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Crisis on Asimov: Galileo
Analysis & Commentary by Dr. Sheila Ronis

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Benson and Yoshiko were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. They had two children, Anna and Peter, who were both born on Galileo. Anna was 8 years old, and Peter was 5. Yoshiko looked at Benson. She could tell he was thinking about work, but she was determined to talk about their daughter, Anna.

"You won't believe the conversation Anna and I had yesterday morning," Yoshiko said. "Anna asked me when she would see me. She was afraid I had forgotten that her concert was last night. I told her we would be there, even though we had holo-meetings scheduled."

"You must have reminded her that the PTV is programmed to take her there . . . she was there early, and the two of us weren't even late," said Benson.

"Of course," Yoshiko said, "and I promised we would be there on time. I don't think she was convinced though. It's just a good thing that our meetings ended soon enough. I wish we could be less busy. I worry that we aren't with the kids as much as we should be."

"Nonsense, the kids are fine." said Benson. "Besides, it's our anniversary. Can't we talk about something other than the kids and the PTVs for one night? You know I'm worried about the situation on Asimov. I know you're working on the environmental impact statement of what will happen if PTVs become drivable. What do you think?"

"I think," said Yoshiko, "that there are other forces at work in this situation. I can't put my finger on it. Call it woman's intuition. But, something else is going on. Maybe a power struggle of some kind."

"I wonder." Benson just thought. It was hard enough to understand why anyone would want to drive a PTV anyway.

Each day, Benson, Yoshiko and the kids travel around in their own PTVs. The PTVs are already programmed for work and school and can have special adjustments for special events like a concert at school or an in-person meeting at an office. The vehicles travel to the school on the station and Benson goes to the spaceport to commute to his office, an Earth orbiting satellite at the electronics plant, like most manufacturing complexes. It rotates to generate gravitational forces emulating those of Earth, like Galileo, itself. That way, people can commute from Earth or any other Earth-like dwelling place without physical side effects from a change in gravitation. The commute occurs under zero-gee conditions and takes about an hour. This is the time everyday when Benson looks at his schedule to prepare and plan out the day's activities. Yoshiko works mostly from her office at home so she can be near the kids if she's needed. But, when she needs to do experiments, she works in the Galileo Environmental Laboratory. She also travels to places all over the solar system to collect data for her work.

Yoshiko wasn't ready to give up on the conversation, "Peter and Anna are both upset that we have to spend so much more time in holo-meetings and PTVs than we get to spend with them on the important things." Yoshiko sighed, "I guess that's the way its always been for working parents."

Benson shrugged his shoulders saying, "I guess so. But you know kids are never satisfied. First, they want their own PTVs, then they want holo-programs, com systems and digitizers. Before you know it, their neuron paths are addicted to the web games, and it gets tougher and tougher to bring them back to reality. What's this new generation coming to?"

Yoshiko smiled. "Benson, if I remember correctly you played your fair share of net games when you were young and you turned out all right."

Benson looked at Yoshiko and changed the subject, "Honey, do you remember Jim Swenson from the plant? He was telling me about this new technology everybody has been talking about. It's a material grown from biomass. It's really smart. Apparently, it doesn't just remember it's shape, it actually repairs itself; heals itself. Jim says the Chinese organized crime syndicate, the triads, are trying to control the material."

Yoshiko looked worried. "Triads. That doesn't sound good for us at IBM."

"No, it isn't," Benson said, "Are you ready? Let's e-pay and get going." She nodded, as he put their pay-card in the slot provided for scanning.

Yoshiko smiled, "You know it always amazes me that the food here at Chez Pierre is just as good as the best restaurants in Paris, even though all the plants are grown in hydroponic gardens, here on the station." He nodded agreeing, "Well Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart."

"Happy Anniversary Benson", Yoshiko smiled. They hadn't finished their discussion about the kids, but she didn't really question that Benson loved his family. What still worried her was their discussion of Asimov, and the apparent increasing role of the Triads.

Crisis on Asimov : Chapter Four : Luna


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