Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Efficient Use of Specimens

Seth was lying on a table shivering cold with a thick black blanket covering him up to his neck. It was darkness all around him, cold, and so quiet he couldn’t even hear himself breathing as if all sound was dampened. He couldn’t move and the blanket seemed to press down on him and prevent him from doing anything. He couldn’t even turn his head from side to side.
     Around him talking in the darkness were three entities. They didn’t sound human and his flesh crawled with each word like the sound of their voice was wrong.
     “We should dissect it.” said one in a breathless voice. It brought to his mind an image of someone who stood hunched and fat and cruel.
     “We have already dissected several.” said another voice. This one was haughty and slow to speak as if judging the words of the first.
     “Then we should perform a neural exploration.” A third voice said quickly and with much excitement.
     “We have performed many neural explorations already.” The haughty voice said again with a hint of boredom.
     “Then what?” said the hunched voice.
     “Release it.” said the haughty voice which elicited gasps from the other two voices.
     “Why would we do that?” said the hunched voice. “This is a perfectly fine specimen and a dissection..”
     “…or neural exploration!”
     “…or neural exploration, would serve the consensus; which is our mandate.” the hunched voice finished. It was evident it was quoting from some ideology they all subscribed to.
     The haughty voice inhaled slowly. “You’re responsibility is to the anatomical classification and catalogue of the species. Yours is to the neurological mapping and psychological classification of the species. Mine is to the budget. Any examination, dissection, mapping, or exploration has an associated cost in staff and materials. We have thoroughly examined this species and understand their place in the universal plan. Any further activity without direct request is simply a waste. We will release the specimen as there is neither a requirement nor an order to continue procedures at this time. Find a location suitable for safe release.” The haughty voice seemed to have the last word and Seth could feel that the tension had gone away. A suddenly relief passed over him knowing he would be released.
     “Thank you.” Was all he could find the strength to speak.
     The gasp from all three voices was shocking and the silence that followed was unnerving.
     “Why did you thank us?” said the excited voice.
     “Because you’re letting me go.” Seth felt suddenly he was on trial when just seconds ago he was headed towards freedom.
     “How did you hear us?” The excited voice said again.
     “You’ve been talking the whole time. I’ve heard everything you said. I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to it was just easy to hear your conversation” He wasn’t sure telling the voices this was the best idea but he didn’t know how he could lie about it.
     There was another pause and Seth could almost feel the consideration in the room taking place. “Well it is evident I was incorrect.” said the haughty voice and Seth felt terror fly into his chest. “I’ve assumed we have thoroughly catalogued this species and here we encounter a specimen capable of not only intercepting thought communications but able to pass on his own. You may both perform your duties but I believe it will be most efficient to perform them at the same time. Begin at once.” Seth’s eyes spun wildly looking for any escape, anyone to latch on to, but only the darkness was there.

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