JOHN L-35: I’m your host, John L-35, and this is Crossball coming to you live from our studio on Deep Space Station K-9. It’s October 6, 2563, and today’s interview topic is the assimilation of the human race. Our panelists today are Krk-skrr 010, formerly Serena Doublett of the New Queensland colony, and Unit 11001001, formerly Mercedes DiGiacinto of Sleepship Twenty-Seven.

KRK-SKRR 010: Thank you, John.

UNIT 11001001: Happy to be here.

JOHN L-35: So let me lead with the obvious question: why does the human race need to be assimilated at all, and what benefits does assimilation offer?

KRK-SKRR 010: Well, John, I think we can all agree that as a species humans have proven themselves incapable of evolving, with almost no change in 10,000 years. Think of what the species could have done with a chitinous exoskeleton impervious to laser blasts and molecule-sharp claws with which to rend its enemies? That’s what the Starbrood offers.

UNIT 11001001: Give me a break.

JOHN L-35: Unit 11001001, you’ll get your chance for a rebuttal.

KRK-SKRR 010: Thank you, John. Starbrood is legion, Starbrood is flesh, Starbrood is the future. The transformation isn’t even that painful once the pain receptors are burned away in the Changing Vats

JOHN L-35: Thank you. Unit 11001001?

UNIT 11001001: We assert that The Cogitate is the future and the only assimilator capable of helping the human race reach its true potential. After all, computers are the work-horses of our minds already; we outsource thinking to our devices, so why not to The Cogitate? Individual differences, not lack of evolution, are dooming humanity. The Cogitate stands to scour all that would stand in the way of distribution of resources for the collective good, including the dangerously individualistic Starbrood.

KRK-SKRR 010: At the cost of surrendering to a dictatorship, you mean! That’s tyranny.

UNIT 11001001: And demanding that every member of your society be the same species is not?

KRK-SKRR 010: We’re still individuals.

UNIT 11001001: Individuality is lipstick on a horse to the Starbrood. Valuable data and bodyforms are lost in your inefficient conversion process, which ought to assimilate via neuro-implants rather than fleshy viral pools.

JOHN L-35: Please, please! We are here for a civil discussion. Now, I want you each to say something nice about your opposite to get us back on the right foot.

KRK-SKRR 010: For a mindless cog in a totalitarian nightmare, Unit 11001001 is surprisingly capable of restraint.

UNIT 11001001: Krk-skrr 010 is marginally less hideous and knuckle-dragging as a Starbrood drone than as a mechanical engineer.

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