Monday, September 13, 2010

The Giesha

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright December 2009

The setting is a small classroom in the future -- 2110, to be exact. There are six students and a teacher, and the class is on Parenting Fundamentals. These students are learning how to raise children.

This is a time when the human population on Earth has declined to seven billion from a peak of nine billion in 2050. This decline has happened mostly because Earth's humans are now 90% urban and properous -- quite a flip-flop from the 90% rural and poor that was the state of humanity in 1900. And, as has been the case since the beginning of cities, urban and prosperous people have so many other interesting things to spend time on that child-raising is not done enough to keep the population stable.

Some people of 2110 cheer this state of steady decline, but others are worried and want the population to stablize. Adding interesting wrinkles to this issue, there are now many new ways to make babies!
In this class setting the students are watching a video about the latest surprise in baby-making technology. ...

Cindy's Story 

-- Start of video --

My name is Mi-Sang0110, but my friends call me Cindy. I'm sixteen years old, and I'm a sophomore at Venice Finishing Academy. I am training to become a PAA for Mr. Jules Tipton, a wealthy man who is now 93 years old.

A PAA is a Personal Android Assistant. I am made of flesh and bone and blood, but I'm not human. I was created and raised. I spent my first two months in a cow's uterus, then I was moved to an incubating vat until I was ten months old, then I was "born" and came into the care of the Venice Finishing Academy.

When we were born there were ten in our class -- Mr. Tipton was supporting all ten of us. Mr. Tipton visits us regularly. He watches us, plays with us and teaches us -- we know him, and he knows us. He knows us well enough to make choices, and those of us who did not please him for one reason or another were moved into different programs. Now there are only three in our class, but our time living at the academy is nearing completion. We will continue training, but we will move into Mr. Tipton's house and begin serving him.

We will begin to do what we were created to do, serve him, night and day, and I'm looking forward to that. I have been trained to sing and dance, cook and keep house, talk and cuddle. When I am around, Mr. Tipton will be happy, and I will help him lose his stress.

I am mostly human, but if you listen to my chest, you will hear only my breathing, no thump, thump. My flesh heart had a defect and was removed -- listen to my abdomen and you will hear the soft whine of my mechanical replacement. All PAA's have an organ replacement. We can become PAA's only if we are born with a life-threatening defect, and we are saved. In the eyes of the law, this makes us recycled biomaterial, and therefore not human, and subject to a different set of laws.

Few humans want to act like PAA's. Even when they do, the laws make it difficult. A woman cannot give herself completely to a man. She can say she wants to, and she can act like she wants to, but if she changes her mind, the law will support her change of mind, and the man she has given herself to can suffer great loss when she does. This can't happen with a PAA.

So, we are expensive, but, like all human creations, we fill a need that humans can't fill as well as we can.

I have a uterus, and I have ovaries, and they are fully functional. I may have a heart defect, but my genes are some of the finest humans can design.

Mr. Tipton wants me to have babies. He's told me so. He wants me to have many babies, and he will help me make them. This is part of what I will do as a PAA. As a PAA, I will make Mr. Tipton happy any way he wants me to.

I like Mr. Tipton. He's old, but his hands are strong, and he's gentle when he touches me. He touches me and Cathy and Sarah a lot. When he comes to watch us and teach us, we end the sessions with back rubs and massages. He touches us, and we touch him. Soon, he says, he will touch me in a new way, and then my tummy will swell and I will have a baby.

I will take care of it, and feed it, and it will be a human baby, a real human baby, not a PAA like me. It will be a human child of Mr. Tipton's. He and I will both be very happy.

I have to go now, class starts again soon, and Mr. Tipton will be there!

-- End of video --

"What have we just seen?" I [Melanie] ask my class.

Adrian Messenger answers quickly, "A geisha... Korean I would judge by her features."

"Good, and what is a geisha?"

"She describes herself pretty well in the video. A high tech plaything for rich old men."

"Do we have them in the US?"

"Not many... yet."

"Anyone else like to contribute?"

"They aren't human. They look human, but they aren't human," It was Annette Bushkov. She didn't look happy about what she had seen, "I'd heard of them, but this is my first time seeing one," She paused before saying this next part, "According to my community leaders, they are an abomination."

Bob Hosker jumped in, "The jury is still out on that here in the US, isn't it. They are in the news, now, and there are a lot of people unhappy with the PAA concept. The People Firsters are carrying the torch, but there's a lot of average women who seem to be backing them up."

"Where are they legal?" I ask.

Jaden Larkins jumped in, "The concept started in Japan. That's why they got the geisha moniker. It's not surprising, Japan is one of the 'grayest' places in the world. Those old Japanese men wanted better play toys, but their culture frowns on immigrants."

"Can we have them in the US?"

Jaden frowned, "There are no laws yet, one way or the other. So, you can have them... now... but there's no telling what their status will be here in the future. They could be declared human, they could be declared things, they could be granted their own status somewhere in between... that's what's happened to them in Japan.

"If they turn out to be things, then killing one is simply destruction of property. Here in the US, this problem looks a lot like the slavery problem did before the Civil War."

Then Jaden stopped talking, and blushed a bit. We had all been kind of looking at Jaden for a while. He was usually so shy, but all this came out of him easily. I thought it was great to see that happen.

--The End-- 

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