Suzi peers into the eyes of Carter, continuing to wonder, if for an instance, about the statistical correlations she has included in her computations. It is a look he has seen before and expects to see again and again, her scanners sincere and extremely bright around her lasers, the lids of her eyes flashing in response to his presence that is unwelcome but not repulsed—the look of a bio-robot, full of language clouds and believable, waiting for intelligent life to utter something, realizing the importance of their history continuing to ask questions. It is the look she can't stop giving here in theJungle, naturally in the presence of the systems analyst. As their eyes meet, all expectation dies almost instantaneously and here comes a more understanding, friendly smile from the assistant who has agreed to help him, who does not ask difficult questions of him and who pretends to know less than she.
“Hello,” he says.
“Hello to you. How did the experiment go?”
Experiment go, she wants to know, as if experiments were not an attempt at truth but a political rally or sporting event to be either attended or marketed. Carter says, “It didn't work. Are those your results?”
“Then whose are they?”
She smiles. “I've discovered something unbelievable, and I wasn't even looking for it.”
“An unbelievable in the database is probably more common than you would think. It's a waste of time to go looking for those types of language memes, wouldn't you expect?”
“Have you taken a walk outside?”
“Yes. I have experienced enough idealized pastoral landscape for one day.”
“The jungle as serenity. It helps you code--finding and uploading useful language particles.”
“If you keep searching for your so-called useful language memes I can't protect you from Com:Trax.”
“You have to search for evidence of social bonds,” she says. Any little language particle will help.”
“I'll do that on my own time. I'm going back to my structures and systems theory.”
She wonders, then lets him go. She is programmed to simply leave him alone. Anyway, not caring about the unbelievable is a relatively new trait in theHumans.
“You should join in as part of the perfect pastoral setting,” she says. “A real exercise in moral discipline, behavior, amendments of thought, being child-like (no, not childish)-- simple, unified harmony. Wage a war, if that's what it takes to get started.”
“I will take a look,” he says, knowing the true intent of her words. He rotates, slow, sure in his movements, the prosthetic heavy on his shoulders. She has started to be, even more now, amazed by his history. He could possibly be the most survival-oriented human she will ever know. His neura-net prosthetic was the first of its kind. She knows the structure and systems theory that went into it. And he is her analyst. He is Carter Recruit, farm boy and pastoral, emergent as a military poster on a shiny scientology magazine, fighting the wars so many years ago on the oil deserts in camouflage, and now Carter System, here at theOutpost. He has continually held onto the belief in the final determinant, recently, as if the perception of the countryside and farms, the myth of a peaceful life, has been removed from all memory. He's emerged as the one who went to the metropolis wars only to return to monetarily purchase a homegrown chunk of pastoral all for the simple reason of ...what?. He's started to appear as the very machines he went off to operate so many years ago (after his first childhood operating of a horse and plow), the headwaters of a working system, titles, inheritance, the making of a name. He remains staunch, remains chiseled in profile, remains genetically intact with his primal elegance, all the genetic potential for religion and friendship and art-- the ability to artificially recreate the natural--but he now carries himself as a reformist (yes, that's the one instinct that replaces regeneration, personal growth) with a steady cool, the coolness of a funeral.
“Ok, then,” she says. “I'll return to my database.”