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Little Fuzzy

XII
Ben Rainsford went back to Beta Continent, and Gerd van Riebeek remained in
Mallorysport. The constabulary at Post Fifteen had made steel chopper-diggers for their
Fuzzies, and reported a gratifying abatement of the land-prawn nuisance. They also made
a set of scaled-down carpenter tools, and their Fuzzies were building themselves a house
out of scrap crates and boxes. A pair of Fuzzies showed up at Ben Rainsford’s camp, and
he adopted them, naming them Flora and Fauna.
Everybody had Fuzzies now, and Pappy Jack only had Baby. He was lying on the floor of
the parlor, teaching Baby to tie knots in a piece of string. Gus Brannhard, who spent most
of the day in the office in the Central Courts building which had been furnished to him as
special prosecutor, was lolling in an armchair in red-and-blue pajamas, smoking a cigar,
drinking coffee—his whisky consumption was down to a couple of drinks a day—and
studying texts on two reading screens at once, making an occasional remark into a
stenomemophone. Gerd was at the desk, spoiling notepaper in an effort to work
something out by symbolic logic. Suddenly he crumpled a sheet and threw it across the
room, cursing. Brannhard looked away from his screens.
“Trouble, Gerd?”
Gerd cursed again. “How the devil can I tell whether Fuzzies generalize?” he demanded.
“How can I tell whether they form abstract ideas? How can I prove, even, that they have
ideas at all? Hell’s blazes, how can I even prove, to your satisfaction, that I think
consciously?”
“Working on that idea I mentioned?” Brannhard asked.
“I was. It seemed like a good idea but….”
“Suppose we go back to specific instances of Fuzzy behavior, and present them as
evidence of sapience?” Brannhard asked. “That funeral, for instance.”
“They’ll still insist that we define sapience.”
The communication screen began buzzing. Baby Fuzzy looked up disinterestedly, and
then went back to trying to untie a figure-eight knot he had tied. Jack shoved himself to
his feet and put the screen on. It was Max Fane, and for the first time that he could
remember, the Colonial Marshal was excited.
“Jack, have you had any news on the screen lately?”
“No. Something turn up?”
 
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