"They want this simple thing, man, perphs, peripherals. You and me, we're just parts for the machine. Aleph, which is the Al in residence, has got all these inputs--video, audio. radiation detectors, temperature sensors, satellite receivers--but they're dumb. What Aleph wants, Aleph gets--I've learned that much. He wants to use us, and that's all there is to it. Think of it as pure research."
"He? You mean Innis?"
"No, who gives a damn about lnnis? I'm talking about Aleph. Oh yeah, people will tell you Aleph's a machine, an AI, all that bullshit. Uh-uh. Aleph's a person--a weird kind of person, sure, but a definite person. Hell, Aleph's maybe a whole bunch of people."
"I'll take your word for it. Look, there's one thing I'd like to try. What do I have to do to get outside ... go for a spacewalk?"
"Easy enough. You have to get a license--that takes a three-week course in safety and operations. I can take you through it. I'm qualified as an ESA, extra-station activity instruc