Smart Ones and Zeroes

Swapna's lulling timbre eased Elizabeth into a deep and welcome slumber.  She felt herself slide into the realm of the subconscious almost instantly, and she didn't try to resist its pull.

She wasn't sure what it was about the way she thought, but nearly every night Elizabeth would dream about herself pondering the day's events.  That night was no different.  She wandered through the usual vast nothingness, thinking about the Johnsons, the capsule, the run-ins with her future selves, the revelation that Jason was behind the testing.  For some reason she stopped meandering to dwell a moment.  Jason Petrovsky.  Even in grade school his intelligence stood out, as had hers.  He had chosen, however, to focus solely science and mathematics, while Elizabeth wanted to absorb everything she possibly could about anything and everything: literature, electricity, languages, geology, genetics, absolutely everything.

He'd shown some form of delight when he realized that she was his subject.  He'd mentioned that he admired her and her courage.  Why?  She was only a test subject to him, he could've done any number of things to her "in the name of science."

Yet he didn't.

At least, not yet.  Elizabeth noticed her inner skeptic was starting to show.  There was always this note of "not yet" that came up in thoughts like these.  She laced her fingers behind her back and kept walking.

"Hello again, Elizabeth," a friendly voice greeted her.  Over an invisible rise Elizabeth saw a rather obscurely amorphous shape waiting for her.  As she approached it took on a more definite figure.  It was still cloudy, but its outline was surely that of a rather svelte woman.  The shape nodded to Elizabeth.  "It's not every day that one meets a console in one's dreams."

"No, indeed," Elizabeth agreed.  "Do you appear in all subjects' dreams?"

Swapna shook her head.  "Not usually.  Although, from what I see here, you're not the 'usual' person.  Would it be safe to say that?"

Elizabeth smiled.  "It'd be more than safe to say that."  Then something came to her.  "So what is it that you're doing?"

"It's quite simple, really.  While you're at rest, I 'translate' information and reactions in your mind from neuron impulses into my own binary.  The binary's then sent to another computer, to be put into discernible data."

"Do you only record then-present information, or are other, more instantaneous things noted as well?"

"I note down more impulsive reactions as well, yes.  In fact, I was just going to check that now."

Almost out of nowhere a large stone building materialized.  Well, Elizabeth thought, this is a personification of my subconscious, so there might as well be something tangible to work with.  She looked up at the inscribed words: Hall of Reactions.

"Interesting personification," Swapna noted as they entered.  "Now let's see... 'Reflexes,' 'Recent Dreams'... Ah, there it is!  'Recent Intentions.'  These make for very good data, you see."

Elizabeth froze momentarily.  Her thought of escape would probably be there!  Jason was convinced she was going to join the agency; if that 'recent intention' got back to him... Elizabeth shuddered to think of the consequences.

But it was too late to try and do anything now, Swapna was already scanning the day's pages.  Her eyes widened.

"Oh dear," she murmured.  Elizabeth winced.  Swapna cringed apologetically.  "I don't think he's going to like this.  I don't think he's going to like this one bit."

The End

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