The government was spending a billion dollars to convince the human race that men ought to be ashamed to be men—instead of errorless, cybernetics machines. But they forgot that an errorless man is a dead man....
ch a simple, uncomplicated place, General," said Paul slowly. "You want a man with two heads, four arms, and a tail? Order it! Coming up!
"That's the way you operated when I set up your basic personnel program five years ago. It didn't work then; it won't work now."
The General's face darkened. "It will work. Because it has to. Men are going to the stars--because they have to. And they're going to change themselves to whatever form or shape or ability is required by that goal. They've done everything else they've ever set themselves to do--life came up out of the sea because it had courage. Men left their caves and struck out across the plains and seas, and took up the whole Earth and made it what it is--because they had courage.
"But to go to space, courage is not enough. We need a new kind of man that we've never seen before. He's a man of iron, who's forgotten he was ever flesh and blood. He's a machine, who can perform over and over the same kind of complicated procedure and
Human error (a collision of a transport with the space station) threatens to end the space program. The military wants to know how to train (or mechanically modify) men so they will not make errors. This pits a psychologist against a cyberneticist.
It's not a bad yarn about what it takes to be human, but there's no evidence that its conclusions are real. The two women in the story are a wife and a secretary.
Is the space program doomed because of fallible human performance? Who knows, but you won't learn much about it from this weak and nonsensical story.