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On-Line Sci Fi Story-The Idiot Museum-Chapters 1-6-Andrew Highton

The Idiot Museum
Chapter 1

2 Excerpts from Greys " History of the Facility for Social Research- Off World."

History Disc 3-Excerpt 1.

" 2250 the Research Facility was complete. Engineered as a minor world with its own light, power, food and air source. 20 kilometres in diameter, able to sustain 4,000 individuals.

Located in space at the point where Earth and Moon gravity equalized the Facility could be seen as a small dark spot against the full moon with a basic telescope.

Within the base, using the gravity of the Earth and Moon, heavier Argon and Freon plasma streams were set in opposite motion. Friction between plasma streams produced internal light and power.

Above the base, accessible only to individuals with access permission were the laboratories, staff quarters and meeting rooms of Facility personnel.

Set above the two lower levels the flat 20 kilometre disc . The disc was covered with outer and inner domes of carbon reinforced silica glass preventing atmosphere loss and filtering harmful gamma radiation. On the disc were built houses, apartment blocks, shops, parks and gardens, to reproduce as closely as possible a middle-sized Earth village.(See sub-history picture streams 1 and 2)

Food, air and water were provided by plants and simple water-based amoebic organisms brought from Earth. The Facility's location between Earth and Moon caused night and day to be experienced as they would be on Earth.

The Facility was originally engineered to provide an off world research base for social problems encountered as World Government developed programs for penetration into deep space. A special type of human clone inhabited the disc. Lacking the ability to produce trioxydopophines, the brain chemical necessary for sustained brain function. The clones were then readily controlled by administering the chemical in measured doses.

Many of the social problems likely to be encountered in deep space exploration were defined and solved in the Facility's early years in operation.."

History Disc 3-Excerpt 2

"......during 2303 the Facility began a period of re-adjustment. Falling World Government revenues coupled with the need to develop Delta Vector resulted in a financial crisis and funding cuts. The crisis allowed private companies access to the Facility to compensate World Government funding cuts.

Many of the private research projects, carried out from 2303 to the Facility's destruction, were secret and lacked independent oversight.

(See sub-history disc 4a Research Reports; 2303,2304,2305,2306,2307,2308,2309,2310.

Disc 4a/b Serge Duzomme, Director of Security; Narratives of the Facility of Social Research-Off World-A Personal Recollection....."

The Idiot Museum

Chapter 2

Robert had just finished his last report when the band on his right wrist began to chime. He quickly save the report and shut down his work-station. Around the small office other wristbands also chimed. People were rising from the work-stations and leaving for the elevator. Robert followed a group into the elevator and a moment later stepped out on the ground floor.

Robert's wristband stopped chiming as he left the building. He walked quickly across the square to the Travelator stop. Here he met his wife, Anne, who smiled that perfect smile he liked, before kissing him.

"Darling." she said.

Robert smiled back, they linked arms while waiting. The sun warmed them after the cool of their climate controlled offices.

Robert looked up to the carbosilica dome overhead, then to the dome edge where the darkness was already showing.

The Travelator stopped and they stepped aboard.

At home in their apartment they cooked dinner together. Then lay on their soft expansive couch, drinking glasses of wine, between kissing and hugging each other, smiling and looking into each other's eyes.

Their wristbands began to chime simultaneously. Leaving their unfinished wine Robert and Anne walked to their bedroom. Robert sat on the bed watching while Anne undressed pulled back the sheets and lay down.

"Hurry darling " she said.

" I forgot to reset the aerosol for tomorrow" said Robert.

He went back to the lounge-room The aerosol dispenser was fixed to the lounge-room wall. Robert pressed the reset button.

From the bedroom he heard Anne say " Hurry darling". Her wristband had stopped chiming.

Back in the bedroom Robert began to undress. His wristband chiming at a slightly higher pitch. Anne's eyes had a faraway look. As Robert stooped to take off his socks he fell forward onto his knees. His upper body on the bed, left arm hanging down, right arm on the bed, wristband still chiming.

Half an hour later two uniformed men, wearing small breathing masks, entered Robert and Anne's bedroom. One man held up a small metal tube.

"It's safe" he said to the other.

The men took off their masks, undressed Robert and laid him gently in the bed.
The Idiot Museum

Chapter 3

Serge woke early. He lay on his back staring at the ceiling, the absolute silence of his room an invitation to close his eyes and drift back to sleep. But.....his thoughts disturbed the tranquillity.

How long had he been Director of Security ? Ten years now. Serge remembered the interview after his recommendation for Director of Security at the Facility.

Facing a half-round table of unsmiling World Government bureaucrats. All with a computablet in front of them. They had questioned him closely while scrolling through his record on their computablets.

" Army Service ?"

"Ten years World Government Special Force, rank of Major. Three years as a Government analyst, two years as an undercover agent"

"What did he know of the Facility ?"

" How would he respond in this situation ?"

" How would he respond in that situation ?" Questions in quiet measured voices, no sense of urgency. Thorough.

After the interview another quiet conversation. With the Director of Administrative Affairs. In a plush office with Bikka coffee served. Between sips of coffee the Director told Serge he was now officially D.of S. F.F.S.R-O.W. Director of Security Facility for Social Research-Off World. Had talked of the unpopularity of the Facility among certain sections of the political and social groups on Earth. The UltraChrists, Anti-Clones, the Free Society Party, Men of the Second Submission. But with 26 billion people now on Earth what was one to do ? Marscolony was thriving due to the research carried out there....and with deep space penetration...well...

Most of it Serge already knew. After the tension of the interview Serge had relaxed his attention beginning to drift.

The Directors next statement in the same quiet measured tone made Serge pay closer attention.

" There is a serious current threat to the Facility, you will receive a full report on your secure computablet "

" Major Danzig will give you access codes and a verbal brief in meeting room three"

They stood and shook hands.

"Good luck", said the Director as Serge left the office. Serge had nodded and given him a wry smile.

Serge had dealt with that particular threat to the Facility. A poor distraught fool, a Grade 3 technocrat, who found his marriage had broken down when he arrived home on leave. A small group of extreme UltraChrists, taking advantage of his vulnerability, had convinced him the Facility was the source of his problem and they could help him destroy it . A bomb filled with tetraglycocyde was surgically implanted behind his ribcage and disguised as a high frequency heart monitor. His computablet set to generate sound at a certain pitch was the bomb trigger.

When he returned to the Facility he was immediately arrested, stripped and questioned. His answers only confirming what Serge already knew. The group on Earth, including the surgeon, were arrested simultaneously.

Serge had not wanted to kill the man. The bomb, too dangerous to remove, powerful enough to destroy the Facility. He left the interview room. In the corridor outside Serge set his plasma pistol to thick needle/head through. Called a guard to lead the man out. Under the pretence of leading him to another room Serge stepped behind him and shot him through the head killing him instantly.

The body launched into space, strapped to a gravsled, with his computablet timed to emit the sound that would trigger the bomb in 20 minutes. Serge watched by a window until a flash in the blackness of space confirmed the body had exploded.

Since that first threat nothing had yet been so serious. Attempts by staff to smuggle forbidden items in, mainly drugs, or smuggle forbidden items out, mainly research papers. Free Society members pretending to be lost or adrift hoping to gain access to the Facility. Perhaps the most serious security threats were covert sexual relationships between staff and clones. Male staff being almost exclusively the offenders. Nearly all female staff found clones repulsive rather than attractive. Clones were sexually fertile, mixing human and clone genes too unpredictable to risk. A small daily quantity of disfert solved the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

Serge felt a kind of pity for the clones and treated them with respect and dignity. He knew, no-one said it within his hearing, that while politely the Facility was referred to as the Facility or by its acronym of FFSROW (pronounced fussrow) many of the staff called it the idiot museum......

A soft buzzing brought Serge's attention back to his surroundings. Time to get up, he thought.

Today Serge had a meeting with a delegation from DEMCO. A private company. Serge disliked private companies using the Facility . Too many unknowns. Falling World Government revenues and the cost of deep space development gave paying private companies access to the Facility.

Serge pushed back the bed-sheet and stepped into the cleaning cubicle....

The Idiot Museum

Chapter 4

Serge entered the meeting room. The delegation from DEMCO were already seated. Facing them and flanked by two grade 10 Directocrats was the Head of Facility, Martin Avon. Serge sat down and Avon introduced him to the delegation.

"Gentlemen" said Avon ," Serge Duzhomme, our Director of Security"

Avon introduced Serge to the leader of the delegation Anthony Haytowo-Walker. Spare, small, with grey hair cropped close to the head, dressed in the long white robe of the Knights of St James, Haytowo-Walker introduced Serge to the delegation he lead. His voice as clipped and spare as the man.

"The company lawyer, Zeid Corona"

"My personal security guard, Keb Eefca"

"The company Sociocrat, Dolf Lithera"

"My two Technocrats, Mark Elias and John Gabbath"

Serge noted the "my" that prefaced the introduction to the technocrats.

He had already personally scanned the files of all the delegation members on his secure computablet. Of the six the two Technocrats and Sociocrat would be closely watched by eight of his undercover guards to report on their activities while staying at the Facility. Only Dolf Lithera the Sociocrat and the two Technocrats would stay aboard. The others were staying only temporarily, he would probably never see them again.

After the introductions Avon made small-talk with Haytowo-Walker, the journey, hoped their guests would be comfortable during their stay, any problems or requests to contact his office and finally,

"Our Director of Hospitality, Mr Delstobfs has organised the apartments you will stay in, I hope you find them comfortable. You will be conducted there after your briefing by Mr Duzomme". "Thank you gentlemen"

Avon left flanked by the two grade 10 Directocrats.

Haytowo-Walker turned to Serge with a smile, "Mr Duzomme", he said ,expectantly.

"We currently have two hundred clones in the plastic state", said Serge. "All are considered ready for participation in your study"

"We require only twenty six, said Haytowo-Walker, "we are considering all males, perhaps one or two females, but we need to screen our candidates very closely, very particular characters are needed."

"Our study is of small group dynamics, two groups of thirteen, our experts tell us should suffice" He turned to Lithera, Elias and Gabbath with a smile.

"You will have full access to all their records", said Serge. "If you need males only that reduces the numbers to one hundred and fifty."

The Technocrat Elias said quickly, "I think we should look at all the candidates, we haven't yet ruled out females exclusively."

"Very well," said Serge, "whatever records you need will be made available"

Serge continued, "Gentlemen I must also instruct you in what we at the Facility call clone etiquette."

"Clones are never referred to as clones in their hearing."

"When dealing with clones, especially in their plastic state, you must be polite and make no sudden movements"

"Once their roles are formed they can withstand emotional shocks but not before."

"Even when their roles are formed we ask that you treat them politely and with dignity"

"Yes, Mr Duzomme," said Haytowo-Walker a little impatiently, "we have been instructed in clone etiquette." Serge looked at the others in the delegation. They sat looking back at him. Corona and Eefca looked slightly bored. Lithera, Elias and Gabbath with fixed stares looked back at Serge.

"I feel I must make this clear Mr Haytowo-Walker"

Haytowo-Walker smiled, "Sorry Mr Duzomme, a little testy after the long flight."

"Perhaps it's time to see our quarters," said Haytowo-Walker .

The Idiot Museum
Chapter 5

Serge left the delegation as the Director of Hospitality lead them to the apartments they would occupy during their stay. Usually Serge would patrol a small part of the disc on foot to confirm for himself that life aboard the Facility proceeded normally.

Today however he would visit the workshops of the clone-savants. A group of twenty clones who, the biocrats had still not discovered how, exhibited remarkable creative gifts. It was thought the combination of genes and altered brain chemistry produced the creative variant. The original humans from whom the clones were grown showed no similar gifts. Most of the clones were given simple administrative or maintenance tasks to help with the day to day operation of the Facility when not used for sociodata conditioning. Clone-savants were considered too valuable to use in sociodata conditioning.

Clone-savants products in fashion, toys, games, tools were used within the Facility or exported and sold on Earth. The uniform Serge wore, and all the security guards, copies of the French gendarmes of 1930's, produced by Kikee Matsca a clone whose clothing designs were famous on Earth.

Serge snapped on his wristband, part of the camouflage adopted by humans to sooth clone sensitivities, (clones were unaware they were clones) and walked the two kilometres to the workshops.

Serge first visited Mark Tescu. Tescu conceived and built crystal games. Invented the face-mount and glove controllers and the games themselves. Three dimensional, life-sized, super-realistic holographic experiences. Game players could link in hundreds and access historic visual streams, re-enact historic battles or sporting events, create mythical worlds, travel, climb mountains, the possibilities practically endless. Exported to Earth the games sold in millions. Even the most jaded Facility staff treated him with respect. Games however were all consuming for him. Indifferent to money, utterly unable to care for himself Tescu was cared for by a woman clone who cooked his meals and made sure he didn't neglect himself too much. Tescu thought the woman was his mother.

Serge knocked on Tescu's workshop door.

Are you there Mark ? He said quietly.

"Where else would I be Mr Duzhomme ?" said Mark, equally quietly.

Serge smiled to himself and entered the workshop. Shelves lined with parts filled the small square room. Tescu sitting on a high stool at a bench lit with the brightest lights watching his secure computablet, running programs.

"I came to see that you were alright," said Serge. "Nothing you need ?"

"No nothing," said Tescu, "working on a new game," without looking up from the screen.

The woman who cared for Tescu entered the workshop. "He has a minor problem with his eyes Mr Duzomme"

"Spends too much time looking at that screen," a note of reproach in her voice.

"Muum" said Tescu, stretching the vowel.

Serge made a note on his computablet. "I'll have a medicrat check them," he said, " A minor lens adjustment may be necessary."

Serge spoke to Tescu's carer, "Anything else ?"

"No Mr Duzomme,"...then, "If you could force him to stop work for a day ?"

Serge smiled and shrugged. Touched Tescu lightly on the arm. "I'll send a medicrat to see you Mark" "Expect him tomorrow"

"Bye Mr Duzomme," said Mark, still staring at the screen.

After leaving Mark Tescu Serge walked to the workshop of Diana Tsaudsuo. Her workshop as light and airy as Mark Tescu's was closed and airless. Diana's creativity ran from hand-made dolls to automata. Always a simulacra of human or animal sometimes a mythological merging of both. From ancient clockwork means of springs and geared wheels, to the latest robotic technology, from finishes that perfectly reproduced ancient surfaces to the seamless bodies achievable today. Diana's work was also exported to Earth where it sold for high prices.

Serge knocked at her open door and called her name "Diana"

"Serge," she called back, "Come in, come in"

She stood by a bench at the end of the room, smiling. Serge walked toward her under a ceiling filled with the heads, legs, and arms of countless yet to be made dolls. A more rounded personality than Mark Tescu she often flirted with Serge. Sometimes he flirted back but mostly retort, "Diana I am a married man," in mock offended tones. She would slap him gently on the arm and smile at him.

As beautiful as her creations. Above middle height, slender, with curves in the right places. Shoulder-length black hair usually tied back. Large eyes ,small nose, even white teeth with smooth yellow-brown skin. Invariably dressed in white tailored trousers and jacket that showed her figure without flaunting it. Serge would certainly like to meet her counterpart on Earth.

Serge had a special reason for meeting Diana. She had been commissioned by the Facility to make a small automata for presentation to Martin Haytowo-Walker at a formal dinner tonight. A member of the Apostles of the Infant Yaho-wah Sect Haytowo-Walker would be presented with an automata of the Infant.

Diana pointed at a cloth covered form on the bench.

"Would you like to see it ?" see said, smiling.

"I would," said Serge, holding his breath slightly.

Pulling back the cloth Diana exposed an automata about 50 centimetres high, made of thin beaten metal. A seated mother figure, in upper robe of blue-green, one shoulder and knees covered in a red robe fitted with what appeared to be precious stones, though Serge knew they were not. One arm placed on the thigh, the other held out as if to catch the Infant should he over-balance and fall. The pink Infant stood on her knees, upper arms by the torso, lower arms held outward. At the press of a button hidden at the back the Infant made the gesture termed "the gathering of souls". Opening his arms wide then bringing them to his chest in a wide arc, hands pointing at his heart. A slight whirring indicating the clock-work interior.

Serge smiled , moving his head slowly from side to side. "What a marvel," he said. The paint finishes scuffed to perfection, the "precious stone" encrusted robe ,the colours, the Infant gesture, a piece produced in Byzantium ,rediscovered in the 24th Century.

"You like it then ?," said Diana, looking into his eyes.

"More importantly I think it will thrill Haytowo-Walkers homosexual heart, said Serge.

They both laughed.

The Idiot Museum

Chapter 6

Serge and Head of Facility Avon, in full dress uniforms, met Haytowo-Walker at the double doors of the hall where the dinner was to be held. Haytowo-Walker was also in the dress robe of the Knights of St James. Floor length hooded white robe, emblazoned across the chest, a Maltese cross in red. On each of his fingers a silver and gold ring. Each designed with a symbol significant to the Apostles of Infant Yaho-Wah.

The doors of the hall were opened by two security guards. A wood-panelled room with a large polished table made of wood, set with a service of ceramic. Serge could see Haytowo-Walker was impressed.

"All constructed here ?" asked Haytowo-Walker

"Our people, using wood grown on the facility," said Avon. Wood was now a rarely used and expensive material on Earth.

"You have some talented people here," said Haytowo-Walker, with a slight ironic emphasis on the word "people".

"Please seat yourself Mr Haytowo-Walker," said Avon, "Before our meal we have a performance of music and dance by more of our people of talent." Plush armchairs covered in leather were placed before a small area where the performances would take place.

"Klaus DeBois, one of our musically gifted people has recently finished a series of "Arias for Synthharp and Voice", we thought you may enjoy the first public performance"

"A premiere performance of a Klaus DeBois work ? " said Hatowo-Walker somewhat surprised, " I had no idea he was also one of your people" again with the slight ironic emphasis on the word " people".

Avon nodded slowly, " Yes he's one of ours," then added, "Of course that is a piece of privileged information"

"Of course, of course," said Haytowo-Walker quickly, "You can rely on my discretion." "But now I'm eager to hear it,... if we could begin?"

Avon nodded to the security guards who opened the doors. Two female clones dressed in floor-length dresses entered. The vocalist, a small pale skinned dark-haired Eurasian. The other a tall blonde carried a small stool and the Synthharp, a small stringed triangular instrument with a panel along its vertical edge. By adjusting settings on the panel the Synthharp could be made to produce an almost limitless variety of notes. In the hands of a skilful player it produced the most ethereal music.

They nodded to the audience of three men. The Synthharpist seated on her stool, the vocalist standing they began their performance. Serge could see that Haytowo-Walker was visibly moved. When the performance ended he stood and approached the two women praising them.

"My dears," he said, " I feel extraordinarily privileged to have heard tonight's performance, " genuine gratitude in his voice.

The women, smiling, thanked him and left.

Immediately after the women had left music filled the room. A slow symphonic air. The doors opened , four dancers, walking on the tips of their toes, came into the room. Three women and a man wearing the diaphanous costumes of 20th century ballet performed a condensed version of "Firebird".

Serge could see that Haytowo-Walker, his concentration fixed on the male dancer, was again moved. But this time in a slightly different way. Serge thought to himself he was right about Haytowo-Walkers gender preference.

The performance ended. The dancers leaving the room on toe-tips as they had entered, smiling and touching the outstretched hands of their audience as they passed .

Haytowo-Walker said, "After those performances the meal may be an anti-climax."

"Let us see," said Avon

When they had finished their meal. Haytowo-Walker said, "Gentlemen a perfect evening, I thank you"

"A pleasure," said Avon.

"However the evening isn't quite over yet."

"If you would Serge."

Serge left the room. A guard outside handed him a polished wooden box. Re-entering the room he placed the box on the table. Opened the two doors at its front.

"A presentation from the Facility to a valued client." he said to Haytowo-Walker.

Took the automata from the box and placed it on the table.

Haytowo-Walker placed a hand over his mouth and drew in breath. Serge pressed the hidden button at the back of the automata. The Infant making the "gathering in of souls" gesture.

"Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful," repeated Haytowo-Walker, again visibly moved.

"I must, must meet the creator," he said with emotion.

"I'm sure that can be arranged," said Avon, visibly pleased by Haytowo-Walker's reaction. "Mr Duzomme ?"

"Not this time but next," said Haytowo-Walker, quickly, "I must leave tonight."

"On your return then,"said Avon

"In fact gentlemen I must leave you now, a ship is already on its way to return me to Earth."

Avon looked at Serge quizzically.

"We have received no communications regarding that, unless Mr Duzomme has omitted to inform me ?", said Avon tersely. "Mr Duzomme ?"

"Pre-arranged before I left Earth gentlemen," said Haytowo-Walker with a smile. Seemingly pleased he had disconcerted them. "You will receive a landing permission request soon."

"Then we will say goodbye," said Avon rising from his chair and shaking Haytowo-Walkers hand.

"Rather "Au Revoir," said Haytowo-Walker, smiling again.

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