Smith admitted he had made an error involving a few murders—and a few thousand years. He was entitled to a sense of humor, though, even in the Ultroom!
"You know the instructions. Just because you work in the Ultroom don't get to thinking human life doesn't have any value. We wouldn't be here if it hadn't. But to unnecessarily kill--" The older man shook his head. "You could have killed yourself as well and we'd never get the job done. As it is, you almost totally obliterated me." Tendal 13 paced the length of the cell and back again, gesturing as he talked.
"It was only with the greatest effort I pulled myself back together again. I doubt that you could have done it. And then all the while you've been sitting here, probably enjoying yourself with your special brand of humor I have grown to despise."
"You didn't have to come along at all, you know," Arvid 6 said.
"How well I know! How sorry I am that I ever did! It was only because I was sorry for you, because someone older and more experienced than you was needed. I volunteered. Imagine that! I volunteered! Tendal 13
Good basic short story. Nothing earth-shattering, but a fun quick read.
While transferring Kanad's (the planetary president) plasm to a younger body, Arvid 6 (accidently?) overshot his birthdate and scattered his plasm over the 6000 years of the past. Now he has to go back and pick it up, which seems to require killing the owner.
It's not exactly a funny story, and not particularly profound. The parents of the child Reggie are nice characters. I wasn't damaged by reading it.