Sunday March 16, 2003
Book 3: Under New Management — Part I: The REALLY Clever Monkeys
The really, really clever monkeys can use sticks to pick the locks on the parental control systems on their hypernet terminals, but they're the ones in the shiny, sterile labs where termites are hard to find. The people of Earth are not finished monkeying (ahem) around with the lesser primate genome, so it's anybody's guess how clever the monkeys will end up. It's safe to say the TV remote will end up hidden somewhere besides the couch-crack before this work is done.

Addendum to Notes: The phrase "people of Earth" is a handy way to refer not only to homo sapiens, but also to pan troglodytes sapiens, gorilla gorilla sapiens, elephas maximus sapiens, loxodontus africanus sapiens, and numerous other former members of what is now politically incorrect to call the 'animal kingdom' who have been genetically "improved" to the point that they now have the right to vote (note the quotes). The term is mildly discriminatory since the trillion or so sophonts-of-Terran-stock are scattered through tens of thousands of star systems, but most folks will still know what you mean when you use it.

Addendum to Addendum to Note: It has just been pointed out to us that two classes of sophonts were omitted from the previous list -- human sub- (or super-, depending on who you're talking to at the time) species like homo sapiens purpureum, and artificial intelligences (er... 'people of machine ascent'). This illustrates nicely what happens when life is denied the cozy constraints of conventional evolution, while social concepts like political correctness are allowed to naturally evolve into the true monsters of the next millennium.


Narrator: Aboard the Serial Peacemaker two senior officers discuss the mission.
Tagon: Colonel Ceeta is talking weapons with Schlock right now. We have a couple of minutes.
Narrator: ...Out of earshot of their appointed watchdog officer.
Kevyn: Captain, this mission we've accepted... We're hunting down my sister.
Tagon: I know, I know. We all have feelings for her. But we have to do this.
Tagon: Think of it this way: If we don't take this mission, General Xinchub throws you in jail, sends me to the infantry, and disbands the entire company.
Kevyn: That doesn't excuse selling Breya out. It just shows what your price is.
Tagon: Let me finish. After we're out of the way, who do you think Xinchub will send after your sister?
Kevyn: I don't know... Some unimaginative, trigger-happy rear admiral, probably.
Kevyn: Oh, crap. I can't believe I just now figured that out.
Tagon: Now listen closely. Our contract states that we collect pay not as a company, but as if we were all U.N.S. Soldiers.That means "Time spent" rather than "Objective Achieved." We don't actually have to find your sister or those missing U.N.S. ships.
Tagon: With a little work, we could keep this gig up for years, and manage to make money on side jobs as we go.
Tagon: We just kave to be the clever monkeys, Kevyn.
Jevee Ceeta: The really clever monkeys can use sticks to help them eat termites.
Tagon: Should I try to make it sound like we were discussing the zoo, or did you already hear too much?
Serial Peacemaker: