Thursday, March 21, 2030

The Big Boom

The explosion woke me up. It was loud. The glass shook and the smell felt like that it would burn my nose hair.

Next thing I knew I was outside in front of our building. When I was running across the campus I was joined by most of the simulations staff and students; we were pouring out of every piece of housing. I hadn't thought of how many there were of us until that moment. And we were all sure it was from our building.

The troops didn't run. They were already there. Blocking us from getting into the building.

It was if we were parents being blocked from entering the burning school knowing our children were still in there. The Alphans. Were they destroyed? The billions of simulated lives gone. Did some destabilizer commit the largest genocide ever, and not even know it?

Janice rushed the guards and was pushed back - hard, and in a strange moment of bravery or anger or - let me take a moment to sound lame – chivalry, I rushed the guard. I'm told I was met with a rifle butt.

I missed the real excitement. Adit dragged me away. Janice ran to me. Sally screamed and thankfully Kaitlin had the sense to take her back to the trees. Because the next think that happened was for all intents and purposes a riot.

A bunch of IT nerds and science geeks, made even more pale than normal from weeks of not being outside, rushed armed soldiers and Greystle guards. The only advantage we had was the few seconds of their inaction due to the fact that they were in a state of bemusement.

But they were old pros at dealing with rioters by then and we weren't that adept at rioting. An hour later I was at the campus hospital along with a dozen others. I'm sure one of the soldier’s boots got scuffed.

Sally got me the slate and a bag of cheese curls when she and Janice visited. Janice gave me a kiss and a lecture.

Now half my face is a big swollen clammy weird feeling mess and I'm told that I'm a very lucky little project director because my eye is fine and my retina didn't detach with the force of the blow.

But the truth is that the Alphans are dead, the project is probably shut down and every one of us is royally screwed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2030

Science is not a risk management matrix

Being back at my room doesn’t feel like being home anymore. I feel like I’m visiting. But does that mean the lab is my real home now?

There is a lot of hustle and bustle back at the lab. Work is being done, but it doesn’t seem to be science. All that the software and hardware teams are working on is how to do our simulations on a massive scale. There are plans, timelines, risk management, contingencies. It’s like Project Management for the sake of project management.

And if I see another spreadsheet... I’ll do nothing, I’ve got a lot of spreadsheets to look at in the coming days.

Janice has been able to get a skeleton grew to be dedicated just to Alpha and Tangent. Technicians and scientists that somehow haven’t shown up on a Greystle resource plan. The hardest part for them is to not follow their natural instinct and file reports. What happens in Alpha now is documented only in their personal journals. Anything official and they might get noticed. And if they get noticed they’ll be “ramping up,” and making the project “scalable.” And documenting our systems “best practices.”

Really, if it has never been done before I’m not sure the way that you did it the first time can be considered “best practice.” But what do I know – this is just what my career has become.