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´╗┐Title: Beyond Pandora
Author: Martin, Robert J.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Beyond Pandora" ***

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Beyond Pandora

 The ideal way to deal with a pest--any menace--is,
 of course, to make it useful to you....

by Robert J. Martin


The doctor's pen paused over the chart on his desk, "This is your third
set of teeth, I believe?"

His patient nodded, "That's right, Doctor. But they were pretty slow
coming in this time."

The doctor looked up quizzically, "Is that the only reason you think you
might need a booster shot?"

"Oh, no ... of course not!" The man leaned forward and placed one hand,
palm up, on the desk. "Last year I had an accident ... stupid ... lost a
thumb." He shrugged apologetically, "It took almost six months to grow
back."

Thoughtfully, the doctor leaned back in his chair, "Hm-m-m ... I see."
As the man before him made an involuntary movement toward his pocket,
the doctor smiled, "Go on, smoke if you want to." Picking up the chart,
he murmured, "Six months ... much too long. Strange we didn't catch that
at the time." He read silently for a few moments, then began to fill out
a form clipped to the folder. "Well, I think you probably are due for
another booster about now. There'll have to be the usual tests. Not that
there's much doubt ... we like to be certain."

The middle-aged man seemed relieved. Then, on second thought, he
hesitated uneasily, "Why? Is there any danger?"

Amusement flickered across the doctor's face, turned smoothly into a
reassuring half-smile. "Oh, no. There's absolutely no danger involved.
None at all. We have tissue-regeneration pretty well under control now.
Still, I'm sure you understand that accurate records and data are very
necessary to further research and progress."

Reassured, the patient thawed and became confidential, "I see. Well, I
suppose it's kinda silly, but I don't much like shots. It's not that
they hurt ... it's just that I guess I'm old-fashioned. I still feel
kinda 'creepy' about the whole business." Slightly embarrassed, he
paused and asked defensively, "Is that unusual?"

The doctor smiled openly now, "Not at all, not at all. Things have moved
pretty fast in the past few years. I suppose it takes people's emotional
reactions a while to catch up with developments that, logically, we
accept as matter of fact."

He pushed his chair back from the desk, "Maybe it's not too hard to
understand. Take 'fire' for example: Man lived in fear of fire for a
good many hundred-thousand years--and rightly so, because he hadn't
learned to control it. The principle's the same; First you learn to
protect yourself from a thing; then control it; and, eventually, we
learn to 'harness' it for a useful purpose." He gestured toward the
man's cigarette, "Even so, man still instinctively fears fire--even
while he uses it. In the case of tissue-regeneration, where the change
took place so rapidly, in just a generation or so, that instinctive fear
is even more understandable--although quite as unjustified, I assure
you."

The doctor stood up, indicating that the session was ending. While his
patient scrambled to his feet, hastily putting out his cigarette, the
physician came around the desk. He put his hand on the man's shoulder,
"Relax, take it easy--nothing to worry about. This is a wonderful age we
live in. Barring a really major accident, there's no reason why you
shouldn't live at least another seventy-five years. After all, that's a
very remarkable viral-complex we have doing your 'repair' work."

As they walked to the door, the man shook his head, "Guess you're right,
Doc. It's certainly done a good job so far, and I guess you specialists
know what you're doing, even if folks don't understand it."

At the door he paused and half turned to the doctor, "But say ...
something I meant to ask you. This 'stuff' ... er, this vaccine ...
where did it come from? Seems to me I heard somewhere that, way back
before you fellows got it 'tamed' it was something else--dangerous.
There was another name for it. Do you know what I mean?"

The doctor's hand tightened on the doorknob. "Yes, I know," he said
grimly, "but not many laymen remember. Just keep in mind what I told
you. With any of these things, the pattern is protection, then control,
then useful application." He turned to face his patient, "Back in the
days before we put it to work for us--rebuilding tissue, almost ending
aging and disease--the active basis for our vaccine caused a whole group
of diseases, in itself."

Returning the man's searching gaze, the doctor opened the door, "We've
come a long way since then. You see," he said quietly, "in those days
they called it 'cancer'."



Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from _Analog_ September 1962. Extensive
    research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on
    this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and typographical
    errors have been corrected without note. Original punctuation style
    has been retained.





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