KORAX

“Now,” Korax said to Phales, “before we begin the interrogation, a few housekeeping questions. First: For the record, who shall we put down as next of kin?”

“Why do you need to know that?” Phales wondered.

“Just in case. You never know.”

“Cleon of Skambonidai,” said Phales.

“Delta-Nu-Rho order?”

Phales screwed up his face. “What’s that?”

Do not resuscitate.

“Rho! Resuscitate! Definitely resuscitate!”

“Are you sure?” Korax asked. “Do you really want to put your loved ones through that horrible, unnecessary pain when the situation is hopeless? Wouldn’t the humane thing be to just let yourself go and pass into a better world, free of pain and fear? I know it’s a hard decision. But you need to think of what’s best for them.

“No. No. Definitely resuscitate.”

“Very well. It’s your legal right. Lastly: Ability to hold your breath when your face is dunked in a bucket of privy sewage, in minutes. Roughly.”

Phales started to shake. “I don’t know.”

Korax turned to the recorder. “Just put down ‘minimal.’ ”