Sunday, 10 January 2016

A perfect model

Work this week has been fantastically exciting. My overseer at the vague yet menacing government agency where I exchange labour for the right to continue living gave me a very exciting project. I'd barely got in and checked my desk for booby-traps when I heard her voice over my left shoulder.

"You know, it occurred to me over the weekend that our lives could be made significantly easier if we could model precisely how our fellow citizens would react in any given situation. Then we could react quickly to outbreaks of rioting, political unrest, or unauthorised book clubs."

She laughed. I laughed too. We both know that all book clubs are unauthorised, but tautologous statements are a great way for colleagues to share humour and build a rapport. (How to make friends with Alien People, p. 43).
Your naivety is hilarious, and has been noted in your file.
"I would like you to build such a model. It should be accessible to everyone, open-sourced, and involve no more than three blood sacrifices. Oh, and it had better be accurate. We've had word that fourteen copies of Cat's Eye made it across the county border."

I started to speak, but she held up her hand.

"It seems there was a mix-up, and the out-of-town suppliers we get our ingredients from thought for some reason we'd like some books." Her lip was curled, showing the pointed teeth that all overseers receive upon promotion. She spat the word again. "Books. As if we were a town of degenerates."

Her eyes were now flashing from their normal inky-blackness to an iridescent shade of pearl and back again. Against the darkness of her skin, the effect was not dissimilar to lightning, if lightning were a natural phenomenon and not something scientists kept in a cage.

"So before they arrive, I want to see a model of exactly how each of our fellow citizens will react. I want to know their every movements before they do."

I nodded. "Of course, overseer. It's the only way we can ensure their safety."

Her eyes faded back to their normal empty black void, and she clapped a friendly hand to my shoulder. "Your understanding of our mission is adequate." she said, and I blushed. Isn't it great to work with colleagues who appreciate you?

There was a crack as she moved away by crossing through dimensions, and I turned back to my desk. This project was exciting, but a logistical nightmare. How do you capture the infinite depth of a human being? Their thoughts, their fears, their hopes - all of these things combine to propel them into random, unplottable, uncontrollable actions. I shuddered. Even thinking about it gave me the heebie-jeebies.

But from that shudder arose a glorious idea, like honey from the corpse of a lion.
Of course, you can get honey from any dead animal, but lion honey is far superior.
These thoughts that our fellow citizens have are the fuel that propels their fleshy bodies to action. Indeed, by itself a brain is almost entirely harmless.

Almost. Poor Uncle Jean.

Here, then, was my first solution. We needed only remove the brains from our fellow citizens, keeping them alive (or not! After all, the dead are notoriously peaceful.), and then simply permitting them to play out their lives as virtual creatures, just a brain floating in liquid that believes itself to be doing fleshy things.

I wrote up the idea, submitted it by folding it into a paper aeroplane and shooting it through the nearest air-duct, and got ready to home. I made sure all the traps I'd disabled this morning were set again (we hot-desk) and then headed home.

I was woken shortly after midnight by agonising, crackling pain in my skull, as if all of the bones were being ground against each other. I knew it could mean only one thing.

The Director liked my proposal!

Now all that remains is to organise this enormous undertaking. I'm incredibly excited, as it means getting to do some of the hands-on fieldwork that really helps people: drugging them and extracting their DNA to create clones we can experiment on.

Honestly. This is the best job in the world.

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