Scott the Pretty Great

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Scott the Pretty Great

Scott stood back and admired his work.  Not too bad, he thought to himself.  The blue raccoon stared up at him with glassy eyes that betrayed its current lifelessness.  In the dreary industrial setting that surrounded him, Scott was thankful for his creation that sat there in a myriad of blue colors.

It had not been Scott’s intention to make this animal-robot a bright color when he first started.  But, as young boys are wont to do, Scott had gotten the idea after he had started and leapt at the opportunity to implement the color scheme.  The change to a blue-theme had only served to complicate his already complex endeavor.  There were only so many blue pieces of metal lying about the factory for him to use.  The paint cans that he came across were mostly empty; a thin layer of blue chips taunted him with its uselessness.

As he admired the raccoon in all shades of blue, Scott decided the extra effort had been worth it.  True, the hues and tones didn’t quite match, but nobody said they had to.  The raccoon was most decidedly blue.  The ears were blue-green, the stomach was a murky grey-blue, and his tail was a striped set of royal blue and sea-blue.  The curious machine stood in stark contrast to the steel table it stood upon.

Scott turned to his fellow workers, eager to show off his new companion.  Sadly, the blank gaze in his raccoon’s eyes was nothing compared to that of the rest of the children.  Scott was the only boy in the entire warehouse not hunkered over his task.  Filling the room were hundreds of work stations, all of them occupied by eight year-old boys.  As the only twelve year-old, Scott knew that he had been expected to be a regional supervisor by now.  That was how things went.

With the advent of Insta-Learning, childhood had become a shortened period.  Women had nanites injected into them while in the second trimester of pregnancy.  Genetic advancements had already prepared the babies to be as healthy as possible.  Any gene which wasn’t regarded as beneficial was a gene that could possibly be altered.  Harelips and severe acne were a thing of the past, as were asthma, severe baldness, and weak teeth.  The children were born picture perfect, each one of them perfectly adorable.

As the kids grew, the parents worried that their offspring would have a hard time establishing themselves.  The doctors and philosophers offered that there were great advantages to allow the next generation to adopt a sense of homogeny.  If no one was different, then no one would be discriminated against.  Why not allow physical traits to turn towards sameness and idyllic features?

But the parents still wanted their child to be the “special” one.  They were grateful for the next generation’s freedom from many health concerns, but they still wanted their offspring to be the one that was the best.  Insta-Learning came along and was only too happy to help.  For decades, doctors and educators had been recommending teaching a child as early as possible.  Reading together with a child was no longer enough.  By the time they entered the school system, it was soon common place for children to have the encyclopedia ingrained in their memory.  Insta-Learn had let the infants acquire massive amounts of knowledge through a two-step process.  One part of the invention allowed the brain to change and adjust itself, allowing the brain to form in the way that retained the most amount of information.  At the same time, the program constantly fed the baby terabytes of facts, procedures, and muscle information.  If desired, (and if the Premium Package was ordered, the one that offered customizable traits that the Economy Package and Standard Package options did not have) the child could come out of the womb knowing as much as its parents did.  By the end of the week, the Insta-Learn process had programmed the child to not only walk and talk, but hit a homerun and recall humorous quotes from Oscar Wilde’s works.

Soon, the world where everyone was special gave way to a land where no one was special.  Children lost their precocious and curious nature; having already learned all that was needed.  The traits that they had may have varied from child to child, but eventually all parents made whatever sacrifices were needed to upgrade their now-perfect child to the Premium Package.  The limits were gone; each child could do it all.

With nothing left to learn, schools and parks were soon closed.  The education system could be replaced with a nightly upgrade from Insta-Learn and parks were deemed to unreliable.  Playing was seen as frivolous.  The children had no need to entertain themselves; that was the opinion of certain government figures.  Why would they allow all these workers to walk around when there were plenty of tasks they could help out with?

So began the Production Age.  The need for newer, better, more impressive belongings had never been greater.  And with millions more skilled laborers now introduced into the population, it only made sense for them to lend a hand.  Warehouses like the one Scott worked in had been built almost overnight.  Thanks to the Insta-Learn, each child woke up knowing exactly what device they were to build, where they should report to, and with the necessary information and skill set already in their brains.

Scott however, had been different.  He looked healthy enough, but what information had been loaded into his brain was incomplete.  Scott himself theorized that if Insta-Learn had an almost one hundred percent success rate, he was that exception.  He knew enough to blend in, but he found himself curious about things.  He found himself walking around the streets looking up while his peers walked wordlessly in organized patterns focused only on their next achievement.  While Scott’s head was in the clouds, others’ minds were on productivity.

That was how Scott had a robotic raccoon in front of him while thousands of car brakes were being efficiently assembled.  Scott often admired the precise and dedicated way that the eight year-olds worked.  There were no flaws, no errors, and no slip-ups in their work.  Scott looked back to his raccoon and shook his head.  Of the four legs on his new toy, only two of them were the same color.  Wires were uncovered by the casing he had managed to assemble.  There was a bump on the hindquarters of his creation because he simply didn’t feel like filing down the dome.  In the end, and just for fun, he had cut open the area, cleared out innards, and made a storage spot to hide any great treasures that the two of them might come across in their adventures.

Adventure.  It was a funny word to Scott.  Whenever he tried to explain his desire to go out and see new things, he was always met with confused looks.  Why would someone want to travel around and see things that were already in their mind?  Why use up valuable work time when one could simply research it on the Insta-Learn?  Scott tried to tell them for a while.  He tried to explain that he thought looking at a mountain was more interesting to him than reading about one.  He extolled the virtues of trying to hold as much lake water in his hands before it leaked out.  In return, his fellow workers just commented that they would need to dry their hands off before they returned to their assigned task, so it was more efficient to keep as dry as possible at all times.

Scott reached behind his raccoon’s chin and depressed the power button.  He clapped his hands when the whirring and humming started up.  He could see the gears moving behind the plastic paneling by the legs.  Slowly, the raccoon stood on its four legs.  It tried to lift its head, but it was met with a few jerks and spastic movements.  Scott was alarmed, and leaned in for a closer look.  The raccoon tried to back away; apparently scared of Scott the would-be attacker.  But Scott managed to hold it down long enough to free a stray wire that had caught around the neck.  Making a note to contain the wiring better, Scott backed away from the raccoon.

Blinking, the robot looked up at Scott.  It tilted its head to one side and took in its maker at a thirty degree angle.  It blinked.  The glassy eyes now flicked from side to side.  It seemed to be taking it all in.  The quick-adaption protocols that Scott had created were working just as he had hoped.  Learning would be a gradual process for his robot.  Everyone else started their lives knowing everything.  Scott didn’t want his robot to be like that.

Scott whistled to the raccoon and watched as the robotic animal turned towards him.  He patted on his knees, whistled again, and waited to see if the protocols would follow as he had hoped.  Sure enough, the raccoon edged towards the end of the table top.  Scott patted his knees, whistled, and patted his knees again.  The raccoon came to the very edge of the table, looked down, and took in its options.  A few moments later, it carefully and curiously hopped down to the chair, and then hopped down to Scott’s feet.  The robot looked up to Scott with an inquisitive air.  What next, it seemed to ask.

That, Scott thought to himself, was an excellent question.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

One Response to Scott the Pretty Great

  1. Pingback: Scott the Pretty Great Ventures Out « Anecdotal Tales

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