Among the inventory items Dad lists for Dr. LT Leidsdorf at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Livermore Lab, two are dead giveaways: the dialysis machine—used to filter impurities and re-circulate nutritional fluids; and Perflubron—an inert synthetic liquid capable of carrying more oxygen than ordinary blood. Both, though passé presently, would have been essential for a pioneer in ectogenesis. Stuyvesant, beyond a doubt, was attempting to create an artificial womb; several artificial wombs, judging from the number of devices and units his company requisitioned.

"We're talking twenty-two plus years ago? With this equipment? Unlikely. No; impossible to succeed."

"You’re sure?"

Dr. Leidsdorf takes another scroll through the lengthy invoices.

"Unless he knew back then... No; still implausible. Like every onset of a relatively new science, ectogenetic research produced more problems than it solved. The more we try to replicate human processes the more complex we find them. Tamperers—early ones especially—did more harm than good. As for Bio-Waste Anonymous, I see these receipts, but I don’t recall signing any contracts. Not personally. Whoever placed such orders, I suspect, moved on long ago. These days, biogenetic effluvium, fetal or otherwise, is disposed of onsite—with nowhere near the fanatical hullabaloo from retro right-to-lifers. Times, thank..."


"...thank those with real-world intelligence, have appreciably changed."

Dad, none too certain that contemporary ethos is a bona fide improvement over antiquated Scripture, keeps his "retro" viewpoint to himself.

"Well, ‘twas good of you to set me straight on this vintage paraphernalia. I won’t be wasting any more of your time. Thank you. Thank you, kindly."

Dad shakes hands with the eminent synthegeneticist then heads back through Secure-Zone (his every organ scanned, his every orifice supersonically probed, identity checked and cross-checked, clearance chip revoked, privacy thoroughly violated as a matter of routine security). Retrieving his accoutrements (and compromised dignity) he is permitted to take his leave.