Challenge #00627 - A262: What Maketh Man?

From the Wikipedia article on Personhood:
“If alien life were found to exist, under what circumstances would they be counted as "persons”? Do we have to consider any “willing and communicative (capable to register its own will) autonomous body” in the universe, no matter the species, an individual (a person)? Do they deserve equal rights with the human race?“

What the hell kind of question is that? Of course we should! Of course they do! The only time it’s debatable is when the species is some kind of hive mind, and each unit is not an individual but rather the group as a whole! Then, it’s the hive mind that is a person - they are PEOPLE! …why is this something that is worthy of debate?

[AN: This kind of debate is truly ironic when we count corporations as people and anyone brown or identifying female or both as not people at all]

The Cogniscent Rights Committee were having another debate on the nature of personhood.

"So what about the comatose?”

“Oh boy,” someone rolled their eyes.

“You find a member of a new species, but they’re comatose or otherwise impaired past the point of conversation. Then what?”

“There’d be other indications of cogniscent life. A ship. A bed.  You expect a new species to just randomly visit another planet and leave their comatose there? No culture would do that.”

“Wait two years. We’ll find a bunch of humans who do.”

One of the human members of the Committee blew a raspberry. “This is why we insist that exploration vessels are crewed with at least one Melil or some other variety of Esper useful to the mission. They can touch minds and try to find something. Even a comatose brain has memories.”

“Have any of them read a ‘cell’ from a hive mind?”

“That’s standard UFTP training. Yes.”

The restrained Counsellor from one of the least-poisonous Greater Deregulations was drumming his fingers.

“What if’n you got a law stoppin’ them from -ah- saying nothin’?”

“Sir, we’ve spoken to you about your planet’s antiquated policies of personhood. Your attendance on this council is meant to be educational - for you. This is so you can reform and revise those laws, not so you can find new loopholes in order to keep them.”

“Wimmin weren’t people when I was made, and I won’t reckonize them ‘till I’m cold in the ground!”

“Then you won’t mind exporting them all,” said the Representative of Meeyahn. “We’ll buy them from you wholesale. It should be quite a deal.”

“Lady Astrofi, the population of Greater Deregulation is already bottlenecked. Are you planning to create genocide by proxy?”

“I merely wish to educate,” she purred. “They would soon learn the value of females by their conspicuous absence.”

“This is not the forum for such a discussion. Negotiations with Greater Deregulation are still in process.”

Lady Astrofi gave a very feline growl.

The Chair tapped their info-tablet meaningfully. “Now. On to the matter of the Faiize. There have been a number of disturbing reports, but this found its way to my in-box this morning…”

The main screen lit up with video feed from a medbay. It looked like every mining station medbay the Galaxy over, but the contents were more interesting. A human medtech was facing down a silver Faiize with a dead Cleaner.

“Broken,” said the Faiize. “Doc fix.”

“I think it’s BSOD’d,” said another human, just inside pickup range.

The Faiize pointed at the cleaner. “Broken. Doc. Fix. Init!”

“Is it… giving me an order?” said the medtech.

Now the Faize pushed the medtech to the dead Cleaner. “Doc fix Cleaner. Init!”

“It is an order,” said the other human.

“Init! Hup hup! Moovit! Pronto! Stat!” Now it shoved the medtech’s hands onto the corpse. “DOC FIX!”

“I can’t fix dead,” the medtech argued.

Now it faced the other human. Its flat features twisted in pain. “Dave sez medbay fix. Need fix broken Cleaner.”

There was silence as the video ended. “This is not an isolated incident,” said the Chair. “I’ve done my homework on this, and there’s evidence that all the extant Faiize are this intelligent. The only question to be answered is, did Wave of the Future intend to make gengineered slaves?”

“I’d buy ‘em,” said the restrained Counsellor for Greater Deregulation.

Everyone else ignored him.

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