This section covers a revelation by Undepoldus.
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Marita, George, Kerstin and Undepoldus stayed at L5 until the 12th of July.
Undepoldus had conquered most of his slipping feeling but was glad to get back to Earth.
When George checked him the next day he was six metres long and weighed 147 kilos. He was getting too big to fit into the cabin that he and Marita normally shared with Kerstin. It was agreed that the connecting door to Kerstin's cabin should be left open so that he could stretch out more comfortably. An entrance for him was created in the transporter loading bay but George knew that soon Undepoldus would be too big to go anywhere in the Spacer's Club. It was already beginning to be difficult to supply him with enough rocks in the Club.
The first of the planned extensions to Undepoldus House had been completed while George was at L5 but he thought that the second extension would be required sooner than he had imagined.
The return of Undepoldus to Regent's Park attracted a lot of publicity. More visitors arrived and were astounded by his size. Undepoldus himself had realised that his days of being George's close companion would soon be over. He was too big to use the passenger strips now and could not be carried by a single person. He talked with George about the problems that they had had and how they had been solved and what other ways might have been used to solve them.
The days passed uneventfully until Monday 27th July.
Undepoldus said. "George, I can feel that I am changing.
I am growing more whiskers. It is strange. Somehow I can see you
more clearly and I think that I will soon be able to talk to you
without the processor. Other things are happening to me that I
cannot explain properly. It almost seems that I am more than one
identity. My capacity to hold several conversations at once is
changing so that they are not all parts of one conversation. They
are becoming more separated. I am still the basic me as I have
always understood myself but there is this feeling that there
are new, other parts of me that can almost work on their own.
I cannot understand this change yet. It is almost like I am growing
children inside myself but these children have no bodies. Have
you got any ideas about these changes?"
George studied Undepoldus closely and said. "Undepoldus, as you know, I do not know what you really are. I can understand some things about your make up but others continue to mystify me. Your improved vision must be due to the fact that your original whiskers have grown bigger as you have grown bigger and therefore cannot resolve fine detail as well as they could when you were smaller. The new whiskers are smaller and do not have to carry your weight or provide protection but otherwise work like your original whiskers. I would guess that you will continue to grow new whiskers to keep your sharpness of vision at a reasonable level. The multiple versions of you that you think of in a way as children remind me of several forms of life on Earth."
Undepoldus said. "I can see the logic about my improved vision George. I had not noticed that it was not as sharp as it was when I was small until my new whiskers started to work. Can you tell me about the other Earth creatures that you were thinking of?"
George said. "I can start with myself. My nerve connections work relatively slowly. It takes around a twentieth of a second for a stimulus on my foot to reach my brain. It takes around the same time for a return signal to reach my foot. When it does, I feel the sensation of the stimulus. This time is too long for some things to happen. My evolution has provided an answer for semi-autonomous reactions that need a much shorter processing time. At the base of my spinal column there is a concentration of nerves that acts in some ways like my brain. The clump of nerves has no consciousness but it can control the way my legs work. It sends signals to adjust my leg muscles to control how I walk. It can also learn how to provide control for activities like cycling and skating. Some people learn to walk on tightropes and achieve amazing balancing feats because this little brainlike set of nerve cells can be trained to respond appropriately. We know from fossil records that very large animals like the dinosaurs had larger spaces for this sort of nerve complex. For them it was essential to be able to sense and respond to things that happened at their rear ends more quickly than would be possible if their brains did all the control work. We have no reason to believe that a dinosaur's nerves worked any faster than mine do. As you have become so long and will soon be even longer, you will need a secondary and maybe more nerve control centres to handle things along your length. It is therefore logical to me that your extra brains could be more conscious extensions of the idea that I have described."
Undepoldus said. "You continue to amaze me George. I had learned all these facts from the processor but I was not able to connect them with myself. You have connected them in such a way that the result is so logical that it is almost obvious. Since I am a biological entity, I can presume that my senses work in a comparable way to yours. If my nerves work at the same speed as yours, my sensations from side to side will be almost instantaneous while those from end to end will take a significant time. I can see that I will need to have fast responses all along my length and one central processing centre could not work efficiently enough. That solves one problem but I cannot understand why I need multiple sets of consciousness."
George said. "I cannot find a simple answer for that now Undepoldus. It did occur to me that your multiple brains have a similar function to mine. Mine is in two parts. One part deals with one sort of activity and the other deals with the rest. My left brain is the major controller because I am right-handed. However, there are some people who have had one side of their brains damaged and they can eventually learn to use the other side for jobs that the injured side used to do. This is less efficient than the original but can enable people to lead more useful lives than if this facility was not available. I do not know why you have so many extra brains but it may be possible that your creators thought that you could be injured and need them. As you are convinced that you were created, your creators must have had a purpose for all your facilities."
Undepoldus said. "I am very much aware of that fact George. However, I continue to wonder what I will be like when I am bigger. I hope that I do not lose the close friendliness that you have shown me since I was small."
"You have no need to worry about that my friend. I will always be with you as long as you want me."
It was on Thursday the 30th July that Undepoldus broke some important news to George. He said. "George, I can now talk to you without the aid of a processor. I trust that you can understand me OK."
George was amazed because the voice that Undepoldus produced was his own. As far as he could tell it was exactly like recordings he had heard of himself speaking. He said. "Undepoldus, I understand that you can imitate my voice perfectly but It would confuse others if they were involved in the conversation."
Undepoldus answered using Marita's voice. "Is that any better George?"
George said. "I am glad that you have a sense of humour Undepoldus. I realised that you could imitate sounds the day that the air-conditioning failed. You may have done it unconsciously then but it is good to know that you can consciously control it so well."
Undepoldus said in Anita's voice. "I do not know how I do it. I just think of someone I know when I start to speak and I find that I can speak like they do. I understand that it would be better if I spoke like somebody you did not know. Then that voice would be my voice for you. I will select a voice from the vidcom entertainment channels that I hope you will find acceptable. You said that you knew that I could imitate sounds accurately when I was smaller. I was not aware of that. Can you tell me what you discovered?"
George said. "Processor, display the spectra called for on the twenty second of June and repeat the verbal analysis."
The processor answered. 'The two spectra are similar. The second spectrum is lower than the first spectrum at 50Hz by 0.9 decibels and lower than the first spectrum at 100Hz by 2.4 decibels. In all other respects the two spectra are identical. '
George said. "Undepoldus, the noise you made was very quiet indeed. I could only just hear it. The noise you made sounded to me like the air-conditioning system but very much quieter. I asked the processor to compare the sound you made and the sound that the airconditioner usually makes. Your sound was an exact match for the airconditioner but for some motor noise. The air-conditioning motor had failed. You made the sound that the air-conditioning would make if it could have worked without a motor. It was curious to me why you had made the sound that way."
Undepoldus said in a British midlands accent. "It was something that I was not aware of. I did know that I had mentally blocked anything you said to the processor until you asked it if I could talk. It seems that I am learning more about myself every day."
"Are there any particular sounds that you like?"
"I like the sounds of some sorts of music. You humans obviously like music because it is almost always present on the vidcom channels. The music I like best is what you call classical music as composed by people like Beethoven and Vivaldi. I also like a lot of the strange sort of music that you call jazz. I am impressed by the way some humans have voices that sound like musical instruments although most of them use other languages than English. If you like I will reproduce a little of one of the pieces of music that I got from the processor recently."
Then in the quiet of Undepoldus House it was suddenly filled
with the sound of Max Bruch's violin concerto. Undepoldus was
not only reproducing the music but George could hear that the
individual instruments sounded as if they were in the same positions
as they would be in at a concert.
When Undepoldus finished the excerpt, George gave him a few claps of applause.
Undepoldus said nothing but then there was the sound of Fats
Waller playing the piano. Then George heard the voice of Fats
singing "When somebody thinks you're wonderful" to the
It was as if Fats Waller was in the room. There was none of the scratchiness or distortion that George remembered from reproductions of the old records Fats Waller had made. Undepoldus was reproducing the voice and the piano as if they were there with him. George found the experience very moving.
"If ever you needed a job, you could earn a very handsome living entertaining people with music like that."
"I understand that I am technically a Spacer. Is it possible for Spacers to earn an income on Earth?"
"I am afraid that I have got to answer no to that question Undepoldus. What I said would still have been true if you were not a Spacer. However, there are legal ways to derive income on Earth through trusts. A trust could be set up and managed by people we know who are not Spacers on your behalf. I am sure that Sarah Chebychev and Eva Sincayvitch would do that for you. You do not need Earth money at all now but there may be a time when you will need it. I am thinking of the time when you might want to go back to where you came from. You would need a space ship and provisions to keep you going on your journey. Many of the things that you would need could be bought on Earth. The rest would be provided by the Spacers League at no charge."
"I will think about that George. When I am a bit bigger I could entertain people with music and see other parts of Earth. I would like that. If I did that George, would you, Marita and Kerstin come with me?"
"I have already told you that I will stay with you as long as you want me to and I am sure that Marita and Kerstin would say the same. Can I say fairer than that?"
"Now I know what I want to do. I will study as many pieces of music as I can."
The next section covers a vidcom interview with Undepoldus.
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