When The Cornicopia left Io Station, they were all asleep in their regeneration chambers. The voyage would take a little over a century, far out of the solar system into deep space. They would settle on Foreman 12-01-70, a planet classified as being hospitable to human life. Even before they fell asleep, they felt no fear. It had been bred out of them in the gestation units, raised as children to adulthood by the guidance of The Algorithm.
To survive in the void of deep space, it was postulated that only their single-mindedness would serve them. The extraneous emotional range of traditional human psychology and makeup had been stripped away from them for their own protection, and to support their drive to achieve success in settling another planet light years away. They would leave the barren solar system and all of the irrationality and unpredictability of their former histories behind them. Those Proles remaining on Luna, Deimos, Phobos, and on Titan would take their insecurities, their feelings of inadequacy, their jealousies, their debilitating memories of lost love, and their broken dreams with them into oblivion.The occupants of the Cornicopia would wake in a new world. In it, there would be no place for such things.The Director of Developmental Sciences Forrest 247-M had been twinned with Applied Water Science Specialist Yuki 357-S. The new Sexual Reproduction Program data analysis results had determined by that the two shared a genetic compatibility, and that their offspring would have the healthiest genes to ensure humanity’s continued survival on a new world. So, they were to be twinned by ceremony, many of such events that would occur on Io. The Algorithm calculated that although it was irrational, humanity responded to ritual and to symbolism, a piece of data that seemed to be a basic building block of the human psyche. There was no reason to unpack the data any further, with so many other goals to achieve. Forrest’s associate Michael 468-H would serve in the ceremony as well. Forrest and Yuki put a ring on each other’s fingers. Michael looked on as the Algorithm recorded the date and time accordingly. The twinning was consummated later that day. The Algorithm had calculated that the physical act of sex was every bit as important to the process as the rest of the ritual had been. That act was recorded as well.
A month later, Forrest had left the lab and returned to the quarters he shared with Yuki. Michael had left the lab an hour before. It had been strange; there had been no reason for him to leave early. Michael had just left without a word, not following with the schedule. There was so much work to do to get the samples ready, and to do the testing later in the week. Michael’s early departure had created unnecessary variables. It was an act that had been unpredictable. Strange.
Forrest reached their quarters. Stepping in, he called her name, moving past the food dispenser and into the wide living area. Off to the side, and down a short corridor was their bedroom. He heard her voice within, but not like he had ever heard it. She sounded like she was sobbing, her cries becoming more fevered, less controlled than he’d ever heard them. “How odd. It sounds like an emotional reaction of some kind. I wonder what could be at the root of it.”
When he entered the bedroom, Michael and Yuki were sexually entwined. The sheets of the bed were strewn on the floor. The musky scent of their damp bodies hung humidly in the air. Forrest stared, and there was a pause. Then he spoke.
“Yuki. The Algorithm has produced data that has determined that you and I are twinned due to our genetic compatibility. It was understood that sexual relations would be between the two of us exclusively to support the necessary physical symbol of the arrangement, and upon reaching Foreman 12-01-70, to the procreation of offspring. And yet you and Michael have been engaged in sexual activity which is not an officially prescribed factor of that model.”
Michael dis-entwined himself and stood, naked. Yuki pulled a pillow in front of her to hide her own nakedness. Neither said a word, their faces at rest.
Forrest spoke. “Perhaps this should be reported. Perhaps we all have mis-processed the data, and there is some physiological anomaly at work.”
“No.” said Michael. “The data has been processed correctly.”
“It has been processed correctly,” she said. “You must make an adjustment, Forrest.”
“Are you suggesting that I have miscalculated in some way?”
“The results have shown that the twinning as it was envisioned at the beginning of the process has been unsuccessful,” replied Yuki.
“But, that would mean that the Algorithm is somehow … incorrect.”
“Perhaps the unexpected infusion of new and observable evidence might suggest that conclusion.” Said Michael. “But, we have reached the conclusion that the goal of your twinning to Yuki has been misunderstood from the start, Forrest.”
“Misunderstood? Interesting. Please expand if you would on that conclusion, Michael.” said Forrest.
“Of course. The ceremony between you and Yuki have caused some fascinating responses in my own physiology, and even in my cognitive processes. During my attendance at the twinning ceremony, a cascading series of impulses began to manifest in the sexual response centers in my brain. Afterwards, the resulting internal data caused me to conclude that I must be twinned with Yuki instead of you. I concluded therefore that I must somehow bypass the superficial layers of the Algorithm’s initial postulation regarding your twinning with Yuki in order to accomplish this goal. This new information caused me to pursue a course whereby Yuki and I would explore a sexual relationship outside of the initial results of the Algorithm’s data. Later, it was decided between us that we would present you with our findings as to how to proceed with the transition, and then enter that data officially to The Algorithm’s original data model.”
Then Yuki spoke.
“Michael approached me and presented his data model to me. And I found that I had recorded similar information in my own physical and cognitive responses to him. The pursuit of a sexual relationship seemed the most logical conclusion in the light of the facts to test the veracity of the impulses experienced by both of us individually.”
“I see,” replied Forrest.
“We have no doubt that this has been the right course. And we believe that The Algorithm had factored in our data from the beginning.” said Michael. “It was a part of the model for us to discover and isolate the new information, and process it accordingly.
“So, now you will proceed to update the original data model?”
“Now that facts have been shared with you, being a vital component of the initial model, we shall input the new data accordingly, yes.” Said Michael.
“I understand. I have now internally processed the new information.”
Yuki spoke next.
“In the light of this new paradigm, and of our meeting here to bring us to this series of conclusions, I feel that the wearing of the ring which symbolizes our twinning should be discontinued. It reflects an out-of-date body of information.” said Yuki.
Yuki took off her ring, and gave it to Forrest. He took it.
“I should find other quarters at this juncture,” said Forrest, “as my presence here also reflects an outdated informational paradigm according to the model you’ve presented to me. Michael, this data stream we’ve outlined here driven by the new series of inputs suggests that I should now take up residence in your quarters, while you take my place here. Do you concur with this assessment?”
“I concur, Forrest. Here is my keycard.”
Forrest took that too, and left.
Michael’s quarters were on level eighty-one of Io station, far below and much smaller than those he’d previously shared with Yuki on level one-hundred and two. He sat on the cot, and put the keycard and Yuki’s ring on the nightstand. He looked at his own ring, still on his finger. The beginnings of a data model of his own began to form in his mind almost immediately, suggesting a fascinating project to be pursued.
Two years later, Forrest, Yuki, and Michael were assigned to regeneration chambers on board the Cornucopia, each of them, along with three-hundred-thousand others slept a dreamless sleep for a century. The ship reached its destination, hanging silently over the new blue world below. The Algorithm extended itself across the reaches of time and space, scanning the planet for optimal places to land. In nanoseconds, it was achieved. The ship detached a section of itself like an enormous creature giving birth, and the small egg-like section descended into the pale rim of the atmosphere. Then another did the same, and then another, and another.
From the green unsullied turf below, the virgin sky was studded with black and descending shapes while the abandoned husk of the Cornucopia remained in orbit far above. There it would serve as a gigantic broadcasting hub to maintain a connection with The Algorithm’s data stream. A new prime connection would be established, and the comforting logic of The Algorithm would endure.
The regeneration chambers slid open, and each occupant emerged. Yuki’s eyes fluttered open. The psychic wave hit her almost immediately upon waking. Her eyes widened, and she bolted up in horror. The raw fear was almost palpable, and the impulse to run, just to run anywhere, was only barely within her capacity to contain. The rationality which she had known was somehow stripped from her. And yet, no. It had been added to, modified. Her mind’s unquestioning link to the Algorithm before the journey began was suddenly awash in contradictory messages that seemed to be coming from everywhere at once, interfering with that link like static on a faulty com-link. Her heart thudded in her chest.
In an open regeneration chamber far along the ovoid body of the mega-module, Michael awoke, terrified. Somewhere, his rational mind told him that what he was feeling was not simply fear, but rather a combination of emotional impulses that were happening so quickly that his brain was forced to process them all as abject terror. Then the objective analysis to which he’d always turned to explain the world was washed away like flimsy flotilla in a deluge of unprocessed emotion. He cried out. Far away, Yuki did the same. It took no time at all for the system administrators to be alerted to the rise in their adrenaline levels and brainwave patterns. Handlers were dispatched to secure them, and to confine them to an isolation chamber.
Forrest 247-M strode along the corridor to the central medical center in the mega-module. An access pass had been granted to him so that he could bypass the containment order placed upon the two occupants in the holding field. After they had been deposited there, even the handlers who had brought them there had been examined. Contamination would not be tolerated. They checked out within the accepted psychological and physical parameters. No one questioned Forrest as he entered the containment wing, and into the unit where Yuki and Michael stood, clinging to each other. When Forrest entered and stood before them, separated by a crackling field of charged electrons that kept them contained, they broke their embrace, not knowing why.
“Forrest … Thank the Algorithm! What is happening to us? Can you help us? Can you tell us what’s happening?” pleaded Yuki.
“We’ve lost our connection! We’re … we’re … adrift.” sobbed Michael.
“Actually, no,” said Forrest evenly. “You are not disconnected. You are quite the opposite of that. You are in fact re-connected to that which the Proles in the lesser colonies still cling. I imagine in time, your connections to the Algorithm will become compromised. They will decay. But, as for now, those connections remain. They merely share capacity with your new series of emotional inputs.”
“You mean we are to become irrational?” said Michael in a near whisper.
“How? How has this happened? Do they know how it happened? Did something go wrong in the regeneration chambers? Please, please tell us!”
“I arranged it, Yuki.”
“You.. you arranged it?”, said Yuki, stepping forward and nearly forgetting the electron barrier in front of her.
“Yes, Yuki. Two years before we embarked, I submitted my data to the Algorithm about the termination of our twinning before you gave me leave to do so. I postulated that you were never going to submit your findings officially. When I did so myself, the Algorithm had not included your data in its model at any time. Your data models seemed faulty to me, even at the time they were presented to me. The only reason it became known to me was by chance, entering our bedroom while you both were … engaged. So, I also postulated that there were other external reasons for your course of action beyond measurable data. The only other explanation was that you were driven by emotions that muddied your part in the original program; lust, deception … instinct.”
Michael said nothing, his face pale with horror and bewilderment.
“How could you do this to me?” screamed Yuki.
“Do this to you? That question is just a manifestation of your new emotional spectrum, I suspect. It’s certainly not a relevant question to the situation at hand. Perhaps you’re seeking to ascertain the reasons I took this course of action in the objective sense. It’s simple. I am a scientist. And so, this question of emotional motivations that I sensed in both of you, and particularly the deceptive nature of your actions made me wonder how far such emotions would go in ones bred to do without them, if stimulated during the course of a long distance interstellar journey while the subjects were asleep.”
“What are you saying?” Asked Michael.
“Let me explain, Michael. As is well known, we who were born on Io are the product of controlled breeding, narrowing the range of emotions and irrational responses to optimize our drive to accomplish given tasks in the most efficient way possible.That course has been very well proven. But, it seemed to me, and to The Algorithm as well as it later turned out, that our science has never tested the effects on one of us when emotions were re-introduced chemically over a long period of time. The concern is that without a guiding force, such a thing may infect our new world naturally. The theories on how to avoid that unacceptable scenario demanded to be tested. For that, we needed subjects. After my proposal was accepted, it was decided that the two of you would be prime candidates to provide that test. It was all in my outline, which in order to maintain the integrity of the experiments, was kept from you until now. So far, the results of the experiments are proving to be quite fascinating.”
“You … bastard.” growled Michael.
“I am merely following a prescribed series of observations based on applied measurements, Michael. Surely you can still see that? What other motivations could there be?”
“No!” yelled Yuki. “This is revenge! It’s revenge! We’re not the irrational ones here! You are! You’ve done this because you felt betrayed! You’ve done this because I love Michael, and I’ve never loved you!”
The two embraced again, clinging to each other as if caught in a strong wind.
“Love? That is not a relevant factor. And as for your supposition that I was also motivated out of an emotional reaction, that is merely academic at this juncture, hardly something to discuss without the data to support it. All I can offer you by way of explanation to your original query is the simple fact that I’ve conducted an experiment with you at its center, the first phase of which is proving to be fascinating indeed, so far.”
“First phase? What do you mean?” asked Michael hollowly.
“We will continue to monitor you both. I have budgeted six weeks, with the possibility for more depending on the results. You know the structure, Michael; we’re colleagues in the same field. Forgive me. We have been colleagues these many years. For you, those years have come to an end.”
“What is to be done with us?”
“You are to be set free, of course. As soon as the last of the first-phase data has been collected, you will be released.”
“Set free?” asked Yuki, her voice shrinking to the tones of a lost child.
“Yes. Out there. Outside the Module, of course. Your emotional states are too volatile to be trusted not to contaminate the whole colony. That scenario would simply not be acceptable. And the experiment must still be controlled, of course. Upon your exile, you will be monitored through out your lives, however long or short they will be. That is the next phase, Michael. To see how two specimens of our species thrive in this new world outside of a controlled support system.”
“Why didn’t you just kill us in our sleep, Forrest?” whispered Michael.
Forrest waved his hand at Michael’s question in dismissal, as if shewing an insect. “We will record your responses, monitor your movements, and see what we can learn about how irrational impulses can serve human beings or hinder them in a harsh new world such as this. It will help us to scale the colony appropriately, to establish new parameters, and to guide our evolution rather than be made victims of it. You are doing everyone a great service, both of you.”
“I hate you! I’ve always hated you, even though I didn’t know it. Now, I do!” seethed Yuki.
“Yes. I’ve suspected that’s been true. Your confirmation of that fact has been internally processed.” said Forrest absently.
Six weeks later, they released sleeping gas into the containment field and then deactivated the electron wall. Soon, Yuki and Michael were transported to a stretch of land on the edge of a lush primeval forest and gently lowered into the fragrant grass. They were still asleep, like infants. Their implants were tested to secure the flow of data; each response, reflex, each raw tempestuous emotion. Soon, they would awake. Back in the observation center at the Module, Forrest watched the monitors. He steepled his fingers.
He was still wearing his ring.