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“Look!” says Senji. “Pegasi!” He points eagerly to where the creatures are swooping and soaring around one end of a rainbow.

Hawthorne snorts. “Crude creatures,” he says. “Ungainly air-wallowers! Nothing like my helicorns!”

“But those, ah,” says Senji, “didn’t those tend to–”

“So they decapitated a few test riders,” snaps Hawthorne. “So what? Grist for the fodder! There are risks to any great invention, and now I know them. My new hanging-basket contrivance solves all that–just you wait and see!”

Senji is watching, later, as Hawthorne–in that very basket–learns the hard way that helicorns don’t come house-trained.


“A zero-one-infinity problem,” Senji repeats flatly.

“Yes!” Hawthorne is trying to be suave in a smoking jacket, but he ruins it by vibrating with enthusiasm. “White wine has no contact with the grapeskins, blush wine has minimal contact, and red wine has full. But if you have grapeskins, why use the flesh of the grape at all? I give you–black wine!

He whips off a velvet cover, revealing a bottle with a masking-tape label and two half-full goblets. Senji picks up one of them and tilts it; the purple sludge inside doesn’t move.

“Man, you have terrible ideas,” he says.


“Can’t you see it?” demands Hawthorne, waving the flashlight in their faces. The flashlight’s not switched on, but it has googly eyes stuck to it.

“It has googly eyes stuck to it,” says Senji.

“More than that!” Hawthorne hisses. “When you look at it, you look at the eyes, don’t you? Can’t you feel it? The application of the eyes has given it spirit, person, anima! I’ve found the secret, Senji!”

“The secret,” Senji says flatly.

“The secret to my creation, Senji!” Hawthorne rears up in wild glee, and lightning crashes behind him. “The secret of artificial life!”

He’s wrong, though.