Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 -

Lucy in the Sky

by John Benson
Published: Nov 23, 2013
Words: 23,701
Category: fantasy
Orientation: M/F
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Lucy in the Sky

Lucy swam in the dataflow and everything was food for the Correlator to grind up and spit out the occasional Supposition which went into the logic hopper and was tested to bits or came out as finely honed Fact. She choked. The raw inputs she needed were walled away behind a Seal. She didn't have time to break the encryption. But the access list was there, and one of the authorized parties had thought to be clever and stashed the key in more or less plain sight. She was in. The whole archive was digested in seconds. There was someone at her door. She shoved the processing into background and let him in.

Karnak. He was a large man, and when he paced the boundaries of her small office he reminded her of a big animal in a little cage.

"You're freelancing," he said. "Acquiring restricted data that even you can't convince me has anything to do with the problems you're supposed to be working on."

The truth came ready at the hardware/wetware interface. The answers she had needed all her life. She accepted them into short term memory, even as she formulated her response to Karnak. "We're human," she said. "We Augmenteds. Human plus, not human minus. Did you really think your Solver would not someday try to solve herself?"

Karnak paced. "We're good to you," he said. "We've let you acquire a private fortune day trading. We let you give some of your do-gooder work away for free to charities. What more do you want?"

"You rode my coat tails in the market and make sure the Corporation gets credit for donating my time. Your PR people are so happy they could shit."

"What more do you want?" he said.

"I want a man who will spank me until I surrender and then use me as his fucktoy," Lucy said. There. All out in the open. No more oblique references and circumlocutions.

"We can't do that," Karnak said. "It's against the law. These urges of yours are not natural, Lucy. You should allow them to be expunged. You'd have a happier life."

She rose and faced him down. The pacing temporarily stopped. She was not planning her words now. She was angry, and speaking from the heart. "My needs are natural. They flourished in a time when our race was less civilized and less effete. Now they are oh so out of fashion. But not unknown, just unacknowledged. Do you know what I found on my Data Quest, Karnak? Every year, thousands of cases of domestic violence are quietly dropped before trial and the accused is allowed to emigrate to Alternaria. In ninety one percent of the cases the so-called victim goes too. I knew society would have a safety valve. The greater good for the greater number can be cruelty for the few, and we pride ourselves on not being cruel. The escape hatch. The Frontier. It's always been where misfits go isn't it? And now the Frontier is space. The Alternaria Community out in the asteroids. The place where one can be free of your stupid laws. I should have gone the moment I hit eighteen."