Good People

Sami was spending all his free time at Lucerne’s new store, Additive Manufacturing Processes, known as AMP co. It wasn’t open for business yet, as the owner, Alfred, was testing his new equipment – an innovative 3D printer that could fabricate almost anything, given the right data and materials.

It was an amusing contrast to the previous business there, the General Store, filled with everything you could think of. The owner had sold it after 72 years of living and working there, which had cost him the chance of having a wife and family.

“I’ve often been tempted to create something living,” said Alfred. “But till now I have stopped myself. There could be a tricky situation…”

“We created a worm yesterday. That was successful.” Sami recalled stepping on the poor thing accidentally. “Well, sort of…”

Alfred stared hard at the 3D printer. He seemed to look at particular cogs and levers sequentially. After a while he said, “That’s the problem, my friend. We’ve crossed the Rubicon. We’ve gone beyond the Pale.” Sami must have looked at him strangely.

“Excuse me; I am a keen student of history. The Rubicon was the river crossed by Caesar with the Roman army, after which he became dictator of Rome. The Pale was the part of Ireland controlled by the British, beyond which was wild, lawless terrain. Making the worm was easy. It was a shame you killed it, but I don’t think we were really affected by its death. If we created a human being though, that would be a different matter.”

Sami had been following Alfred’s gaze as he was speaking, but now his head turned towards Alfred, almost snapping into place. He had imagined making a mouse or cat, even a dog, but Alfred was talking about creating a human. “Are you seriously considering that?”

“Well, yes. I have been for some time. The machine is life-blind. It does not differentiate between animate and inanimate matter. As long as we prepare it correctly, it will produce what we desire.”

“Why don’t we make gold then?” said Sami. “Or cash?”

“The problem is that gold can only be made from gold. We won’t be creating anything, just putting it through the machine. And cash – we could easily make coins, but notes have serial numbers, so we would either be forging them or creating new ones, which is also illegal.”

“But isn’t creating life illegal? You can’t just do it because you feel like it.”

“Of course you can. What do you think is the cause of the world’s population crisis? The people who can’t afford to feed, clothe and educate their kids are having the most. Only China has shown real leadership in this area. Anyway that is a different matter. This is science. Let’s make a person. Are you in on the experiment or not?”

Sami first said no, and then yes; his curiosity was too great.

The machine was too small to make an adult – at least in one piece – so they decided to make a baby. They fed in anatomical, psychological and religious data – hopefully covering the early needs of its mind, body and spirit. They wanted to make good people, not bad ones.

They set the chronometer to 1 month:1day.

After nine days they heard crying in the 3D printer. The owner of the General Store would have been pleased.

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