When does life begin?... A well-known book says "forty". A well-known radio program says "eighty". Some folks say it's mental, others say it's physical. But take the strange case of Mel Carlson who gave a lot of thought to the matter.
to talk before the other goaded himself into some unplanned action.
"Don't forget the fable about the goose that laid the golden eggs," his voice rolled out. "There's still a lot I could do for you, you know--or not do." He saw with relief that the anger receded from the other's face to be replaced by a look of cunning.
"I almost forgot," said Neil. "I've another surprise for you." He went to a circuit near the master calculator that he himself had installed only several days ago. All the master components were open, a rheostat appearing to be the primary control. Mel had decided at the time it had to do with voltage regulation of the calculator since there had been trouble with it.
Neil placed his hand on it, then turned his head in the general direction of the tank and said, "Just in case you get ideas of not co-operating, I can use this for persuasion." He cracked the vernier just a trifle and agony knifed through Mel's brain. It receded, leaving a slight ache.
This short story is a good light read. It is more reminiscent of science fiction from earlier periods, rather than the mid 50ís when it was apparently written. It is certainly not hard science fiction, nor is it filled with any particular surprises, but moves along at a good pace and held my attention to the end.