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   Chapter 30 No.30

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5439

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

One thing thrust the rest of these observations aside and demanded to be addressed first. The smell.

It wasn't strictly a bad smell, but it certainly wasn't a good one, and there was a lot of it. Lex didn't have anything in his mental tool kit to compare the odor to. It was definitely biological, but nothing that would be found in a locker room or bathroom. Not a human one, anyway. Whatever it was, it seemed to lay low, slipping under the nose's radar until it got deep into the back, then asserting itself to the point that Lex could almost taste it.

If Karter noticed it, he didn't let on.

"Welcome to the Hall of Rejects, " Karter said, with a magisterial wave of his arm, "It isn't usually this crowded, but my usual beta testers aren't available right now, so nothing is making it to 1.0, which means nothing is making it to 0.1, so things start to pile up all along the line."

"What happened to your beta testers? They quit?"

"No. They're serving multiple consecutive life sentences for committing war crimes."

"You let war criminals test your stuff?"

"Only one of them was a war criminal beforehand. The rest became war criminals for using my stuff. It's their own fault. I put it right in the EULA. The user assumes responsibility for any interstellar treaties that may be violated by the application of the device in a field environment."

"What the hell sort of person puts a clause like that in a user agreement?"

"A prudent one. I've got pretty much all of my bases covered. You assume responsibility for violations of local, regional, global, intrasystem, interstellar, intergalactic and i

d alert and inquisitive on the other side. It sat there with a comfort and casualness that illustrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was its preferred location.

"What is that thing?" Lex asked.

"It is a fox/skunk cross. A Funk. This little guy is technically out of beta, but I'm not planning on taking it to market. I kind of like having the only one."

"So you do gene splicing?"

"Pff. No. Gene splicing is clumsy and stupid. If you do anything beyond swapping out one chemical for another, it gets ridiculously hard to produce a viable creature. No, I back-tracked foxes and skunks to their common ancestor, sequenced the DNA, then developed an environmental/genetic simulator program and ran it through a few million years of evolution a couple of hundred times, tweaking the environment until I got a smooth union of the two. Then I ran a few hundred thousand iterations of selective breeding to up the intelligence and add a few other traits I was looking for, exported the resulting DNA, synthesized a sperm and egg, fertilized, incubated, and presto! Solby."

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