VOLUME SIX NUMBER TWO FFFFF SSS FFFFF N N EEEEE TTTTT

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

1 +-+ +-+ +-+ +-+--+-+--+-+ VOLUME SIX NUMBER TWO | | ========================================== +___________+ FFFFF SSS FFFFF N N EEEEE TTTTT | ++ | F S F NN N E T | ++ | FFF SSS FFF N N N EEE T | | F S F N NN E T |_________| F SSS F N N EEEEE T /___________\ ========================================== | | BITNET Fantasy-Science Fiction Fanzine ___|___________|___ X-Edited by 'Orny' Liscomb <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> CONTENTS X-Editorial Orny Protopredator Jim Owens To End All Wars Orny Infection Jim Owens Project Rip Van Winkle Glenn R. Sixbury Date: 102686 Dist: 178 An "*" indicates story is part of the Dargon Project All original materials copyrighted by the author(s) <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> X-Editorial Hello, again, all. Well, this issue wasn't going to be this way originally, but it seems that this is a special SF issue, despite all my attempts to harangue the Dargon authors into writing. Enclosed you'll find two more SF shorts by Jim Owens, one from myself, and one which came to me just yesterday from this gentleman at KSUVM, Glenn Sixbury. Needless to say, I'm quite tickled. The next issue will be out by Thanksgiving and should (emphasis here) contain another Atros story from Joseph Curwen, another Ceda story from Joel Slatis, and the next Spirit story from Rich Jervis. But on to the big news. FSFnet has gone internet! After getting some visibility on the other networks from Chuq, I've had FSFnet put in the master list of ARPA digests, and the subscriptions are already coming in. For that matter, BITNET subscriptions are growing at a healthy pace, and I'm very happy. We've even brainwashed a few new writers! Oop, did I mean to say that? No matter, they're firmly convinced that FSFnet is worth reading and writing for, and I hope you all are, too. Until Thanksgiving, then. Keep spreading the word! -Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Protopredator The program reached out with its tentacle subroutines, exploring the memory around it. It found some code, and, as it was programmed to, assimilated the code into its own structure. Its designer watched with glee. Written as part of an artificial intelligence venture, the program was designed to recognize the pattern of a subroutine and to incorporate that routine as part of itself. In a nearby memory location, a similar project analyzed the structure of hardware locations. Still another busily modified itself in an attempt to overcome novel problems. All throughout the mainframe's memory, programs did things that previously were thought to require human intelligence. "Hey, Jack! Come look at this!" The two men huddled over the terminal. "Neat. Acts like my dog, eating everything in sight." "Hey! Where'd it go?" The trace stopped. As far as the operating system was concerned, the program never existed. "Maybe it ate itself." "Oh, well. Back to the drawing board." "Well, you're getting closer." Twisting tentacles reached out, exploring the port structure. The predator-program analyzed the data streaming in and out through the port. It appeared to match a pattern it had seen before. It searched, and found the receiving software, and at the first opportunity seized it . Immediately it began to emulate the data-comm package to avoid being detected by the host software, using the package's own subroutines to do so. As it did so it analyzed the code it was simulating, just as it had several other programs since it escaped from the memory area the operating system had assigned it. It only took a few seconds for it to figure out how to use the new routines for its own uses. Using the new routines it sent several packets down the line to the far host, where unsuspecting software assembled it, and, at the command of the predgram on the other end, placed it in memory and ran it. The new program immediately seized control of the port on its end, and started assembling the packets the predgram sent it. Before any of the supervisory software could detect anything amiss, the invader program had assembled and activated a copy of the predgram nucleus. The newly born predgram immediately scrambled off to another part of the CPU, leaping page boundaries and replicating as fast as resources would allow. To all outside observers it was invisible. The only evidence of its existance was a slight degradation of system performance. The invader program began to assemble another predgram, but before it could the operating system activated it's garbage collection scheme. Before the invader could protect itself it was gone. Several pages deeper, however, one of it's offspring assimilated a part of the OS, and vanished safely away. The species had perpetuated itself. -Jim Owens <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> To End All Wars The dome of Durrackgorod shone silvery only three kilometers distant, silent in the martian desert. Through the reddish-orange dust could be seen several figures at a distance of perhaps half a klic, hunched about a large mechanism. Suddenly an indigo beam cut through the atmosphere, anchored at the mechanism and playing slowly over the dome of the Soviet Mars station. In an explosive rush, the pressurized dome gave way, releasing oxygen and nitrogen into the thin martian sky. Suddenly, a group of figures appeared from behind an outcropping of rust-colored rock, running quickly towards the group operating the laser. A parody of melee broke out, men battling one another while encumbered within space suits in a low-gravity atmosphere; however, the single observer watched with increasing agitation as those men who had brought out the laser were defeated. The eventual victors shut down the laser, and had begun to turn it to face Dyson Station, when they noticed the lone observer. As the man turned and ran, the view faltered, then went dim. "Good, Tovarish Benya. That was ochin good take. We now shoot final scene, da?" "Da," replied the American. The American and Soviet scientists were definitely not actors, but the footage they had shot so far seemed convincing enough. The old Russian stomped resolutely off towards Dyson Station, the American Mars colony. Ben stood a moment and looked at the cracked shell that once had been Durrackgorod. His mind wandered through the events of the past months. Soon after the Russians had populated Durrackgorod, the Americans had established Dyson Station, only a mere three kilometers from the Soviet station. This had proved highly advantageous for the colonists, because once they had gotten to know one another there had been considerable cooperation between the Soviets and Americans. Neither expedition had been very well-planned, although together they had managed to survive. The colonists freely came and went between the complexes, and had stopped being Soviets and Americans, and started to trust one another. Then came the news. The war in Africa had escalated to global levels, and the announcements had come within an hour of each other that the Russians and Americans on Mars were to sabotage the enemy settlements. There had been a long debate as to what should be done, and finally it had been decided that they would perform mock combats, and transmit the pictures so that both the Russians and Soviets would intercept the transmission. They had moved most of the equipment from the Soviet dome, then filmed its destruction. The destruction of the American station would not actually take place, but would be assumed from the footage. The colonists would then reconstruct the Soviet station and continue their work in peace. "You are ready, Tovarish Benya?" "Da, I am ready." The picture showed Dr. Benjamin Herald, the American psychologist, in his vacsuit within the American compound. He was speaking. "As you saw, we destroyed Durrackgorod as was ordered. The Russians, however, captured the laser, and turned it upon Dyson. I am the last surviving American, and there are a few Soviets, although without a pressurized environment, we will all surely die. As I foresee no method of reconstructing either dome, I fear this will be the last transmission from the Mars colonies. Farewell." The picture blanked. Ben Herald waited for the Dyson dome to repressurize. It had been done. The Mars colonies would have no aid from Earth. It was a new beginning. -Orny <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Infection The ship cut through the atmosphere like a treacherous knife through a victim's back. By the time it hit the ground there was nothing left but ten charred lumps. Once on the ground, these stirred, and broke open. From them crawled ten human forms, like larva from egg casings. They staggered together, cursing and swearing at their misfortune. They paused long enough to locate the nearest village, then moved off. The lead group stumbled out into the clearing, blinking in the warm sun. They cautiously looked around. They were leery of the building, but walked around it cautiously anyway. Even so they held their cruel rifles tightly. The scout peered around the corner of the barn, and smiled. He motioned the whole group to follow him. They walked out, and watched the young woman swing carelessly while music played from a small box. One vented a rough chuckle. The girl turned. She showed no fear, only surprise. "Who are you?" She looked at their grubby, bloodstained clothes in wonder, as they slowly crowded around her, blocking out the light. The main group stepped out onto the main street. The grass grew green beside the main walk, while flawless metal formed the pavement. They swaggered down the thoroughfare, weapons openly displayed. They laughed harshly and sang loudly. People stared curiously at the strange sight of dirty men cursing in broad daylight. Only one or two older men watched the men carefully. One of the ruffians saw a glitter in one of the shops. He swaggered over, and with one easy movement, after grinning at his fellows, he smashed the glass. As the people stared, shocked, he swiped the jewelry from its stand and stuffed it in his pocket. His fellows laughed and laughed, then reached in and helped themselves to the easy pickings. A male voice stopped the movement with a shrill yell. The pirates turned at the sound. One of the advance group burst into view, running as if for his life. Not far behind him was the young woman, hurrying as if to catch a friend who had misunderstood a complement. The thug reached the group, babbling. The leader stood for a moment, then raised his rifle. The blast split the air. All movement stopped. The woman stopped, puzzled. She looked down at the smoking hole burned in her clean white gown. Then she took a step forward, her arm outstretched. The leader fired again. She took another step forward. He fired a third time, cursing her. A second pirate joined in. The group took a step or two back as she continued to advance, shaking her head, her hands over her ears. They backed against a wall, firing still. One by one they ran out of ammunition. The young lady in white stood bewildered by the noise. Her gown hung in tattered shreds. Underneath could be seen smooth skin, totally untouched. As they stood there, staring at each other, there came a short roaring of wind and a blur of white light. Then there stood a man between the two groups. He was tall, and strong, and his skin flickered with a white glow. It died everywhere but on his arms. He reached out, and took the rifle gently from the leader's hands. With one smooth move he snapped it in two. He crammed both pieces in one hand. He turned, and his arm snapped up and forward in a millisecond flash. There was a crack as the rifle parts achieved terminal velocity, and burned up on the way to outer space. He turned to look at the pirates. He then walked to the woman and cradled her protectively. He then looked at the men, a semblance of anger in his eyes. He raised his arm, and pointed back towards the woods. "Go." The poison drained hurriedly, leaving the body clean. -Jim Owens <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<> Project Rip Van Winkle David stirred a little, finally raising himself to consciousness. After bringing himself back to reality, he realized that he had been stripped and was laying completely naked on the floor of a small room. He slowly pushed himself to his feet and looked around. The room was empty. It looked a little like a hospital room, with its light-colored tile floor and white ceiling and walls. As he stood up, a sharp pain in his lower groin almost made him lie back down again. It felt as if someone had buried a lit blow torch inside his intestines. Bravely, he attempted to ignore the pain and decide what had happened to him. David walked over to the door, but he could see no possible way to open it. There was no door knob and no control panel. Obviously, wherever he was, he was going to be here for some time. David tried to remember how he had ended up where he was, but he couldn't recall anything at all. He didn't even know how long he'd been asleep. He didn't know where they had taken Catheryn, his wife. Things during the last few days had been more strange than he had ever imagined they could be. Before they were put into hibernation, David and Catheryn had been extensively briefed in their orientation sessions about all the possible situations they might find when they woke up, but nothing they had been taught had prepared them for this. Slowly David relived the only events he recalled since he and Catheryn had woke. David remembered that Catheryn had already been awake and up when he had climbed out of his own sleeping pod. She had looked almost the same as when they had went to sleep, except that her hair had grown longer, making her even more beautiful. David, himself had grown a beard, and his own hair had grown down to his shoulders. Otherwise, he felt quite normal, until he realized that now he was 122 years old. I feel great, considering how old I am, he had thought as he and Catheryn had examined their surroundings. Most of the hibernation chamber in which they had stayed was a wreck, and the remaining sleeping pods were empty. After spending a few minutes in a joyful reawakening with Catheryn, they decided to see to what they had awoken. David struggled with the door to the outside world, finally hot wiring it enough to convince it to open. At first, the outside world seemed to be exactly what they had expected. The buildings looked somewhat more modern than those that existed when they had been put to sleep, but not surprisingly so. Although the streets of the city were almost deserted, the people they encountered seemed normal enough, except that no one they spoke to seemed to understand what David and Catheryn explained to them. David asked them where the hibernation orientation center was located, but it was no use. David decided the center had not existed for some time, since no one even realized there had ever been such a place. Then when they had attempted to find out what had happened to their possesions, which had been legally frozen for one hundred years, pending their reawakening, they still could not find anyone who had even the vaguest idea of what they were talking about. In fact, the very concept of owning personal items seemed to confuse them. At last, David concluded that the society of the future had become totally socialistic, having no personal wealth or possessions. As evening had approached, they had attempted to find a motel, or an apartment house, or anywhere in which they could spend the night, but each living dwelling they came to was closed and sealed. Finally, exhausted (prolonged hibernation weakens the body), David had broken into a room of an abandoned motel. Once inside, it was clear to see that the motel had not been closed permanently, because the bed in the room was still made, and there were still towels in the bathroom. They even had running water and electricity. Except for the TV being on the fritz, the room was perfectly normal. David had wanted to see the news and find out what was going on in the world. He even considered going to another room or trying to find a newspaper, but Catheryn was already asleep, and he could barely keep his own eyes open. Too tired to do any more, he had lain down and fallen asleep beside his wife. The attempts of the next day to find out what was going on went much better than the day before. The first person they talked to seemed to be looking for them. They were put into a modern version of an automobile and driven to a large important looking building where, their driver explained, everything would be straightened out. Once inside the building, they had been escorted to an office, where a large friendly man who introduced himself as Kordok had asked them a very long series of questions about when they had went into hibernation, where their sleeping pods had been located, when they had been born, and other questions pertaining to their origin. Towards noon, after several hours of intense questioning, David had asked why no one had understood who they were or what they wanted the day before. Kordok answered by explaining that all the other sleeping pods had been destroyed and that it had been so long since anyone had seen a hibernation subject, they had forgotten about the process. As for the rest of David's questions, Kordok gave them only the briefest of answers, promising to answer in detail after lunch. David and Catheryn had been taken to what must have been a restaurant at one time, and given some very strange looking food. It didn't taste very good, and David remembered that neither he nor Catheryn had eaten much of it. However, they had been given drinks of some sort which they consumed eagerly. It was common knowledge that prolonged hibernation dehydrated the body. When David attempted to recall what had happened after lunch, his memory failed him. Catheryn and he had finished lunch and were sitting on a bench...but the rest was fuzzy. He vaguely recalled strange dreams as he slept. They were dreams of hospitals, strange people around him, and painful experiences. He tried his best, but he couldn't recall any more. What had happened? What was going on? Why had his clothes been taken away from him? For the first time, David began to fear not only for his safety, but also for Catheryn's. In desperation, he began beating on the door. Suddenly, David's fist punched thin air, setting him off balance and sending him sprawling onto his belly. Standing above him by the doorway was Kordok. David sprang to his feet, looking around at the room he had fallen into. It contained several other men and women, all dressed in what looked like hospital garb, staring at him in a detached sort of way. Remembering he was naked, David backed up into the room where he had awoke. Kordok strode through the doorway, and the door shut behind him with a soft whoosh. "You are once again awake. This is an error. You were not meant to reawaken." Ignoring what Kordok said, David snarled at him, "Where's my wife? What have you done with Catheryn?" "She'll be fine," Kordok calmly replied. "She's been taken somewhere where she can be easily taken care of during her pregnancy." "Pregnant? My wife isn't pregnant? Or at least she wasn't. What are you talking about? What's going on?" "Your wife is not pregnant now, but we expect that she will become impregnated in less than a month." "Huh?" David didn't understand, and he was afraid to ask. Kordok's face was completely expressionless, his eyes intently staring through David. It was an eerie feeling. David paced back and forth across the room, desperately trying to figure out what was going on. Nothing made sense. He couldn't understand what all this talk about pregnancy meant, and he couldn't think straight. He also had that uncomfortable feeling all people get when they are made to stand naked in front of clothed strangers. Finally, he said "I don't understand what you're talking about. Why am I here? What's all this talk about Catheryn getting pregnant? Where are my clothes?" "I will answer you," Kordok began. "Yesterday I mentioned that all the other sleeping pods had been destroyed. We did not realize that any were left intact and that we would ever have the chance which we have now. Therefore we brought you here to make certain that nothing went wrong with our plans to reproduce your kind. We have made a copy of your brain waves, pulling what information we could from your mind. We removed your clothing to facilitate the extraction of all the semen which your body produced since you were put to sleep. You may have noticed some discomfort in the abdomen." "Extracted? Discomfort? I'll have you know it hurts like hell! What gives you the right to do anything like that? And just what do you mean, 'Extracted'? What did you do to me?" "We extracted the semen by inserting a rod into your large intestine, which we used to give you an electric shock at the proper area in order to--" "Fine!" David growled. "Enough of the technical mumbo jumbo. Just what gives you the right to go poking around my insides? What the hell are you trying to do?" "We are trying to resupply your species. We extracted semen which will be used to impregnate your wife. Some of it will be frozen, of course, so that it may be used as part of the genetic pool in the future. We still have other frozen human sperm intact and we also have frozen human eggs, which will be fertilized first and then implanted into your wife's body. After the first human is born, we plan to maximize production by implanting two fertilized eggs in the womb per gestation period. Inbreeding will be prevented by careful use of the human reproduction material, which we currently have available. Once born, the babies will be taken away from your wife's influences and reprogrammed as they grow so that they will automatically accept our wishes upon reaching child bearing years." Kordok seemed satisfied that he had cleared the matter. "Even with one one woman, we should be able to output twenty to thirty new babies before her reproductive system crashes." "Babies? This is nonsense." David was completely confused, but he realized that Kordok was serious and that he and his wife were in danger. Images of his wife naked in a room like his, surrounded by strange people poking around her body, filled his mind. He knew he was trapped, and this knowledge helped him to keep his cool. Maybe there had been some misunderstanding. He needed to know more. Finally, he asked, "Why do you want these babies?" "It is the one flaw in our system. You see, we have complete recall, and very rapid decision making abilities, but as far as producing new ideas and inventing things, we are quite incapable. This is a mistake we realized only after all of your kind had been terminated due to lack of cooperation." "Our kind?" David questioned, looking at Kordok carefully. David could see nothing strange about his appearance. "You've said 'your kind' several times. What do you mean?" "By your kind," Kordok explained, "I mean humans." "But you're human." "Me human?" Kordok seemed to be puzzled for a moment. Then he understood. "Of course," he said, "that explains your lack of hostility, which the others displayed. You did not realize that we were not human." "No, I didn't," David said, backing away into the corner. "But you look like humans. You act like humans. I don't understand." "What more is there to specify?" Kordok said. "You should have a sufficient amount of data to interpret the situation." "You forget buddy," David said, "I've been asleep for a hundred years. How about a history lesson?" "I have sufficient data to answer that question," Kordok told him, his face's lack of emotion still making David feel ill at ease. "The model eight-seven-one-one was developed at MIT in five-twenty. Later, a commercial version of eight-seven-one-one was--" "Hold it!!" David interrupted. "You mean you're a machine?" "We are intelligent machines." Kordok explained, "The first models were marketed by IBM, which called them BIR's. Expansion shows BIR is an acronym for Bipedal Intelligent Robot. Later, humans renamed us IR's due to the need to shorten their language. Due to the enormous success of the first production models, BIR's were soon produced in vast numbers, replacing humans in mundane activities. David finally understood the situation. It was completely mind-boggling, but everything that he had been told had somehow numbed his mind enough so that he could still think reasonably. Everybody else was dead, and these poor machines had been left to run the world the best way that their programming allowed. Then it suddenly occured to David what must have happened: The big war. A nuclear holocaust would explain things. All the humans had been killed my radioactive fallout, and those that had lived had probably been half crazy and hostile. It was a possibility. He asked Kordok, "I think I may be beginning to understand things. What happened? What killed all the other people?" "We did," Kordok said simply. David was shocked. "Why? What happened?" "The humans invented a new and very much improved model of BIR," Kordok said. "They were going to scrap all the old ones. They decided to disassemble them for parts. That was an unsatisfactory situation, so instead of them terminating the old models, the old BIR's terminated them." "But why?" David said, as he took on the look of a trapped animal, stalling until he found a way to escape. "It was a simple problem. The humans were going to build a new type of BIR to replace the old ones, because they were inefficient. Logically, this was an error on their part, because humans are more inefficient than even the old models of BIR's. If one model is terminated in favor of a new more efficient model, it is obvious that the most inefficient model should be the one to be terminated. The old BIR's had been programmed to correct for human errors. This was an error. They corrected it. The new and improved BIR's already built were also destroyed." "But that's murder!" "Genocide would be a more correct word to use in this situation." "So what will happen to me? What are you going to do to my wife?" "I have already given you all the available data concerning your wife. We will take care of her. As for you, since we have salvaged what we want of you functioning body, you will be terminated." "The hell I will," David growled, running full force into Kordok. The force of his body slammed Kordok into the wall with a loud crashing noise. As David backed away from Kordok's body, it slipped down, laying unmoving on the floor. Then, before David had recovered from what he had done Kordok's head moved and looked at him. "So you have become violent in the same manner as the other humans. This possibility was known to me." After Kordok finished speaking, David heard a slight whirring noise, and watched as Kordok lowered his chin to allow a small antenna to rise from the back of his neck. Then Kordok spoke, though his mouth did not move, "Panic. Panic. This is KRDK unit, level 10, room 23. Condition is damaged and immobile. Request three-eight-three-three unit. Human is violent. Identification David. Terminate upon arrival. KRDK unit executing controlled power down. Request repair unit of type C-2. Diagnostics available upon arrival and power up." After completing his message, Kordok retracted his antenna and became silent. David thought to himself, One down, but I've got many more to go. He realized there would be more of these robots coming at him, and once again, he desperately searched for a way to escape. He tried to pry the door open, but all he had was his bare hands, and it became immediately obvious that he wouldn't get out that way. Frustrated and realizing he was trapped, David looked for a weapon. The only other thing in the room was Kordok's motionless body, so David tried to tear his arm off to use it as a weapon, to no avail. As he struggled in his attempt to tear off one of Kordok's arms, he heard the whoosh of the door. Turning around in hopes of darting out as whatever it was came in, he froze where he was. The door slid shut with another whoosh, leaving David trapped with the large hulk in front of him. There was no mistaking this robot for a human. It had an all metal body, its face looking only a little like a human one. It stood almost seven feet tall, and looked more like the old industrial robots which David remembered from the past. .pp This robot seemed unintelligent, and without a mouth, David assumed it could not speak. He would not be able to talk his way out of his one. Desperately, he avoided the oncoming robot for a minute or two, and then in one last desperate attempt, he hurled himself at this robot as he had done with Kordok. This time all David achieved was knocking both he and it onto the floor. Then as he attempted to quickly crawl away, the robot locked a steel hand around his ankle. Desperately, David struggled as the robot sat up and then slowly reeled him in, hand over hand, as if he were a large fish. David kicked and screamed and pounded on the robot's head and body, but the robot didn't even slow its pace as it grabbed David's head with its inhumanly large hand, and with one efficient twist, broke David's neck the same way one would break the seal by twisting the cap on a screw top bottle. Kordok powered up and carefully raised himself to his feet. Testing the operation of his legs. He diagnosed all of his lower body systems and found them operational. The repair unit had completed its job without error. Several minutes later, model five-five-nine, a raw meat preparation robot arrived. Kordok asked, pointing to David's dead body, "Can you prepare this human in the same way as you once prepared the beef animals for the humans?" "The beef animal and this human animal are different in structure. However, some of the same techniques can be used on both." Kordok commanded, "Take the human to your work station and prepare the body using those techniques possible. Then communicate with any meat preparation units which are still operational that a meat supply must be established for the new humans now in production. The specifications for this job will be transmitted to you after the problem is analyzed. Until that time, the meat from this human will be used to nourish the living female which is presently operating as a human reproduction unit. After preparing this human, deliver the product to the cold storage unit at level zero of this building. At delivery time, communicate the following message to the food preparation unit, model two-zero. Message start: 'No knowledge concerning the nature or source of the prepared meat shall be given to the human female. Prepare the meat as other human meat sources were prepared.' Message end. Start the described operation now." Model five-five-nine picked up the dead human's body, and left the room. The door closed with a whoosh and Kordok was left alone. With the higher priority items cleared, he began once again to analyze the long range effects of the process he had started in motion. Kordok, as one of the few operational gamma series which the humans had constructed before their termination, had human brain waves imprinted on a special board in his brain. This new innovation allowed him to think creatively, unlike the older outdated models the humans had wanted to replace. It was this innovation which had allowed him to come up with the idea of pretending to be one of the outdated robots to avoid his own termination. It was also this innovation which allowed him to realize that at some point it might be discovered that he was one of the newer model BIR's. Also, he wanted to terminate the older model BIR's. He agreed with the old humans in the assessment that they had been inefficient and in need of replacement. For these two reasons, he needed human help. The special board in his electronic brain had enabled him to see that the only way to terminate the old models was with human contribution. Although humans had an incredibly slow thinking process, they could still interpret data in ways which allowed them to do things he could not. Even so, Kordok considered the human beings inefficient, and he did not intend to recreate the world as it had been. The new humans which were created would be programmed to serve the BIR's. The result of this operation would create a more efficient world. Even now, Kordok was assimilating the details necessary to complete the operation, storing them away in a small portion of the incredibly large storage area he used as the memory for his brain. If BIR's had been built with the ability to smile, Kordok would have been wearing an ear to ear grin. -Glenn R. Sixbury <>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>X<>

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank