Brainstormers #1

Prologue

DOES A NINJA SEE A NINJA HIDING BEHIND ANOTHER NINJA?

„When I write I prefer a keyboard,” David said. „My handwriting is horrible. If my hand were to jack you off at the same pace as I’m writing longhand, you most likely wouldn’t even be able to get an erection. I mean, that’s if you had a penis. Which obviously you don’t. I am using a metaphore here, boss.”
He was grinning as usual, but this time the sparks in his eyes were of a different hue of mad.

Jessica was frowning. Trying to find some meaning in the words formed with capital letters on the screen before them spelling something David called the Ninja dilemma.

„But when I use a keyboard,” David went on. „I’m almost able to jot down my thoughts as fast as they are arising. Maybe it’s because I use all ten fingers, you know? It’s like when you’re playing the piano. Somehow the music is there at the tip of your finger.”

„Yeah? Good for you, David,” Jessica said. „But what the hell does that have to do with a ninja?”

„Everything!” David almost jumped. „As long as I’m equipped with this.”

He pushed his index finger to a spot near his left temple.

„What? Did you have your ear pierced or something?” she asked.

„Yes I did. But look above the ear.”

She approached him slowly and leaned over. The skin above his left ear was paper thin. She could make out faint patterns as if he had a tatoo done in silver ink, but on the inside of the skin.

„What’s that? Looks like an imprint of some circuitboard or wires” she said.

„It’s wireless, Jessica. This tech is great.”

David pulled his head down and pointed his finger at some bare skin shaven near the top.

„Well I’ll be damned, David,” she said running her fingers through his remaining hair when she noticed the GRINQ logotype stamped on his temple. The Q was either a lime or an olive, she could never tell from the brand mark. „Did you give yourself an implant?”

„Yes I did!” David said. „And I’ve designed it too.”

She took a step back. Gazed at this short guy in a labcoat as if she hadn’t seen him for a few years. As if someone kept him locked away from society for some well justified reason.

„You are cliniclally insane. Show me the license agreement.”

„What?”

„David, you stupid asshole!” She raised her hand as if she were to slap him. In retrospect maybe she shouldn’t have had hesitated. „You fucking geek! You let those butchers drill in your head? And then you gave them money for it? Show me the goddamn license agreement!”

„It’s irreversible, Jessica. I’m sorry but I had to do it. It’s gonna be fine!” He patted her on the shoulder. „The point is, it’s working.”

He took her hand and pointed it to the screen again.

„This philosophical dilemma. The one with all the ninjas. This was a random thing that popped into my head while I was looking at you, when you walked into my lab. And this thing inside my head.” He pointed at the GRINQ tatoo. „This thing just ran it through the Web and produced the caption.”

„You’re hopeless, Dave.”

„No, I’m serious. Watch. I can do it again.”

She looked at the screen. Nothing happened. Nothing happend for quite some time.

„Just wait. You’ll see. Any second now.”

And surely after another while she did. The screen replaced the ninja dilemma with a picture of her. Without clothes. It was more like a cartoon. Flat shaded like an early full 3D CGI flick.

„You have to give it some time to render,” David explained. „Even though I lowered the resolution.”

„Is that why it looks like a cartoon?”

„I presume.” He shrugged. „It’s still experimental, you know.”

„So how much did you spend on your experiment, David? An experiment which I know absolutely noone approved here at the Farm?”

„Oh, who cares,” he said. „Weren’t you listening to what I’ve been saying?! A machine read my mind, boss! Hello! It rendered a picture from inside of my brain! Who, in a moment like this, whould think about fucking money, you greedy woman! Jessica, you just witnessed the birth of a techno-miracle! This is like inventing the Quantum Internet. Or the mother fucking touchscreen!”

„Calm down, David.”

„I just interfaced with a machine using only my thoughts with minimal latency. Just imagine what software you could create this way. Compose musicals or record them just by thinking about the sounds! Imagine, you could record your dreams and memories, store them, and play them back, if you wished. How awesome is this!”

„You are getting carried away, Dave,” Jessica said. „And frankly, you are way out of line. I will not ask you a third time.”

She tilted her head to the side and removed her glasses.

„How much of my money did you spend on this?”

„I’ll pay you back.” He shrugged. „In stocks. What do you say? Fifty-fifty partners?”

„How about you turn this thing off and shut the hell up. Then maybe I’ll let you leave this room with a solemn promise of a swift quiet death. How does that sound?”

„Yeah? Then get in line, girl. Patent’s already in. There are investors lined up. The thing is already rolling.”

„Your machine has a different opinion.”

„What?”

He glanced at the screen. On it there was a big drawing of a sad cat. It had two sentences as subtitles. They read: „This cat is happy. And I am lying.”

The cat then turned into a beginng face of a puppy.

„Please, Jessica. I will pay you back, I swear,” David said.

Jessica took a long breath.

„All right, Dave. You’ve got yourself a partner. But the split will be different,” she said. „Cause if this blows up, you are going to jail. And I won’t let you rat me out and drag me down with you, do you understand?”

„I’m not going to jail.” He came closer. „You’re not going to jail…”

He was certain, he had just won an argument with Jessica for the first time and he was more than happy with himself.

„Nobody is going to jail.”

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