Monday, July 3, 2023

Microstory 1921: Bureaucratic Protocol

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Special Investigator: Thank you for agreeing to come in, Mr. Miazga.
Leonard: I wanna see it.
Special Investigator: There will be time to se the Ochivar—
Leonard: We don’t know that. We may be operating on a tight deadline here. This creature and I have something in common; something that it does not share with you, or with him. I don’t know how the Ochivari developed, or why they go around destroying entire populations, but I know that they’re a curious species.
Agent Parsons: How do you know that? Nothing about its behavior thus far implies any strong feelings regarding anything.
Leonard: I know that its curious, at least it’s genetically probable, because it has to be. Any species that evolves intelligence will lose that character trait if they do not also evolve the tendency to exercise that intelligence to gain knowledge. It obviously learned a great deal about the way the multiverse works, or it would not be here, and even if its arrival were an accident, its people’s history suggests its motivations to be driven by higher-level thinking, rather than simply base instinct.
Special Investigator: I see.
Leonard: Basically, it’s smart, social, and alone right now. It will feel an urge to connect with me, even if it’s only as an enemy. Which is fine, because at the moment, you’re really just trying to get it to communicate, aren’t you?
Special Investigator: That is an accurate assessment.
Leonard: I’ll get it to talk. I can’t guarantee what it will talk about, or whether its responses will ultimately prove fruitful, but it will be a start.
Agent Parsons: Do you have experience in interrogation, though? Our parole officers are mainly here to keep track of the...freemen, and report their movements.
Leonard: Well, I wasn’t always a parole officer. I came up after a brief stint in the military before I was injured. Then I joined the police as a regular officer before becoming disillusioned with its inefficacy. After befriending a social worker, we came to the conclusion that I would be better off avoiding crime scenes. But I was required to study all aspects of law enforcement before that, including interview techniques.
Agent Parsons: Special Investigator? What do you think?
Special Investigator: You make a compelling case, parole officer Miazga. I’m inclined to let you in that room, but it will not be as easy as the three of us taking the stairs down to that level, and opening a door. There is a protocol here, involving an interview with you on the other side of the table, a not insignificant amount of paperwork, and...
Leonard: And what?
Agent Parsons: Oh. And a background check, I would imagine.
Special Investigator: Yes. We are as bureaucratic as any other government entity. I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to handle your situation. Records must be filed.
Agent Parsons: Treat him as a spy. Spies don’t have real identities. Surely you have a form you can fill out that just gets us by without worrying about verifying any data.
Special Investigator: Yes, that’s a good idea, Agent Parsons. Wait here, I’ll go procure what we need to expedite the process.

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