Chapter 15: Beyond Rejection

Worms began his spiel: "People often think that it ought to be simple enough to just manufacture an adult human body, like building a house. Or a helicopter. You'd think that, well, we know what chemicals are involved and how they go together, how they form cells according to DNA templates, and how the cells form organ systems regulated by chemical messengers, hormones, and the like. So we ought to be able to build' a fully functional human body right up from scratch."
Worms moved so that he blocked their view of the jogger. H brought his drained coffee cup down for emphasis.
"And, of course, we could build a human body up from scratch theoretically, anyhow. But no one ever has. In fact, no one has ever eve started to. De Reinzie manufactured the first fully functional human ce I-muscle tissue-in the middle of the last century, about 2062 or so. And shortly after that the major varieties were cooked up. And even then it wasn't really manufactured from scratch. De Reinzie, like all the rest, built some basic DNA templates from actual carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and so on, or rather from simple sugars and alcohols. But then he grew the res from these. That's growth, not manufacture. And nobody's come closer to building an organ than a lab that made a millimeter of stomach wall for several million credits a couple of decades ago.
"I don't want to bother you with the mathematics," he continued looking away from Terry. "But my old professor at Tech used to estimate

Excerpt from Beyond Rejection by Justin Leiber. Copyright © 1980 by Justin Leiber. Reprinted by permission of Ballantine Books, a Division of Random House, Inc.

that it would take all the scientific and manufacturing talent of Earth an( the rest of the Federation something like fifty years and a googol credit to build a single human hand.
"You can imagine what it would take to make something like that,' he said, moving out of their line of vision and gesturing at the jogging figure. He took the clipboard that hung next to the treadmill's control and scanned the sheets on it.
"This body had been blank for three years. It has a running-time ago of thirty-one years, though of course Sally Cadmus-that's the person involved-was born over thirty-four years ago. What with demand, o course, three years is a long time for a body to remain out of action. She' in good health, fine musculature for a spacer-says Sally was an asteroi( miner here. Seems the body spent two years frozen in a Holmann orbit We've had it for four months and we're preparing it now. You might see her walking around any day now.
"But Sally Cadmus won't. Her last tape was just the obligator, one made on reaching majority and she left no instructions for implanta tion. I trust, people, that all your tapes are updated." He gave then the family doctor look and went on, moving closer and dropping hi voice.
"I have my mind taped every six months, just to be safe. After all the tape is you-your individual software, or program, including memor, store. Everything that makes you you. " He walked up to the aide who ha( brought the beautiful young man.
"You-for instance-Ms. Pedersen, when did you have your last taps job?"
The aide, a gaunt red-haired woman in her mid-thirties, snatched he arm from around her young man and glared at Austin Worms.
"What business-"
"Oh, I wouldn't really expect you to say in front of other people.' He grinned at the others as Pedersen subsided. "But that's the whol, point, you see. Maybe she has been renewing her tape yearly, which i what our profession recommends as an absolute minimum. But a lot o people neglect this elementary precaution because they are so appalled by the thought of severe bodily injury. They just let things slide. And because the topic is so personal, no one knows, no one asks, no on, reminds them until the once-in-half-a-million accident happens-truly irreparable body damage or total destruction.
"And then you find that the person hasn't taped for twenty years.
Which means ...."
He surveyed the group to let it sink in. Then he saw the beautiful girl-child. Terry had been hiding her, no doubt. A classic blond-haired

blue-eyed girl in her midteens. She was looking straight into his eyes. through them. Something ... He went on.
"Which means if he or she is lucky and there's estate money, you’ve got someone who has to face all the ordinary problems of rejection that come in trying to match a young mind with what is almost certain to a middle-aged body. But also the implant has all those problems multiplied by another. The implant has to deal with a world that is twenty year' in the future. And a `career' that is meaningless because he lacks the memory and skills that his old mind picked up over that twenty years.
"More likely, you'll get the real blowout. You'll get massive rejection psychosis and premature essential senility, and death. Real, final mind death."
"But you would still have the person's tape, their software, as you cal it," said Ms. Pedersen. "Couldn't you just try again, with another blank body?" She still had her hands off her young man.
"Two problems. First"-he stuck his index finger in the air-"you got to realize how very difficult it is for a mind and a body to make match, even with all the help us somaticians and psycheticians can pro vide, the best that modern biopsychological engineering can put together. Even with a really creative harmonizer to get in there and make the structure jell. Being reborn is very hard work indeed.
"And the failure rate under ordinary circumstances-tapes up-t date, good stable mind, decent recipient body-is about twenty percent And we know that it jumps to ninety-five percent if there's a second time around. It's nearly that bad the first time if you got someone whose tapes are twenty years out of date. The person may get through the first fe days all right but he can't pull himself into reality. Everything he know was lost twenty years ago. No friends, no career, everything out of shape Then the mind will reject its new body just as it rejects the new world i has woken up to. So you don't have much of a chance. Unless, of course you're the rare nympher or still rarer leaper.
"Second, the Government underwrites the cost of the first implants, tion. Of course, they don't pay for a fancy body-a nympher body, that is. You'd pay more than two million credits for one of those beauties. You get what's available and you are lucky if you get it within a year or two What the Government underwrites is the basic operation and tuning job That alone costs one and a half million or so. Enough to pay my salary for a hundred years. Enough to send the half-dozen or so of you on the Cunard Line Uranium Jubilee All-Planets Tour in first class."
Austin had been moving over to the treadmill control console whi speaking. As he finished, his audience noticed a large structure descend. ing from the ceiling just over the jogging figure, Sally Cadmus's body. It

looked like a cross between the upper half of a large mummy and a comfortably stuffed armchair. Austin glided over to the treadmill. The audience watched the structure open like an ancient iron maiden. Some noticed that the jogging figure was slowing down.
Austin arrived just in time to complete a flurry of adjustments on the jogger’s control package before the structure folded itself around. Two practiced blows on the back of the jogger's thighs brought the legs out of contact with the slowing treadmill.
"It's a lucky thing that implantation is so risky and the sort of accident that calls for it so rare," he said as the structure ascended behind him. "Otherwise, the Kellog-Murphy Law, which underwrites the first implantation, would bankrupt the Government."
"Where is the body going?" asked the blond-haired youngster. Austin could see now that she was probably no more than ten or eleven years old. Something about her posture had made him think she was older.
"Normally it would go into a kind of artificial hibernation-low temperature and vital activity. But this body will be implanted tomorrow, so we'll keep it at a normal level of biological function." He had given the body an additional four cc.'s of glucose-saline plasma beyond the program. That was to compensate for the extra jogging. He hadn't done the official calculations. It wasn't that such mathematics was more than a minor chore. If you had asked him to explain, he would have said that the official calculation would have called for half again as much plasma. But he sensed that the body got more than usual from every cc. of water, from every molecule of sugar. Perhaps it was something in the sweat smell, the color and feel of the skin, the resilience of the musculature. But Austin knew.
The somatic aides would have said that Austin Worms was the best ghoul in the Solar System, a zombie's best friend. And they would have meant what they said even if they went on to joke.
Austin had vomited for the first and only time in his life when he learned the origin of the slang terms "ghoul" and "vampire."
The sounds of Terry's tour group faded as they moved up the hall to the psychetician laboratory. But Austin did not return to Bruhler's The Central Equations of the Abstract Theory of Mind. He had been puzzled by what the eleven-year-old blond girl had said to him before sauntering off to catch up with the rest of the tour. She had said, "I bet that mind is gonna be in for a real shock when it wakes up with that thing on its backside." He wondered how she could know that it wasn't just part of the crazy-quilt system of tubes and wires that the jogger had on her back.
"I'm Candy Darling," she had added as she left the room. Now he knew who she was. You never knew what to expect in a harmonizer.

Psycheticians take care of minds. 'That's why they are sometimes called vampires. Somaticians are called ghouls because they take care of bodies.
-I. F. + S. C. Operation Logbook, Append. II, Press Releases

Germaine Means grinned wolfishly at them. "I am a psychetician. What Terry would call a vampire. Call me Germaine if that does not appeal."
They were seated facing a blackboard at one end of a large room which was otherwise filled with data cabinets, office cubicles, and computer consoles. The woman who addressed them wore severe and plain overalls. When she had first come to the Norbert Wiener Research Hospital-NWRH-the director had suggested that the chief psychetician might dress more suitably. That director had retired early.
"As you know from what Austin Worms told you, we think of the individual human mind as an abstract pattern of memory, skill, and experience that has been impressed on the physical hardware of the brain. Think of it this way: when you get a computer factory-fresh, it is like a blanked human brain. The computer has no subroutines, just as the brain has no skills. The computer has no data arrays to call on, just as the blanked brain has no memories.
"What we do here is try to implant the pattern of memory, skill, an experience that is all that is left of a person into a blanked brain. It is not easy because brains are not manufactured. You have to grow them. And, a unique personality has to be part of this growth and development. So, each brain is different. So no software mind fits any hardware brai perfectly. Except the brain that it grew up with.
"For instance," Germaine Means continued, softening her tone so she would not alert Ms. Pedersen's boyfriend, who was dozing in a well padded chair, his elegant legs thrust straight out in full display, tights to sandals. "For instance, when pressure is applied to this person's foot, his brain knows how to interpret the nervous impulses from his foot." She suited her action to her words.
"His yelp indicates that his brain recognizes that considerable pressure has been applied to the toes of his left foot. If, however, we implanted another mind, it would not interpret the nervous impulses correctly-it might feel the impulses as a stomachache." `~
The young man was on his feet, bristling. He moved toward Germaine, who had turned away to pick up what looked like a pair of goggles

with some mirrors and gears on top. As he reached her, she turned to face him and pushed the goggles into his hands.
"Yes, thank you for volunteering. Put them on." Not knowing what else to do, he did.
"I want you to look at that blond-haired girl who just sat down over there." She held his arm lightly as he turned and his balance wavered. He appeared to be looking through the goggles at a point several degrees to the right of Candy Darling.
"Now I want you to point at her with your right hand-quick!" The young man's arm shot out, the finger also pointing several degrees to the right of the girl. He began moving his finger to the left, but Germaine pulled his hand down to his side, outside the field of vision that the goggles allowed him.
"Try it again, quick," she said. This time the finger was not as far off On the fifth try his finger pointed directly to Candy Darling, though he continued to look to her right.
"Now off with the goggles. Look at her again. Point quick!" Germaine grabbed his hand the instant he pointed. Though he was not looking directly at Candy Darling, he was pointing several degrees to the left of her. He looked baffled.
Germaine Means chalked a head and goggles on the blackboard, seen as if you were looking down at them from the ceiling. She dress another head to the left of the line of sight of the goggled head and chalked "15"' in to indicate the angle.
"What happened is a simple example of tuning. The prisms in the goggles bend the light so that when his eyes told him he was looking straight at her, his eyes were in fact pointed fifteen degrees to her right. The muscles and nerves of his hand were tuned to point where his eyes were actually pointed-so he pointed fifteen degrees to the right.
"But then his eyes saw his hand going off to the right, so he began to compensate. In a couple of minutes-five tries-his motor coordination compensates so that he points to where his eyes tell him she is-he adjusted to pointing fifteen degrees to the left from usual. When I took the goggles off, his arm was still tuned to compensate, so he pointed off tc the left until he readjusted."
She picked up the goggles. "Now, a human can adjust to that distortion in a few minutes. But I could calibrate these so that they would turn the whole room upside down. If you then walked around and tried to do things, you would find it difficult. Very difficult. But if you kept the goggles on, the whole room would turn right side up after a day or two.

Everything would seem normal because your system would have retune itself.
"What do you think will happen if you then take the goggles off?"
Candy Darling giggled. Ms. Pedersen said, "Oh, I see. Your mind would have adjusted to turning the, ah, messages from your eyes upside down, so when you took the goggles off-
"Precisely," said Germaine, "everything would look upside down to you until you readjusted to having the goggles off and it happens the same way. You stumble around for a day or so and then everything snaps right side up again. And the stumbling-around part is important. If you are confined to a chair with your head fixed in position, your mind and body can't tune themselves.
"Now I want you to imagine what happens when we implant a mind into a blanked brain. Almost everything will be out of tune. The messages from your eyes won't simply be inverted, they'll be scrambled in countless ways. Same thing with your ears, nose, tongue-and with the whole nerve net covering your body. And that's just incoming messages. Your mind will have even more problems when it tries to tell the body to do something. Your mind will try to get your lips to say `water,' and Sol knows what sound will come out.
"And what's worse is that whatever sound does come out, your new ears won't be able to give your mind an accurate version of it."
Germaine smiled at them and glanced at her watch. Terry stood up.
"Terry will be wanting to take you on. Let me wrap this up by saying that it is a very simple thing to play someone's mind tape into a prepared brain. The great problem is in getting the rearranged brain, the cerebral cortex, speaking strictly, to be tuned into the rest of the system. As Austin Worms may have told you, we start an implant operation tomorrow. The initial tape-in will take less than an hour. But th tuning will take days and days. Even months, if you count all the therapy. Questions?"
`Just one," said Ms. Pedersen. "I can understand how difficult it is for a mind to survive implantation. And, of course, I know it is illegal to implant a mind that is over eighty-five. But couldn't a person-if you call a mind a person-live forever by passing through body after body?"
"Okay, that's a tough one to explain even if we had a lot of time and you knew a lot of mathematics. Until this century it was believed that senility was a by-product of the physical breakdown of the bbdy. Today we know that a human mind can have roughly one hundred years of experiences before it reaches essential senility, however young the body it occupies. As you know, a few successful leapers have survived implanta

tion after a fifty-year wait. So a leaper might, in theory, still be functioning a thousand years from now. But such an individual's mind will not be able to encompass any more lived experience than you. When all there is of you is a tape in storage, you aren't really alive."
After they had filed out, Germaine Means noticed that the blondhaired girl had remained.
"Hi, I'm Candy Darling," she cried. "I hope you don't mind. I thought it would be fun to sneak in on the standard tour. Get the smell of the place."
"Where's your VAT?"

* * *

Austin Worms declared that basic physical meshing procedures were complete.
-I. F. + S. C. Operation Logbook

Etaoin shrdlu. Mmm.
Away mooncow Taddy fair fine. Fine again, take. Away, along, alas, alung the orbit-run, from swerve of space to wormhole wiggle, brings us. Start now. Wake.
So hear I am now coming out of nothing like Eros out of Death, knowing only that I was Ismael Forth-stately, muscled well-taping-in, and knowing that I don't know when I'm waking or where, or where-in. And hoping that it is a dream. But it isn't. Oh, no, it isn't. With that goggling piece of munster cheese oumphowing on my eyelids.
And seemingly up through endless levels and configurations that had no words and now no memories. Wake.

"Helow, I'm Candy Darlinz."
"I am Ismael returned" was what I started to try to reply. After the third attempt it came out better. And the munster cheese had become a blond-haired young girl with piercing blue eyes.
"Your primary implantation was finished yesterday, finally. Everyone thinks you're a success. Your body is a pip. You're in the Norbert Wiener Research Hospital in Houston. You have two estates clear through probate. Your friend Peter Strawson has covered your affairs. It's the first week of April, 2112. You're alive."
She stood up and touched my hand.
"You start therapy tomorrow. Now sleep."
I was already drifting off by the time she had closed the door behind her. I couldn't even get myself worked up by what I was noticing. My

nipples felt as big as grapes. I went out as I worked my way down p the belly button.

The next day I discovered that I had not only lost a penis. I ha gained a meter-long prehensile tail. It was hate at first sense.
I had worked my way up to consciousness in slow stages. I ha endless flight dreams-walking, running, staggering on, away from sour nameless horror. And brief flashes of sexuality that featured performances by my (former) body.
I really liked my old body. One of my biggest problems, as Dr. Germaine Means was soon to tell me. I could picture clearly how it had looked in the mirrors as I did my stretch and tone work. Just a hair over six foot four. Two hundred and five pounds, well-defined muscles, and` just enough fat to be comfortable. A mat of curly red chest hair that made it easy to decide to have my facial hair wiped permanently. It felt good to be a confident and even slightly clumsy giant, looking down on a world of little people.
Oh, I wasn't a real body builder or anything like that. Just enough exercise to look good-and attractive. I hadn't in fact been all that good at physical sports. But I had liked my body. It was also a help in the public'' relations work that I did for IBO.
I was still lying on my back. I felt shrunk. Shrunk. As the warm, muza flush of sleep faded, my right hand moved up over my ribs. Ribs. Th were thin and they stuck out, as if the skin were sprayed over the ba cage. I felt like a skeleton until I got to the lumps. Bags. Growths. Sacks. Even then part of me realized that they were not at all large for a woma, while most of me felt that they were as big as cantaloupes.
You may have imagined it as a kind of erotic dream. There you a in the hospital bed. You reach and there they are. Apt to the hands, t hardening nipples nestled between index and middle fingers. (Doubtless some men have felt this warm reverie with their hands on real flesh. women may have felt pinch and itch rather than the imagined sensu flush. I know whereof I speak. I now know a lot of sexuality is like tha Perhaps heterosexuality continues as well as it does because of ignorance each partner is free to invent the feelings of the other.)
But I was quite unable to feel erotic about my new acquisitions. Bot ways. My fingers, as I felt them, felt pathology. Two dead cancerou mounds. And from the inside-so to speak-I felt that my flesh ha swollen. The sheet made the nipples feel raw. A strange feeding of separation, as if the breast were disconnected, nerveless jelly-and then two points of sensitivity some inches in front of my chest. Dead spots. Rejec tion. I learned a lot about these.

As my hand moved down I was prepared for the swerve of hip. I couldn't feel a penis and I did not expect to find one. I did not call it "gash." Though that term is found occasionally in space-marine slang and often among the small number of male homosexuals of the extreme S&M type (Secretary & Master). I first learned the term a few days later from Dr. Means. She said that traditional male-male pornography revealed typical male illusions about female bodies: a "rich source of information about body-image pathologies." She was certainly right in pointing out that "gash" was how I felt about it. At first.
I was not only scrawny, I was almost hairless. I felt really naked, naked and defenseless as a baby. Though my skin was several shades less fair -and I passed a scar. I was almost relieved to feel the curly groin hair. Gone. Sticklike legs. But I did feel something between my thighs. And knees. And ankles, by Sol.
At first I thought it was some sort of tube to take my body wastes. But as I felt down between my legs I could tell that it wasn't covering those areas. It was attached at the end of my spine-or rather it had become the end of my spine, stretching down to my feet. It was my flesh. I didn't quite intend it-at that point I can't say that I intended anything, I was so shook-but the damned thing flipped up from the bottom of the bed like a snake, throwing the sheet over my face.
I screamed my head off.

"Cut it off" was what I said after they had given me enough betaorthoamine to stop me flailing about. I said this several times to Dr. Germaine Means, who had directed the rest of them out of the room.
"Look, Sally-I'll call you that until you select a name yourself-we are not going to cut your tail off. By our calculations such a move would make terminal rejection almost certain. You would die. Several thousand nerves connect your brain with your prehensile tail. A sizable portion of your brain monitors and directs your tail-that part of your brain needs exercise and integration like any other component. We taped the pattern of your mind into your present brain. They have to learn to live together or you get rejection. In brief, you will die."
Dr. Means continued to read me the riot act. I would have to learn to love my new body-she practically gushed with praise for it-my new sex, my new tail. I would have to do a lot of exercise and tests. And I would have to talk to a lot of people about how I felt. And I should feel pleased as pisque to have an extra hand.
My new body broke into a cold sweat when I realized that I had truly-no choice. I wasn't poor, assuming what I had heard yesterday was true. But I certainly couldn't afford an implant, let alone a desirable

body. What I had, of course, came free under the Kellog-Murphy Bill.
After a while she left. I stared at the wall numbly. A nurse brought a tray with scrambled eggs and toast. I ignored both nurse and tray. The thin-lipped mouth salivated. Let it suffer.



Fascinating as the idea of mind tapes is, the supposition that such person preservation might someday be possible is almost certainly wrong. Leiber sees the fundamental obstacle-brains are not like computers fresh from the factory and all alike. Even at birth human brains are no doubt uniquely configured-like fingerprints-and a lifetime of learning and experience can only enhance their idiosyncracies. There are scant grounds then for hoping that anything with the hardware-independence c( a program can be "read out" of a brain (at a periodic "mind taping" session). There is even less hope that such a mind tape, even if it could be constructed, would be compatible with another brain's hardware. Computers are designed to be readily redesignable (at another level) by the insertion, in one big lump or rush, of a new program; brains presumably are not.
Leiber is wonderfully imaginative about the ways technicians might try to solve this incompatibility problem (and his book contains many more surprises on this score), but in order to tell a good tale he has had; to understate the problems by orders of magnitude in our opinion. The problems of transferring massive amounts of information between structurally different brains-such as yours and ours-are not insurmountable. The technology that already exists for accomplishing that task may however, turn out in the end to be the most efficient possible. One of the most recent and advanced examples of that technology is in your hands


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