Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sudden Short Story 33

"I don't think that you understand the weight of the situation," said the reporter - about the only challenging one left on Earth.
"No, L.-Ané, I think that you are the one who lacks such an understanding.  Science does not stop simply because a few people find it inconvenient.  You should remember your history.  The dark ages of Europe, the Middle East, and North America could not last forever.  Even in modern times, with everything interconnected, it can't all be blocked out."
"But don't you see how our society has grown since then?  Homosexuality is no longer considered a sin, nor even a choice."
"Tell me," said T.-Valon, "do you think that the motives for my actions determine them to be good or evil, or the actions themselves?"
"Of course your motives matter.  It is one thing to launch a rocket to explore the stars, and quite another to do so only to bear a warhead."
"My motives are the furthering of science and the betterment of mankind.  Why is that a problem?"
"Because gay births have dropped off completely everywhere that you've harvested trebulon j, and because you don't seem to even be aware of what you've done."
"What have I done?  I discovered trebulon j, and I've been harvesting it from the environment wherever I could find it, so that I could study it.  And, though I have yet to find a practical use for the damn stuff, no harm has yet come of my experiments."
"But the birth rates --"
"Are the same as they ever were.  Mine is a large company, L.-Ané.  We've been doing our own research, and it corroborates the independent studies.  There's been neither decrease in birth rates nor increase in death rates or cancer or mutation or STDs or even the common cold!  The only thing that has happened is that, where we made our first harvests of trebulon j, there now no longer originate homosexuals.  But everyone seems to assume that this is some sort of evil plot, and it's probably due to my age."
T.-Valon stood, and moved to face a window.  "I'm quite old, as I'm sure that you're aware, and I've seen a great deal in my time.  In my earliest days, I saw the turmoil surrounding the change that you suggested earlier.  I know quite well - probably better than any of your peers - that our society has changed in this way.  But you - all of you - you've grown up taking this for granted, but you seem to be confused about something."
There was silence for a moment, so she decided that he was waiting for her to ask.  "What is that?"
He turned to face her again.  "Do you think that homosexuality is a virtue?"
As she had come to almost expect from him, it was a question that she'd never heard asked before.  Caught off guard, her brain moved her mouth with the first thing that she knew of it.  "It's not a sin..."
He moved toward her, and rested his hands on the back of his own chair.  "It's not a vice, but is it a virtue?  Is a gay man somehow better than a straight man?"
"Well, no, not in that sense..."
"In some other sense, then?"
"Not in any sense, when you get right down to it."
"Well, at least you've got that part figured out, which is more than I can say for the others.  I knew that I'd not regret interviewing you.  So, tell me, do you understand my perspective now?"
She peered at him with great suspicion.  "You know, the scary thing is that I think that I almost do."
"In that case, would you still like the tour?"
"I think that I'll take a pass anyway, thanks."  L.-Ané stood and went to leave.  As she approached the door, T.-Valon suddenly asked her, "Would you like me to predict the future?"
"The famed scientist and industrialist T.-Valon, engaging in fortune-telling?  This I have to hear."
He didn't seem to hear her joke.  His mildly flippant tone had grown somber and sincere.  "You will see eugenics in your lifetime, but it will not come from me.  Eventually, we will discover how to efficiently synthesize trebulon j.  It will occur too soon, though, and when it does, the people will ask - nay, demand that it be made in large quantities and released into the environments where it was first taken.  And on that day, you will know eugenics, but you will be alone.  Good day, L.-Ané."

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