN DESIGNS, BUT 0 UKULELE DESIGNS. SORRY ..." "No great loss," Mary Jane commented. "AND 2 DESIGNS FOR MORE SOPHISTICATED HARMONICAS. A TOTAL OF 139 OTHER INSTRUMENT DESIGNS ALSO IN INFORMATION STORAGE." "Gee. We could outfit a whole symphony," Carl commented. "Carl! We've got to be responsible. Besides, the ones I mentioned are the only instruments I play with any reasonable amount of skill, and at this stage of life I prefer to perfect what I already play, not take up new instruments." "That's fine. Besides, you're paying for it all." "Another consideration. You seem to forget that I've got to play for my supper. I don't know if I can afford any instrument, let alone a whole room full ... not to mention paying for the room itself." "Robert, what would it cost Mary Jane to have a balcony with a harpsichord, baby grand, flute, violin, dulcimer, and your two best guitars." "CALCULATIONS INDICATE THAT THE BALANCE OF THE ACCOUNT OF MARY JANE WOULD BE DEFICIENT BY 56 MONITARY UNITS. BALANCED ACCOUNTS COULD BE ACHIEVED BY PLAYING RECORDABLE MUSIC FOR .062 CYCLES PER CYCLE FOR 35 CYCLES." Carl turned to Mary Jane. "There you have it. The finance department has spoken. Give an hour and a half's concert every day for the next five weeks and the instruments are yours." "I don't know ... I never buy things on credit. It's always been cash or I-can't-afford-it." "A wise policy on planet Earth, but here ... Robert, do it!" "Carl!" "If she won't pay for it, I will. I'll co-sign her loan." "AFFIRMATIVE." The lights dimmed for a moment as the balcony and musical instruments winked in. "Just out of spite, I ought to refuse to pay and let you get stuck with the bill, Carl," Mary Jane threatened. Carl laughed, then said: "I don't think that you'd be able to refrain from playing music, even if it wasn't how you're earning your keep. And besides, even if you could stick me with the bill, it'd be worth it. To have one of America's finast troubadours give us private concerts, even just her practice sessions, is a momentous thing. Even Saudi Arabian princes can't buy that. Besides, not only that, we get to enjoy Mary Jane Galatea's company, which is itself priceless ..." "Buster, if you think that you can get anywhere by flattery, forget it! The music business is filled with that kind of stuff, and I've seen the best." "But I really do admire your music," Carl protested with a pained look on his face. "Carl, Mary Jane angry?" April, puzzled by this exchange, asked. "I'm not angry, April." Then she turned to Carl: "When I'm angry, you'll know about it." Back to April: "We're just having a minor disagreement." "Yes," Carl said, "so minor that we're going to dismiss the whole subject. Come, April, we're going to inspect the new music room." "Carl play other musics like Carl play harmonica?" Carl winked at Mary Jane, then said to April: "The harmonica is my best instrument, but I will defer in all musical matters to Mary Jane. She'll play the music around here from now on." "Good! Mary Jane play good." April tugged on Mary Jane's arm and pulled her towards the ladder that lead to he mezzanine. "Show me new music machines, please." Mary Jane smiled and shrugged her shoulders at Carl. "With such an appreciative audience, how can I resist?" END OF FILE
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Carl describes a tipical day for Baby SApril and himself. Now that Mary Jane has arrived, he suggests that they expand the exercise program by putting a swimming pool in a balcony near the ceiling. Carl orders a collection of musical instruments replicated for Mary Jane's use.
Disk No: 1488 Program Title: BABY APRIL PC-SIG version 1 BABY APRIL is a book-on-disk that you read at your computer monitor, using the supplied viewing system. This is a science fiction retelling of the Galatea myth, but updated to include aesthetics, politics, liberated women, and a whole range of contemporary subjects. In this story, an advanced extra-terrestrial civilization sends one of its members to earth in order to learn more about humans and their culture. He gets more than he bargained for! This is the abridged version...perfect escapist reading for coffee breaks with your PC! Synopsis: Science fiction book-on-disk. What happens when an extra-terrestrial visits Earth! Usage: Novel/Books-On-Disk. Special Requirements: None. How to Start: Type GO (press enter). Suggested Registration: $10.00 brings the unabridged two disk version. File Descriptions: GO-2 COM Main program. AUTOEXEC BAT Program start. FILE??? TXT Text data files (20 files). READ ME Documentation file. WRITER'S DAT Book submission information file. The PC-SIG Library 1030D E Duane Avenue Sunnyvale Ca. 94086 (408) 730-9291 (c) Copyright 1989 PC-SIG, Inc.
31 "How come Carl not love Mary Jane? Carl not like Mary Jane." April asked from out of the blue. "I like Mary Jane. I love Mary Jane ... I ..." Carl turned to Mary Jane. "How do you explain the difference between love and sex? For April it's always been the same." "April, Carl loves me, because we're friends, but you have to have love for a special person to make their two bodies come together. I'm not ready for Carl to be that special lover. Do you understand?" April frowned. "No. Carl ready. April can see. Mary Jane not ready? Will Carl still be ready when Mary Jane ready?" Carl chuckled softly, then said: "Yes, April, I think that I would be ready, but I have to wait until Mary Jane gets ready all by herself." "Mary Jane should hurry get ready. Carl make April so good inside. Good all over," she said with a grin. "Yes, I know, and that's very nice for you, April, but are you sure that you wouldn't get jealous?" "Jea-lous? Jealous? New word?" "It means that April would be angry with me if I made love with Mary Jane," Carl explained. "Why April get angry?" "If you thought that I wouldn't love you because I made love with Mary Jane ..." April's eyes widened, and she looked from Carl to Mary Jane and back to Carl. "Happen?" "No it is not going to happen because even if I were to make love with Mary Jane, I'm always going to love you." "Then jealous is silly idea," April concluded, dismissing the idea with a wave of her hand. "Yes, it is a silly idea and we won't have anything more to do with it. I love you and I love Mary Jane and you love me and you love Mary Jane too." "Yes," April quickly agreed. "And I love you both," Mary Jane said, "but I'm not ready to sleep with Carl." "Sleep? But Mary Jane sleeps with Carl and April," April observed correctly. Mary Jane laughed. "Mary Jane made a mistake. She meant that she wasn't ready to have sex with me." April was puzzled. "Sex? Mary Jane is sex. Female sex." Carl laughed, then commented to Mary Jane: "I think that this may be the first time the term 'having sex with' has come up ... no pun intended. We always called it 'making love.' "What Carl means is that I am not ready to make love ... to have Carl inside me ... but I can still love him as a friend." "April understand ... maybe. Love, sex hard to talk about. Easier to do." Carl and Mary Jane both laughed. "Yes, and if you weren't so damn pregnant ... but we're going to do the best we can for you," Carl said, sweeping April up in his arms. He carried her off to the bed where he gently deposited her, winked back at Mary Jane, then pulled the curtains shut. * * * Mary Jane was sitting at the table cube, softly fingering high, sad chords on her guitar. "Sorry about the abrupt departure," Carl said. "Trying to explain to April that for some people there is a difference between love and sex just turned me on ..." Mary Jane put down her guitar and refilled her brandy snifter. With her raised eyebrow answered by a nod of Carl's head, she got another glass for him and poured his drink. "You needn't apologize. After all, you and April are a family," she said, handing him the glass. "No, we're a family. We're a billion miles from the nearest moralist. We've only ourselves to deal with, and therefore we have the right to make whatever definitions of family we want for ourselves. At the moment our family consists of one male and two females, one of whom is pregnant. Soon the family will include an infant. In the future, our definition of family can be modified to fit the circumstances. Whatever happens, you're as much a part of this family as anyone. You are no an intruder. You're a necessary and indispensable part. In fact, since you and April are the only two replicated human beings in the universe, you two are sisters. Since you were make at my request, perhaps I can be considered to be your father ... no, don't do that. Then maybe we'd have to worry about incest taboos. Consider Robert as your father, or the replicating machine ... no ... that's not a good idea, either. See, all the old ideas about relationships and family don't apply. We're a unique relationship: the, in order of appearance, Carl-April-Mary Jane-baby family. Okay?" He clinked the edge of her glass with his. Mary Jane raised her glass in toast: "To the Carl- April-Mary Jane-baby family." "Good. And now the Carl member of this family wants to present what remains of his libidinal energy to the Mary Jane member after having made a similar presentation to the April member." "Oh ... but it's the wrong time of the month." "Ah, but I'm not fastidious." "Not that time of the month, just the opposite time of the month." "Oh, that time of the month: ovulation." "Yes." "Well, perhaps it would be nice for April's baby to have a sibling ..." "No! ... I didn't mean to bark at you. I'm not ready for babies." "Okay, fine. I love you anyway. Besides, there are easy ways to get around that time of the month problems. Roger, I know you're listening. I can hear your heavy breathing." "SITUATION IMPOSSIBLE. BREATHING CHARACTERISTICS NOT TRANSLATABLE." Carl laughed, then said: "Want to bet? I can feel your heavy breathing." "NOT POSSIBLE." "Here I am about to explore all the deep mysteries of Mary Jane's charms with you wide-eyed watching and you mean to tell me you're not hot and bothered? Not possible." "MARY JANE ATTRACTIVE WOMANNESS AFFIRMED." "Oh, I agree, which is why I need a rubber." "RUBBER?" "A male contraceptive device. You know, a prophylactic. Who knows, she might have herpies or something." "NOT POSSIBLE. MEDICAL CONDITION OF MARY JANE IS 100 PERCENT SATISFACTORY," Robert said as the prophylactic winked onto the table. Carl raised his glass in salute to the wall, and said: "Sir, I thank you." He drained his glass, put it on the table, and picked up the red foil packet. "Mademoiselle?" "I haven't said that I want you for my lover ... I will admit that you seem a lot nicer than that last bastard, but appearances are deceptive. On the other hand, I don't have a lot of men to chose from, do I? ... I'm still a little afraid of April being jealous, aren't you?" "April jealous? 'Not possible,' as Robert might say. Two concepts not in her repertoire are jealosy and frigidity. In fact, I'd suspect her of being a nymphomaniac if it weren't for the fact that recent studies have shown nymphomania to really just be male myth." "I thought that nymphomania was supposed to have something to do with the inability to love. April is very loving." "QED she is not a nymphomaniac, just extremely erotic, which is very nice. But at the moment she's asleep, and I'm tumescent. Mademoiselle, we procrastinate." "But where?" "On the float in the middle of the pool," Carl said. * * * Mary Jane and Carl lay snuggled together on the float. "Carl, that was sooo nice," she dreamily said in his ear. "Mutual, I thoroughly enjoyed taking your cherry, or as one particularly delicate student of mine once put it: devirginize you." "Are you going to start that again? Devirginize?" "The girl couldn't bring herself to say rape, as in 'The Rape of the Lock,' so she invented the term 'devirginize' for herself. On the other topic: I promise never to bring up the question of your virginity, or lack thereof, again. Hear that, Robert? You be sure and remind me if it ever appears that I am about to step over the line of probity." "Don't be paranoid, it's not listening." "Roger is not 'it,' he's Roger." "Well, when I was here before, he was 'it.' Remember, he kidnaped me. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I was going to be raped, or killed, or eaten, or what. I'm still not certain he's as benevolent as you seem to think. Maybe we're just being fattened for soup, or kept contented so that we're tender." Carl laughed, then playfully nibbled on her shoulder. "Mmmm. Your nice and tender already, but perhaps you've read too much science fiction. In the case of you and April, you're replications, so he could make as many edible bodies as he wanted. In my case and in the case of the original Mary Jane Galatea, to transport a mere one and a quarter hundredweight of meat for a journey of over a year, and in such luxurious accommodations, to merely make a few hambergers--people bergers--is absurd. No, you're not going to be lunch." "MMMMMMM. MARY JANE RARE DELICACY." Carl took the opportunity of Mary Jane's dropped mouth to plant a deep kiss there. "He's only joking," he told her. Then to Roger he said: "See, I knew you were listening. Does your language have the term voyer?" "SEXUAL PERVERSION NOT SUBJECT FOR COMMUNICATION." "I didn't say that I thought that you were a pervert, I was merely asking a question about your language." "CORRECTION. CULTURAL MATRIX OF ROBERT SIMILAR IN CONTENT TO CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL. SEXUAL FUNCTIONS CONSIDERED PRIVATE MATTER BETWEEN PERSONS INVOLVED. VOYERS TREATED UNDER STATUTES CONCERNING INVASION OF PRIVACY. INVASION OF PRIVACY CONSIDERED A MAJOR CRIMINAL OFFENSE. OCCURRANCES ARE RARE. DOES ANSWER MEET THE NEEDS OF CARLS? DOES CARL DESIRE STATISTICAL INFORMATION ON OCCURRANCES OF INVASION OF PRIVACY CRIME?" "Thanks, but no thanks." "Speaking of invasions of privacy," Mary Jane said, "what about what you're doing to us? You're watching us parade around nude, watching us shit, shower, and everything, even watching us make love. Aren't you invading our privacy?" "CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRE MONITORING OF ACTITIES TO INSURE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF SPECIMENS ..." "And besides, it's fun," Carl interrupted. "BESIDES, IDENTICAL BEHAVIOR EXHIBITED BY SPECIMENS WITH NO APPARENT DISSENSION." "Well, that may be true, but we have been a little discreet in sexual matters," Mary Jane said. "NEGATIVE SITUATION" "What do you mean?" Carl asked. The answer came in the form of giggles from down below them. "April, we thought that you were asleep," Carl said. Mary Jane said: "Oh, no." April was lieing on the floor, looking up at them through the transparent pool and equally transparent float. "Mary Jane looks funny from down here when Mary Jane and Carl make love. Mary Jane and Carl make lots of waves. Big waves." Again April giggled. "When viewed from that angle, coitus probably does look a bit ridiculous," Carl commented. "You're not angry with us, are you April?" Mary Jane asked. "Carl make Mary Jane feel good?" "Yes, very good." Mary Jane could not help smiling. "Good! Carl make April feel good too. April happy. Mary Jane happy?" "Yes." "Good. April go back to sleep now." So saying, she got up from the floor and went back to bed, drawing the curtains closed behind her. "She is a remarkable woman," Mary Jane said. "You're both remarkable women. We know from what position April watched us, what I want to know is from what position Robert watched us." "MONITORING FROM ALL POSITIONS POSSIBLE EITHER SIMULTANEOUSLY OR SEQUENTIALLY." "Ah, voyer's heaven. We'll try to keep you entertained as much as possible," Carl said, then gave Mary Jane a kiss on the cheek. "Haven't you had enough?" "Between April and you, my hydraulic system is pretty well exhausted, but I don't need an erection to kiss a pretty lady." He kissed her nipple. "Besides, you taste so nice." He kissed her beside the naval. "Robert is right, you are a rare delicacy. I could kiss you for hours." He gave her a series of kisses, each one a little lower than the last. "Nothing wrong with your hydraulics," he mumbled between kisses. "Carl. Oooooo." * * * "He probably just recorded you kissing me to orgasm." Mary Jane commented. "Now don't be so hard on the lad, Mary Jane. Did you record it?" "FAILURE TO THINK OF RECORDING MUST BE REPORTED. STATEMENT OF APPRECIATION FOR THE VALUABLE SUGGESTION OF MARY JANE." "Hey, buster, I'm not suggesting it." "PERMISSION TO RECORD SEXUAL ACTIVITIES DENIED?" "Let him have his fun, Mary Jane, after all, all he can do is watch. We have all the fun of doing it, and his watching and/or recording does us no harm." "Oh, all right. Do whatever you wish." "STATEMENT OF PROFOUND APPRECIATION. WILL OBSERVE BUT NOT RECORD IN DIFFERENCE TO THE WISHES OF MARY JANE UNLESS MATTER OF CLINICAL INTEREST OCCURS CONCERNING MATTERS RELATED TO UNDERSTANDING OF CULTURAL MATRIX." "As you wish," Mary Jane said, dismissing the matter with a wave of her hand. "We couldn't tell if you were recording or not, anyway." "RECORDING DESIRED OF REACTION OF NIPPLES DURING SEXUAL STIMULATION AND REACTION OF TOES TO DETERMINE IF PHENOMENON INITIATED SIMULTANEOUSLY OR SEQUENTIALLY, IF SEQUENTIALLY, TO DETERMINE ORDER OF REACTION. PERMISSION TO RECORD DURING NEXT OPPORTUNITY DESIRED." "The next time it might be Carl and April," Mary Jane said. "RECORDING OF REACTIONS OF MARY JANE PREFERRED." "Why," she asked. "RECORDING OF REACTIONS OF MARY JANE PREFERRED ... SUBJECTIVE JUDGEMENT INDICATED REACTIONS OF MARY JANE MORE SEVERE." "Maybe that's just because she's been getting it more than me. I've been sex-starved for awhile." "Not any more, you're going to be," Carl assured her with a grin. "Oh, you're impossible!" She gave him a shove and sent him tumbling off the float and into the water. Carl tried to pull the float out from under her, but she jumped clear and landed on the deck. "Maybe April and I will get together and make you the sex-starved one," she threatened with a grin. "Here I do you the great honor of plucking your cherry, and you treat me in such a fashion. Tisk-tisk!" Mary Jane had to laugh. Well, my ravisher," she said, "come out of the water and dry yourself off so that we can go down the ladder and we both can snuggle with April." "A very good idea." END OF FILE COPYRIGHT 1984, 1986 - SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Carl tries to explain the difference between love and sex to Baby April. Carl's dallaince with Mary Jane proves not to upset his relationship with April. END OF FILE *********** *
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Robert explains how the replication process works. Mary Jane suggests that April start doing exercises to strengthen the muscles used during the birth process. Carl suggests the replication of a second man, perhaps Robert Redford, be undertaken for Mary Jane, but Robert points out that such a man would arrive mentally undeveloped, and no one wants to deal with Baby Robert Redford. END OF FILE *********** 8
Copyright 1984, 1986 - SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS 37 First Mary Jane wanted to cry, then she wanted to slug Carl when, after she trepidatiously explained her conversation with Robert on the subject of erotic contact between herself and April, he flippantly said: "So, you've got the hots for April too." Carl instantly grasped the seriousness of his faux pas, so he wrapped his arms around her and gave her a kiss. "I don't blame you in the least," he said gently. "The three of us have so much love for each other that we're really at a loss as to how to express its enormity. No, I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to express your feelings towards April in a more physical way. I'm surprised that it just hadn't erupted spontaneously. Perhaps I have been an inhibiting factor for you women. In any case, I don't think that any harm would come to April from it. Quite to the contrary, I agree with Robert that it would be good for all of us. Hell, we've got so much love here that we'd have enough to include Robert no matter what he looked like." "What do you mean, 'no matter what he looked like?'" "Er ... well ... we only know him through his voice, and that is merely the voice of the translating machine, so we've never really had any direct contact with him ... if indeed he is a 'he.' He could be a 'she' or an 'it,' we don't really know. Robert could look like a crab, or a shapeless blob of protoplasm." Mary Jane didn't say anything. "CARL HAS AN OVERACTIVE IMAGINATION." "Do I? Perhaps. Will we see what our friend Robert looks like at the end of this voyage?" "AFFIRMATIVE. AT THE END OF THE VOYAGE WE WILL MEET." "I will look forward to that," Carl said. Mary Jane just smiled. * * * Late that evening, sitting beside the pool, Mary Jane asked: "Xan, what do you look like?" "DOES IT MATTER?" Mary Jane smiled and said: "I ... I can't fantasize about you because I have no point on which to focus. Carl says that you could look like a crab, and maybe you are ..." Robert laughed, then said: "CARL HAS BEEN READING FROM MY SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTION AGAIN." "Can you replicate a picture of yourself for me?" "IF I WERE A CREATURE OF UGLINESS, WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW?" Mary Jane was silent for a moment, then said: "No matter what your shape was, I'd still know that you really were a beautiful person. Isn't that what really matters?" "ALTHOUGH THERE IS TRUTH IN WHAT YOU SAY, BEAUTY IS A CONCEPT WHICH IS DEFINED BY THE PARAMETERS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX WITHIN WHICH IT OPERATES. THE MALAKAIS CONSIDER THEMSELVES TO BE BEAUTIFUL--THEY LOOK SOMEWHAT LIKE FURRY VERSIONS OF TEN-ARMED OCTOPUSES, NOT VERY CUDDLY BY OUR STANDARDS--BUT THEY ARE THE BEST MUSICIANS IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, AND TO SIT DOWN WITH THEM AND LISTEN TO THEM PLAY IS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES POSSIBLE. ONCE THE MUSIC STARTS, YOU FORGET ALL ABOUT WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE." "You're avoiding the subject of you," she gently chided. "AM I?" "Look, I know that you're not going to look like the knight in shining armor of my adolescent fantasies. Think of it in terms of equality. You know what we look like. The fact that we've been parading around here in the nude all this time is indicative of the fact that we've lost our bodily self-consciousness ... Wear your full dress uniform if you're shy." "IT SHALL BE AS YOU WISH ..." An image of Robert winked in on the water at the end of the pool. He was a man of about Carl's height, but with a much slighter build--a shortened and thinned version of Mary Jane. At first Mary Jane thought that he was bald, but then she saw that his hair was short, curled, and almost translucent. He was definitely humanoid--sort of an albino Negro--but his eyes were green. He wore a loose, flowing robe which shimmered with multicolored iridescence. He stood with his forearms held out at right angles to his body with the palms facing out. "GREETINGS, MARY JANE GALATEA." She smiled, then said: "Greetings Xan. You're a fine species of crustacean." The image was expressionless. Silence hung in the air. "Did I say something wrong?" After a brief silence, Robert said: "NO, I APOLOGIZE. THERE WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING ON MY PART. YOU SEE, I WAS SPEAKING WITHOUT THE TRANSLATOR, AND THE WORD 'CRUSTACEAN' IN YOUR LANGUAGE IS VERY SIMILAR TO A VERY VULGAR WORD IN MY LANGUAGE. I WAS MOMENTARILY TAKEN ABACK. I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WERE SUDDENLY INSULTING ME, SO FINALLY I RAN YOUR COMMENT THROUGH THE TRANSLATOR, AND NOW I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WERE REFERRING TO A COMMENT MADE EARLIER BY CARL CONCERNING THE POSSIBILITY THAT I MIGHT BE GROTESQUE IN APPEARANCE." "It is obvious that that is not the case. I can't see what you were so secretive about. True, you don't fit any of the racial groupings on Earth, but among some of our more avantguarde New York or L.A. sub-cultures you'd pass without much comment." "IT IS TRUE I AM NOT VERY DIFFERENT IN APPEARANCE TO THE GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MEMBERS OF YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX, EVEN DOWN TO THE SAME NUMBER OF FINGERS, HOWEVER, RELATIVE TO THE BODY TYPE WHICH IS CONSIDERED TO BE NORMAL AMONG THE MEMBERS OF MY CULTURAL MATRIX, I AM AN ANOMALY. A PERSON OF MY STATURE WOULD NORMALLY HAVE TWICE MY MASS. SOME METABOLIC QUIRK HAS PREVENTED ME FROM ATTAINING THE NORMAL CORPULENCE. SINCE EARLY CHILDHOOD, I HAVE BEEN CALLED 'THE HALF-MAN.'" "Yeah, I know how how feel. Being tall sometimes made me an outcast too." "BUT YOU ARE WELL WITHIN THE NORMAL RANGE OF BODY TYPES FOR YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX. THERE ARE A LOT OF TALL PEOPLE ON YOUR PLANET, MANY SIGNIFICANTLY TALLER THAN YOU. I AM ... I AM ALMOST THE THINEST MAN ON MY PLANET." "You have been ostracized?" "NO, OF COURSE NOT, BUT IT HAS HAD AN EFFECT ON THE SOCIAL COMPONENT OF MY LIFE. I AN NOT CONSIDERED TO BE VERY DESIRABLE BY WOMEN, AND WHO CAN BLAME THEM?" "You don't look too bad to me. Come sit beside me and tell me about your planet's people." "SIT? IT IS AN IMAGE THAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT." "Oh, yeah. You look so real, like you were really standing there." Mary Jane giggled. "But of course it is an image. You're standing on the water. Unless you've achieved becoming god ..." Robert laughed. "NO, NOT YET, BUT I CAN MANIPULATE THE IMAGE TO DO INNUMERABLE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE THINGS LIKE WALKING ON AIR ..." The image took several steps up an non- existent staircase and thus appeared to be walking up the air. "OR THE OLD HOUDINI ILLUSION ..." The image rotated to a horizontal position and floated in the air. "OR MAKE TWINS ..." A second image appeared floating beside the first, stayed for a moment, then winked out. "OR FULFILL ADOLESCENT FANTASIES ..." The image became encased in shining, midieval armor for a moment, then returned to it's original form. "You'd be great at parties." "THE MUNDANE OF AN ADVANCED CULTURAL MATRIX ALWAYS APPEARS TO BE MAGIC TO A LESS ADVANCED ONE. THERE IS ALWAYS THE TENDENCY TO MAGIFY OR DEIFY ANYTHING WHICH IS NOT UNDERSTOOD." "Yes, it's always easy to entertain us primitives, isn't it?" Mary Jane mockingly said. "IT IS NOT A MATTER OF BEING PRIMITIVE OR ADVANCED ... PERHAPS I EXPRESS MYSELF IMPROPERLY. IT IS THAT YOU ARE STARTING OUT ON THE PATH OF DEVELOPMENT AT A LATER POINT OF TIME THAN OTHER CULTURAL MATRIXES. THERE ARE, OF COURSE, ALSO CULTURAL MATRIXES WHICH ARE BEHIND YOU ON THAT PATH. THINK OF YOUR GRANDPARENTS. IN THEIR YOUTH THEIR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WAS PROBABLY AN ANIMAL POWERED VEHICLE. YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX HAS NOW MADE VEHICLES WHICH HAVE STARTED TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE YOUR SOLAR SYSTEM. IN THE LIFETIME OF YOUR GRANDPARENTS, DEVELOPMENT HAS GONE FROM ANIMAL POWER TO THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL. DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GRANDPARENTS TO BE 'PRIMITIVES?'" "Of course not!" "WOULD NOT EVERYTHING THAT IS COMMON IN YOUR WORLD APPEAR TO BE MAGICAL IF IT WERE SOMEHOW TRANSPORTED BACK A HALF A CENTURy OR SO? DEMONSTRATE A WORD PROCESSING COMPUTER TO A SECRETARY OF 1934, AND WOULD NOT SHE CONSIDER IT TO BE MAGIC?" "It seems like magic even to me," Mary Jane said with a smile. "You've made your point." "BESIDES, IT IS CONSIDERED GAUCHE IN MY CULTURE TO FLAUNT ONE'S ADVANCES BEFORE A PERSON FROM A LESS DEVELOPED CULTURAL MATRIX ... TO SAY NOTHING OF THE FACT THAT IT IS ILLEGAL." Mary Jane laughed, then said: "But isn't that what's been happening throughout this voyage? All this replication stuff has been flaunting your advances ..." "IT HAS BEEN NECESSARY TO REPLICATE CERTAIN SUPPLIES FOR YOUR SURVIVAL ..." "Ah, but it hasn't been necessary to do so in such a dramatic way ... The Niagara Falls bit? Our swimming pool? Even this exquisite holographic image of yourself standing there on the water? Necessary? Admit it, you've been showing off to impress us" "PART OF THE PURPOSE OF THIS VOYAGE WAS TO ACCLIMATIZE THE PERSON WHO WAS TO HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO OUR CULTURAL MATRIX ... TO GET HER USED TO THE IDEA THAT THESE AREN'T MIRACLES, BUT JUST ORDINARY ASPECTS OF OUR CULTURE." "In other words, the original Mary Jane Galatea was to have been accustomed to living within your cultural matrix by the time that she arrived at your planet." "IT WAS ADJUDGED FROM PRELIMINARY DATA THAT THIS WOULD BE THE RESULT OF THE VOYAGE. OTHERS HAVE ... ALSO, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE MUSIC OF YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPANDED FROM THE INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM HER DURING THE VOYAGE. ALTHOUGH THE MISSION HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY ... BOTCHED IS THE PROPER WORD, I THINK ... THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION ON MUSIC WHICH YOU HAVE PROVIDED FOR OUR RECORDINGS WILL GO A CONSIDERABLE WAY TOWARDS FULFILLING THE ORIGINAL GOALS OF THE MISSION. HAVING AN ERSATZ MARY JANE GALATEA INSTEAD OF THE ORIGINAL ONE DOES MEAN THAT A PORTION OF HER POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO OUR ACCUMULATION OF KNOWLEDGE MAY BE LOST, HOWEVER, I AM HOPEFUL THAT THIS WILL BE A VOYAGE WHICH WILL BE VIEWED AS A SUCCESS." "But what if it is viewed as a failure by your supervisors?" "THEN I SIMPLY WILL NOT BE MAKING ANY OTHER VOYAGES." "Is it that simple? Such a monumental failure wouldn't be treated so lightly in my cultural matrix, I assure you." "WELL, THERE IS ONE COMPLICATION. I MAY BE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE COSTS OF THIS VOYAGE." Mary Jane let out a low whistle. "Boy, I'll bet that won't come cheap." "CONSIDERING THE TROUBLE I WENT THROUGH TO GET ASSIGNED TO THIS VOYAGE, THAT IS TRUE." "How is it that you, a person of ... anomalization within your cultural matrix because of your physique, got the job of collecting this obscure troubadour, Mary Jane Galatea? And speaking of whom, what is this 'preliminary data?' Do you mean that you've been spying on me all along? "OBSERVATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE, BUT IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL. WHEN NEW CULTURAL MATRIXES ARE DISCOVERED, SCANNING TEAMS ARE SENT TO DETERMINE THE LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT AND PINPOINT AREAS OF INFORMATION WHICH WOULD BE SUITABLE FOR INCLUSION IN THE UNIVERSAL INTERGALACTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTURAL MATRIXES. THEY ALSO ATTEMPT TO LOCATE PERSONS WHO MIGHT BE AMENABLE TO RELOCATION ... THAT IS TO SAY, PEOPLE WHO ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ASPECTS OF THEIR CULTURAL MATRIX AND WHO HAVE SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON ASPECTS OF CULTURE WHICH ARE OF INTEREST TO THE COMPILERS OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA. MUSIC AND ART ARE TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF ANY CULTURE, AND IT IS THESE AREAS THAT INTEREST US MOST--OBVIOUSLY WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR TECHNOLOGIES. ART AND MUSIC DO NOT NECESSARILY PROGRESS LINEARLY. UNLIKE TECHNOLOGY, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE CYCLIC, THUS TECHNOLOGICALLY PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES MAY HAVE ADVANCED LEVELS OF ART--YOUR WRITERS ARE NOW BEGINNING TO USE COMPUTERS, BUT INSTEAD OF SHAKESPEARE YOU JUST HAVE SIMON. OUR INTEREST IN THESE AREAS MAY EXIST BECAUSE OUR CULTURAL MATRIX HAS ADVANCED TO A HIGH DEGREE ALONG TECHNICAL LINES, BUT HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO ATTAIN SIMILAR ACHIEVEMENTS IN ART OR MUSIC. A PRELIMINARY SURVEY TEAM DOING WIDE-ANGLE SCANNING LOCATED A MUSICIAN WHO APPEARED TO BE DISILLUSIONED WITH THE MILIEU OF HER CULTURAL MATRIX. THAT MUSICIAN WAS ADJUDGED TO BE A PRIME CANDIDATE FOR RELOCATION TO OUT CULTURAL MATRIX." "Politically dissatisfied to be sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I was culturally dissatisfied." "YES, THE DISTINCTION WAS OBVIOUS WHEN MARY JANE GALATEA ESCAPED. VERY FEW CULTURAL MATRIXES HAVE SUCH A GREAT GULF BETWEEN THE POLITICAL AND THE CULTURAL ASPECTS. MOST ARE FAIRLY WELL INTEGRATED SO THAT IF YOU MAP THE CULTURE, YOU HAVE A REASONABLE IDEA ABOUT THE POLITICS, OR VICE-VERSA. IN THIS RESPECT, YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX IS ... AN ANOMALY." "Okay, I'll agree, we're all screwed up. Forget about our anomalies for the moment. What I want to know is why you were involved with this project." "ONCE THE PRELIMINARY SURVEY LOCATES A PRIME SUBJECT FOR INCORPORATION INTO OUR CULTURAL MATRIX, THEN THE KNOWN FACTS OF THE CASE ARE PUBLISHED AND MEMBERS ARE INVITED TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS OF METHODS OF ... ENTICING THE SUBJECT INTO ACCEPTING A POSITION WITH THE UNIVERSAL INTERGALACTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTURAL MATRIXES AS AN INFORMATION SOURCE." "Entice? Your modius operandi could hardly be called enticement. You kidnaped me!" "I WILL HAVE TO CONFESS THAT I MISCALCULATED YOUR LEVEL OF DISENCHANTMENT WITH YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX." "But didn't you say that your plan had to be approved by some kind of committee?" "ORDINARILY, YES. BUT THERE ISN'T A LOT OF INTEREST IN THIS GALAXY SINCE ALL OF THE CULTURAL MATRIXES ARE ISOLATED DUE TO THE FACT THAT INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL IS NOT YET COMMON AND MOST OF THE CULTURES THAT HAVE IT ARE IN THE OTHER ARM OF THE GALAXY. THE AREA OF GREATEST INTEREST IS IN THE INITIAL CONTACT BETWEEN CULTURAL MATRIXES, ESPECIALLY WHEN BOTH ARE EXPERIENCING THEIR FIRST CONTACT WITH ANOTHER CULTURAL MATRIX. MOST OF HE RESEARCH FUNDS ARE SPENT IN THAT AREA. YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX IS ... A BACK BURNER ITEM. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, A FEW SPECIALISTS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN IT EXACTLY BECAUSE IT IS 'ALL SCREWED UP' AND ALSO HAPPENS TO BE AT THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS DEPLOYMENT STAGE .... PERHAPS THEY ARE INTERESTED BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT IT IS GOING TO SELF- DESTRUCT. IN ANY CASE, FUNDS WERE APPROPRIATED TO COLLECT A LIMITED NUMBER OF SPECIMENS. I WAS ABLE TO PERSUADE A MEMBER OF THE ASSIGNMENT COMMITTEE TO GIVE ME THIS TASK WITHOUT STIPULATING A PLAN OF ENTICEMENT. WHEN MY AUNT ASKED FOR THE PLAN, I JUST TOLD HER THAT I WOULD THINK ONE UP ON THE WAY TO YOUR PLANET. I ADMIT THAT THE IDEA DIDN'T GO OVER TOO WELL, BUT SINCE THERE WAS ONLY ONE OTHER PARTY WHO EXPRESED AN INTEREST IN SPECIMEN QR23, AND THEIR PROPOSED LIST OF EXPENSES WAS SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER THAN MINE, I GOT THE ASSIGNMENT WITH THE STIPULATION THAT I FILE AN OUTLINE OF ENTICEMENT PLANNING BEFORE EMBARKING." "But you said that you didn't have a plan." "THE PLAN I FILED WAS MERELY A STATEMENT THAT I INTENDED A RETURN VOYAGE OF 400 OF YOUR CYCLES, DURING WHICH TIME I WOULD COLLECT AND CATALOG THE INFORMATION THAT WAS EXPECTED TO BE DERIVED FROM SPECIMEN QR23. ABOUT MY METHODS OF ENTICEMENT, I SAID NOTHING. THE COMMITTEE MERELY NOTED THAT A PLAN WAS ON FILE. THEY NEVER CHECKED THE CONTENTS OF THAT FILE BEFORE ISSUING A COLLECT AND REPORT ORDER." Mary Jane laughed, then said: "I see that you higher cultural matrix types haven't solved the inefficiency-of- bureaucracy problem yet." Roger also laughed. "NO CULTURAL MATRIX HAS SOLVED THE BUREAUCRACY PROBLEM. IN MORE COMPLICATED CULTURAL MATRIXES THERE ARE MORE METHODS OF SIDE-STEPPING THE BUREAUCRACY, WHEREAS IN LESSER DEVELOPED ONES IT IS NECESSARY TO PLOW THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF IT." "Now that I know how you got this assignment, the question is: why? After all, this is an uninteresting backwater of the universe." There was a long silence before Robert replied. "ALTHOUGH WE ARE DIFFERENT SPECIES AND ARE GENETICALLY INCOMPATABLE, THERE IS A REMARKABLE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF OUR TWO SPECIES. PHYSIOLOGICALLY I AM ACTUALLY CLOSER TO YOU THAN TO MOST MEMBERS OF MY OWN CULTURE. I THOUGHT THAT ... I HOPED THAT ... PERHAPS A FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN US COULD RESULT FROM OUR RESPECTIVE ESTRANGEMENTS FROM OUR OWN CULTURAL MATRIXES. MY MISCALCULATION OF MARY JANE GALATEA'S UNWILLINGNESS TO BE ASSIMILATED BY A NEW CUTURAL MATRIX SHOWS HOW FAR OFF MY IDEAS WERE." "There is a difference between being dissatisfied with your culture in wanting to make it better and being disillusioned to the degree that you would welcome a chance to run away. Maybe what you were doing was projecting on to me your own feelings." "IT IS TRUE THAT I HAVE NOT BEEN ENTIRELY HAPPY WITH MY FATE, BUT I AM NOT RUNNING AWAY. INDEED, I AM AT THIS MOMENT EMBARKED ON SOCIALLY USEFUL WORK AND AM IN THE PROCESS OF RETURNING TO THE BOSOM OF MY CULTURAL MATRIX." "From some of the things that you have said and from what Carl has told me, I got the idea that the duration of this voyage could have been considerably less. If that is true, isn't it a kind of running away, or at least a hiatus from your cultural matrix?" "THE VOYAGE COULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY HAD THE PROGRAM BEEN SET FOR THAT AT THE BEGINNING. ONCE THE SPEED OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN SET IT CAN NOT BE CHANGED WITHOUT CONSIDERABLE DIFFICULTY AND AT THE COST OF TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY." "Again the question is: why such a long voyage?" "I HAD HOPED THAT A LEVEL OF FRIENDSHIP COULD BE DEVELOPED ..." "And so it has, even though you are stuck in your part of the ship, and I am stuck in here." "OH, I DIDN'T MEAN PHYSICAL FRIENDSHIP." "No?" "ER ... THAT WAS TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR. BESIDES, WE ARE GENETICALLY INCOMPATABLE." "But our bodies are, it seems to me, not incompatable in other ways. We could snuggle together and touch each other and ... how do your reproductive organs conpare with those of the males of my species?" "EXTERNALLY THEY ARE SIMILAR IN SHAPE AND FUNCTION, ALTHOUGH YOUR MALES SEEM TO ACHIEVE ERECTION MORE EASILY THAN IS THE NORM FOR MEN OF MY CULTURAL MATRIX." "In other words, intercourse is possible, but not babies." "YES, THAT IS TRUE." Mary Jane giggled, then said: "You have no idea how that little fact would make you so popular with the women of my society. Project me an image of you without your clothes." There was a pause in which nothing happened. "Look, Xan, you've been wacthing me in the nude all this time. I want to see you." Roger's image appeared, sans clothes. Mary Jane giggled, then said: "I see that there is no deficiency in your male member at the moment." "I FIND THAT CONVERSATION WITH YOU IS MORE THAN JUST INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATION." "Check your monitor. How is my pulse rate and breathing doing? The stimulation is reciprocal," she said as she reached out for his hand. Her hand passed right through his. "Oh!" "THE IMAGE IS THREE DIMENTIONAL, BUT NOT CORPOREAL." "Damn! I wanted to be able to touch you. You look real enough to touch." "I TOO WISH THAT IT WERE POSSIBLE. I HAD NOT ANTICIPATED THE PAIN OF BEING ABLE TO SEE YOU, BUT NOT BEING ABLE TO TOUCH YOU. WHEN I WATCH YOU AND CARL ..." "You're jealous?" "I AM NOT JEALOUS! I HAVE BECOME VERY FOND OF CARL AND I CERTAINLY DO NOT BEGRUDGE HIM THE PLEASURE OF YOUR BODY. IT IS JUST THAT I LONG TO ENJOY THOSE PLEASURES MYSELF." "When this voyage is over it will be possible for us to physically get together ... I mean our atmospheres aren't mutually poisonous or anything?" "NO, THEY ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY DISSIMILAR TO CAUSE DISCOMFORT. THERE IS MORE OXYGEN IN MINE, BUT THAT WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO YOU." "Then why the impenetrable barrier between us?" "THIS SHIP IS CONSTRUCTED SO AS TO BE ABLE TO TRANSPORT ANY LIFE FORM IRRESPECTIVE OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ITS LIFE SUSTAINING REQUIREMENTS AND OURS. THE BARRIER IS TO ASSURE THE MUTUAL SAFETY OF BOTH SPECIES. IT IS JUST A QUIRK THAT IT IS UNNECESSARY IN THIS CASE." "As soon as we can, within the bounds of the decorum of your culture, why don't just the two of us go off someplace for a couple of cycles to get ourselves acquainted ... physically acquainted. Would that be possible? "SEVERAL CYCLES OF DEBRIEFING, TRANSFERING INFORMATION FROM THIS VESSEL TO THE MAIN STORAGE BANKS OF THE UNIVERSAL INTERGALACTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTURAL MATRIXES, AND CEREMONIES OF WELCOME WILL BE REQUIRED, BUT AFTER THAT WE COULD WITHDRAW TO MY AUNT'S VACATION VILLA WHICH IS IN A SPLENDIDLY ISOLATED, BUT SCENIC LOCATION." "Xan, you've got a date!" END OF FILE
38 Both Carl and Robert agreed with Mary Jane that the increase in her level of physical attention to April should take place gradually. Mary Jane was concerned that any sudden move on her part might startle or confuse April. Carl thought that April could take any gesture from Mary Jane in stride, but he conceded that caution couldn't hurt. Over a period of several cycles, Mary Jane's increasingly erotic attention to April was readily greeted with reciprocity. One afternoon the two women were lounging on the float in the middle of the pool. April was resting on her side beside Mary Jane who was on her back, catnapping. April was watching Carl working below the pool on a sketch of the two women sitting in bed together with their arms around each other's sholders. "Wouldn't it be nice to sometimes have the bed all to ourselves, Mary Jane? Sometimes Carl sleeps so restlessly, but you always sleep so calm. Now that I am big, the bed isn't as large as it was before," April said, ignoring the fact that the bed now held three people instead of two. "Ah. make Carl sleep on the cot," Mary Jane dreamily suggested from her half-sleep state. "But we don't have a cot ..." "All the worse for Carl," Mary Jane interrupted, becoming more awake. "Besides, it wouldn't be nice for Carl. It's just ... I don't know. Even asleep Carl is more strenuous than Mary Jane, and when Carl is awake ..." April laughed, then continued: "Carl is so excited, and Mary Jane is so calm with me. Maybe it is because I am so big with the baby, but sometimes I think t would be nice if Carl was more calm and Mary Jane was more ... more ... well, less calm." "I'm not always so sedate," Mary Jane asserted. April grinned and said: "Sometimes when Mary Jane is with Carl in the pool it is hard to see who is less calm. Sometimes Mary Jane is very uncalm." "You've seen us ... after that first time?" "Most of the times I am asleep when Carl and Mary Jane go up to the pool, but sometimes I am awake and I watch through the curtains." "Oh." "I like to watch Carl and Mary Jane, but most times it is late and I fall asleep. Why do you wait so long?" April paused and thought about this for a moment. "Is it because I am asleep?" "We didn't want to upset you with our love-making," Mary Jane said, smiled, then continued: "We didn't know that you sometimes watched us." "Not often. Is it because Mary Jane thought I would become this jealous thing we talked about before? How could I be jealous of Mary Jane? Aren't we like sisters? Maybe it is Carl I should be jealous of. Some cycles he gets more of Mary Jane's attention than I do." Mary Jane wrapped her arms around April's shoulders and hugged her. She said: "Oh, April, we are sisters. Better than sisters." "How better?" "We're the best of friends and we love each other ... we all love each other." Mary Jane paused, took a deep breath, then went on to explain the discussions she had with Carl and Robert concerning the distribution of physical attentions between Carl and the two women. April passed her hand down the front of Mary Jane's body, pausing for a moment at her delta of rich auburn hair. "Mary Jane very nice, but Mary Jane like April, not Carl. Have to make different love ...?" Mary Jane waited apprehensively for April to continue. Had she been wrong to broach the subject so frankly? True, April's maturation had proceeded rapidly in he time that she had known her, but had this been too sudden? Gazing at the smiling face of April, Mary Jane's apprehension faded. No, she knew that everything would work out fine. " I think ... many things. If Mary Jane and Carl want to make waves in the pool, they should not have to wait for me to be asleep. If I want to touch all of Mary Jane and want Mary Jane to touch all of me, Carl should not feel left out ... Carl should not be left out. And after the baby comes, after I am small again, we should all make love together." "Oh, yes, yes, it's going to be wonderful for all of us," Mary Jane said. For a brief instant she wondered if they'd be able to get Xan to make it a menage a quatre, but she was confident that he would fit in wonderfully too. "Now I am tired," April announced. "I want to take my nap snuggled with Mary Jane. Let's sleep on the float on our sides with the baby between us," They shifted to that position which proved to be very comfortable on the buoyant float. "Oh, this is very nice, Mary Jane said, draping her arm around April. "We're making a sandwich of your baby." "Our baby." "A baby with three parents." "And Robert makes four," April said with a giggle. "Oh, I love you, April." "I love us all." * * * Mary Jane, having both stayed up later than usual the previous night and gotten up earlier than usual this morning, was refreshed by her additional afternoon hour's sleep. "Oh, that was a very nice little nap ... just what I needed. It was sweet of you to invite me to join you," Mary Jane said. "April sweet?" April asked in mock innocence. "Grrrrr. Yes, my little bon-bon, and I'm going to gobble you all up," Mary Jane teased as she playfully gnawed on April's shoulder. "Mary Jane sweet too? April taste." "Mmmmmm. April's good." "Mary Jane good too. April taste all over." * * * Carl, having finished his sketch, was on the mezzanine reading a copy of D. H. Lawrence's Women In Love. He chuckled to himself. He had just finished reading the chapter in which Gerald spends the night at Halliday's. It was not Lawrence's prose which he found amusing, but the fact that Gerald's minx as named Minette. Years ago Carl had a friend who was an aficinado of Lawrence and, in fact, wrote his Ph.D. thesis on that British writer. The startling thing was that his friend's wife was named Minette. She was the only person of that name Carl had ever known, and until he had encountered it in Lawrence, he had always wondered exactly how it was spelt. Carl closed his eyes and wondered what ever happened to his friends, Gene and Minette. Had he married her because of her Lawrencesque name, or was she perhaps so named by her parents from the character in the book .... Carl's reverie was interrupted by the sounds from above. Mary Jane and April were engaged in some kind of nestled together, light, kittenish playing which evoked giggles from both women. "Mary Jane, what are you doing to my woman?" Carl called out in a mock serious tone. "Your woman? Our woman, don't you mean?" "'All for one, and one for all,' eh?" "I'm no Musketeer!" Mary Jane proclaimed. "Aristocratic pigs, off with their heads!" Carl laughed, then said: "Speaking of heads, what are you two doing?" "We want to know if we all taste the same, or if one of us is ... sweeter," April answered. "Ah, perhaps I should come up and consult in the matter." "No thank you," Mary Jane said, "this is just between us women. Besides, you're not likely to be an unbiased judge in the matter." "I will have to admit that you both taste very sweet, but I have been tasting April for longer than Mary Jane, so I might be slightly tilted in her favor," Carl said. April giggled and patted her swollen belly. "Carl has done a lot more than taste." "Very true, but you also taste quite delicious. Don"t you think that April tastes very nice, Mary Jane?" "Let me check," Mary Jane said, then buried her head in that enchanted box canyon formed by April's thighs and Mount Baby. April squealed with delight as Mary Jane's tongue probed amid the curled thicket. Then there was a sharp yelp of pain from April. "Mary Jane! What the hell are you doing?" Carl shouted, more from concern than anything else. Mary Jane looked up, confused. "I ... I don't know." "Not Mary Jane," April said, reassuring her companion, "not Mary Jane. Baby." "Baby?" Mary Jane and Carl said together. "What does the baby have to do with cunnilingus?" Carl asked. Robert laughed. "FATHER ANXIETY BEING PROJECTED AS OVERPROTECTIVENESS TOWARDS THE MOTHER. MONITORS INDICATE THAT THE BIRTH PROCESS IS COMMENCING." "Hugh?" from Carl. April grinned. "Oh," said Mary Jane. "Oh! A contraction." After an initial moment of stunned inactivity, they all sprung into action, following the plans which had been long in preparation. April was helped into bed, propped up in a comfortable position with pillows, and given lavish attention from all sides. Under Mary Jane's guidance, with Carl's nervous attention, and assisted by Robert's reassuring commentaries from the sidelines, April proceeded through the first stage of labor with ease. "Shouldn't Robert boil water, or something," Carl asked. Robert laughed, then said: "WITHIN THE TRADITIONS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL, THE PURPOSE OF THE TASK OF BOILING LARGE QUANTITIES OF WATER IS TO GET THE MEN OUT FROM UNDERFOOT WHILE THE WOMEN ATTEND TO ASSISTING AT THE BIRTH PROCESS. IT IS TO TRANQUILIZE THE MEN BY MAKING THEM THINK THAT THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING USEFUL. INTEGRATION OF THE SEXES AS FULL PARTICIPANTS IN THE BIRTH PROCESS IS ONE OF THE IMPORTANT PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PROCESS OF MATURATION OF ANY CULTURAL MATRIX. IT IS ONE OF THE FACTORS WHICH LEADS TO THE SUPPRESSION OF GROUP AGGRESSION. IN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL, THE FEMALE, SINCE SHE IS INVOLVED IN THE BIRTH PROCESS--THE CONTINUATION OF LIFE--IS UNLIKELY TO PARTICIPATE IN GROUP AGGRESSION ... EXCEPT WHEN MALE PROPAGANDA OVERCOMES HER NATURAL TENDENCIES. THERE ARE NO VERIFIABLE INSTANCES OF WARS BEING INITIATED BY WOMEN." "Perhaps that is only for lack of opportunity," Carl ironically suggested. "Who knows what kind of hell these women could unleash if they were put in charge of the military." "Listen to these two, blathering political philosophy like a pair of gossiping truck drivers," Mary Jane said with mock contempt. "Make yourselves useful by getting us a short, cold drink of orange juice." Two glasses appeared in the air in front of Mary Jane. "Ah, thank you, Robert," she said, plucking the glasses out of the air and handing one to April. "Someone is being useful around here at least." "And what about me?" Carl demanded. "Oh, fathers are entirely superfluous at this point," Mary Jane said with a devilish grin. "No ... not entirely," April asserted, taking Carl's hand. Carl kissed her on the forehead. "Thank you, my sweet." "Oh!" April said, then smiled. "Baby again." Robert reported that the contractions were .00833 cycles apart, that the cervix was less than half dilated, and that birth was not imminent. "Does anyone want to bet on the sex of the kid?" Carl asked. "ROBERT WILL COVER ALL WAGERS, EVEN MONEY. ROBERT CONTERNDS THAT THE SEX OF THE CHILD WILL BE MALE." Carl winked at Mary Jane and said: "He sounds confident, must have checked it out with the monitor." "THE FETUS HAS BEEN MONITORED VERY CAREFULLY TO ASSURE ITS SAFETY AND FREEDOM FROM DEFECTS. HOWEVER, THE MONITOR WAS NOT PROGRAMMED TO EXAMINE THE SEX OF THE CHILD SINCE THAT IS NOT A HEALTH DETERMINANT." "But what was it that W. C. Fields said about it not being a game of chance the way he played it? I have the feeling that you know something that you're not telling us." "IT IS A SIMPLE MATTER OF GENETICS. THE GENTEIC PATTERN OF CARL WAS USED IN THE REPLICATION OF THE BODY OF APRIL, EXCEPT THAT MINOR CHANGES WERE MADE TO YIELD THE FEMININITY OF APRIL. SINCE BOTH PARENTS HAVE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME GENE PATTERN--THE PATTERN OF CARL--THE CHILD WILL RECEIVE THAT ONE PATTERN TWICE. THEREFORE IT IS LOGICAL THAT THE CHILD WILL HAVE THE SEX OF ITS FATHER." "In that case, I withdraw my offer to make a bet," Carl said. Mary Jane dragged a chair to April's bedside. "We might as well all get comfortable. It's going to be awhile." * * * It was late evening, and Mary Jane had just placed the new-born infant on April's breast. She kissed April on the cheek, arose, and grinned down on the smiling mother and child. "Isn't she marvelous?" "Yes, April is just grand," Carl agreed. "They both are." "Both ...?" Carl examined the infant more closely than he had done during the excitement of birth. He laughed, then said: "So they are!" "MY CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW PARENTS. YOU HAVE A VERY FINE DAUGHTER." EPILOGUE IT IS THE FINDING OF THIS COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY INTO THE FIRST VOYAGE OF XANATHROPLASSE THE YOUNGER THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger failed in the accomplishment of his mission to collect, transport, and derive musical information from Specimen QR23, also known as Mary Jane Galatea; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger expended 147 energy units in excess of that for which his mission was budgeted; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger allowed a specimen of no interest, identified as Carl Edward Chandler, to inadvertently stowaway in the transportation vessel and subsequently be exposed to developments of cultural matrixes more advanced than his own; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger, without authorization and in conspiracy with Carl Edward Chandler, engaged in replication experiments which lead directly to the replication of two life forms, Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--and April, and indirectly lead to the creation of a third life form, identified as Phoebe, the natural offspring of April and Carl Edward Chandler; THAT Carl Edward Chandler entered the vessel of Xanathroplasse The Younger without fraudulent intent. IT IS THE JUDGEMENT OF THIS COMMITTEE OF INQUERY INTO THE FIRST VOYAGE OF XANATHROPLASSE THE YOUNGER THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger shall be fined 147 monitary units, being the rate of 1 monitary unit per unit of energy expended in excess of budgeted levels, except that 75 monitary units shail be suspended for replicaion information developed during the course of the voyage and further excepted shall be 1 monitary unit per information unit placed in storage as a result of efforts of Carl Edward Chandler, Mary Jane Galatea-- not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, April, and/or Pheobe, up to but not exceeding 72 monitary units; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger shall be ineligible for participating in any voyage of collection and transportation for a period of 425 cycles; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger shall be assigned to the position of watch and ward for Carl Edward Chandler, Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, April, and Phoebe for the duration of their visit. THAT any monitary or other agreements entered into by Xanathroplasse The Younger and Carl Edward Chandler, Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, April and/or Phoebe shall be declared null and void, except that the agreement between Xanathroplasse The Younger and Carl Edward Chandler concerning the acceptance of full responsibility for April by Carl Edward Chandler shall binding and that the responsibility for Phoebe shall be shared by Carl Edward Chandler and April as a corollary to that agreement, and further excepting that the artistic artifacts made by Carl Edward Chandler, including but not limited to cellulose based bowls and plumbago sketches, for which 1 monitary unit shall be granted per unit of information; THAT Xanathroplasse The Younger and Carl Edward Chandler share equally the responsibility for Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, except that Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--has reached the stage of responsible adulthood and is therefore self- responsible and shall be so adjudged unless incapacitated so as to become a ward of society, in which case the responsibility shall revert back equally to Xanathroplasse The Younger and Carl Edward Chandler; THAT Carl Edward Chandler is not guilty of violating any Regulation and therefore absolved of any responsibility which might arise out his association with Xanathroplasse The Younger except as noted in these findings and judgements of the Committee of Inquiry into the First Voyage of Xanathroplasse The Younger. THAT Carl Edward Chandler, Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, April, and Phoebe be granted visitors' status for a period not to exceed 426 cycles, but that they, singularly or collectively, may not claim monitary credit for any information which might accrue to the Universal Intergalactic Encyclopedia of Cultural Marixes as a result of their visit and may not exceed personal expenditures in excess of the stipend to subsequently be determined by the Committee of Housing and Hospitality for Visting Aliens except as noted in these findings and judgements of the Committee of Inquiry into the First Voyage of Xanathroplasse The Younger; THAT Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--shall be granted 1 monitary unit per unit of musical informaton recorded subsequent to the termination of the First Voyage of Xanathroplasse The Younger; THAT the expenses involved in the return of Carl Edward Chandler, Mary Jane Galatea--not the same Mary Jane Galatea as Specimen QR23--, April and Phoebe to their own cultural matrix be entirely borne by Xanathroplasse The Younger; THAT the matter of the possible violation of the non- dissemination clause of The Regulations by Xanathroplassee The Younger be referred to the Central Committee of the Universal Intergalactic Encyclopedia of Cultural Matrixes. GIVEN THIS 234TH CYCLE OF THE YEAR 9987, UNDER SEALS AND SIGNATURES, RANUNCULUS THE ELDER PHILOMENA OF LANGE MEDEA THE MAGNIFICENT >>> THIS IS THE END OF THIS BOOK. <<< >>> END OF FILE <<<
BOOKS-ON-DISKS Catalog GO-1 SERENDIPITY ANTHOLOGY Excerpts from books to be published by Serendipity Systems and a demonstration of the disk-reading program. This is a DS/DD, 360K disk. $4.00 postpaid, USA GO-2. BABY APRIL, a novel by John Peter. GO-3 This is a science fiction retelling of the Glatea myth, but updated to include aestetics, politics, liberated women, and a whole range of contemporary subjects. This is a two-disk set of DS/DD, 360K disks. $10.00 postpaid, USA GO-4 THE DEER HUNTERS, a novel by John Peter. This novel appears to detail the initiation of a young man into the intracacies and rites of deer hunting. In the manner of E.A. Poe, the details of time, place, and circumstance are nebulously left to the reader's imaganation as the full horror of the tale unfolds. This is a DS/DD, 360K disk. $6.00 postpaid, USA GO-5 LEFEU, a novel by John Peter. GO-6 The picaresque novel is back! Not since the days when Tom Jones wandered across the English countryside has a more endearing hero graced the pages of literature: Rene LeFeu, revolutionary, smuggler, master chef, lover, and (alas, above all else) klutz. LeFeu's travels begin in rural Canada and take him to Dallas, Mexico, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, New Orleans, and eventually back to Canada. This is a two-disk set of DS/DD, 360K disks. $10.00 postpaid, USA >>>>>>>NOTE: LeFeu will be available after August 31, 1988 GO-7 A MAINE YANKEE IN BIG SUR, a novel by John Peter. GO-8 Step aside Keroac, Brautigan, and Miller, this is the definitive Big Sur novel! This is a two-disk set of DS/DD, 360K disks. $10.00 postpaid, USA >>>>>>>NOTE: A Maine Yankee in Big Sur will be available after January 1, 1989. NOTE: American orders will be shipped postpaid via first class mail; foreign orders should include extra postage for 2 oz. per disk. ***************************************************************** ORDER FORM [Use PRT SC to make a paper copy] Number Title Quantity Price Total GO-1 SERENDIPITY ANTHOLOGY ________ $ 4.00 _____ GO-2&3 BABY APRIL ________ $10.00 _____ GO-4 THE DEER HUNTERS ________ $ 6.00 _____ GO-5&6 LEFEU ________ $10.00 _____ GO-7&8 A MAINE YANKEE IN BIG SUR ________ $10.00 _____ TOTAL $ .....................................$_____ Order disks by title. Mail orders to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452 **************************************************************** Dear Reader, Do you have complaints, comments, or suggestions? Talk to the boss! Send me your pronouncements. Sincerely, John Galuszka Publisher END OF FILE
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Carl's new toilet arrives, a 1904 water closet. Maneuvering of the cube continues. Carl discovers that the walls are suitable for drawing, and he sketches the scene of his discovery of the cube. He wonders why he is so calm about this situation--it doesn't fit any of the "I was kidnapped by a flying saucer" stories he ever read. Carl dreams about his girl friend, Sally. In the dream she is dressed as the Maid of Leather, and she attacks him for abandoning her. Upon awakening, he does a sketch of Sally as he remembers her from the dream. END OF FILE *********** *
14 "MONITOR IS IN ALL-PHASE RECORD MODE. STOWAWAY WILL IDENTIFY HIMSELF." Carl had just received his requested after-dinner brandy in the form of an empty crystal snifter and a full bottle of St. Remy. He would have been more than satisfied with a small glass of Jenkins, but he wasn't about to complain, or send the bottle back into the molecular soup from which it came. "Would a person from your culture be offended if I drank some of this very fine brandy during our conversation?" "COMMUNICATIONS PERMITTED DURING AND SUBSEQUENT TO THE EQUIVALENT TO YOUR DESERT COURSE. LIQUIDS CATEGORIZED AS FOOD ONLY IN YOUR CULTURE." "If you eat and drink, I can assume that I have not been talking to a computer?" "ALL TRANSLATIONS ARE MADE BY AND PASS THROUGH CULTURAL STORAGE, ANALYSIS, AND RESEARCH COMPUTERS. AFFIRMITVE ON SPECIMEN'S CONCLUSION. SPECIMEN IS NOT SPEAKING TO A COMPUTER." "What I am doing is speaking through a computer to a real, live creature?" "AFFIRMATIVE." "Can I invite you to share some of this excellent brandy?" "MASS TANSFERENCE BETWEEN SPECIMEN CHAMBER AND MANEUVERING CHAMBER NOT POSSIBLE UNTIL TERMINATION OF VOYAGE." "In other words, you can see me, but I can't see you." "SPECIMEN CHAMBER NOT EQUIPPED TO MONITOR MANEUVERING CHAMBER." "Specimen chamber? ... More like a specimen bottle ..." "'CHAMBER' AND 'BOTTLE' ARE ACCEPTABLE INTERCHANGE WITHIN CONTEXT OF TERM'S USE. DOES SPECIMEN PREFER REFERENCE CHANGED TO BOTTLE TERM IN SUBSEQUENT USE?" Carl could see that, in spite of his many levels of language translation, his host couldn't comprehend a simple pun. Or perhaps it was that he didn't have a sense of humor. "No, 'chamber' is fine. Continue using that term, please." "IS SPECIMEN READY TO BEGIN INTRODUCTORY COMMUNICATIONS?" Carl took another sip of brandy. "Sure." "STOWAWAY WILL IDENTIFY HIMSELF FOR RECORDING MONITORS, PLEASE." "Who am I? Carl Chandler, formerly--apparently fomerly--of Cape Neddick, Maine." "SPECIMEN CARL CHANDLER WILL GIVE BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY." "Biographical summary? Born Carl Edward Chandler to Caroline Mayberry Chandler and Edward Mann Chandler, June 16, 1955, Boston Massachusetts. He was a happy, untroubled boy, given only to occasional fits of stubborness according to relatives' reports which may or may not be accurate. Chandler began his education in Miss Karymer's kindergarten where stubborness was not tolerated. An uneasy truce was effected between Chandler and the educational system by Grade Three, but violaions by both sides persisted throughout Chandler's school days. Nevertheless, Chandler did benefit from his sojourn in academia. It brought him to the position of salutatorian in l972. Four years later he graduated magnum cum laude with a degree in art history from the University of Massahusetts." Carl took another sip of brandy. "One quirk might be Chandler's failure to mention that degree to his lady friend, Sally MacPherson who has a degree in art herself. Was it insecurity? Did the fact that he had never used that degree in any utilitarian way have something to do with it? Ah, well, I digress from the point, which is biographical summation. After graduating from college, Chandler took a job with a school district which was looking for a bizarre hybrid to teach half-time Art, half-time U.S. History, and coach girl's softball. They thought that Chandler, with his Art History degree, his minor in American History, his dozen and a half credits in the field of Education, and his experience with college baseball--mostly playing bench- warmer, although he didn't mention this fact to the hiring committee--made him the ideal man for the job. He thought so too. It didn't take long for each to disabuse themselves of this notion. Why did Chandler think that transferring himself from one side of the podium to the other would make any difference? Shouldn't his seventeen years of schooling taught him at least that? Shouldn't he have known that education was the least important part of schooling--woe to any teacher who thought he was there to teach something. But young, foolish Chandler thought that he could make a difference, that he could have classes where students could actually learn something. Well, perhaps he did make a little difference to a few students, but it wasn't enough of a difference to satisfy him. He made enough difference to the schoolboard, however, that his contract was not renewed for the following year." Carl poured himself another glass of brandy and continued. "Chandler drifted for awhile, until his meanderings chanced to bring him in contact with a small playhouse that was in need of a jack-of-all-trades. Fortunately acting was not one of the trades required, for Chandler had no talent along those lines. He painted flats, erected stages, ushered, sold tickets, operated the lights, swept the floors, drew the posters, wrote the advertising brochures, and did whatever was required to get the show on, including, on two occasions, sewing costumes. For several years he was constantly busy, frequently happy, and occasionally broke. The playhouse rarely made a profit and finally was forced to shut down. Chandler decided what he needed to do next was to make some money. With a braiseness that he would not have been able to muster before his association with actors and--especially--actresses, he parlayed his small advertising experience into a well-paying copy writing position for a large, mail-order hardware company. He was a surprising success, for writing skills had so degenerated in the country that his modest efforts seemed to be prodigious accomplishments in comparison with others in that trade. Chandler wasn't fooled, but he confined his laughter to his sleeve all the way to the bank. Chandler's pitiful finances began to blossom, and so encouraged, he began to play the corporate game, or at least dress for the part. This seemed to bring him even more financial success-- bonuses--even though an objective observer wouldn't be able to detect any improvement in his writing. Perhaps Chandler's association with the actors and actresses rubbed some of their talent onto him. About this time he began to date one Sally MacPherson. He discovered that with her he could leave off the corporate mask on weekends and pick it up on Monday, for she, in her own way, was doing the same thing. Sally drew the illustrations for the company catalog, but her real ambitions lay in the realm of painting--a notoriously poor- paying endeavor. Sally considered her nine-to-five illustration work as a subsidy for her painting which was judiciously pursued from seven to eleven nightly and during entire alternate weekends. In spite of Chandler's best efforts, she doggedly kept to her rigid schedule." Carl added another splash of brandy to the bottom of his glass. "But this is Carl Chandler's story that you are interested in, not Sally MacPherson's. So, when in keeping with her self-imposed schedule, Sally refused to take a day off to accompany Chandler on an excursion into the interior wilds of Maine, in spite of the fact that ... but, anyway ... Chandler's story concludes with him sallying of by himself to get away from the craziness of the office and, in the course of that excursion, stumbling across a strange cube-shaped monolith into which he enters and disappears. End of story. And now what of you, my friend? Does your cultural matrix allow for reciprocity in introductory communications?" "STATEMENT OF FACTS REGARDING ERROR ALLOWING STOWAWAY TO ENTER SPECIMEN CHAMBER ALREADY ISSUED. DOES SPECIMEN REQUIRE SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION REGARDING RELATIONSHIP WITH SPECIMEN?" "A few simple questions: who are you, what are you trying to do, why were you going to transport this QR23 woman, where were you going with her, and what were you going to do when you got there? Likewise, what are you going to do with me when you get whereever it is that you are going. Finally, where are we going, and how long will it take to get there? As I said, a few simple questions." "MY NAME IS NOT TRANSLATEABLE TO AN ANALOGOUS CONTEXTUAL SOUND IN YOUR LANGUAGE." "But I have to call you something ... anything." Several obscene words flashed through Carl's mind, but he didn't want to alienate his host/captor until he knew exactly where he stood. Survival of this unknown might require maintenance of at least the appearance of being a creature capable of ingratiating himself into the good graces of a horrible despot. He wasn't about to discard that pawn until he knew what he was giving up in the process. "Call you Ishmael ... Call you Smitty. Call you Melmoth ... Call you ... Robert, or Bob for short. Do you have any objections to taking the name Robert?" "SATISFACTORY. TRANSLATOR WILL RECOGNIZE THE NAME ROBERT AND/OR BOB. CONTINUING WITH YOUR QUESTIONS: ALREADY STATED: ASSIGNMENT WAS TO COLLECT AND TRANSPORT SPECIMEN QR23. SPECIFICS OF SPECIMEN QR23 NOT SUBJECT FOR COMMUNICATION. QUESTION OF RESOLUTION OF FATE OF STOWAWAY CARL EDWARD CHANDLER AWAITS COMPLETION OF VOYAGE. DESTINATION OF VOYAGE NOT KNOWN TO YOUR CULTURE. VOYAGE SCHEDULED TO TAKE 410 1/2 CYCLES." "You mean that I'm going to be locked up in this box for more than a year?" "VOYAGE SCHEDULED TO TAKE 410 1/2 CYCLES." "Did this specimen QR23 know that the voyage was to be so long?" "MAR ... SPECIMEN QR23 INFORMED OF THE DURATION COMPONENT." "No wonder she escaped. You could rob a bank and get less time than that ... if you had a good lawyer. I wonder what F. Lee Bailey would charge for an interplanetary writ of habeas corpus." "YOUR LEGAL PARAMETERS HAVE NO STATUS BEYOND THE LIMITS OF YOUR CULTURAL MATRIX." "Oh, so true. Sometimes they don't even have status within the culture unless you have sufficient money. Anyway, a moot point." "DOES SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?" "Oh, millions!" "MILLIONS? PLACE QUESTIONS IN ORDER OF PRIMACY." "I guess that my biggest question is what I am going to do for the next thirteen or so months. Solitary confinement for that stretch of time would be considered cruel and unuasual punishment in anybody's culture." "FALSE ASSUMPTION. IN THE LOLOAN CULTURE, WHICH HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST POPULATION DENSITIES IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, CONFINEMENT IN A ONE UNIT SQUARE SPACE WOULD BE CONSIDERED A STATE OF EXTREME ECSTASY." "I'll revise my statement. Anyone from my culture would consider it to be a horrible sentence." "DURATION OF VOYAGE UNALTERABLE ONCE INITIAL MANEUVERING COMPLETED. ORIGINAL DURATION PLANNED TO FACILITATE ASSIGNMENT, VIDELICET SPECIMEN QR23." "What did she do to deserve such a horrible fate?" "DURATION NECESSARY TO COMPLETELY ANALYZE ENTIRE RANGE OF CULTURAL, SOCIAL, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPONENTS OF SPECIMEN QR23 TO CONFIRM, EXPAND, AND AMPLIFY EXISTENT OBSERVATIONS OF SPECIMEN QR23 AND THE CONCOMITANT CULTURAL MATRIX." "I'm not sure that I understand that. Do you mean that you were going to pick every scrap of her brain?" After a pause: "SPECIMEN QR23 NOT SUBJECT FOR COMMUNICATION." Carl laughed. "But you're the one who keeps bringing her up. Sure, I'm curious. After all, this whole caper was designed for her benefit ... or for her detriment, or for her something. I have the feeling that you would like nothing better than to talk about specimen QR23, but I know nothing about her, so can tell you nothing." "SPECIMEN QR23 NOT SUBJECT FOR COMMUNICATON." Carl smiled. He thought that by biding his time Robert would eventually tell him all about specimen QR23 because Robert was preoccupied with her. "Okay, forget about specimen QR23. What are you going to do about me for the next thirteen months?" "NO CONTINGENCY PLANS EXIST FOR TREATMENT OF STOWAWAYS. MAINTENANCE OF CLIMATIC CONTROLS AS SET FOR SPECIMEN QR23 OR AS MODIFIED TO SUIT THE NEEDS OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER WILL CONTINUE FOR THE DURATION OF THE VOYAGE. CONTINUATION OF FOOD SUPPLIES ON QUARTER-QUARTER-HALF CYCLES, OR AS MODIFIED, ASSURED. REPLICATION OF ART SUPPLIES POSSIBLE. REPLICATION OF OTHER SUPPLIES OR OBJECTS NEEDED BY SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER POSSIBLE PROVIDED THAT SPECIFICATIONS EXIST AT STORAGE LEVEL." "What's this 'storage level'?" "INVENTORY OF STORAGE LEVEL INCLUDES: --AARAU, SWITZERLAND, 1)STREETMAP OF; 2)FLOOR PLANS OF MAIN MUNICIPAL BUILDING; 3)INVENTORY OF PUBLIC LIBRARY LOCATED ADJACENT TO MUNICIPAL BUILDING; 4)FOOD ENTREE FROM PASTRY SHOP LOCATED BEHIND MAIN MUNICIPAL BUILDING, ALMOND TART; --AARDVARK, 1)ANATOMICAL DRAWING OF; 2)STATISTICS ON POPULATION DENSITY; 3)COOKING INSTRUCTIONS FOR; --AARGAU, SWITZERLAND, 1)TOPOGRAPHIC MAP OF; --ABA, 1)INSTRUCTIONS ON WEAVING; 2)INSTRUCTIONS ON DYING; 3)INSTRUCTIONS ON MAKING GARMENT MADE FROM THIS CLOTH; --ABACA ..." "Woah there! I have the feeling that you could go on reciting this inventory for the rest of the thirteen months of this voyage. Am I correct in assuming that you have left no stone unturned in assembling this vast inventory of information?" "CONTEXTUAL INTREPRETATION TAKEN TO MEAN THAT IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT NO EFFORT WAS SPARED IN COMPLETING INVENTORY. STATEMENT IS FACTUAL, HOWEVER, INVENTORY IS FAR FROM COMPLETE. MUSICAL AND CULTURAL SUPPLEMENTATION OF INVENTORY WAS ... INVENTORY IS FAR FROM COMPLETE. COMPLETION OF INVENTORY IS CONTINUING." "Even so, I take it that it is already vast." "WITHIN CONTEXT OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER, INVENTORY, IN ITS PRESENT STATE, CONSIDERED AS VAST IS CORRECT STATEMENT." "And you use this inventory to ... er ... replicate things?" "REPLICATION POSSIBLE WHERE INVENTORY INFORMATION IS COMPLETE. MANY ENTRIES HAVE INCOMPLETE INFORMATION." "And I take it you are offering to replicate things for me from your inventory information. If I wanted to spend the next thirteen months doing art, you could keep me in supplies?" "INVENTORY ON ART MATERIALS ESTIMATED TO BE SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT COMPLETE. THREE PREVIOUS VOYAGES HAVE CONCENTRATED ON ART SUBJECTS. INVENTORY DEFICIENT IN STONE SCULPTURE, LITHOGRAPHY, AND WOODCUT TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS. DEFICIENCIES IN ALL ASPECTS OF INFORMATION EXISTS FOR INNUMERABLE CATEGORIES PRIOR TO YOUR PERIOD 1650. NO INFORMATION EXISTS FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO YOUR 315, EXCEPT FOR SCATTERED ARCHITECTURAL AND SCULPTURE ARTIFACTS CROSS- REFERENCED FROM LATER PERIODS. SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER INDICATED EXPERTISE IN ART HISTORY. SUGGEST CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO TRANSACTION WHEREBY REPLCATION ENERGY EXPENDITURES BE ... PURCHASED BY CONTRIBUTING ART HISTORY INFORMATION TO INVENTORY DATA BY SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER." "I always like to pay my own way, however, having a degree in a subject shouldn't be misconstred as being the same thing as having expertise in that same subject. I do have a fairly broad background in art history, although I haven't made much use of my studies in recent years, and I may be able to fill in some of the gaps in your information inventory, but I am not an expert, and my personal knowledge has gaps also. I'll help where I can, but you shouldn't expect too much." "ARRANGEMENT SATISFACTORY. SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER NOT COLLECTED AND TRANSPORTED AS ART EXPERT. PERFORMANCE AS ART EXPERT UNREASONABLE EXPECTATION. UTILIZATION OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER AS UNCONFIRMED SUPPLEMNTAL INFORMATION SOURCE FOR PRELIMINARY BRIDGEMENT OF INVENTORY GAPS SATISFACTORY. ACCOUNT CREDITING RATE OF .35 OF MAXIMUM OFFERABLE." "Do I understand correctly that you are offering me a salary of thirty-five percent of an art expert?" "ALLOWABLE RANGE FOR UNCONFIRMED INFORMATION IS .1 TO .35 OF CONFIRMED INFORMATION." "Seeing how I don't have any other offers, I guess that I'll take it. How are we going to work this?" "CREDIT OF 1 MONITARY UNIT WILL BE ENTERED FOR EACH UNIT OF INFORMATION NOT CONTAINED IN INVENTORY OR STORAGE LEVELS; 2 MONITARY UNITS WILL BE ENTERED FOR EACH UNIT OF INFORMATION NOT CONTAINED AT THE SECONDARY LEVEL; 5 MONITARY UNITS WILL BE ENTERED FOR EACH UNIT OF INFORMATION NOT CONTAINED AT THE PRIMARY LEVEL. ASSIGNMENT OF INFORMATION UNITS TO APPROPRIATE LEVELS ACCORDING TO STANDARD PROCEDURES. MONITARY UNITS THEN PRO RATED TO .35 LEVEL." "Okay, I guess that I'll just have to take hour word on all of that. Where do I stand?" "ACCOUNT NOT PREVIOUSLY KEPT. PAUSE FOR EVALUATION. ACCOUNT OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER: 17 ATMOSPHERE UNITS AT .0257 ENERGY UNITS PER; 34 HEAT UNITS AT .825 ENERGY UNITS PER ..." "Hey, you mean you're charging me for air?" "MAINENANCE AND REPLENISHMENT OF ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS REQUIRE EXPENDITURE OF ENERGY." "Okay. Under the circumstances that seems reasonable, but don't let the Republican businessmen get a hold of the idea. "IN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL EDWARD CHANDLER ATMOSPHERE USE IS NOT A CREDITABLE EXPENSE DUE TO THE NON- EXPENDITURE OF ENERGY CREDITABLE TO INDIVIDUAL SPECIMENS." "That's true. It would be hard to charge an elephant for the air he breathes." "CONTINUATION OF ACCOUNTING: EGGS REPLICATED AT .0015 ENERGY UNITS PER ..." "Good grief! I'll take your word that you have an accurate account of every expenditure since I got here. Why not just skip down to the bottom line?" "PAUSE FOR COMPLETION OF ACCOUNTING AND CALCULATION OF ENERGY UNITS UTILIZED ... 3.285 TOTAL ENERGY UNITS UTILIZED OF WHICH 3.005 ARE CREDITED UNDER CLIMATE AND FOOD AT A RATE OF 1 MONITARY UNIT PER ENERGY UNIT, .205 ENERGY UNITS FOR UTILITIES AT A RATE OF 1.25 MONITARY UNITS PER ENERGY UNIT, AND .075 ENERGY UNITS FOR NON-ESSENTIAL REPLICATIONS AT A RATE OF 2 MONITARY UNITS PER ENERGY UNIT. TOTAL MONITARY UNITS IN THE ACCOUNT OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER ARE NEGATIVE 3.41125." "Oh, boy, I'm in the red already, eh?" "OFFER TO PURCHASE THE INFORMATION IN GRAFFITO AT A RATE OF 1 MONITARY UNIT FOR THE SMALLER GRAFFITO AND 2 MONITARY UNITS FOR THE LARGER GRAFFITO TENDERED." "You want to buy my sketches?" NEGATIVE. PURCHASE INFORMATION, CATALOGED AS CONTEMPORARY ART. SKETCHES ARE TRANSITORY. DOES SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER WISH TO COMPLETE TRANSACTON AND CREDIT 3 MONITARY UNITS TO THE ACCOUNT OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER?" "I get to keep the sketches, but you get the information contained in them?" "AFFIRMATIVE." "Sure, go ahead." For a brief instant the sketches winked out, leaving the walls blank, then they winked back in again. "THE ACCOUNT OF SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER IS CREDITED WITH 3 MONITARY UNITS. BALANCE IS DEFICIENT BY .41125 MONITARY UNITS." "Okay, fine, but look, if we're going to be in business together, you should call me by my first name, Robert. If we're going to be cooped up together for the next thirteen months, strict formality is the last thing we're going to need." "SPECIMEN CARL EDWARD CHANDLER REFERRED TO AS CARL HENCEFORTH." "Good. That sounds more friendly, Robert." "AFFIRMATIVE." END OF FILE
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Carl gives a series of art history lectures, including one about Aphrodisisa in what is now Turkey. Comments on art and religion spice the discussion. Carl had always wanted to take up woodworking. He now tries his hand at lathe work. It turns out that hand made articles, such as lathe turned bowls, are highly prized in Robert's culture. Carl discovers that Specimen QR23 is a woman songwriter named Mary, but Robert refuses to discuss her.
17 For a time Carl wavered between a career--if one accepts the idea that one's academic major has some relevance to what one's career field might eventually be--in art and one in architecture. Art, of course, won out, but the road not taken, architecture, still had a fascination for him. In fact, there were times when he couldn't figure out why he had gravatated towards art. When he paused to think about the question, he remembered: that redhead who was studying painting during his sophomore year when he was mostly studying her. What ever happened to her? How long ago it seems. There was one particular week that was seen from his perspective as a student as pure heaven. They cut their classes on a Thursday and Friday to give themselves a long weekend to go to New York City to take in a showing of the girl's aunt's art work. They stayed, snuggled in their sleeping bags, at the aunt's apatment, but it was a rare evening if they got to sleep before three in the morning, for the apartment always seemed to be full of everchanging crouds of artists, poets, critics, hangers-on, and undefined people who fluttered in the moth-light of Mary Abraham's Photo- Abstractionist showing. The great controversy, as Carl recalled, was if Mary's paintings were a return to the realist mode of art, or if they were a new facet of abstract expressionism. Carl had been a partisan of the abstractonists, whereas his girl friend supported the realists without asserting any validity for the return-to- the-old-school idea. She claimed that it was a new kind of realism. The artist herself remained aloof from the argument, claiming that her job was to paint, not to play the role of critic. "Too many critics and not enough artists," she had said. Over the weekend several people had attempted to draw her into discussions of the "meaning" of her work, but she always declined to participate. Carl himself had almost succeeded in drawing her in by asserting that the artist had an obligation to be an articulate advocate of art to ameloriate the misconceptions that ere held by the public. She agreed that the artist shouldn't remain aloof from the masses, but then went on to claim that the artist must make her statement at the appropiate time and on the appropiate occasion and that the time and occasion was not yet right for her. The New York trip succeeded in drawing Carl deep into the art world and away from his architectural interests. The girl dropped out of school the following year, but by then Carl was commited to his art studies. Now the archiecture was returning. Although Carl was not a strict adherant to the "form follows function" dictum, he did admire the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, especially Fallingwater. What particularily intrigued Carl was the ambiguity of the exterior/interiorness of the building. Carl also admired those stubbornly independent spirits, Helen and Scott Nearing, whose stone house constructon techniques were so well suited to rocky New England.* He had the idea that it might be possible to combine the masonry technques of the Nearings with the design principles of Wright. He sat down with his sketch pad and began to make architectural doodles. He started with a large window on a south wall because he knew that he would want to have bright, sunny rooms. After several hours of tiral and error sketching, he completed his first design for the Wright- Nearing House. *See Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing. 18 Carl's lectures grew perfunctory. He suspected that he was boring Robert as much as he was boring himself, but that his host was too genteel to complain. Or perhaps the lectures were recorded on automatic, and Robert himself had long ago given up attending the daily monologue. More and more frequently--whether by Robert or by the automatic translator, Carl didn't know--the lectures were interrupted by: "SUBJECT MATTER WAS DISCUSSED ON PREVIOUS OCCASION. DOES CARL INTEND TO ELABORATE ON ALREADY RECORDED MATERIAL?" Carl would usually respond by changing the subject. He long ago has exhausted the subjects that interested him. When his lecture had been interrupted for the third time in fifteen minutes, Carl burst out with: "The hell with it! School's out! Class dismissed! I have nothing more to say on any art subject." He got out of his chair and began pacing the perimeter of the cube. After a few minutes: "MONITORS INDICATE PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGE. HEART AND RESPATORY SYSTEMS INCREASE NOTED. DOES CONDITION INDICATE ONSET OF EMERGENCY CONDITION?" "Emergency? What emergency? For you perhaps. You've picked my brain clean. I've given up every last art fact, opinion, and hypothesis. There's nothing left." "INFORMATION AMOUNT RECORDED SATISFACTORY. STATEMENT OF OBSERVATION: THE ACCOUNT OF CARL HAS SUFFICIENT CREDITS ACCUMULATED TO PROVIDE CLIMATIC AND FOOD REQUIREMENTS FOR DURATION OF VOYAGE." "In other words, I could live off my savings for the next year." "AFFIRMATIVE, PROVIDED THAT LUXURY REPLICATIONS ARE MADE ONLY IN MODERATION. CONTINUED ACCRUAL OF CREDITS THROUGH ARTIFACT INFORMATION POSSIBLE. ONLY REPLICATION REQUIRING LARGE ENERGY MASS WOULD RESULT IN DEPLETION OF CREDIT BALANCE PRIOR TO TERMINATION OF VOYAGE." "Fine, fine," Carl said, dismissing the subject with a wave of his hand. The fact was that Carl's creative energies were exhausted. His woodworking desire had been satiated, he was no longer interested in architecture--you could only build so many castles in the sky, and Carl already had a drawer full of achitectural designs--, his drawing lacked inspiration, and his desire to read, in spite of the enormous variety of material at hand in Robert's storage level, waned. Carl filled his brandy snifter and continued pacing the cube. "INTERPRETATION OF MONITORS INDICATE THAT CONDITION OF EMERGENCY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL NATURE POSSIBLY PRESENT. CONFIRMATION OF DIAGNOSIS REQUESTED." "'Emergency of psychological nature possibly present?' That's a nice euphemistic way of putting it. Don't you people ever get bored?" "CONDITION OF BOREDOM NOT POSSIBLE WHEN LARGE AMOUNTS OF NEW INFORMATION IS PRESENT FOR ANALYSIS AND EXAMINATION. ANALOGOUS SITUATION ONLY POSSIBLE WITHIN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF ROBERT WHEN INFORMATION DEPREVATION COEXISTS WITH CONDITION OF INACTIVITY. INVESTIGATION OF NEW AREA OF KNOWLEDGE SUGGESTED." "I'm stuffed to the gills with new knowledge. I read more books in the last two months than I did in all four years of college, and I was considered to be an avid reader then." "DIVERSION THROUGH PARTICIPATION IN GAME OF CHANCE SUGGESTED." Carl's laugh had a harsh edge to it. "Teaching you to play poker may have been a mistake. Infatuation with random chance may be addicting to you information-gathering cultural matrix types. It affects some human beings that way too, but I am not one of them. An infrequent evening of small-stakes cards is enough to satisfy my minute gambler's craving, and we have already had several sessions this week. Thanks, but no thanks." "CHESS?" Carl waved off this idea with his hand. He was beside his work table where there was a pile of books and magazines. He accidently knocked over a pile of magazines and one of them fell open at the center. He picked it up. "There! That's what I need! Replicate me a 'Miss April,.'" he said, holding out the centerfold of the voluptuous, nude woman for Robert's inspection. There was a long silence, then: "REPLICATION OF HUMANOIDS WITHIN THE REALM OF THEORY. REPLICATION NOT PREVIOUSLY ATTEMPTED DUE TO ABUNDANCE OF ORIGINAL ITEMS ..." "There isn't an abundance of supply here," Carl said, interrupting. "... AND THE COMPLEXITY OF THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND SEQUENTIAL NATURE OF THE CHEMICAL SUB-ASSEMBLIES." "In practical words, it can't be done." "PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT EXTENSIVE RESEARCH ON INFORMATION STORAGE NECESSARY TO DEVELOP REPLICATION TECHNIQUE FOR HUMANOIDS. BOTH RESEARCH AND REPLICATION WOULD INVOLVE EXTENSIVE UTILIZING OF ENERGY SUPPLIES. FEMALE HUMANOIDS CONTAIN SUB-ASSEMBLIES OF CONSIDERABLE COMPLEXITY DUE TO REPRODUCTIVE FUNCTIONS. SUGGEST THAT MALE HUMANOID REPLICATION BE CONSIDERED, BEING SIMPLER AND INVOLVING LOWER LEVELS OF ENERGY USE." "Oh, a male humanoid would be of no use to me at all. I am one hundred percent heterosexual. Boys don't interest me. No, it's Miss April that is required." "REPLICATION OF FEMALE HUMANOID CLASSIFIED AS OUTRAGEOUS LUXURY, CHARGEABLE AT THE RATE OF 2 MONITARY UNITS PER ENERGY UNIT." Carl looked down at the centerfold. "Ah, but Miss April would be cheap at twice the price, don't you think?" "INITIAL EXAMINATION OF SITUATION INDICATES THAT REPLICATION OF FEMALE HUMANOID WOULD DEPLETE THE BALANCE OF THE MONITARY CREDITS OF CARL BY A FACTOR OF 110 PERCENT." "All my poker winnings and everything, eh?" "REPLICATION WOULD EXCEED PRESENT BALANCE BY 10 PERCENT." "I have always been a cash buyer, but this may be the exception that proves the rule. Do you extend credit?" "CONDITION OF DEFAULT UNLIKELY UNDER PRESENT CONDITIONS." "Okay, then do it. Replicate me Miss April." "STATEMENT OF CAUTION REQUIRED REGARDING WISDOM OF NOT ACTING IN HASTE." "Ah, yes, caution. Well, if I acted cautiously, I wouldn't be in this mess, and if you acted cautiously, specimen QR23 would never have escaped. So there you have the results of caution." Carl took a gulp from his brandy snifter. "I'm putting in my requisition: replicate me Miss April, a fully functioning female human being." "FULFILLMENT OF REQUEST FOR REPLICATON OF FEMALE HUMANOID IN THE FORM OF MISS APRIL SUSPENDED PENDING COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF FEASIBILITY. REPORT ON SITUATION TO COMMENCE IN 1/4 CYCLE, WITH DECISION ON REPLICATION TO BE MADE AFTER DISCUSSION OF ANALYSIS." "Do what you will. Miss April is what I need. In the meantime, however, I will studiously apply myself to this bottle of very fine brandy." * * * Robert returned early in the morning. "INITIAL ANALYSIS OF REPLICATION OF FEMALE HUMANOID ESSENTIALLY CONFIRMED BY IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS. MAJOR PORTION OF TIME REQUIRED FOR REPLICATION TO BE SPENT IN DEVELOPING TECHNIQUES FOR REPLICATION OF CERTAIN MOLECULAR STRUCTURES NOT HERETOFORE UTILIZED AND NOT CONTAINED IN MOLECULAR STORAGE. ANALYSIS INDICATED THAT DESIRED MOLECULAR STRUCTURES MAY BE CONSTRUCTED THROUGH MANIPULATION AND MODIFICATION OF STANDARD ITEMS IN MOLECULAR STORAGE. EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL INFORMATIONAL VOIDS DISCOVERED IN ANATOMICAL INFORMATION ON HUMANOID SYSTEMS CONTAINED IN STORAGE. INFORMATIONAL VOIDS IN GENETIC ENCODING, BRAIN FUNCTIONS, AND CONTROL OF SEQUENTIAL NATURE OF FEMALE SEXUAL SECRETIONS. ANALYSIS INDICATED SEVERAL POSSIBLE AVENUES OF APPROACH THROUGH EMPERICAL METHODS." "In other words, you don't know quite how to put the package together so that it works right?" "NEGATIVE. FUNCTIONAL HUMANOID REPLICATION POSSIBLE BY DELETING SYSTEMS AND FUNCTIONS NOT KNOWN TO SCIENTIFIC PERSONS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL AND NOT YET DISCOVERED BY MONITORING. SPECIFICATION WAS FOR FULLY FUINCTIONING HUMANOID IN THE FORM OF MISS APRIL. COMPLIANCE WITH 'FULLY FUNCTIONAL' REQUIREMENT NECESSATATES DEVELOPMENT OF ADDITIONAL AREAS OF INFORMATION ON HUMANOID ANATOMY. IS DELETION OF 'FULLY FUNCTIONAL' REQUIREMENT DESIRED?" "Of course not. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well, and Miss April is worth doing well. If you think that you can accomplish this feat, then by all means do it 'fully functional.'" "STATEMENT OF AGREEMENT ON PHILOSOPHY OF DOING THINGS WELL REQUIRED. OTHER FACTORS IN REPLICATION OF FEMALE HUMANOID TO BE CONSIDERED: FINANCIAL, REQUIREMENT FOR DIVERSION OF ENERGY FROM CLIMATIC CONTROL, AND CONSIDERATION OF TIME." "If I have to ask the price, I can't afford it. But can I afford not to have it? Continue with your analysis report." "INITIAL ESTIMATE OF AMOUNTS OF ENERGY REQUIRED IN ERROR. COST OF REPLICATION WILL EXCEED FINANCIAL CREDITS OF CARL BY A FACTOR OF 25 PERCENT." "Getting more and more expensive all the time. I once knew a car dealer who used to do that, but go on, I'm still buying." "CONSIDERATION GIVEN TO FACTOR OF DEVELOPMENT OF NEW INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR HUMANOID REPLICATION. CONCLUSION REACHED THAT NEW INFORMATION VALUED AT 20 PERCENT OF COST OF ENTIRE PROJECT. CREDITING OF ACCOUNT OF CARL WITH NEW INFORMATION CREDITS YIELDS BALANCED BALANCE." Carl laughed. "Lad, I like the way you do business. What you're saying is that you'll take all my money, poker winnings included, and give me Miss April." "STATEMENT ESSENTIALLY CORRECT. CONTINUING WITH ANALYSIS: DIVERSION OF ENERGY FROM CLIMATIC CONTROLS FOR PURPOSE OF DEVELOPING REPLICATION TECHNIQUES REQUIRED TO THE AMOUNT OF 55 PERCENT OF CLIMATIC ENERGY EXPENDITURE FOR THE DURATION OF SIX CYCLES. CESSATION OF ALL FOOD AND LIQUID REPLICATION REQUIRED. RESULTS OF ENERGY DIVERSION TO BE MAINTENANCE OF HEAT AND LIGHT LEVELS AT MINIMUM LEVEL FOR SPECIES." "I'm to be hungry, thursty, and cold for six days?" "NEGATIVE. REPLICATION OF SUFFICIENT SUPPLIES OF FOOD AND LIQUIDS TO BE MADE PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF HUMANOID REPLICATION PROJECT. REPLICATION OF WARM CLOTHING AND BEDDING TO BE INCLUDED IN PREPARATION FOR PROJECT." "Ah, that sounds better. Exactly how cold do you expect it to get in here?" "SOLIDIFICATION POINT OF AQUATIC BASED SUBSTANCES TO BE REACHED BY THE BEGINNING OF THE 5TH CYCLE." "Okay, I can play Eskimo for awhile." "OTHER FACTOR TO BE CONSIDERED IS JUXTAPOSITION OF TIME CONSTRAINT AND CONDITION OF PSYCHE OF CARL VIS-A-VIS MANIFESTATIONS OF CONDITION OF BOREDOM." "Oh, anticipation of Miss April's arrival will take care of any boredom. It's like being a kid on Christmas eve. Anxiety about whether or not you are going to get what you want--I'm not sure that you can really pull off this replication trick--a little anxiety, yes, boredom, no. I mean, look at her!" Carl held out the magazine that contained the pictoral article on Miss April and flipped through the half-dozen pages of photographs. "Who in the world could be bored with such a bedmate?" 'STATEMENT OF AFFIRMATION MADE FOR SPECIMENS FROM THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL. CARL IS PREPARED TO ENDURE CLIMATIC DEPREVATION FOR 6 CYCLES?" "Oh, sure." "REPLICATION WILL COMMENCE IMMEDIATELY WITH ITEMS OF CLOTHING ANALOGOUS TO DOWN PARKER AND TROUSERS WITH ACCOMPANYING BOOTIES, HAT, AND MITTENS. SIMILARLY CONSTRUCTED COMFORTER FOR BED ADDED. REPLICATION OF A DOZEN AND A HALF HARD BOILED EGGS, 6 LOAVES OF WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, 1 UNIT OF STRAWBERRY JAM, 1/2 UNIT OF BUTTER, 1 THERMALLY SEALED 10 UNIT CONTAINER OF COFFEE WITH DISPENSING MECHANISM, 6 THERMALLY SEALED PACKAGES OF SOUPS AND CHOWDERS IN DIFFERENT FLAVORS, 6 DIFFERENT MEAL ASSEMBLAGES IN THERMALLY SEALED PACKAGES, ALL AT THEIR APPROPRIATE SERVING TEMPERATURES, PLUS APPROPRIATE AMOUNTS OF SIVERWARE, DISHES, AND NAPKINS. DOES CARL DESIRE OTHER SUPPLIES?" "Let's see, how about a copy of War and Peace and, as long as temperatures are going to drop for he rest of the week, some internal heal in the form of alcoholic beverages might be useful." "INCREASE IN BODILY HEAT FROM CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL LACED LIQUIDS IS PERCEPTUAL ILLUSION." "Oh, I know that. Nevertheless, we can call it anxiety/boredom preventative medicine." "ACQUIESCENCE TO REQUEST MADE WITHOUT AFFIRMATION OF WISDOM OF REQUEST." All the items winked in, including six bottles of brandy. The food was in puffy foil packets with each's contents depicted on the outside, and the coffee was in a silver globe with a small spigot in its side. The brandy was in regular glass bottles. Carl picked up one of the bottles. "I wasn't going to be six bottles worth of being bored," he commented. "DURABILITY OF CONTENTS MAKES STORAGE OF BRANDY PRACTICAL. SUGGEST BACK CORNER UNDER WORKBENCH AS SUITABLE LOCATION." "You don't understand. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind concept doesn't apply to alcoholic beverages for most human beings. Nice try, though." "COMMENCEMENT OF PROJECT REPLICATING FULLY FUNCTIONAL HUMANOID IN THE FORM OF MISS APRIL PENDING AFFIRMATION OF READINESS ON PART OF CARL." "Warm clothes, plenty of food, a fat book, coffee, a drink--I'm as ready as I'll ever be." "REPLICATION OF MISS APRIL BEGINNING. COMMUNICATIONS TERMINATING FOR 6 CYCLES." The lights began to dim. END OF FILE
19 Carl's assessment of the boredom factor was not accurate. His condition was much worse than it was before. Now he didn't even have enough light by which to read, and the freezing temperatures made anything else impractical. By the fifth day he took to harmonica playing and drinking, the latter of which did nothing for the former. On the sixth day he gave up harmonica playing entirely to concentrate on the study of brandy. He was sitting at the table cube with the down comforter wrapped around him and a nearly empty bottle before him when the room's light returned to its normal brightness. The shielded his eyes with his hands and squinted out between his fingers. "Hey, man, iz that you, Robert?" "AFFIRMATIVE. THE EXPECTATIONS OF CARL WERE OTHERWISE?" "Oooh, what time is it? What day is it?" "IT IS 7/8THS OF A CYCLE INTO THE 6TH CYCLE SUBSEQUENT TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE REPLICATION PROJECT." "Replication project? Oh, yeah, Miz April. Do we drink to success, or to drown the sorrows of bitter defeat?" "MONITORS INDICATE THAT THE CONDITION OF CARL CORRESPONDS TO THAT OF EXCESS CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL LACED LIQUIDS." "'I"ve been drunk before, but this is a masterpiece.' But forget about my condition, what about Mzz April?" "PROCEDURE FOR REPLICATION OF HUMANOID CREATURE OF THE FEMALE TYPE HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND ENTERED INTO THE MEMORY OF THE REPLICATOR. DOES CARL WISH THAT SUCH A REPLICATION BE INITIATED?" "That was the whole idea, my unseen friend. Deliver the merchandise to yond bed." Carl's bed, a draped and canopied four-poster with which he created the illusion of darkness, was in disarray; he had the comforter draped across his sholders and the rest of the bedding was half on the matress and half on the floor. The drapes were drawn back irregularly. Miss April winked onto the bed. Carl sat gape-frozen for a full minute, then said: "My con-grad-you-lay-tons. It seems that yuv' done a fine job a becomin' god." He raised his glass and drank down its contents in salute. "I'll go an introduce maself ta Miz April." Carl got to his feet, but had to steady himself for a minute by holding on the the edge of the table cube. "Mus be 'sperencin' sum turb'lence, eh, R'bert? Yer ship seem a bit unstable. Well, any port in-er storm." He lurched foward dragging the comforter behind him like some kind of serpentine tail. Miss April did not respond to his introduction, but just stared up at him with wide eyes. "I 'pollogize fer ma inebriated condtition, 'mam. You were 'spected, a-course, but ah had no idea when, an' ah had a long wait." Just wide-eyed silence from Miss April. "Yer ... yer skin ... goose bumps?" He touched her shoulder. "Yer cold! A-corse, the temperature." Carl picked the sheets and blankets off the floor and spread them over Miss April. "Better?" Those blues stared in silence. "Mind if ah join ya?" Silence. Like a fisherman casting a net, Carl whirled the comforter in the air and dropped it over the supine girl's body. Then he awkwardly threw off his clothes, stumbling twice against the bed in the process before managing to get himself in. "Yer still cold. R'bert! What 'bout da temperature?" "CLIMATIC CONDITIONS WILL RETURN TO PREVIOUS SETTINGS IN .11 CYCLES." "Good! Ah. Mz April, let me give ya a message to warm ya up." Under the covers Carl began to message Miss April's shoulders, the work slowly towards her thighs, then back up to her breasts. "Oh, baby, ya feel sooo good. An yer startin ta warm up. We're under this nice quilt, but I"m helpin' ya aren't I? I'm gettin' ya warm." Carl began to repeat his message sequence. "Oh, baby, ya got such a great body ... mmmmm ... so nice. Yer breasts ... so firm, so plump. Such hard thighs. I'm in terrible shape, compared ta you. Les get our thighs together fer comparin' ... so firm ... yes, yes ... suck on me ...iz funny, but ... wit you iz as good az kissin' ... yes, put yer arm around me ... oh, wit yer touch I've got erogenous zones in my shoulder ... yes ... let's rub each other heart-to-heart ... oh, baby, is that yer heart racin', or is it mine? ... oh, baby ... oh, yer all warmed up now ... our skins are red hot ... I'm gonna heat you on da inside ... let me ... oh, yes, baby, yes ... so tight ... so hot ... so ... oooo. 20 Carl awoke to find himself snuggled against April. She was curled up semi-fetally. He was astonished to discover that she had the thumb stuck in her mouth and silent tears were leaking from her eyes. "Oh, April baby, what's the matter? Last night ...? Did I ... did I hurt you? Are you okay?" April just looked at him with wide-eyed silence. "Oh, baby, I'm sorry. I was a cad, a drunken bounder. I was totally sloshed, but that's no excuse, is it?" Silence. "I'm sorry. What more can I say? I wish I had been as sober and gentlemanly as a prince, but that doesn't alter the case. What can I do to make up for it?" Silence still, but the tears stopped. "Please say I'm forgiven. What did I do? Robert? ROBERT? What happened last night? My memory is fuzzy and my head is still buzzing." "CARL COMMITED AN ACT OF CARNAL KNOWLEDGE." "Hugh? Oh, yeah. But she's acting so ... regressive. I'm not sure ... She didn't say to stop. I don't remember her saying anything." "AFFIRMATIVE. MISS APRIL HAS NOT COMMUNICATED VERBALLY." Carl shifted from resting on his elbow to sitting up. "Oh, April, tell me what I can do to make it up to you." "MISS APRIL UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE VERBALLY." "What do you mean? What's wrong with her?" "THE BODY OF MISS APRIL IS FULLY FUNCTIONAL, BUT THE FACILITY FOR VERBAL COMMUNICATION IS NOT DEVELOPED." "You mean she's retarded or something?" "RETARDATION IS NULL CONCEPT. ALL SPECIES HAVE A RANGE OF INTELLECTUAL POTENTIAL. ALL MEMBERS OF A SPECIES HAVE INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITY DEPENDING UPON THE INTERPLAY OF NUMEROUS INHERENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS. TO HOLD TO A THEORY OF RETARDATION WOULD BE TO ASSERT THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL ARE RETARDED IN RELATION TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF ROBERT. SUCH A CONTENTION WOULD BE A POSITION OF EXTREME ARROGANCE WHICH FAILS TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE DISCONTINUUM OF INTER AND INTRA GALACTIC TIME DIFFERENTIALS." "Hugh? Look, if she isn't retarded, what is she? She doesn't say anything. She doesn't do anything. She just lies there sucking her damn thumb!" "THE BODY OF MISS APRIL IS AT THE 6757 CYCLE DEVELOPMENT POINT. THE MIND OF MISS APRIL IS AT THE 1/4 CYCLE DEVELOPMENT POINT. SITUATION ANALOGOUS TO THAT OF A NEW-BORN INFANT. THUMB SUCKING IS BASIC HUMANOID INSTINCT INDICATING NEED FOR SECURITY AND BODILY NOURISHMENT." "Do you mean to say that this absolutely beautiful young woman is actually an infant?" "REPLICATION OF THE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MISS APRIL FROM THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF MISS APRIL IN THE MAGAZINE WAS SIMPLY A MATTER OF THREE DIMENTIONAL PROJECTION OF UNKNOWN AREAS FROM THE DEVELOPED PROFILES OF THE CHARACTERISTIC SHAPE OF THE FEMALE HUMANOID. REPLICATION OF PERSONALITY AND MIND NOT POSSIBLE FROM MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATIONS, THEREFORE CONDITION LEFT TABULA RASA. IT IS NOW .26 CYCLES SINCE REPLICATION. SUGGEST PRIORITY BE GIVEN TO NOURISHING THE BODY OF MISS APRIL, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THUMB SUCKING INSTINCT BY SUPPLYING NOURISHMENT IN LIQUID FORM." "Lord! I've got to bottle feed her? This is getting a bit more than a man with a hangover bargained for." "FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE CONSEQUENCES OF TABULA ROSSA MENTAL CONDITION ADMITTED. IF CONDITIONS ARE UNSATISFACTORY, DOES CARL WISH ROBERT TO RETURN MISS APRIL TO MOLECULAR STORAGE?" "Just kill her? How could anyone harm such a beautiful body" "UNREPLICATION. WITHIN THE CULTURAL MATRIX OF CARL THE CONCEPT OF EUTHANASIA WOULD BE ANALOGOUS." "But it's not like she were suffering, was seriously defective, or was dying. It's not her fault she was born an infant with an eighteen-year-old body. We're all born infants, aren't we? Someone has got to take care of us even if it isn't convenient. Unreplicate her? Damn it, no! If mothering her is the price that I have to pay for a night's pleasure, then so be it. Damn it, replicate me a nursing bottle of warm milk." After the milk winked in, Carl gently removed April's thumb from her mouth and substituted the baby bottle. She greedily slurped it down, slobbering the milk down her chin and into her hair. Carl laughed. "I guess you really were hungry, but take it easy, there's plenty more where that came from," he said as he wiped up the spilt milk with the corner of the sheet. "REPLICATION OF AN ADVANCED DESIGN FEEDING BOTTLE WAS EFFECTED SO THAT BURPING OF MISS APRIL WILL LIKELY BE UNNECESSARY." "Thank you, but April is one baby nobody would mind burping. Any excuse to touch that marvelous body would be welcomed. However, I wonder if this kind of feeding is necessary. Afterall, she has all the adult equipment for eating solid food." "IT IS AFFIRMED THAT MISS APRIL HAS A FULLY FUNCTIONAL ADULT BODY. HOWEVER, MISS APRIL DOES NOT HAVE THE EXPERIENCE OF EATING. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT A SLOW AND GRADUAL INCREASE OF THE VISCOSITY OF THE NOURISHMENT OF MISS APRIL BE EMBARKED UPON TO DEVELOP EATING EXPERIENCE." "Well, we don't have to worry about teaching her to drink. She's gone through most of the milk bottle already." "IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT A DIET OF MILK CAN SUSTAIN A HUMANOID INFANT, HOWEVER MISS APRIL HAS ALMOST 15 TIMES THE MASS OF AN INFANT AND REQUIRES A PROPORTIONATELY LARGER QUANTITY OF NOURISHMENT. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT A PROTEEN PUREE BE FED TO MISS APRIL UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE LIQUID NOURISHMENT SO THAT BODILY FUNCTIONS CAN BE MAINTAINED AT OPTIMUM LEVELS." "Good idea. Make that puree filet mignon flavored. We might as well start to get our baby used to the good stuff because anybody with a body like that is going to be able to command the best." "AFFIRMATIVE OF POLICY OF REPLICATION OF QUALITY NOURISHEMENT FOR MISS APRIL." "Considering the fact that our April is just a big baby, your referring to her as 'Miss April' does seem a bit stuffy. we're all informal people here. Let's just call her April." "AFFIRMATIVE OF HENCEFORTH REFERRING TO MISS APRIL AS APRIL, DOES CARL WISH THE REPLICATION OF THE BOWL OF FILET MIGNON FLAVORED PUREE TO BE REPLICATED IN THE BED OR AT THE TABLE?" "Oh, I think that breakfast in bed with April is a marvelous idea, and I do expect that we will be sharing a lot of them, but perhaps we shouldn't start off teaching her such bad habits. I guess we'll eat at the table." Carl slid out of bed and, standing next to it, extended a hand to April, saying: "Come, let's have a proper breakfast ... of course, you don't understand me, do you?" He took her hand and gently tugged, but she didn't respond. "Now what? Robert, can't she even walk to the table?" "APRIL HAS NO EXPERIENCE WITH WALKING." "Well, damn it, she doesn't have any experience with anything, does she?" "A STATEMENT OF AFFIRMATION OF THE STATEMENT OF CARL MUST BE MADE. IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR CARL TO TEACH EVERYTHING HUMAN TO APRIL." "That's a tall order. For the moment I guess we'll just have to carry her to the table." Carl scouped April out of bed, carried her to the table cube, and set her down on the chair cube. With his arms still around April, he asked: "Can she sit, or will she fall over like a newborn would?" "ALTHOUGH APRIL HAS NO EXPERIENCE WITH SITTING, THE MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT OF APRIL WAS REPLICATED AT THE OPTIMUM LEVEL FOR THE BODY TYPE OF APRIL. APRIL SHOULD SIT." April was sitting, but just to give her added stability, Carl placed her arms on the table cube. "Yes, Robert, April's body is at the optimum level of development," Carl said as he, with his arms still around her, caressed her right breast. "I've never seen a woman with such perfictly shaped tits." "THE TOPOGRAPHY OF APRIL IS IDENTICAL TO THE ILLUSTRATION OF MISS APRIL IN THE MAGAZINE." Carl knew, but Robert did not know, that magazine girl's breasts were secretly shaped and supported by rubber bands which were later air-brushed out of the photographs. As a result, April had large, firm breasts which did not require artificial supports. Numerous photographic tricks--the special lights and filters, and plastic bags of ice cubes-- were used to create the illusion of perfection for Miss April, but April was perfection itself. "Now about breakfast: I think that I will join April in the filet mignon puree, but I'll have coffee with mine. Also, some orange juice, a glass for me and a bottle for April, please." Carl tried to get April to feed herself, but her muscles were not yet coordinated enough to perform the required motions without getting filet mignon puree all over herself, the table, and Carl. In the end, Carl ended up sitting on the table, helping himself to the puree and alternately spoon-feeding April. After their puree, Carl started drinking his coffee. April watched the cup with intense interest, as if a man drinking from a cup was the most fantastic thing she had ever seen. "Want to try some?" he asked as he held the cup for her to take a sip from. Her hands went up to his and held his as she sloppily slurped the coffee. Carl wondered if he was going to be erect every time she touched him. Perhaps it was that he was without a woman for so long. Perhaps the intensity of his reactions to April would fade in time--he hoped not. They would have to be touching all the time as Carl taught her. The first cup lesson went reasonable well, for Carl was rewarded with a purred "Mmmmmm" and a smile. END OF FILE
***************************************************************** THIS IS AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THIS NOVEL. To order a copy of the unabridged edition, send $10.00 (check or money order) to: SERENDIPITY SYSTEMS P.O. Box 140 San Simeon, CA 93452. A copy of the 2-disk set will be sent to you postpaid via first class mail (USA). [Foreign orders include extra postage for 3 oz.] For other books available from Serendipity Systems, see the BOOKS-ON-DISKS CATALOG file. SUMMARY OF ABRIDGED CHAPTERS: Carl finds that Baby April has to be toilet trained and go through all the phases of childhood. Robert reports that Baby April was replicated at the peak of femininity. She is now pregnant as a result of Carl's attentions. A discussion of responsibilities vis-a-vis parenting follows.
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