Brian G. Angevine
Bryce Canon was excited. He had just gotten the word from his boss that his job was being eliminated. Business was a little slow, and he would have to transfer to another division of the company or change companies.
In the old days, when Bryce was a boy, he remembered that professional people sometimes were upset at receiving news like he just had. On summer trips he vaguely remembered moving vans and rental trucks criss-crossing the country moving families from here to there. Often families were uprooted from a desired place to live and forced to move across the country to some unknown location. Things were better now for people like Bryce. Tomorrow was moving day.
The day dawned bright and clear, not too hot nor too cold, a perfect day for moving or anything else for that matter. There would be no backbreaking toil for Bryce and his helpers today. His appointment card specified that he was to report to the tele-transport at 9:30 a.m. By noon the move would be complete, and Bryce could spend the rest of the day playing golf or relaxing.
Bryce walked into the tele-transport complex right on time, eager to begin. He was a very creative sort of person and was always willing to try something new and innovative. Risk taking, especially intellectual risks, was second nature to him, which explained his excitement today. He sat down in a comfortable chair opposite a technician who began to ask detailed questions.
“What is your full name, please, with spelling?”
“Bryce Y. Canon, C-A-N-O-N. I am thirty-two years old, born on October 16, 1999. I have been a life-long resident of the Kansas City megalopolis and wish to remain here. My family is located here also.”
“Very good, Mr. Canon. What is your specialty?”
“I the past I have programmed laser welders at the General Motors plant, then for a few years I served as investment counselor for the General Motors employee group. Until yesterday, I was assistant engineer for thruster design for the Saturn vehicle built by General Motors.”
“So your main expertise at this time is in thruster engineering?”
“That is correct.”
“All right. This will take a few moments. Just lean back and relax.”
Bryce watched as the technician punched in coded information from a scan sheet. He could see information about him flashing across the screen. They had everything: his work habits, personality type, major and minor creative modes—in his case, fluency and originality, respectively—and a host of other information.
Another technician approached from the side with a shiny apparatus that was fitted over Bryce’s head. Great care was taken in attaching the electronic probes to the surface of his skull, as the technician closely followed a detailed schematic map of Bryce’s head. As the attachment was completed, Bryce could see the possible matches with his needs flashing across the screen. Gradually, the computer was narrowing down the possibilities by cross-matching different characteristics possessed by Bryce and various other clients.
“Mr. Canon, you will begin to feel a tingling sensation in your scalp,” the second technician informed him in dulcet tones. “There is no need to be alarmed. We are just beginning to tap into your alpha and beta wave patterns. After we get a good reading, our betatron will accelerate and isolate certain wave forms which can then be controlled and manipulated as needed.”
Bryce was relaxed and beginning to feel a little detached. It was the same kind of feeling he got when his creative urges were flowing particularly strong. The sensation was hard to describe, but some of the characteristics were a heightened awareness of stimuli around him and an uncanny ability to remain detached and observant of those stimuli. Then his brain manipulated and cross-matched the reality with remembered material from the alpha patterns, sometimes with extremely unusual connections. The result was often an amazing new idea or permutation that others were unable to realize. This time the machine was controlling the reaction instead of Bryce.
The main operator finally turned to Bryce with a professional smile.
“I think we have a couple of good possibilities here, Mr. Canon. There is a silicon chip designer in Los Angeles or an interior design specialist from San Francisco. Do one of those sound interesting, or shall we search further?”
“Let’s give the interior designer a whirl.”
The programmer punched more keys and a full screen of data appeared on the interior designer. She had been in business for herself but was tired of the long hours and demands of running her own business. She had decided to take a few years off for childbearing and did not need Bryce’s expertise in thruster design. However, she was willing to share her design expertise.
“Well, we have a partial match. Let’s check the guy in L.A. Ah, this looks good. I believe we can make a three-way transfer here. Now I’ll just check out General Motors and United Computer Chips to see if they will accept the transfer.”
A few minutes later, the two giant companies had agreed to the terms. General Motors would take Bryce on as an interior designer for the Saturn vehicle, and United Computer Chips would accept the man in L.A. as a thruster engineer for their mobile delivery units. The woman from San Francisco would gain expertise in silicon chip design to aid in the education of her infant.
Bryce could feel a kind of floating sensation. Although he was fully awake and aware, he began to lose knowledge of thruster engineering components. At the same time his awareness of interior design principles increased. The machines were transmitting beta waves across thousands of miles of fiber-optic lines directly from the brain of one individual to the other. The technology was so precise that only the brain cells containing information vital to the specific job were drained. Then those cells were immediately refilled with new information regarding the new job. Bryce and the others retained all their own personality characteristics, and the synapse patterns remained intact. The new information, with a little practice, would soon be assimilated into the recipient’s normal thought processes.
After a few hours, Bryce walked out of the tele-transporter station and rode the subway home. It was not advised to do too much strenuous thinking for a few days, so Bryce was not expected to report to work until the next Monday. But when he arrived at work he would find his name on a new door in a new section of the plant dedicated to designing ergonomic interiors for Saturn vehicles. The man in L.A. would likewise know all that Bryce had formerly known about thruster design, while the new mother would begin to design chips for her home computer to teach her infant exactly what she desired it to learn.
This new method of moving information was a lot better than the old way of moving people and disrupting lives. Oh, there were still those who enjoyed experiencing new areas of the country. But for those who were settled and wished to stay in one place it was much easier to do now.
Sure, there were a few drawbacks. Transferring beta waves from one person to the other was not perfect. The recipient’s thought processes were always a little different from those of the sender. But these very differences kept alive the creative spirit and unique personality characteristics of each person. No one really wanted the process to be totally perfect—after all that would not be human. But the moving day no longer had to involve the backbreaking effort of loading your yellow or orange or green truck and driving it to some distant location.
Bryce Canon walked into his home, hugged his wife and kids, and sat down to a warm evening meal around the table with his family on this moving day. Relaxed and well fed, he went to sleep in his own bed in familiar surroundings with only a slightly tingling scalp and new thought processes sorting themselves out in his head.