Conversation room, in another time-frame. (We’ll be back to the one already in progress.)
Leo in one chair, played by Macy. In a chair facing him, a figure that would be about three feet tall if it were standing. It is wearing a bright red tight-fitting jumpsuit sort of outfit. It’s skin is white. It has a round, cartoonish but still fairly realistic face, and an afro-like tuft of bright blue hair. Leo is looking at the androgynous butler-like person standing beside the chair in which the red white and blue figure sits.
“It’s a what?”
“A drone, sir.” Leo decides to think of the butler as Jeeves. “It was assumed that there would be a widespread appreciation within the selfsystem for the multivocity of the word ‘drone.’”
“So it’s going to drone at me.” No response. Leo looks back at the drone. “And it’s obviously supposed to look like a Thing.”
“A Thing, sir?”
“As in Thing One and Thing Two. Are we going to play ‘Up Up Up With The Fish’?”
Jeeves remains impassive. “Drones are specifically designed to be flexible in appearance, depending on both the character of their dilation and on the conversational context.”
Leo looks at Jeeves again. “Their dilation?”
“Yes sir. In lay terms, the dilation of a drone is its care-focus, so to speak—the particular area of your care or concern that the drone has been fabricated to represent.”
Leo reflects on this a bit, then smiles. “So the meaning of its being is care!”
“I suppose you could say that, sir.” Jeeves has not read Heidegger.
“And you said this program is experimental?”
“It is, sir. You should feel free to let it be known at any point if you are unhappy, for any reason, with any drones that are provided for you.”
“Drones. How many of them will there be?”
“That has not been firmly established. We honestly do not know the probability of success of this program. You were told that before you agreed to it, correct?”
“Sure, yeah. So I just talk to this thing?”
“Basically. You will find that conversation with it is not exactly… mm… normal, but it will be conversation.”
“So I’m some kind of facet of a self, having a conversation with some facet of my self. This could become an infinite regression, you know.”
“That is a possibility, sir.” Leo wonders if there is such a thing as intraselfsystemic Oscars; if so, this guy has Best Supporting Officiousness nailed.
“How will this program be evaluated?”
“It will be evaluated by you, sir.”
Leo’s eyebrows go up. “According to what criteria?”
Jeeves blinks. “That is up to you, sir.”
“The number of drones will vary from session to session?”
Jeeves blinks again. “We have not operationalized the individuation of ‘sessions’ ahead of time. That also is up to you. My understanding is that the number of drones may vary at any time.”
“Is anyone else besides me experimenting with these?”
“Not at this time, sir.”
Leo stares at the drone. All along, it has been staring at him with a grin on its face. “Will it answer procedural questions, like I’m asking you?”
“I believe so, sir.”
“All right, that should be all for now.”
“Very good, sir.” Jeeves bows slightly, turns, and walks out of the room and down the hallway.
“So do you have a name, drone?”
“Why not ‘Thing One’?” Its voice is monotonous and unremarkable, but the smile remains.
“Are you male or female?”
Leo sighs, moves his Bible from his right hand to his left, and opens it.