Welcome to EFNB 10th Anniversary Week! This entry is a sequel to one posted ten years ago on February 24, 2010.

“He’s taken the bait. The asset is in his sector.”

Dr. Hirsch pulled a few still frames out of the data stream and blew them up for his colleagues. The incoming data was so voluminous that only the Pearlsea AI was capable of crunching it, but as Dr. Al-Enezi and Dr. Jutanugarn were important members of the oversight board, and thus controlled the purse strings, Hirsch was willing to walk them through the procedure.

Al-Enezi looked at the realtime screen, which had Rich letting Marie Cullen into his apartment, bewildered, from a bird’s-eye-view. “And his reaction will determine the course of the simulation?” she said. “What if he ends it prematurely?”

“We’ll reset if he sends the asset away,” Hirsch said. “It’s happened twice since Pearlsea got underway, and both times a reset solved things.

“Just like my PC at home,” chuckled Jutanugarn. Then, more seriously: “Won’t he notice a reset?”

“Perhaps, but it’s easy enough to isolate and delete that from the encephalon. The stimuli between the donor upload and the beginning of the experiment are controlled by us, after all.” Hirsch brought up a comparison diagram to emphasize his point, though he doubted either of the board members understood it—they were administrators, not working professionals.

“And we’re sure the donors are not going to object to their encephalons being used like this?”

“They signed the waiver and collected the fee. Legal has told us we’re free and clear.”

“Look,” said Al-Enezi. “He’s following her outside.” He pointed at the realtime monitor, where Rich was dutifully abandoning his pizza and following Marie out of his apartment. “What now?”

“We begin with mild uncanny stimuli and increase them as time goes on,” said Hirsch. “The point is to see how long until we have a total encephalon failure.”

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