Kyeo's head hurts very badly. He doesn't remember how he got that way but he can guess that he's taken a blow to the head. That doesn't explain why he's not on a spaceship any more but he should probably not expect to figure that out right now. He looks confusedly at the non-spaceship around him for a minute before closing his eyes.
"I have no children, I couldn't say."
"...you're very slippery."
"...slippery?" Kyeo says, rubbing his fingers together and finding a normal amount of friction.
"Obviously Cascadians are all different but if I asked a Cascadian a question like that they'd say-- 'oh, I don't have kids, but what my parents did to me was this thing' or 'I think it might be something about how gross our food was' or 'I read in an article somewhere that it's that' and you just... sort of give a nonanswer. It slips off. I learn fascinatingly little about Ibyabek from talking to you."
"I am not sure what you are trying to ask."
"See! You're doing it again!"
"I do not see."
"Before you arrived here have you ever talked to someone who wasn't from Ibyabek?"
"Yes, I met the ambassador from Kular, and his family."
"...is Kular similar to Ibyabek?"
"Not particularly, no, why?"
"...so I think either the thing I am pointing to is one of the differences between Kulak and Ibyabek, or you have a very very very weird future."
"I do not think I would have characterized the Kularans I spoke to as 'nonevasive'."
"Hm. That's an interesting point. --See, I'm not sure what to do about this because even Gileadites and Chinese people aren't this evasive. In fact neither of them will shut up about how great their society is. Although I guess normal Chinese people are probably different from the kind of Chinese people I talk to on this matter."
"You have mentioned Gileadites but I think not Chinese."
"China is the largest country in the world. It's-- authoritarian? A lot of economic freedom, you can own property and buy and sell stuff, but the government doesn't allow free speech or voting and most things are very corrupt. It used to be quite poor but it's gotten richer in the past couple decades. Still poorer than Cascadia though. Lots of income inequality. Their strategy for dealing with the fertility crisis is to use sperm selection technology to make sure that they're something like eighty percent women. It's working pretty well, they're at replacement."
"I suppose that makes sense, under the circumstances."
"They're also very into eugenics-- deliberately breeding people to be smarter and healthier and harder working and more obedient."
"Does that work?"
"Sort of? Depends on what you mean by 'work'. In principle humans aren't any different from dogs or pigs and if you can breed them for personality and intelligence you can also breed humans for it. But it's not really the sort of thing that governments do well. --It's taboo in Cascadia for it to be done deliberately but of course lots of people buy gametes and they typically buy gametes from smarter or healthier people, if they can."
"That isn't deliberate?"
"Eh. Hypocrisy is necessary to maintain a society."
They could just ban it if they think it's so bad. "Hm."