In the slightly-paraphrased words of Robert Heinlein...

If need be, a human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization of role is for insects, not people.


“Was he serious?” said Rael. “What happened to the people that didn’t fit these qualifications?”

“It’s amazin’ how many o’ these ye qualify for wi’out knowin’ it,” said Shayde. “Butcherin’s no’ that hard, ye ken.”

“Tube meat exists for a reason.”

“Aye, but if yer stuck somewhere wi’ nowt but yer wits? Anyway. It all boils down tae th’ Cogniscent Rights qualifications f’ cogniscence.”

Rael put down his fork, trying to think. “I’m sorry, I missed that leap of illogic…”

“Care fer young, fight fer home, obtain nutrition, navigate home, plan a home, communicate, perform basic math, exhibit knowledge of construction, exhibit knowledge of elementary medical care, exhibit compassion, show understanding, show willingness tae communicate, show independance, exhibit knowledge of higher math, exhibit adaptability, exhibit knowledge of hygiene, exhibit understanding of technology, treat nutrition, fight for self, and understand mortality.”

Rael ran it through, counting on his fingers. “All right, but that sample is admittedly mixed. Some of those are qualifyers for children, and some are relative intelligence testers.”

“Echo ‘hello world’, EOF,” said Shayde. “Th’ program doesnae have t’ be complicated.“

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