SIM:Kevin Breeman - An Industrial Process
Kevin and Dr. Fengjian work to revert the effects of the mechanical flies on the brainwashed station inhabitants.
Lt. Kevin Breeman - An Industrial Process
((Promenade - DS-17))
::Kevin grinned with delight as the lecturer expounded once more on the strange realities that could be created using the skills of modern storytelling. It was a welcomed diversion and he'd always enjoyed listening to this lecturer speak. It was a refreshing sight to see the familiar entertainments returning to DS17 after what the Vaadwaur had done to it.
Presently the lecture was turning to things with which Kevin was already familiar. His mind wandered as he sat there listening. He was still uncertain as to whether he should mention his autism to Cmdr Maria. He supposed that Starfleet should know about it. But of course not telling them would evidently change nothing. He held the rank of lieutenant and he had managed to obtain that while being an autistic person and not knowing it. Would his knowing he was autistic change him somehow?::
Lecturer:: Sometimes consciousness of some prevailing reality can change the direction of the analysis of a narrative. These realities permeate the readers as much as they do the writers and the effort to read the text becomes a shared experience between author and reader, each experiencing what it is to construct a fictional reality. The author is not dead. He is very much alive.
::The man was refuting what in the late 20th century had been dubbed postmodernity. Kevin wasn't entirely certain what that philosophy had entailed. It had been something of a rebellion against the status quo, if he recalled correctly. And everything was called a 'social construction' or something like that.::
::His mind turned to the flies he had constructed. He had seen some of the initial contacts with the station personnel after DS-17's liberation. So many had been blabbering and crying. It had been a surreal moment to see officers refusing to pay any mind to their superiors, many of the women acting as though their former comrades were conquerors bent on enslaving them.::
Lecturer:: Of course the reader's personal history will also determine her understanding of a text. She may come to the text as a survivor of some catastrophe and read it in that light. Or the reader may be a child and find in the experiences the writer is conveying nothing but complete gibberish. K'Tach'em comes to mind.
::The group laughed at the reference to the Klingon writer of fractal erotica. Her tales had been intended to manipulate the preconceptions of her readers by exposing them to loose metaphors comparing sexuality with all manner of mathematical theorems. Kevin remembered being mildly confused but still no less uncomfortable reading her "Adaptive Quadratures Interpolating by the Seashore."::
::He had felt so distant as he'd watched one of the science officers he'd worked with aboard DS-17 acting as though she did not even know who the Federation was. She'd kicked at him when he'd tried to speak with her and he still felt the bruise on his midsection. He had had to remind himself of what it was he was dealing with on more than one occasion, as his own learnt behaviours of conversational etiquette got in the way of his attempts at treating the survivors.::
::The automation and analysis of the brainwashings was still very much a confusing and difficult task.::
Lecturer:: The writer always has to keep his audience in mind as he pens his story.
::The codes and the neural architectures had been almost too much. Kevin had felt staggered and overwhelmed on more than one occasion as he'd sat at his desk at 2 in the morning still poring over so many fragments of fake narratives, lovers who'd never existed, battles that had never been fought, and lives no one had ever lived.
Every stroke of the execute key made him cringe as he thought of the consequences of a mistake in programming. Aboard the station, Emma Fengjian, a computational psychologist had worked with him, and they'd had to rely on one another for moral support.::
((Flashback - Vulcan Science Academy - DS-17))
Fengjian:: ::Whispering half to herself and exasperated:: Awww, frack!
::Kevin sighed, mountains of padds of case studies threatening to fall from his desk.::
Breeman:: Are you alright? ::He tried to be as professional as he could be.::
Fengjian:: ::Sighing:: Yeah.... I just don't understand how anyone could do something like this to someone else. It's... Frack it's an act of vicin mental genocide. These people are dead! And no matter what the hell we do here they'll still never be themselves again.
::He gave her space and waited a moment, doing his best to look her in the eye and beam... what? Confidence? Would she feel confident if he tightened his lips a little and crinkled his eyes just so?
She was right. Restoring the neural connections to exactly the state they had been before their contact with the flies was impossible. Indeed even Kevin's own brain was probably not quite the same as it had been before after his own brief encounters with the small machines.::
Breeman:: I know. But we have to keep going.
::He tried to say it as gently as he could. Kevin could feel a slight humming in his ear. He still had the earpiece the strange man had given him aboard that vessel. Should he remove it now? There was another squeak and he thought he heard a voice.::
Voice:: Death is change. Change is death.
::Inwardly he shook his head as Emma went back to her console. She pulled a padd toward her.::
Fengjian:: T'pal. Vulcan. Made to believe herself a secret lover of Sedrin, the self-proclaimed tactical commander. Albert Lewis. Civillian curator. Thought he was a combat flight specialist and was almost killed by Starfleet pilots.
::Kevin had tried not to concentrate on the stories themselves.::
Breeman:: The neurons. We have to pay attention to the neurons.
Fengjian:: These are people. We can't just reduce them to a bunch of cells in a pitri dish!
Breeman:: Look ::He thought now that he was being a tad harsh:: if we want to remain sane while we do this we have to. We can't think of these people as people. They're machines that need to be fixed. You, me, and that team over there are the ones fixing them.
::It had been a clinical process once the algorithm had been deduced. Push each person - as insane as he might have seemed - through the machinery and out he came disoriented. The whole process took about one hour for each person. Kevin had stood on one of the walkways watching people lining up to be admitted. They looked so worn now, some drugged to numb the anger they were feeling. It was like an industrial nightmare out of some ancient Terran book to see it all below. Chamber of purification. Where had he heard that phrase?::
Lecturer:: And finally, reading the text changes the reader irrevocably. He will never be the same again now that he has read what the author has produced. This simple fact remains true for any text we might consider.
::The small crowed clapped at the conclusion and as the applause died down Kevin received word that the crew of the Ronin had been recalled.::
Lt. Kevin Breeman Chief of Science USS Ronin
This sim takes one last look at the amoral picture I tried to create using the flies. The brainwashing flies represented for me the plasticity of the mind. I used the image of an industrial cleaning process to create a sense of alienation and anonymity among the population being 'cured.' In order for them to find themselves again, the victims must sacrifice what for them is an exciting narrative of Vaadwaur conquest of which they are a part and submit to the anonymity and even meaninglessness of an industrial process that treats them as mere objects to be repaired.
Interwoven with the main storyline is the framing narrative of a lecture in which the lecturer makes the case that reading a story, like being influenced by the mechanical flies, can change the reader irrevocably.
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