In the Beginning

written by William Bertolo

In the beginning, there was some confusion. 

The project manager was selected to break the news to the engineering director.

“We will have to be ready on the seventh day.”

“What?”

“Yeah, we need to be ready in three days from now.”

“What are you talking about? You know this project was estimated, and I need to stress the word estimated, to be done in twelve days. What are you talking about?”

“The marketing department used the seventh day in the entire consumer campaign. It’s all printed and out there already.”

“What the hell… er… I mean…. How? Why?”

“Well, you know the marketing guys. They always do that kind of thing.”

“The product is not ready. In fact, it’s far from ready. If we don’t figure out the details now and launch it before it’s perfect, we will pay the price for this in the long run.”

“Can you elaborate a little more? I came exactly to understand the impact of the early release.”

“I don’t even know why I have to justify this kind of thing. But, anyway, we have a lot of stuff to perfect. First notable mention: violence. The animal species still present a very aggressive behaviour. Some more than others. The koalas are nice guys. But some other species are real bullies. I mean, it’s ok when you think of the T-Rex. You wouldn’t want that one wagging its tail and fetching a bone. That would be kinda silly. But I am especially concerned with the main model, the man. That one has been tough to handle. That species was supposed to be the apotheosis of Creation 1.0, but we still couldn’t eliminate its violent behaviour. If we don’t fix it before Creation is launched, you will see, a few millions of years from now, all kinds of conflicts and war. The man was supposed to be the one with brains, responsible for maintaining the planet, taking care of the others etcetera, etcetera.”

“Hum….” replied the project manager, “…but that would keep things interesting, don’t you think? You know, action, excitement, material for mass media, economic dynamics…”

“Are you sure you are working for the right office? You would make a successful career down there,” said the engineering director, moving his eyes towards the ground to emphasize his words.

“Hum… er… well, sorry… I meant… are you planning a world where all the creatures will live in harmony?”

“Yes, that’s the plan, although I must confess we still have to work out how to automatically balance the populations of the different species. We are working on something called death, but it’s still under tests and I am not sure if we are going to use it. I don’t like the idea. Too permanent. But tell me, what does the boss think about this genius move from the marketing people?”

“Well, he’s not very happy with them, especially with Lucifer, the marketing department’s head. Apparently, their relationship is not the best at the moment. I heard Lucifer threatened to leave. He’s been saying that he’s got an offer from the guys down there to become CEO. That would be a nice career upgrade for him. But, back to the original topic, the boss said we cannot disappoint the customers either. That’s why he sent me to assess the impact. What other issues do you see?”

“You ask me as if it is a simple product. This is a holistic work of art. You cannot separate the parts. Everything affects everything. We are not even half the way on the pathological aspects. We release on the seventh day and we will have all kinds of diseases going around the moment the main model eats the wrong fruit.”

“That would be easy to tackle. We can isolate the fruit, whatever fruit that is. Fence it, or place a cautionary sign. Or, even better, the boss himself can issue a decree forbidding the consumption of such fruit.”

“All this instead of just doing things right, I suppose. The man is curious by nature. If you tell him do not eat the fruit, he will eat the fruit. Not because he’s hungry. He will want to know what’s all the fuss about the damn forbidden fruit. And it’s just not that: even without the fruit, an incomplete product could present malfunctions of its own, independently of external factors. We have this cancer thing going on in some samples. We still could not figure out why that happens, but it causes the subjects to break from inside.”

“I see. I know it’s difficult for you, being a perfectionist, to see your work getting out there still unfinished, but that’s how the market operates, generally speaking. We cannot wait until we have the perfect product, or we can be outrun by the competitors. Imagine if the guys down there come with Creation 1.0 first? With nothing else like it around, customers will run to it like flies to a honey pot, and we will have missed our chance of being the category leaders. Whatever we release later, it will be considered a mere copy.”

“Are you sure you weren’t transferred to the marketing department recently?”

“No… of course not. I am just trying to make you see that there are some impacts, market-wise, in delaying the launch.”

“We are not delaying the launch! The development is following the project plan. This was planned to be done in twelve days, not seven. We cut corners here and there, cut the Quality Assurance phase in half, and soon we will be faced with all kinds of issues that will get more and more complicated to solve. Just like a snowball, only made of something else. In very little time, Creation will be plagued by neverending problems.”

“I know, I know. But we need to find a way to have it ready in seven days now. How’s the physics module?”

“That one is not bad. We still have some things to figure out. Like gravity for example. It’s a force that attracts everything to the center of a given planet. You still remember what a planet is, right?”

“Yeah, yeah. The big masses of matter where the living things will, well, live.”

“Exactly. We still haven’t found a way for gravity to operate properly without causing accidents once in a while. Masses left in the open are attracted to the ground. If the distance between the point of origin and the ground is too long, the results are not very pleasant. Things can get smashed, crushed, flattened. Pretty awful, especially considering the organic aspect of most of the living things we are developing. They’re basically bags of oozy stuff. We tried giving wings to some of the species. That allows them to fly, which means being immune to the force of gravity. But if we give wings to everyone, the skies will be hard to navigate. Gravity operates in a tricky way. It causes as many issues as it solves, and we could not find a way to make it better yet.”

“I see, but the boss needs a solution. Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“Well, if there is no way we can avert this launch mishandling, there is something I can actually try.”

“And that is….”

“I can boost the intellectual potential of the man model. Not that you will see it from the start. They will look more like monkeys when we launch, but they will evolve quickly. At some point, they will start figuring out things fast and may be able to solve anything that we leave incomplete. Of course, it will be a shot in the dark. Man can use all this potential for the evil, especially if they are influenced by the guys down there. But our educated guess is that it will be more like fifty-fifty. Some will use this power for the good, some for the bad. It’s a margin we are prepared to tolerate.  How does that sound?”

“I like that. Can it really be done?”

“There’s some potential for mental and emotional instability, but we still have three days ahead. Just don’t blame my department in case it all goes wrong.”

“I will try.”

“Now get out of here. I have lots of work to do.”

“Ok, ok. I will send the meeting minute later.”

Creation 1.0 was launched on the seventh day. In most aspects, it was a successful project. And everything was fun and games until someone got curious. Exactly like previously warned, the man ate some fruit that was out of bounds, starting a neverending chain of unfortunate situations. To this day, diseases, war, famine still plague Creation, or at least the small blue planet that served as the test market. On the bright side, man’s intellectual boost, a last-minute smart move by the engineering department, seemed to have worked, and that species is currently making fascinating discoveries about the world around them and, in notable cases, fixing the bugs they can find, even though not all of its individuals present the same level of contribution to the project. Creation 2.0 is in the works and its release date is to be confirmed, although it is initially set for roughly after the completion of Armageddon.

William Bertolo is a technology geek who spends his work hours building internet websites and applications. He decided to write his first English short story (WhiteNoise) in 2014, and others quickly followed. He also dedicates part of his spare time composing and recording tracks of several genres at his home recording studio. Prior to start producing English language literature, he wrote a few pieces in Portuguese, including an unpublished fantasy book.

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