Thursday, June 28, 2018

States of Change: Chapter 19: Crossroads (Indiana)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.
Prominently, The Augment, a real-time, virtual overlay of sensory data 
has become widely available for personal use throughout many of the post-fed nation-states.

More than ten thousand corporations call the Indianapolis Industrial Ring HQ. The data servers in the IIR complex collectively hum 24-7 as if the second coming of Cryptocurrency was underway. Even on this Sunday, loop transport and automated delivery modules cart office supplies, printer rods and support personnel to and fro in a labyrinthian, video game of motion.  Suite 3D16 of the northwest arc houses the diminutive Genetic Crossroads Limited Partnership module.  Its minimalist sharespace is busier than most modules in the whole of the IIR. The monthly business meeting is well underway.

GCLP's business model was designed to leverage the Augment fully; strategy conferences, expert system data-sharing, state accounting and even employee morale building exercises were key aspects to that model.  In fact, the ten full-time bio-technicians employed by GCLP only ever worked remotely. The founders Prim and Merc, however, meet monthly face-to-face to discuss personnel adjustments, mission recalibration and individual project closure.  Today, VisARs off, they focused on the last.

"...DNA Depth Analyses adequate for extended generation survivability?"

 "Check. Ten thousand life cycles assured at a ninety ninth percentile confidence level."

"Habitat flora, fauna, and resource impact meta-studies fully compliant?"

"Check. Approval confirmed by each African ecosystem council and the International Riparian Oversight Committee."

"Individual organism, environment, and global simulation data all acceptable to GCLP standards?"

"Check, check and checkuna-matata!"

Merc paused, shaking his head with a grin. "You're a strange one, Prim."

"What? You don't like my Lion King reference?"

"Lion King? Right. Okay, that about does it. All paperwork for the release of the Clarias cavernicola recovered genome is digitally signed and now submitted. If the Continental African government approves the funding the golden cave catfish will swim back from from extinction into their tropical estuaries once more."

"Excellent, Merc! Pretty crazy that our little Indiana startup is making waves across the oceanographic bioscape! Resurrecting extinct fishes from the abyss! Five years ago, who would've guessed?"

"It's not surprising at all, Prim. The terms you negotiated for the CRISPR PHISH protocol license has been a boon for the company. We now have seventy-five restored species to our name, with twenty-one others awaiting funding approval. Maybe fifty years ago it would've been surprising, but given the technology and ethical standards of the moment, you should be proud, not surprised."

Prim laughed. "You're right of course, but do you ever get the feeling we've overstepped. You know, kinda playing God."

"By playing God, do you mean wielding science and compassion in judicious iterations toward restoring the damage humanity has done to the planet over the past three millennia?"

"Yep, that's the feeling--hubris mixed with a healthy portion of righteousness. How can we can know the long-term global outcome of resurrecting species that have been dead for decades?"

"This ain't Jurassic Park, Prim. Restoring the planet's biodiversity pre-anthrocene is the company's mission and business is booming! Subtext: I think we're doing good works. God for sure has never deigned to step in to upkeep the environment so it's our responsibility to do our best for the good of earthkind."

Prim laughed again. "All this talk of God and fish makes me think of that Jesus story where he magically multiplies loaves and fishes to feed his waiting audience."

"Don't know that tale, but from what I hear that Jesus character had some freaky superpowers. If he had an ethical bone is his body you'd think he'd have resurrected the fish and set them free rather than hand them out as incentive to listen to his dogma like a common missionary."

They both laugh.

"Ok, I guess we can log this business meeting as complete. Dinner is my treat tonight, Prim. Clean Meat Kitchen has the new Red Steak cultivar, hot off the Middle Eastern bio-shelf."

"I'll take the treat, Merc, but I'm steering clear of the red stuff. Ethical laboratory practices aside, the cultured flesh of Stalin, or any animal for that matter, just susses gross to me. I'll stick to my reformed vedge and potatoes."

"Suit yourself."

Both men exit ready for a night out on the plex.

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