06 November 2016

Short Story: Come On Inside

Do not endanger the infrastructure of the metropolis.
Do not interfere with affairs of other residents uninvited.
Do not overstep boundaries of consent received during the interaction.
Infractions will result in restricted resource access, suspension of id, and finally in Lazarus purge and exile.

Metropolitan Code

A silvery shape waited at the station when they left the trolley. "Welcome to the metropolis Gamma, first time visitors. We hope your time here will be enjoyable."


Jess stared at the androgynous but faceless metallic shape in surprise. T-Key hissed "Behave!" before turning toward the figure. "Sorry... Are you... Eh... A PSI?"

"I am—and this pronoun is used to adhere to the standards and simplicity of human communication—an avatar for the information network of the metropolis. I am not Post-Singularity Intelligence in the strict sense, though I am derivative of PSIs' actions and functions. I am here to provide you with basic information necessary for your stay in the metropolis..."

"How do you know we need information? We might..." Jess straightened up.

"You were scanned and found to be prime humans, in accordance with the templates fitting the Independists. There are no records of your prior presence in this metropolis and you lack traces of your prior visits in any other metropolis. The balance of isotopes pinpoints your origins to Lincolnsville settlement, which fits the route of the trolley you came in. Not to mention that the trolley recorded you boarding it at Lincolnsville's depot. This is sufficient information to warrant giving you basic orientation. You wouldn't want to be expelled from the metropolis almost immediately, would you?"

T-Key was surprised "Expelled?! I... We thought you can do anything you like in metropolis! And... And you are supposed to take anyone who comes!"

"To a degree, yes. Things are never that simple, however. There are three restrictions you must follow within the metropolis. You can't endanger the metropolis itself, its structures, its processes, its resources. It would be foolish to threaten the branch you are sitting on..." The guide chuckled "Humans have a long history of being terribly foolish when it comes to endangering means of their own existence, though I digress here. You can't violate privacy of others. That one is simple to follow, though. The privacy fields—I believe you didn't encountered them in Lincolnsville—provide necessary protection for one's privacy when one does not want to be interfered with. See those opaque bubbles moving there? Those are residents within their personal privacy fields. They will prevent you from entering their personal space or bothering in any way. Finally, when you do interact with anyone, you are not allowed to do to them anything they haven't agreed to."

Jess blinked "That sounds simple..." He looked a bit disappointed "I... It's not what we expected, I think."

The figure moved and tilted head a bit. "You expected something clearly more different from the Independists' norms, weren't you? You are relying on a lot of assumption and expectations of your culture. Let me rephrase this in a way stressing the difference between metropolis and Lincolnsville. You can do to other people anything they explicitly consented to. Between the safety of the metropolis and the twin pillars of other residents' privacy and consent you can do anything you like."

T-Key and Jess looked at each other for a moment... "Anything?" Asked T-Key. Jess reached and hesitantly took her hand. "Anything" answered the guide "If you wish to stay, I advise getting a neurocom installed. It will connect you to the communication and information network, and will allow you to establish privacy field and answer all of your questions. You might consider visit to Lazarus facility for a backup or Promethean treatment, though the later makes you ineligible for back ups and neurocoms. You'd need to rely on external terminal for network access."

They felt overwhelmed yet excited "Lazarus... Promethean?"

"Oh, those are prevailing, though mutually exclusive solutions to human fragility..." The guide continued explaining while they listened. Other residents of the metropolis moved around them, covered by their privacy fields, or exposed, while the newcomers walked deeper into the city...

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