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Freefall d0299

Freefall 2991

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Where's the mayor?

She's gone. She's on a trip to see how the robots live and to drive around the world.

Did she leave anything for me? A time bomb? A note saying she's hired an assassin to take me out? No? A rearguard of mimes? Killer Pomeranians? A box of spiders?

There may be some boxes with spiders in her attic.

Yes! I knew we were too close for her to have forgotten me!

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I hear you're going to be working with the robots to terraform a planet for your species. That is a most excellent goal.

A little something for my fellow sqids to remember me by.

Might I suggest an accounting class? It's a big project and if you want to succeed, you need to know the basics. I've listed several you might be interested in.

Thank you.

Hold on. This guy has me actually considering an accounting class? He's more of a threat to me than the previous mayor ever was.

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Dvorak said it takes a long time to claim a planet.

It's not a proud moment for our legal system. Documents say you can claim a planet you have a permanent human presence on. The problem is how you define human presence.

Countries and corporations sent out millions of sublight probes with a few frozen human cells to land on anything they could find. Most have no intention of developing the planet, they just want money from people who might. We call them planet trolls.

I see the problem. There's a scam going on and we're not in on it.

Здесь проводится аналогия с патентными троллями.

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Shakespeare's character said “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” He was talking about undermining the rule of law, which is what keeps our society working.

When lawyers take advantage of how a law is written in a way that is obviously unfair, the rule of law is also weakened. Then it's up to us to fix it before people lose faith in the system and take things into their own hands.

Personally, I think government lawyers would have an easier job if we didn't have to spend so much time keeping private sector lawyers from burning their own house down.

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Why are you helping me?

Because we need different viewpoints. A galaxy with only humans and human-designed robots would be annoyingly homogeneous.

Early A.I. ran into this problem. Almost all the people developing it were light skinned males. Whether intended or not, their biases and worldviews reflected in their programs.

Right now, humans are going out and gobbling up everything in our path. We're supposed to be an evolved race. As a species, I want us to do more than imitate an amoeba.

Игра слов – “однообразный” и “человек” содержат общую часть “homo”

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How long would it take to get a planet ready for my people?

We need to learn how your ecosystems works. Terraforming is not a fast process. I'd say at least a thousand years.

Guess I'll need to have a biography left there. Maybe a statue or a nice monument. Something tasteful, like Mount Rushmore.

I don't know what my species is going to find more unbelievable about me. That I stole a planet or that I was willing to wait a thousand years for the payoff.

Гора Рашмор – скала в Южной Дакоте, на которой высечены лица четырех величайших президентов США (по мнению создателей монумента).

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I was here longer than I expected, but we made progress. I see why their species made it to the stars.

Some beings might look out at the near infinity of the universe with awe and wonder and be humbled by how insignificant they are.

Humans stretched forth their arms and declared

MINE!

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The downside is that the mayor's assistant is helping me. I'm obliged not to steal from him until the heist is done, which will be well past my lifetime.

The mayor was much more fun. She would rant and rave and turn different colors. It's going to be hard to find another person who will give me such wonderful reactions.

I hope I find someone soon. Until then, I'll just have to accept I'm at that socially awkward point between nemeses.

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What's with the suitcase?

Winston offered to let me stay at his place while we're planet side.

We're still working together, right?

Yes. I'll be back in the morning.

Well, this is going to set back her education. She's still cripplingly honest and now she's going to be missing out on hours of my expert tutelage.

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Funny how a ship can feel empty when there's no large carnivorous alien life form on board.

Казалось бы, при чем здесь Чужой…

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