Fiction

Ambition

The slow and persistent blink, dark red and coming from deep within the iris, a perfect mirror for Will’s ambition.

“He was once a lower intern. Gifted, yes, but not of the standard that would naturally advance in his department. I offered a solution. It’s elegant, really, he can see in one eye as you do. In the other he has access to a deeper realm of information.”

“Just the information,” Wills added. “I interpret the data and do all the thinking myself.”

Jaxon peered into the neurologist’s left eye. “So what data do you pick up?”

“Not as much as Niobe here. I can look at glass tablets and scans and see patterns in the feedback. It’s actually something humans are designed to do, find patterns. It is at the heart of your game play too.”

“So are you going to fix me up too?”

Niobe smiled, her milky eyes looked wet and strange to Jaxon.

“The sort of information I get includes biometrics, a result of you being my office. All this webbing acts as amplifier and I can feel your growing anxiety. Fear, claustrophobia, confusion. Your heart rate is rising. Do not worry. I’m not offering you augmentation. I am offering you a job.”

“A job? I’ve got one.” Jaxon said, unsure if he would even be welcomed back onto a mining mission.

“Yes, and that is extraordinary. You were the first dreamer to report to the assembly. You, in essence, started the greatest data review of a generation. You then took the unheard of step back from the leisure class to the working class. That is to say, in the past few weeks you have lived in all three echelons: the thinking, the playing and the working.”

“So what is the job?”

“All three. I am planning to step down as head of AI. I want you to take my place.”

“But I know nothing about the systems. The whole sphere lives and breathes by the systems. Surely there is someone more qualified!”

Niobe stood up and triggered the door.

“Tonight we are sending the systems offline. I have made the choice, it is you. We need someone who can process the whole. Return to your housing unit. Do not sleep tonight. You will take the helm after the shut down.”

“But how?” Jaxon traced along a blue light line in the webbing, the infinitely complex series of fractal off-shoots that broke away from it flustering him. It was too much.

“Wills will see you settled,” Niobe slapped him on the back. Her hand lingered and she pulled him in close. “And for that I thank you. Now go, I have to make some adjustments to my chair.”

“Her chair?” Jaxon tried to look back but Wills was already nudging him out into the corridor and then the door slide shut behind them.

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