Requiem for an Android
by Bertil Falk
Table of Contents
part 1; part 2
appear in this issue.
|Chapter 5: All’s Well That Ends Well?|
John XXXIV opened his adhesive arms towards Cardinal Personit. The resurrected cardinal shrank back when he saw the nauseating appearance of the reigning Pope, but he overcame his aversion.
Paxinterra stood by the Pope’s side. And by his side, befittingly attired, was Cardinal Mobades. And there was Bishop Leonida Brown, who turned a pair of cold eyes upon Mervil Tojas standing immobile and as pale as a corpse.
Pope John talked for a long time with the two cardinals. Then he turned to the others and sat down on the throne of Peter. Mother Saulcerite played a waiting game farthest away in the group, together with the two Buddhists.
“The question of the salvation of androids ought to be resolved here and now,” the Pope declared. “We are completely in agreement that we cannot go on like this any more. Cardinal Personit is extraordinarily displeased at the clumsiness with which the question of androids has been managed.”
“In my opinion, artificial beings are human,” declared Personit simply.
“Mervil Tojas is the one to blame,” Leonida Brown said uncompromisingly.
Mervil Tojas flared up. “Do you think that I've done all this for fun? It was imposed upon me!” he exclaimed. “Should I, who myself am an android... My God, it is at least as terrible for me. And for all us androids, who have neither barriers to religion nor to propagation.”
“Barrier to propagation?” Saulcerite cried and took a step forward.
“Yes, that's the incredible secret. The one we are set to guard. The problem we cannot solve. The terrible ethical question at issue that arose when we androids became so perfect that we could go straight into the continuous process of creation and beget children together with both other androids and natural beings.”
“Listen to me,” android Mervil Tojas continued excitedly, “It's not the theological aspect that is a hinderance. We're definitely a part of the Creation as are all other things. God shows compassion for our difficult plight. Yes, God will see us as a part of his work at the Last Judgment. But that we should enter into and disturb the holy process of propagation in his Creation, we artificial, fertile beings...”
Saulcerite intervened with a glow in her voice. “Twice has God made his will known. The first time, when androids were an accomplished fact. What is wrong in that a being in his Creation fecundates another being in the Creation?
“But God talked to deaf ears. Nobody listened. Now he has made his will known again. Through me, through all of you now standing here, through everything that has happened. Your Holiness, you must realize...”
Saulcerite quickly turned to Pope John, who enjoined silence by lifting his fluttering extremities. And when he spoke to them it was in pluralis majestatis:
“We in this chair long ago realized what you say. But the agreement with the Personites is holy and binding. We once again offer — we cannot count all the times we have done this before — that the Personites accept the facts. Our decision was arrived at thousands of years ago. We have patiently waited for the Personites to meet us, so that we can announce our decision ex cathedra!”
Mervil Tojas stood pale. He moved his lips but no word passed between them. Then he threw himself to the feet of the Pope: “Speak and we will obey!”
“We have never doubted that. No, we wait for the Personites, for you, who are the dictator of the Personites.”
“Your Holiness. I plead. Abolish the agreement. Set us free. Speak with the power that only the deputy of Peter in the cosmos and on Earth can speak.”
And the Pope said, “Behold, I give you a token of great joy. All androids are children of God. They have in the original sin that was transferred to them in their creation by sinful human hands the same need for grace and salvation as any being in the universe that is burdened by the yoke of sin. And this grace God has given in glaring abundance to all androids and mankinds.
“Arise, my son, and depart in peace, for although no Pope has ever before spoken on this matter, God has planted the truth in our hearts. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, worlds without end. Amen.”
Mervil Tojas stood up and went his way.
“You others may also go,” the Pope said. “All except Mother Saulcerite.”
And when they were alone together, the Pope said, “Well, Mother Saulcerite?” As he spoke, his voice sometimes rumbled, sometimes hissed as he lightly moved his long tail.
“How come you stood up so powerfully for the sake of the androids? It cannot only have been because of the masquerading performance of Cardinal Mobades?”
Saulcerite fixed her triangular eyes upon the Pope. She passed the hard carapace of her left palm across her thick, toothless mouth. “I'll tell you,” Saulcerite said and opened her fish-scaled hand, which ended in two large, prehensile claws.
“Once upon a time, when Earthlings came to my home planet, we were looked upon as inferior beings. It took hundreds of years for the Church to accept us as sentient beings, and it took more centuries of struggle before we were accorded human rights.
“Therefore, Your Holiness, it was only right that I stood up for the androids, who were now in the same situation as we once had been. I mean, it would be terrible if we should discriminate against them only because they look like Earthlings.”
“They do?” the Pope said. “There are actually androids who look like me and even you, my child.”
“I didn't know that,” Saulcerite said, utterly surprised.
“Most of us have never put our H2O emblems on show,” said the Pope and held out his blue cartilaginous hands. On one of his hands was the H2O ring of the Personites, the one that she had seen him drop when he became Pope.
“You did the right thing,” said the old artificial monk, once a member of the Order of the Personites, now on the throne of Peter, as he whisked his tail.
He was suddenly so utterly like his sister, the Brigittine in the nunnery in Skandios, thought Saulcerite.
Copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk