Author: Helena Hypercube

The Adjuster rubbed his aching na’ora. Consciously, he eased the beating of his hearts, so that the blood flowed with less force. He was used to having to make a few adjustments when he encountered a new species, changing a few social structures, shifting a few sapients between occupations, but these humans! They seemed to go out of their way to make themselves and everyone around them miserable. Most worked jobs that they hated, just to “earn” enough to survive, and usually, that work actually prevented them from performing their vocations. Much of their energy was generated in ways that poisoned the area around the generating areas, even though they were conversant with much less disruptive ways of generating the energy. Almost nobody like it, but they could do nothing about it. The only people who could do something about it were the ones who benefited from keeping things the way they were. The “status quo”, as the local group of humans called it. The Adjuster had no word for it in his own tongue; after all, elements shifted as other changes became apparent, and that was as it should be. Why waste energy trying to keep things “static”?

The intercom beeped. His next interview was here. No doubt, someone equally unhappy, afraid even to work toward making her or his dreams reality. He had been both welcomed and rejected, treated as an object almost of worship and nearly driven from the world at weapons’ point. He was used to his offer of adjustment being met either with restrained gratitude, or polite decline. These humans responded with both, and then took their reactions out to either extreme. Some accused him of interference, which he found baffling. He was not forcing anything on anyone, merely pointing out how they themselves could make changes which would benefit them. Changes that he could not see any reason for them not to have carried out centuries ago. Changes that members of their own species had pointed out and advocated.

Work and resource allocation, government, maintenance of social cohesion, all needed adjustment at a level he had never imagined possible. Even the way they taught their young, segregating them by their status, further segregating them by age, teaching them in an abstract way that worked only for a few areas of knowledge. He would have understood doing it that way if they liked it, but only a small fraction even of the instructors were happy with it.

The intercom beeped again, and the Adjuster rubbed his na’ora one more time, reminded himself to keep his blood pressure from rising, and pressed the button that allowed the next human to enter the room. Even his initial estimate of the amount of time he would spend here needed adjustment. This task would not take years. It would take decades.

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