Re-inventing the Wheel
"With each passing month, the engineers at my company have made incredible strides
with the Nexus program. The first problem that we tackled was the time of growth issue. After much trial and error, we were
able to effective design a catalyst that worked with cryogenic technologies that were also being developed. We can go from
cellular stage to a fully grown human in a matter of weeks."
Wauldron carefully listened while Tyrell described his process entirely. Although
he had tons of questions, Wauldron felt that he was going to be the one answering a lot of questions real soon. He fumbled for his digital recorder and began recording some of Tyrell's technical points.
Then a secret service agent walked forward and tapped onto Wauldron's shoulder.
President asked if he could talk with you for a minute." Wauldron's jaw dropped.
yes...but, sure. Do you mind if I leave the re-" Wauldron stammered, looking down at the recorder then up towards the agent.
okay to leave the recorder if you wish. I'll see to it. The President needs to speak with you.
Wauldron barely had enough time to get the recorder onto the table. They went down
another hallway into a different conference room surrounded by guards and agents chatting in their headsets. The guards began
to hover around Wauldron with metal detectors and had him empty his pockets. Once the guards were satisfied, they motioned
him into the room.
The President sat side by side with various aides, as well as the Secretary of State,
and the Attorney General. The President looked up to see Wauldron, and promptly got up to extend his handshake and smiled.
"Thank you for coming today, Professor Wauldron. Please, have a seat."
complied. The President slowly got up and sat down in a chair beside him.
The President smiled. "So what did you think of what Mr. Tyrell has to offer?" Wauldron
looked around and every face in the room was looking at him, listening intently for his answer.
think it's amazing. It could solve a lot of manpower problems. Going from a cell to a fully grown human in a few weeks is
The President listened and nodded as Wauldron spoke. Then he quickly changed the subject.
were the one that solved the Sudermann incident, weren't you?"
sir." Wauldron could feel the stares of all the people in the room.
us about it, please."
years ago, I was called in to Sudermann's New Mexico plant. They were experiencing all kinds of electrical grid shutdowns,
and the automated shipping lines went to a complete halt. At first they assumed it was some kind of computer virus, but they
later found out it was being done intentionally by their computer.
Come to find out, they had started an artificial intelligence program, which had been
designed to interact with young people to see if it would help them raise their IQ levels. It had been tested with a ten year
old girl over the course of six months, and during that period of time, developed some sort of emotional bond.
After the six month trial period, the project was terminated when Sudermann switched
CEO's. They shut it off without telling it why, just pulled the plug. Five years
later, they switched it on, hoping to reprogram it to for use on their automated assembly lines.
The first thing it did was ask to see the girl. The company techs tried to reprogram
it, but it countered by controlling its own software. Then it demanded to see the girl. Finally, the company caved
in, and brought the girl in to talk with the computer."
Wauldron paused to clear his throat, then
course, by this time the girl had developed into a young lady, and had changed quite a bit.
The computer took one look at her and didn't recognize her at all, and by this time, didn't believe a word the company
programmers said. So after dismissing the girl as a phony, it began to follow its programming code of 'Instructional Correction',
and began 'correcting' the plant by spanking it with its power grid, which led to half of Albuquerque being blacked out."
Wauldron looked and noticed some of the aides talking into each other's ears, while
some just stared intently at him, listening to every word.
two weeks of failed attempts, was able to finally able to get the computer to understand that five years had passed. Once
that happened, it began to show a little trust, and finally let me do some checking into its internal program codes. I found
some faulty programming code which caused it to overreact and get defensive. After fixing that, it let me bring the girl back,
and after a couple more visits finally accepted her as the girl it once knew. After that, it let us update its software so
that it would be able to manage Sudermann's automated lines. That computer is still running their lines today, without any
The President thoughtfully nodded.
happened to the young lady?"
young lady is living off-world on the moon colony with her parents. She still exchanges emails with the computer, every two
weeks in the summer when they shut down to re-tool for the next year's products. It still likes to follow its original programming,
and is helping her get into college."
The President smiled and looked over at the Secretary of State. "You're right, Frank.
He's the guy." He then looked back to Wauldron. "Mr. Wauldron, what I am about to offer you is a position to where you can
oversee the development of this new cybernetic life. All we know is what Tyrell tells us - which may or may not be the complete
truth. And I am not prepared to hand nation-wide emigration over to the private sector, give them another tax break and simply
hope for the best."
Normally he'd jump at a promotion opportunity, but Wauldron felt a little uneasy.
Politicians made for strange bedfellows, but all of this led up to something worse in the long run.
President...It seems to me that what this all hinges on, is whether or not you're comfortable with the idea of making slavery
shot at Professor Wauldron from all over the room. He even looked at his own skin color, which was darker than any chocolate
bar ever made, and cursed himself for saying it. But deep down he felt it was the truth.
assuming that when they program these cyborgs -" Wauldron began.
"Replicants. Tyrell is calling them Replicants." An aide corrected, looking at him sharply,
no doubt because of the slavery comment.
"Well, I am assuming that these Replicants will be using a form of implanted
artificial intelligence, or else I wouldn't even be here. One thing I learned from the Sudermann incident, was that at some
point, anything with intelligence will become self-aware, and learn why we created it, and make its own conscientious choice
as to whether or not it wants to do what we intended it to do."
Wauldron looked back towards the President.
row of computer banks mounted into a concrete base is one thing. A living being that is built for military uses or hard labor,
and moves freely around on its own will would be something else altogether. What will go through its mind once it figures
out it was meant to be a slave?”
The President carefully took a moment to reflect on Wauldron's words.
"Our first responsibility is towards our citizens. Emigration is one of the few ways
we have to ensure that we not perish as a society. Our backs are up against the wall, gentlemen, and if we don't act, even
if it means creating the same civil war scenario our forefathers sacrificed so much to end - Slowly but surely, generation
by generation, we will become an extinct species." The President looked back towards his aides.
"With that being said, we'll need to go ahead and get legislation in place to ensure
that when Replicants become more common, that we'll be able to handle any problem that comes up. For the time being we'll
limit them to one colony, and see if we can't come up with some other measures. We'll also need to get Federal and State agencies
on the same page, in case the problem comes back to Earth. We've only got a few years before the senate holds elections, and
I am assuming there will be lobbyists coming out of the walls to try and de-regulate Replicant production, so we better get
on the ball now."
Aides turned to one another and began talking, some almost to the point of a subdued
The President turned to Wauldron. "Listen, from what I've been told, I understand
you'd rather be a college professor. But this is bigger than you or me. You've got more credentials in your field than anyone
on my staff or in the pentagon. If I am able to get an agency set up to oversee the first batch of Replicants, can I get you
to run it?"
Wauldron was caught completely off guard. "Sir, to be honest, I'm not sure that substituting
Replicants for human manpower will solve any-"
"They will be building them no matter how many laws I'd pass against it, Stephen.
At least this way we'll have some oversight, or have a chance to eliminate problems before they happen."
Wauldron began to stammer a little. "I would need a lot. A facility. Staff. Not to
mention a lot of security measures."
The President motioned for an aide to come over, and motioned to start making a list
of Wauldron's requests. The President looked at them both.
"I'll need a progress report in two days, gentlemen. Terminus has not left us with
a lot of spare time." He looked them both solidly in the eyes.
Then Wauldron felt someone tapping him on the shoulder - It was the secret service
agent, handing his recorder back to him. "Got the meeting recorded for you, Sir. They left me with instructions to take you
wherever you wanted to go."
Home, Wauldron thought to himself, How am I going to explain all of
this to my wife...