Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Goetia," Symbolism, pt. 6, 407 words

Dropping into a more sedate pace, but with the occasional extra step to keep up, Sean considered the woman he'd been handed off to. A little icon blinked in the corner of his screen lenses, the results of his search waiting unobtrusively since before Asmoday had dismissed them. He flicked his eyes to them and the window expanded across half his field of vision, translucent so he didn't risk running into someone or something while he skimmed the results. The web browser styled window was horribly archaic, but Sean considered it far easier to keep an eye on the world with text rather than a direct feed.

Several hundred results popped up, even after a smart parsing to get rid of coincidental names and redundancy. Sitri wasn't some mere tech or manager, and despite her appearance was less than a year older than him. Sean ran a filter over the results to sort by age, with some of the earliest results only two years old.

The absolute earliest mention was from a school newspaper's online edition, with the lists of students on the honor roll. Several followed, until a final article about the 16 year old who was valedictorian of her graduating class. More results from a small-town news site about a messy emancipation suit shortly thereafter, culminating in a sudden disappearance and issuance of a missing person report. Legal emancipation obtained when she reappeared several months later in the employ of Stellar Dynamics, an aerospace start-up, which was gobbled up the next year by StarGen. No formal post-secondary education, but several papers and one monograph published already on psychological conditioning for long-term isolation in deep space missions, and the validity of weak and strong AIs for companionship in such circumstances.

One pointed entry on a blog called futureWatch (motto: “Making war on the past... for tomorrow!”) noted how the reader could readily tell how invested in the university and corporate-based research structure a reviewer of Miss Valentine's work was, by how vehemently they attacked her work without substantive arguments against its premises and results. The blog also highlighted a recent announcement from Miss Valentine and StarGen that she would be one of a dozen heading for the void within a year as part of a direct test of her hypotheses. Subsequent grumbling mostly came in the form of complaints against her ability to be objective as a test subject. On this, she was heretofore silent.

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