Author : Sam Clough, Staff Writer
Oreska saw the world in numbers. He saw, below the fabric of existence, the harsh grid of mathematics with which everything could be described. He had shown an aptitude for manipulating numbers at an early age, so it had been decided that his atypical neurotype should be encouraged. Through an intensive training regime, Oreska’s facility for numbers was turned into an obsession, and from there, into an neurological imperative.
He found it a strain, sometimes, to deal with typicals. Like the nobody in the suit sitting across the table from him. The interviewer was your standard corporate drone. Average in all respects, and a neurotype so bland it could send you to sleep.
“I think we here at the Exchange will have a place for you, Savant Oleg. We are slipping behind our competitors in the physical sciences. We have the research facilities, but insufficient minds to analyse the data.”
“What areas are you researching?” Oreska feigned interest. That always seemed to get you further with the drones.
“I’m authorised to inform you that we’re conducting research into strangelets and microblackholes, as well as certain more tangible areas, such as drive theory. Naturally our research interests are far wider than this, but I’m not permitted to disclose anything more”
“Naturally. What percentage of your current staff are atypes?”
“In physics, we have a ratio of approximately one to twenty, atypes to typicals.”
“And my inclusion would make it?”
“Exactly one to twenty. Would you come this way? I’m told the second part of the interview is ready for you.”
The interviewer led Oreska through the complex, down two flights and stairs and through one airlock. Silently, he ushered him through a door marked with the two-dimensional shadow of a hypercube.
The room Oreska found himself in was relatively small. The walls were smooth and white, with a plastic sheen to them. They were covered in text; numbers, letters, and mathematical operators. The equations surrounded him. Involuntarily, Oreska slipped into mathspace.
The transition was as smooth as ever. The walls slipped away, along with his sense of self. The equations glowed hot and bright. Slowly, Oreska began to shift them, conducting a few exploratory transforms. And it clicked — he found the error buried in the numbers. The variables stretched, shifted, and settled into place. The modifications practically radiated ‘rightness’. Oreska stepped backwards, shaking off the arithmetic hallucinations.
A pen was thrust into his hand. Rapidly, Oreska made the required alterations.
“How long was I out?” He asked. The splinter skill originally knocked him out for hours. Self-discipline helped, but he still sometimes lapsed into a math-thrall.
“Twenty seconds, Savant.” The interviewer had gone, replaced by a taller man. Oreska’s face recognition was sketchy at best, but this man he knew. Professor Lantar, head of the Exchange.”Interesting solution. Please report to the reception for your identification and lab assignment.”