54. A good old fashioned data dump

“Those someones include your grandson, my coworker Jesse, and a whole bunch of other people I can’t talk to you about.”

Michel continued.

“Of course, please add to the total of all the humans I’m s’posed to keep alive — after the collapse of civilization and you fuckers all starting to eat each other — all of our previous clients, which is flattering, but there’s only one of me and I take time off to bang Kima, plus I do like to see my ma once in a while, so if people are going to be assholes someone else is going to pick up the slack, and that means we’re gonna have to be extra squishy cozy with the cops.  I fucking hate cops. So George here —“ and he slapped him to produce that strangely metallic, echoic ringing sound Sixers get when they strike each other ‘just so’ — “when he’s first telling me his plan and he described that one of the first things he was gonna do was suborn the cops, I think to myself  — where’s he gonna get that kind of money? To be honest I think judges are mostly scumbags, too, but I’m willing, since George speaks so highly of you, to cut you some slack. Oh, I nearly forgot I’m also supposed to help plan out how to secure the city from possible air attacks without actually advising the Canadian Forces to fatten up their local presence, not that an angry gnat couldn’t fart them out of the sky.”

Cy found that he had no response to this he could trust, and said nothing. 

Michel unlooped his arm.

He said, “If you want to meet other Sixers, don’t bother.  Me, Kima, George and Hermes are the only ones who’ve either lived human or committed to the plan.”

George broke in. “Seriously, Cy, you don’t want to meet my grandmother.”

“Or that little shit Theo. I hope you’re keeping tabs on that asshole, I don’t want him in Vancouver,” Michel said.

“Another of Kima’s suitors?” Cy said, raising his eyebrows delicately.

George gave a small cough.  “He would like to think so.  It is Kima’s decision of course, and Michel and I have no say in her choices.”

Cy raised his eyebrows even higher. “I doubt that, somehow. Well, Michel, now that George is getting what he wants from you except your agreement not to whinge, will you join us for our information update?”

“I don’t like meetings,” Michel said. “But I wouldn’t mind finding out why George thinks you’re so special.”

Cy laughed. “I’m not special. I’m available. And I know a lot of important people.”

“First up,” George said, shifting his tone and asserting control.

“Citizenship,” said Cy, obediently.

Michel continued his freestyle kibitzing. “What? Why even bother with that?” Michel said. “From a cultural standpoint it would be regressive to ask Canada for citizenship. We are citizens of the world.”

“Nope,” Cy said.

“Sure we are,” Michel said.

“What you are, my glabrous new friend, is an animal. You have no legal protection whatsoever.  You are not a person, and therefore you have no rights.”

“Most people don’t think that way,” Michel said, frowning. “Like, anybody who meets me. And I got three hairs,” he added, since he hadn’t enjoyed being called hairless.

“If I shot you in the doorway of my house, to give an unlikely but instructive example, and you died, which I understand is very unlikely indeed, I’d face no legal consequences except under sections 86 and 87 of the Criminal Code of Canada.”

“Horseshit,” Michel said comfortably. “The secret police would jail you for years for shooting an alien, on slapped-together charges. There are no civil rights left in this country anyway.”

“Firearms stuff,” George said. He’d memorized the CCC, since the app worked too slowly for his agile mind, and there was no proper search function.

“Wish I’d had your memory when I was in school,” Cy said, “And ever since, as well,” he added with mild envy. He tried to resume his lecture, and as he took a breath, Michel broke in again.

“Can’t you just make Sixers a protected species?” Michel asked. “I thought that could happen with an Order-in-Council.”

“It’s not good enough,” George said. “However cute a beluga is it can’t own property, intellectual or otherwise, or transfer it, or bank, or get a drivers licence, or any of that.”

“Can’t get sued, either,” Michel said, trying to find the bright spot.

“Is he like this all the time?” Cy asked George.

“Sometimes I’m horny, rather than talkative.  It’s better than violent and inconvenient,” Michel said. He reverted to his human appearance, and with relief, George joined him.

“You’re trying to rattle me,” Cy said.

“No, I’m done trying that,” Michel said. “I still don’t understand why George thinks you’re a Rosetta Stone with an Antikythera device on top.”

“He likes me.”

“Oh, pshaw,” Michel said. “George likes everybody.”

“I said I’d help him before he asked.”

“Humans help each other to the point of death every damned day.”

“Why don’t you try asking George?” Cy said, the anger resurfacing.

“Where’s the fun in that when I can get you going? Okay, I’ll bite.  George, why him?”

“Because Conspirator Zero told me to.”

“What?” Michel and Cy said simultaneously.

There was a long pause.

“I was under the strong impression that you researched me for a long time before you approached me,” Cy said, keeping his voice cold and quiet.

“I was given your number by a man who met you twice, once in civvies and once for court,” George said.

“Christ, that could be about a hundred thousand people,” Cy said, baffled.

“Well then — I imagine his identity will stay secure. I can’t even tell you why I can’t tell you who he is.  Or was.  He’s dead now.”