Sharon3003 Ch. 02byTaunus©
Disclaimer: This story is fiction cast in the future. No resemblance to persons living or dead is intended or should be inferred.
Harold Watless stops by the desk of his shady friend Mark Rains. Both work for the Khannibal Meat Exports, Inc. Harold works in the testing laboratory while Mark works tsting and measuring the level of bovine growth hormones in beef and dairy products. Mark was a successful underground hacker and software pirate before becoming "legit." He still harbors a network of aficionados.
"Hi Mark," Harold greets his friend, "I have a few test results that I'd like to go over with you."
"Ah," Mark replies, knowing full well that there is a hidden agenda. One must be careful of surveillance. "How's the new gynoid. The whole office is abuzz about her. One of those intellectual models with brains as well as beauty. Mark angles his torso and speaks with a heavy accent to confound and confuse the voice-to-text transcribers and lip-reading cameras. Mark was raised in New Russia and is hip to the western surveillance apparatuses. The accent is a perfect work-around for voice and lip-sync software.
"Yeah," Harold responds. "But I had to go for the 'education' and fifty-one year-old avatar. The idea of having to study Taylorism and Fordism in addition to quasi-scientific management clap trap disgusts me a maximum. As if my no-brain, brain-dead, dead-end, end-game job isn't miserable enough!"
"I know precisely what you have in mind," Mark agrees. Mark makes a note on a yellow Post-In Tab(tm) and hands it under the desk to Harold. It is a Universal Resource Locator (URL) for a site housing gynoid "education" test questions and answers. "Do not cut and paste. Some perturbation is necessary. A few misspelled words here and there, a bit of bad grammar, and fractured parallelism are advised," Mark suggests.
Harold nods agreement and slips a medium-sized banknote back to Mark. Harold doesn't want to overpay. On the other hand, greasing the skids is always a champion idea. The idea that cheating as a moral issue is lost in the bureaucratic indifference and arrogance associated with the managerial propaganda masquerading as education.
On the way home in a FasTaksee, Harold scans the test material. He opens and closes the required reading material, just to show that he has visited the site. Then he reviews the quiz questions and answers from Mark's URL.
The first generic question asks for the reader to describe what a "plasma" is. Harold looks over the "best answer." The site suggests that plasma is a state of matter. There are supposedly four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. In this state, plasma is electronically conductive, having electromagnetic properties not found in the other states of matter. The site babbles on and Harold makes a mental note as how best to answer the first question.
The second question asks the reader to explain how natural gas is generated from the fusion power of a plasma field. Harold reads through the minutiae and technobabble and technodrivel. He surmises that layering in the plasma field and magnetic segregation of ion families can be used to transform hydrocarbons and waste garbage into natural gas, Carbon Monoxide, and Water. Still the hoped-for efficiently is severely lacking. While slightly better than the 29% efficiency of the solar electricity generation, the fusion process is marginal at best. Its strong point is that energy must constantly be pumped into it to sustain the plasma field. There is no danger of a meltdown, as is in the case of fission power generation.
The final question concerns the successor to the fusion plasma energy converter. Here the penultimate, quintessential power comes not from the mass defect of fusing two Deuterium nuclei together but rather from the direct conversion of the proton into its components of energy and a positron. In the scheme of things, first is fission (mass excess), second is fusion (mass defect), and the third is proton decay (mass to energy conversion). The questions and answers are boring Harold to tears. He is glad to see his house and exit the FasTaksee.
Sharon is waiting for Harold. She is wearing the red silks of a Gorean slave girl. There is barbeque, fresh-baked bread, and cold beer for supper. The aroma envelops his mind. Sharon brings sandals to replace his work shoes. The faint odors of sandalwood and Frankincense pervade the air. The theme is lit with candles and energy bulbs. This is certainly the image of a man's world.
"Barbeque, bread, beer. And, well," Harold tells no particular person.
The sentient artificial intelligence (AI) of his gynoid registers, records, and stores away his utterance. She knows that it is best to let him feast and fill his belly before confronting him with the day's educational agenda. It's "pay before play" for the corporation making the gynoids.
As he finishes his meal and Sharon puts away the dishes, Harold feels his libido swell. Then comes the let down.
"A little quiz, Master," Sharon requests, pushing him and his amorous advances away.
"Damnation," Harold bellows. The gynoid face has no expression of sympathy, joy, or resolve. That "poker face" enrages Harold. He restrains himself from bitch slapping his sentient slave. But the emotional level is skillfully analyzed. After a moment Harold calms down and suffers answering the three questions. He knows only two well that more and more difficult questions, quizzes, and tests will follow.
After his mind-numbing orgasm, where thunder precedes lightning and "cause and effect" are reversed, Harold begins considering some way to extricate himself from the busy work from effete intellectual snobs. He is almost certain that he has overhead Mark mentioning some way to short circuit the programming and eliminate the silly software subroutine that is now a supreme irritation. "She is never supposed to say 'no!'" Harold imagines. Well, there is the fine print.
The next day after work, Harold has a "random encounter" with Mark on the way to the Metro FasTaksee stand. "Hey, Mark," Harold hails.
"'Sup Dude?" Mark replies.
"How can I remove that stupid education clap trap from my gynoid?" Harold inquires.
"There are problems. This means hacking into a database and planting some malware," Mark answers. "But there is nothing like a hoary old curmudgeon and a lecherous old goat wanting young, hot pussy!"
"Well, fifty-one isn't exactly barely-legal," Harold retorts.
"Look Harold," Mark responds apologetically. "I was once a hacker and know the risks involved. And the Department of Education is run by a bunch of worthless, asexual morons. They think that making people do busy work and learn meaningless drivel will somehow elevate the society. How many great scientists have given up their useful endeavors in order to please some spoiled, tenured infant and gain a sinecure?"
"I couldn't agree more," Harold interjects, truncating Mark's vitriolic diatribe. Mark was one of the most intelligent men that Harold had ever encountered. He left his illegal, albeit highly profitable, career in crime in order to keep his girl Ln2. His girl is a cyborg. They share common dreams via high speed cable connections between enhanced Magneto Resonance Imaging (eMRI). Their mental states are synced. IN order to secure permission for such an operation, Mark had to step out of the shadows. He hacked into Khannibal's financial database. When he showed the management the danger, he was hired immediately and placed in a make-work job.
Mark concludes: "Benjamin Franklin was correct when he said that most education is of little practical value. Those who claim that chess somehow sharpens one's ability to predict, plan, prepare are full of it. For anyone else I would refuse. But, Harold, knowing how you want the dream woman who can't say 'no,' I'm making this one time concession. Now I have to get my ride."
"Thank you very much," Harold replies. He gets in a TasTaksee and heads back. Once again, en route, he has to look over some Feynman Diagrams.
21 January 2013