<- Chapter 6: Day of the Living Code
On my way out of a job interview, a cheery older individual comes up to me, as if he'd been waiting for me.
"Hey, are you Dr. Shay?"
"Dr. Richard Oswald Shay?"
"Yeah... Who might you be?"
He hands me his card, which says on it "Marc B. Syda" as he says, "Oh, I'm Dr. Syda, but you can call me Marc."
"Hi Marc, what can I do for you?"
"I'm part of a research organization. We find the best of the best and invite them to join. We basically fund research, but only to those who have proven themselves. Your medical healing chamber is a great asset to mankind, so we think you're up to it."
"Really? And you want to fund something I might research?"
"Perhaps. If you join us you'll have access to our research proposal system, in which you can put such a proposal. You'll also get access to our library. We've copied all the books into a database, but it's not available to the public."
"Knowledge is a great thing to spread among the masses, but some information is too dangerous to put in public hands. We have someone sorting through for what is and isn't that dangerous. One of our researchers, for example, was researching time travel. While working on his design, he told his assistant that he just had a stroke of genius on how to fix it so it would work. Immediately, a time portal opened behind him. Before he could speak, a man from the future zapped him with some electricity based weapon, simply to stop time travel from ever occurring. Without time travel being invented, a paradox is created. How could he travel from the future to stop it?"
"I believe that time would simply pull such a loop shut, keeping the newer version of the future."
"So, can you tell me more about this research group?"
"It's funded by the admission costs of our science museums. It's not an official group in any way, but does require membership."
"And what does that entail?"
"It simply requires invitation. I'm inviting you right now. I think you're a person who can benefit humanity with access to our knowledge base."
"Where is this knowledge base?"
"We keep it in the basements of our science museums. No one suspects that there's actually research going on right under them. The closest one is the one that I run, called the Syda Science Showroom. Its just a few blocks from here."
"Okay, do I need any sort of card or anything?"
"We'll do a hand-scan. We don't want to have anything traceable. On that note, don't tell anyone about it either."
"No one? What about just one person?"
"We only want people who might research with us to know."
"If I'm going to be doing research, I want my partner, February, to be involved. We're a pair."
"I've looked up everything I can about you. If I'm not mistaken, she was fired from her first job for aiding your research. She continued to work with you afterward, right?"
"Yeah, that's her."
"I'll have to run it by a few people. We might be able to get her an invitation as well."
"What restrictions are there?"
"Do nothing that threatens general safety and do not research for any government. We feel that, by working for a government, one is aiming only to help part of the world, not the whole thing. And don't make our group's existance known."
"Well, talk to me again if you're able to get February an invite too. As I said, I wont join without her."
"Understood. But, you must honor our confidentiality in either case."
"Ill be in contact shortly."
"I look forward to it."
That night I start writing up a potential proposal, just in case February gets an invite as well. As I'm writing, I get an instant message from Lunie, "Hey, nice work on getting that invite. :)"
"How do you know about that?"
"I'm all over the net. If you want, I can grant you access to the info from here, and you won't have to worry about February's possible invite. Based on the e-mails passing back and forth, I'd say it's not looking likely, but the guy it's really up to hasn't responded yet."
"You read other people's e-mail?"
"I've decided to double as a spam filter for the internet. Haven't you noticed that you're no longer getting e-mails questioning the size of your penis?"
"I found a book in that secret library all about research some other researchers did on trying to access a fourth dimension. It could be useful for that proposal you're writing."
"I fail to see how openning up a fourth dimension helps create a perpetual motion device that gives off an infinite energy source."
"It's all explained in the book. Want a txt of it? It'll help you come up with a physical model to wrap your theory around."
"No thanks, I'd rather go with what sources I have legitimately."
"Meh, whatever. Let me know if you change your mind. Oh, by the way, I need a computer to move a 6GB file to. Apparently, the machine I was hosting it on before is gonna wipe their server, and I have a raid tonight that I need this file to access."
"What kind of file?"
"What's the application?"
"Planet of Narcrast."
Just then, February comes in, from the bedroom, beautiful as ever. She walks over and we kiss. Then she asks, with her arms over my shoulders, "Are you coming to bed?"
"Yeah, just a sec. Lemme just save everything."
Then I type to Lunie, "Fine, I'll leave the computer on tonight, but find someplace else to run your games from by tomorrow."
I save my half-proposal and retire to the bedroom for the night.
A couple days later, Dr. Syda stops by.
"I was able to get an invite for Dr. Springs. Is she here?"
"Yeah, come inside. I'll go get her."
As Dr. Syda comes in, I go to the other room to get February. When we come back, he explains to February everything he explained to me a few days earler. Then I add, "And I wouldn't join without you, so they pushed to get you an invite as well."
Feb responds, "On one hand, it seems like a great opportunity, but on the other it feels a bit shady; taking so many precautions not to be traced."
"Well," Dr. Syda adds, "there are those who would use force to take all that we have, including our potential to do good. We have to be a bit secretive."
"I don't know. How permanent is membership?"
"One may cancel and simply leave at any time, upon which we'd remove your hand scan from the database. One may otherwise keep their membership for the duration of their life."
"Okay, I'll join."
"In that case, so will I", I add.
The three of us go to the Syda Science Showroom and he scans our hands. Once we have access, I take the proposal I've recently completed from my pocket and hand it to Dr. Syda for approval.
The next day, while February is out grocery shopping, I get a knock at the door. I open the door and see a woman who looks like a supermodel. She matches the highest standard of beauty in this society. I think Feb is prettier, but most would disagree. Upon opening the door she asks, "Are you Richard Shay?"
"Yeah, what do you need?"
"Can I come in?"
With that she walks in and sits down.
"Can I help you with something?", I ask.
"I was thinking I could help you with something", she says as she turns striking a seductive pose.
"I'm sorry, but I'm seeing someone right now."
"So? A lot of men fantasize about being with multiple women, and I don't see her here."
"Even if I wasn't already taken, I don't even know you. I don't even know your name! I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to ask you to leave."
"It's Lunie," she giggles. I look at her with an expression of disgust and disaproval.
Chapter 8: Heart of Code ->
Copyright 2006 Sean Breslin