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By Lois McMaster Bujold

Our hero is a quiet, upstanding citizen of Athos, an obstetrician in an international within which replica is conducted completely through uterine replicator, with out the help of dwelling girls. He faces an issue: the 200-year-old cultures are usually not supplying eggs the way in which they used to, and makes an attempt to reserve replacements via mail have failed catastrophically.

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Then raid them for ovarian fabric and, er, start back. " there has been a revolted silence round the desk. The chairman gave the look of a guy sucking on a lemon. The member from Barca shrank in his seat. The chairman spoke eventually. "We're no longer that determined but. even though it will be good to have spoken what others would definitely ponder ultimately. " "It don't need to be public knowledge," the Barca guy provided. "I should still wish not," agreed the chairman dryly. "The risk is famous. participants will mark this component of the checklist categorised. yet I indicate, for all, that this idea doesn't tackle the opposite, perennial challenge confronted by way of this Council, and Athos: preserving genetic kind. It had now not pressed on our generation-until now-but all of us knew it needed to be confronted sooner or later. " His tones grew extra mellow. "We will be shirking our obligations to disregard it now and permit or not it's dumped on our grandsons within the type of a problem. " there has been a murmur of reduction round the desk, as good judgment competently propped emotional conviction. Even the junior member from Barca appeared happier. "Quite. " "Exactly. " "Just so-" "Better to kill chickens with one stone, if we can-" "Immigration might help," installed one other member, who doubled, one week a yr, as Athos's division of Immigration and Naturalization. "If shall we get a few. " "How many immigrants got here in this year's send? " requested the guy throughout from him. "Three. " "Hell. Is that an rock bottom? " "No, 12 months prior to final there have been purely . And years earlier than that there were not any. " The Immigration guy sighed. "By rights we should be flooded with refugees. probably the Founding Fathers have been simply too thorough approximately picking out a planet clear of all of it. I occasionally wonder whether someone available in the market has heard folks. " "Maybe the data is suppressed, by way of, you know-them. " "Maybe the lads attempting to get listed below are became away at Kline Station, " opined Deroches. "Maybe just a couple of are allowed to trickle in. " "It's true," agreed the immigration guy, "the ones we do get are typically a little-well-strange. " "No ask yourself, contemplating they're all items of that, uh, stressful genesis. no longer their fault. " The chairman tapped the desk back. "We shall proceed this later. we're agreed, then, to pursue our first collection of an off-planet offer of cultured tissue-" Ethan, nonetheless fuming, steamed into speech. "Sirs! you are not deliberating going again to these scalpers-" Desroches pulled him firmly again into his seat. "From a few extra respected source," the chairman complete easily, with a wierd examine Ethan. now not disapproval; a type of smiling, silky smugness. "Gentlemen delegates? " A murmur of approval rose round the desk. "The ayes have it; it's so moved. i believe we additionally agree to not make an analogous mistake two times; not more sight-unseen purchases. It follows that we needs to now select an agent. Dr. Desroches? " Desroches stood. "Thank you, Mr. Chairman. i've got, given a few concept to this challenge. in fact, the fitting deciding to buy agent needs to firstly have the technical knowledge to guage, pick out, package deal, and shipping the cultures.

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