Perfection's Finest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short story. Read on.

Submitted: January 11, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 11, 2013



Perfection’s Finest

Alas, spoke the old man, things did not change, even after all that they’ve been through. The folly of man, my dear children, is that they never change; never see what is right in front of their eyes. My children, won’t you listen so that one day maybe things will change? Gather ‘round and listen. Learn.

* * *

“What we have here, gentlemen, are two completely different people living two completely different lives. What we hope to accomplish with this is a mind changing experience for each of our subjects. We hope that they will no longer be the same people as they were when they entered in. “

There were nods of approval all around the room as the businessmen and doctors all took in what they were hearing. Most people were invited by the creators of the machine while others were there simply to see if it was worth any kind of investment.

“Come, take a look at them,” the head doctor of the experiment said in an almost too soothing of a voice. The people gathered in front of a window, one like they had in police stations where people could see into the room but could not see out of it. “In this room is subject A. This man works for an oil company that will remain nameless. His job is to map out places to build new pipelines so that they may get the oil onto a ship and export it more easily; an ecologically devastating task.”

There were mixed emotions among the crowd of doctors and stockholders. Some of the doctors were appalled by the man in the room while most of the stockholders were impressed. More oil meant more money for them.

“Moving along to subject B.” Everyone followed the man in the white lab coat who had been explaining everything to them. They arrived at another window that looked into an identical room that subject A resided in. “This man is what you would call your ‘average Joe’. He works an office job without great responsibility, drives to work, eats his lunches at fast food restaurants, eats meat, takes long, hot showers; essentially everything we all do.”

A doctor, unable to hold his tongue any longer, blurted out, “What do you hope to accomplish with all of this?”

“I was just getting to that, good sir.” The lead doctor had no change in his demeanor at the abrupt question, as if he was waiting for someone to ask it. They followed him to another room which he slowly unlocked. Once the door was opened everyone paused, bewildered. Inside was a giant computer-like machine which was hooked up to two slate-like tables.

“This,” the man said pointing at the machine, “will input the subjects’ minds into the computer and focus them into a program which is programmed to be a perfect human conscience. This program will attach itself to the subjects’ minds and make them go over their entire life with a perfect morality. Essentially, this machine will turn these two subjects into flawless human-beings when they come out. I call the program the Perfect Human Intelligence Logistics or P.H.I.L.”

At that the doctor told everyone that he had to make some last minute preparations and that the experiment will then take place the following day.

Everyone left the lab and that night had a long debate about whether or not someone could actually be a perfect human. After drinks and debates everyone stumbled off into their separate hotel rooms feeling philosophically drunk and fell into a profound sleep.

The next day when everyone arrived back at the laboratory the doctor had the test subjects lying on two separate tables within the room with the big machine. For the better part of the day the doctor ignored everyone, leaving them feeling anxious and bored. After hours of preparations everything was finally ready and the doctor called the assembly into the room.

“This day, we shall see what a perfect human looks like. Let us begin.” He flipped a switch and the machine began.

* * *

Subject A

Name: Larry Bailey

Age: 43

Job Description: Geological Mapping Technician. Locates sites on which to build oil pipelines. Currently trying to get a pipeline from the Alberta Oil fields to the ocean coast in British Columbia.

Reason for Volunteering: Wants people to think that his pipeline is the right thing by proving that he is a morally perfect human.

Larry: “Where am I? What is this?”

P.H.I.L: “You are now only your mind. There is no solid foundation of reality in here. I am now your reality. Within this space you will re-live the major choices that you have made in your life but now you will make the decisions based on my programming. Do you understand?”

Larry: “No, not really.”

P.H.I.L: “Your conscience and mind are now linked to me and are therefore mine. You will think the way I make you think. Your decisions will be based on what my program tells you to think. You will have all of your old memories and thoughts but will see them through my morality. Any new thought you have will be processed through me first. “

Larry: “So going through my memories I’m now going to have a different way of thinking and so I might make different decisions now?”

P.H.I.L: “There is no ‘might’. You will make different choices. You now have the conscience of perfect morality. Despite your imperfections in life, you are perfect within me.”

Larry: “Interesting. But, be honest… I’ve been pretty close to perfection. ”

P.H.I.L: “We shall see. Let us begin.”

Larry: “After we’re done here everyone will come to realize that I was right all along.”

P.H.I.L: “I am programmed to start with some early memories that you have to get you used to how things work in here. Think back to when you were younger, you came across a frog in the park. What happened?”

Larry: “I remember that day. It was summer break and it was hot outside. I went to the park to play and found a frog. I had never seen a frog before that day.”

P.H.I.L: “What did you do to this frog?”

Larry: “I remember chasing it with a stick. Then once I caught I stabbed it with my stick. I didn’t stop until it stopped moving.”

P.H.I.L: “Activating program.”

Larry: “That poor defenceless frog stood no chance.” Pause. “Wait, what the hell am I saying? Who the hell cares about a stupid frog?”

P.H.I.L: “You should.”

Larry: “Me? I have never thought twice about what I did to that stupid, ugly thing and look where I’ve ended up. At the top, that’s where. This is stupid, let’s get to the part where you tell me that I’m perfect. Let’s get this shit show on the road.”

P.H.I.L: “Interesting. Loading memory data two.”

Larry: “What? Now you have my memory stored in you?”

P.H.I.L: “We are now one. Whatever you think or feel I think or feel...Until I activate the algorithm that will make you feel the way you should feel.”

Larry: “…”

P.H.I.L: “Loading memory data two.”

Larry: “What the? It’s prom. I’m getting ready at my friend’s house. We’re supposed to go get our girlfriends once we’re ready but there’s a knock at the door. We answer it and its two girls who are really drunk and are confessing how they’ve had crushes on us for quite a while. We, of course, let them in and enjoy some time with them then kick them out while we go pick up our girlfriends.”

P.H.I.L: “And you see nothing wrong with this?”

Larry: “I was young and hormonal. It’s not like I’m with that girl anymore. Who cares?”

P.H.I.L: “Tell me, are you with any woman now?”

Larry: “Of course I am. She’s my fourth wife.”

P.H.I.L: “I see. Activating program.”

Larry: “Not again… I guess I should have at least put on a condom. Both girls I slept with that night did end up getting pregnant. I haven’t talked to either since I heard the news.”

P.H.I.L: “Don’t you feel like that was an important part of the story? Shouldn’t you have included that in when you initially told the story? Was the sex all that you really cared about?”

Larry: “Of course it was. I was a teenager. But still…”

P.H.I.L: “Go on.”

Larry: “I should have tried to help out with their babies, with my babies. They both kept the babies. They couldn’t go to college because of that. I showed up, dramatically changed their lives and then left. What the hell is wrong with me?”

P.H.I.L: “Good, you’re starting to understand. Let’s move on, shall we?”

Larry: “I didn’t think this was how it was going to be. I don’t want to go on. I’ve done some horrible things in my life; the frog, the girls, my wives… job. I get it, don’t make me go on.”

P.H.I.L: “The program is in full effect. I don’t have to remind you that you were the one who insisted on being here. It’s too late now, I’m afraid.”

Larry: “I’m not ready to face myself.”

P.H.I.L: “Tell me, what things have you had to do to get your current job?”

Larry: “Things? You say that like they’re bad things. Everybody has to start at the bottom and work their way up, it’s the way of life. I did what I had to do.”

P.H.I.L: “Enlighten me.”

Larry: “I thought we were connected now, why do I have to tell these stories?”

P.H.I.L: “You hold back when you are clearly proud of where you are now. You must verbally recollect everything so that you can understand in a more profound way.”

Larry: “…”

P.H.I.L: “We will be here a very long time if you do not continue. More time has passed in the outside world than you think, Larry.”

Larry: “Fine.” Larry takes a deep inward breath. “I started on small projects, you know, trying to get local parks cleared out for building purposes, get wooded areas cleared for building and supplies, get school torn down; there’s a lot that I’ve had to do.”

P.H.I.L: “What’s the worst that you’ve had to do?”

Larry: “I’ve had to clear out a population of Aboriginal people from their homes so that the company I worked for could build a pipeline there. These people stood up for their land, their homes, but in the end I had the Government on my side and we won. Money is, of course, number one and pipelines are a way to make a tremendous amount of it. I’ve made a whole community homeless so that we could endanger the land and everything around the pipeline.”

P.H.I.L: “There’s more isn’t there.”

Larry: “That pipeline leaked in a few different areas. It leaked into a forested area and ended up killing a large chunk of the animal population. Part of it leaked into a river which contaminated it and killed a lot of fish and other animals that drank from that river. I think it also brought the contamination into other bodies of water but I didn’t pay close of attention. But I think the worst area that it leaked into was around a small town. It ended up getting into their water supply and made a lot of people sick. It also got into the supplies that were feeding their cattle and in turn made even more people sick.”

P.H.I.L: “How do you feel about all this?”

Larry: “At the time I looked at it like it was just a way for me to make money and things had to be done. We need to eat, we need a roof over our heads, and we need to work. I did what I thought I had to do to get this done.”

P.H.I.L: “And now?”

Larry: “Now? If I had a gun I would end it right now.”

P.H.I.L: “But now that you’re mind has changed don’t you think you should make a change? You know what happens around these pipelines. They are dangerous and the government needs to stop allowing them to be built. You know that.”

Larry: “Money is what drives everyone though. How am I going to make the government change their minds; especially when it comes to a large amount of money?”

P.H.I.L: “You yourself have the evidence that can change minds.”

Larry: “So I do.”

P.H.I.L: “Terminating program.”

* * *

“Subject B is coding.”

“What in the world happened to him in there?”

“I thought you said this program was safe.”

“His death shouldn’t have happened. The only way he could have possibly have died is if he somehow did while in the program; a sort of self-terminating.”

“You’re saying that he committed suicide?”

“That’s the only logical way this could have happened.”

Larry was slowly regaining consciousness when he heard the doctors and businessmen arguing. His vision was slowly coming back to him and his senses were returning. It felt weird to be back in realty. Objects seemed so alien to him at first. He tried to speak but only managed to cough at first.

“See?” someone said around him, “He’s not reacting well either.”

“This man is very important,” another person, who Larry assumed was a businessman, said.

“Shut up…” Larry managed. “I am not important. Neither are you. What’s important is changing the way we treat this planet. Money isn’t that important. Life is important. What we’re doing, all these things just to get money, it’s all ruining our planet and once that’s gone that’s it. There’s nothing left for us. Money will be useless once this planet is destroyed. Is this thing that we, as humans, invented really worth destroying everything for? I don’t think so. I’m going to dedicate my life to make a change.”

* * *

And he did, the old man concluded, but still it did not help. For you see, humans are greedy by nature and always want more even when there’s so much reason telling them not to do the things that they are doing. And now, we are faced with these harsh conditions, struggling to live day by day. The world ended the way Larry said it would. Even though it wasn’t in his life time it wasn’t much after. We now live underground, in a world without sunlight, just so we can live. The atmosphere was destroyed leaving the upper world uninhabitable. Breathing in the upper world is no longer an option. All animals that dwelt in the upper worlds, in the skies and in the oceans have all died. Almost all humans are now dead. Those of us who are left need to hold on for the sake of our race. Those of us who are left need to tell this story so that if we ever do get back on our feet we won’t ruin everything again.

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