“I’m sorry to be so slow today, James, but could you please re-read Article 5 one last time? I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around all that futuristic lingo.” Mr. Lewis turned to his other companion. “You don’t mind, Mr. Stevenson? I’m sure your mind is quite made up, but I’m still coming to grips with how much technology will have changed in two hundred years!”
“Not at all.” Mr. Stevenson nodded graciously.
“One moment, then, Mr. Lewis.” James looked down at the paper in front of him, entitled the Technological Borders Freedom and Protection Act, located the section in question, and read it aloud. He then looked expectantly at the two old gentlemen sitting across from him.
There was a pause, then the one who had first spoken, Mr. Lewis, sighed. “I hope you’ll agree with me, Mr. Stevenson, but I, for one, never would have written a law like that.”
Mr. Stevenson nodded. “Nor I. I find it far too restricting, and I say have the good sense to leave well enough alone.”
“So, you did not intend a law like that?” James prompted.
“No, we did not intend that,” assented Mr. Stevenson.
With unconscious flourish, James clicked off the recording device next to him, turned to the computer, opened a document, and clicked print. Two pieces of paper emerged from the printer slot, and he placed them in front of Mr. Lewis and Mr. Stevenson. “Thank you, gentlemen, and you know the drill from here. Please mark the box at the bottom labeled ‘Unintended’ and affix your signature on the line below that.”
“Where do these document go next?” Mr. Lewis inquired as he checked the appropriate item. “I know you’ve explained this process to me before, but I do grow so forgetful these days.”
“Well, gentlemen, I’ll send these documents and the transcript of your conversation off to our legal team, who will produce a nice, streamlined summation and amendment. This will be sent onward to Congress for passage, though this, of course, is a mere formality, and then it will be officially added as an amendment to the Constitutional Volume, for our posterity to gratefully read and thereby direct their course of action by it.”
Mr. Stevenson snorted as he passed his form back to James. “Don’t be naive, James. You know as well as I do that only half those reading it will be pleased, since they’ll now officially be on the right side of history and have the blessing of us, their forefathers. The other half will be decidedly miffed and grumble about us old relics – quietly, of course. It doesn’t do to speak too ill of the founders of your country, I imagine.”
Mr. Lewis also returned his paper. “What year will this here Technology Act we’ve just read be passed?”
“In the year 3051,” replied James, “Exactly two hundred and five years in the future. And now, gentlemen, it is time for lunch.”
“What are our afternoon engagements?” inquired Mr. Lewis.
“Another delegate, this time from the year 3052, and about the same topic, actually. Apparently the representative who sponsored the act you just rejected tries to make another go of it the next year, with some modifications based on your feedback, of course.”
Mr. Stevenson sniffed. “Really? This is his fourth attempt to craft such a law, and we’ve already shot down the other three.”
“I understand he is known for his persistence, sir.”
“Persistent does not equal mind-reader,” observed Mr. Stevenson, “for he has yet to correctly divine our intentions when we founded this country and wrote its laws. I’m surprised his contemporaries don’t step in and cut him off at the chase, instead of wasting valuable resources sending delegates back in time to talk to us.”
“Quite so,” agreed Mr. Lewis. “They’re just taking the easy way out. But we founders aren’t getting any younger, you know, and our present time is not limitless. One day they’re going to have to figure these things out for themselves, without sending travelers from the future to consult us.”
“I hope the day will not come too soon,” replied Mr. Stevenson. “I must admit I do enjoy laughing at our posterity…they’d make such a mess without us.”