"What should we do with the body?"
"The usual, I suppose. Dump it into the sea, like all the others."
"And for how long will we keep doing that?"
"I don't know, you tell me. You are the technologist. You promised the scientific breakthrough when you persuaded me to start this project."
"And I stand by my words. I fully believe this is possible. The technology is almost there, we are missing some minor detail…we need to find out what it is, do more experiments. With this one I suggest we wait and see, she could still come to life."
"No, I don't think so. This is reminiscent of your previous failures. She is as perfect as she could be, it is true, but merely a lifeless shape. We are wasting our time and efforts."
"Wait…I feel we are very close. As the leader of the mission, you cannot deny the possibility of helping the locals conquer illnesses, dramatically increase their lifespan, and eventually achieve immortality. Our species have managed to do this within a span of two generations."
"You know better than me that their biological material, physiology, chemistry, and neural transmission functions are completely different from ours. If we have figured out how to print our organs and bodies, repair them, and enable cognition through adaptive firmware, it does not mean we could do the same for this alien race."
"I disagree. Life is a process common in the universe. The building blocks are the same. I've made a lot of progress with a few recent iterations. You said it yourself – she looks perfect! Remember the ugly cadavers I used to create in the very beginning?"
"Yes, you've made progress. But the advance is too slow, and I am not sure we'd ever reach the objectives. We should refocus our efforts on other, more realistic projects."
"For example, figure out how to extract mineral resources from the geologic formations of this planet and help the locals improve their use of primitive materials."
"Oh, really? And you need me to do it? Any technician trained in alien interaction could lead this program. I, on the other hand, am the only one with sufficient expertise and knowledge to develop 3D printing technology to re-create their bodies."
"Listen, when we established the mission on this forsaken planet in the middle of nowhere, the main objective was to study the local aliens, their society, developments, arts…We are only aware of two other planets in the whole known Universe where life has reached such a level of sophistication. One of them is our home world. And you know what happened to the other one…the ecological cataclysm we hope to avoid…I am afraid we are moving too fast with technological advances. We became impatient and careless. Instead of studying the locals, we are introducing our technology, teaching them new science, jumping over the natural evolution steps…such as giving them the bio-3D printing technology when they barely learned how to make basic tools…it is dangerous to them. They are not ready to receive such advanced gifts."
"On the contrary: with our guidance, they can accelerate the progress, avoid many costly mistakes, save countless lives…and, eventually, become our peers."
"I really want to believe you…Fine, I agree with your reasoning and will give you one more chance. But you need to get rid of this body no matter how perfect it is. Just throw it into the sea…and, please, be careful. The locals are already aware of some strange things happening on this island…I've heard fishermen found those gigantic body parts belonging to one of your earlier models on the shore…"
"Ah, you are talking about the reproductive organs of the test article number three? I am aware of this, it was an unfortunate accident."
"As I said, be careful. We don't need more exposure."
"Of course. But I still think we need to give her more time…the software needs to integrate and start the neurological processes…"
"You heard me! Get rid of it at once. I don't need another dummy here."
"On my way."
"Good. And next time, don't you think it might make more sense to try to print an animal instead?"
"Done, I've got rid of the body…what did you say? Animal? Why would we do such a thing? There are plenty of animals around. It won't bring us any closer to the real goal. No, it does not make any sense."
"Fine, you know better."
"Hey, look! Do you see what I see?"
"Is she…swimming? Or is this just the surf?"
"No, no…she is swimming! She came alive! This is a breakthrough!"
"Congratulations…and now we have a problem."
"A problem? This is a victory!"
"What would the locals think when she comes ashore? Will she be able to speak? Does she have a conscience? This could be a disaster!"
"Well, her mind is a blank canvas…her neural network needs to learn and adapt…basically, she is a newborn."
"But this newborn can swim?"
"I guess her neurons adapted her body to the environment very quickly."
"Right…we keep rushing and making mistakes though. This will be another fantastic event for the locals to create a myth about."
"I am sure it will! I think by now every member of our mission is surrounded by myths, as we all made direct and indirect contacts while stationed on this island."
"And it is really bad."
"No, come on! We are making progress, they are making progress. For now, they identify us with their deities, but soon they will be elevated to become our equals and will learn the truth."
"Deities? I was not aware of that."
"Are you joking? Do you know how they call you? Zeus the Thunderer."
"Oh…this is probably because they saw me tinkering with our defense systems…and you?"
"They call me Apollo the Bright. I suspect this has something to do with my laser and electron beam experiments."
"Fascinating…well, I hope we are doing the right thing. Not sure I want to be the local deity, but I think this is better for everyone."
"Look – she is coming ashore. Rising from the foam of the waves. The crowd has already gathered to watch such a breathtaking appearance! She is perfect…and thus a new myth is born."