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A USED POPE

Dreamed Christmas 1983 by Chris Wayan


My friend Rydra has been shopping for a used starship. She comes over yelling excitedly "I found a great bargain! It's an old ship, it doesn't have a standard nav system... Instead it has a genuine used Pope!"

Oh, I've heard about that. The church these days is shrinking--and always broke. So when Popes die, they're flash-frozen and sold, factory-fresh, to discriminating buyers at high prices. Add sensors and a decoding system, and their brains become oracles. Papal infallibility at the push of a button--the ultimate starship navigation tool! Well worth the extra weight of the glass case with a frosty patriarch inside.

Since they're infallible, starship lines hang on to them. Popesicles never go out of style! So, used ones are vanishingly rare. Rydra's a genius to land such a deal. I have to applaud her.

Except deep in my heart I don't like it. Not this particular deal, the whole idea. Call me a Luddite, but personally, I don't trust infallibility. Or, for that matter, cryonics--what if the guy thaws? Uggh! When I go interstellar, give me a nice clean old-fashioned terahertz.

NOTES IN THE MORNING



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