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Self Configuring Modular Robot (Chapter Cover)

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Chapter 43 - Self Configuring Modular Robot[]


"...so I don't get it, why is your sister being difficult about...

...this?" Victor Steiner-Davion asked.

"What, you mean breaking up with your little brother and heading home?" Henry Ngo handed Victor a Karma-Kola from the vending machine. "Alright, It's a family thing. You know how Mariks all have that funny lower-lip thing going, or how Kurita always seems to have their eyes spaced just a little bit wide?"

"Uh, not really no."

"Okay, bad example. How about how the Liaos always seem to end up crazy as a shithouse rat?"

"Right..."

"Okay, my family didn't get the nifty 'insanity' gene, or the funny lower-lip gene, or six fingers or something. We got a genetic failure state that pops up something like a thousand times more often than the general population, and it's been dogging our line since old Elbar Stakes himself, Tranh Truk Ngo-you know, the Impaler of Elbar. It's nasty, it's heritable, and so far we've kinda staved off being extinct, but it turns up in the family-and this one's why you don't see lots of long-term genetic research being done, because it originated with a ******-up at the Interasian Genetic Medicine Project in Hanoi right around 2105. The Star League tried tackling it, they failed. The Hegemony failed. Every government in the Inner Sphere has had one project or another going off-and-on for the last seven centuries, all failed."

"So it's a tough one to crack." Victor shrugged, "I don't get it."

"There's been so much research over the last seven hundred years, that a doctor can peg her lifespan to within about four years." Henry continued, nodding to Magritte Luvon, a Fellow Sophomore as they walked over to the Student Union area. "With me so far?? we've got all kinds of data, nobody's come up with a treatment. It's one of the six 'incurables' we all know about. Lizzie's smart, she weighs risk and reward better than I do, maybe only Pat has a better grasp of what folks might call 'common sense'." He sat down on a bench, and Victor joined him, finally opening the soft-drink.

"She doesn't think that we can succeed." Victor mused, "Does she?"

"My little sister's smart, she's good at computing odds." Henry told him, "Last visit she kicked my ass at blackjack and I was counting cards. she wins strategy games with Patrick, used to win them against Granddad. I wouldn't bet she's wrong, is what I'm saying...well, not normally. I'm more sentimental than she is."

"How do you figure that?"

"Because I want your mom to make her try." Henry stated, "I would try to make her try, if I thought it would work-but I want her to keep talking to me, so I hold my peace." he took a sip of his own drink. "She's hard like our Grandfather was hard, so I'm kinda at a loss to figure out an approach that will work."

Victor contemplated what Henry was really saying. "She's being stubborn?"

"Family trait." Henry said, "I'm probably the second most reasonable one of the bunch, but Liz has zero give if she thinks she's right. You gotta prove there's a chance or she's not going to play, and Pat won't make her and I can't make her."

"and Patrick won't because..?"

"Because he's smarter than I am." Henry said, "I've been the one in the family who takes stupid risks without having a decent plan, as you found out last exercise."

"I think they're still cursing you in the 'mechbay, you're not supposed to do that in a Chameleon." Victor agreed.

"Yeah...well, if they didn't want me to do that, they shouldn't have given it ducting for simulating other design's heat signatures" Henry shrugged, "or given it feet I can kick with. It's only a few hundred thousand Kroner in damage anyway, and Karl got a valuable lesson in being a dick before an operation...you coming to the fights tonight?"

"Yeah, I'm bringing a date." Victor told him.

"Ex-cellent, my bro." Henry's tone dripped with the vernacular of Mandaoaarau. "Lecker even" he added using a fake New Capetown.

"It's not who you think." Victor said defensively.

"Eh, 'sallright." Henry said, checking his chronometer. "Break's almost over."


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