Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Story: The Controller

The Controller
                He stood in pajamas looking in the mirror. The bathroom was immaculate, reflecting the tidiness of his nature. He admired his smooth face, shaven twice daily to retain its youthful appearance.
                Directly after college he was hired as director for a cell biology research lab.  His life is boring, mundane and repetitive. But the job does have its advantages. His schedule is flexible, his salary immense and his employees are devoted, but yet, he is unchallenged.
                Reaching for the toothbrush he meticulously begins scrubbing his teeth. He looks in the mirror, seeing the time in a right handed configuration. The hands begin to shake. Lightly at first, then the entire clock shakes and falls to the ground. He ducks down and covers his head with his arms. An earthquake! Never has there been an earthquake in this area. What should I do?  He thought. The floor began to crack….this isn’t an earthquake.
                His foot falls through the floor, then his other foot, both legs and finally an arm, his other arm holding on to the newly formed ledge in the floor. Sweat forms on his brow; his heart is beating out of his chest.  He looks directly down through to the floor below him. The paintings in his living room are still on the walls. Furniture, TV, and appliances in his sight are all undisturbed.  An immense cavernous shaft extends up through his house, centered on him. The ledge begins to crumble and he falls.  He passes through the living room, down through the basement and into the earth. Farther, deeper he falls. The temperature increases. He falls for a long time.
                An orange glow develops at the base of the shaft. He slowly approaches it. The walls around him pass by like a blur. He must be traveling fast, but the glow increases only slightly. The tunnel curves and he glides along the slick surface, his pajamas in a tatter, his shirt lost long ago. The tunnel empties into a pool. He feverishly swims to the surface. He emerges in a large control room. Rock makes up the walls; hundreds of monitors are embedded into the stone and surround the massive room. There are several chairs throughout, each in front of a board containing many intricate switches, knobs, dials buttons and levers. He looks around bewildered, his body begins to shiver.
I just wanted to go to bed, now where am I, what is this place?
He looks at the monitors, most display people in a city or in cars, people at the beach, some people boarding an airplane. Others display videos with no people: a vast rain forest, arctic tundra, a dormant volcano.
A shadowy door opens with a whiz. An old cloaked man appears and walks over to the young man who was still kneeling at the edge of the pool.
 “That’s about how I felt when I arrived here.” The old man said.
 “Welcome to the center of Earth. Here is where all the decisions are made. The twist of a switch determines the lives of millions. You may want to provide water for Africa in the middle of a drought, but the storm may drift a bit if your calculations are off. These are the things you’ll have to live with. The problems we face are difficult, but you’ll make the right decision to maintain our creation. My name is Simon. I’ve been here for one thousand years, my time is up. You’ll determine my fate after I leave. You’ll be known as god to them,” he says as he points to a monitor, crowds gather at a street corner awaiting the walk signal.
“To me, and to yourself, you’re known as Albert.”
“First of all, I have no idea what you’re talking about controlling the rain, and second, how do you know me?” Albert asks.
“We’ve been studying you ever since I created you by bringing together your mother and father. None of this would have happened without me and the board.” Simon answered.
Albert listened; he looked around the room as Simon talked. Maybe I fell asleep, I was really tired earlier. This could, has to be a dream. Nothing like this exists. I know how the world began, how things evolved, no human created this. People can’t control the earth.
Simon continued to talk, Albert interrupts: “This is impossible; earth began long before people evolved.”
“Yes, of course, but what if this isn’t the first Earth?” Simon retorted.
Albert listened and nodded.
“You see, humans evolved on earth many millions of years ago, studied the laws of nature, physics and well, science for that matter. We continued to advance and make new and larger discoveries. The particle accelerator became the precursor for planet creation. The ability to make matter from non-matter was all we needed to create a perfect earth. So that’s what happened, humans setoff in their powerful space craft in search of an adolescent sun near which our new earth could be built. The new earth project took many years, but was completed approximately 30,000 years ago. The earth you read about in textbooks is much older than that. We wanted to keep this breed of humans ignorant. By controlling nature we essentially created the perfect habitat where nothing is left to chance. Sure, there will be hurricanes and natural disasters, as a result of certain choices, but their impact will be far less than any on our original planet,” explained Simon.
“So what do I do? How do I control all this stuff?” Albert asked, beginning to accept his role.
“There is a board of trustees; similar to the company you used to work. Each of them votes on actions to take and decisions to make. You must listen to them, but you have supreme power. You are the controller. They provide you with information and guidance but you make the final decision,” Simon explained.
“My time is up, I must return. Watch over my family, see to it they have good lives. You’ll be a great leader” Simon said as he walked out through the door, it shut with a click.
Albert walked to the nearest chair, sat down and looked at the nearest monitor. “Ok then, here we go.”

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