Time for another small story of the alone repairman in space accompanied by Jules the sarcastic AI and his own thoughts.
After taking a show, shaving off his beard, and cleaning the space shuttle, he chose once again the seat in front of the console. Hugo typed in commands to initiate not only the in-depth scanning programs but to start the actual repair of the tear. Of course, he could command Jules, the AI, to run through the sequence, but where was the fun in that? Hugo wondered, and not for the first time, why the company hadn’t just replaced him and the rest of the quantum janitors with AIs and be done with humans. The only logical reason he’d come up with was that he was cheaper somehow. All in life came down to money or something equivalent to it like resources. Resources of minerals, work input, time, and more than often, sanity. The pay was usually good if there was a slight possibility of going berserk insane as happened to be the case with lawyers, politicians, CEOs, and the rest of the lot. The only trouble was they had been able to collect enough influence that their borderline megalomania was seen as the norm instead of an utter bat infestation in their attic.
It would be easy to think that his job had that same insanity allowance as the CEOs and the rest with all the being alone and confined and balancing the lives of others with his space mop, but no. And that was because of the supply and demand. Even when he’d gotten a degree in Applied Quantum Physics, he was replaceable. There were dozens of qualified guys and gals waiting in line to get his job and most likely with better grades and work experience. Hugo had heard that in the past, you were revered if you had a degree from quantum physics. That the general public and your bosses thought you were as smart as they came, that you were the cream of the humanity and science community, that you were second from the creature, they once believed in, god. But not any longer. The more revered were the once like Jen who could tame the overblown beast called bureaucracy which most of the AIs, resources, and bright minds gravitated towards. All due to secure paycheck, endless energy supply, and the reputation of being the champion of humankind.
Yes, he should have followed Clara’s footsteps, another sister of his, who their parents were proud of. She was the head of the Human Resources of Mining and Minerals. A job that paid more than any head of a mining company. A job that held more power than any mining company had. Hugo was sure something had gone horribly wrong somewhere. That humanity had turned into a machine to feed the bureaucracy.
Not him, though. He got to be up here in space and know what was real and what wasn’t.
Hugo initiated another jump to the border of the tear, and he felt as if his innards tried to escape through his colon.
Thank you for reading! Have a lovely day! You are real, you exist, you are not a program or a cog.