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  • majoki


“You occupy space. Therefore you exist.”

“Does that Descartes bastardization work in graveyards?”

“The dead occupy space.”

“Well in a diminishing returns kind of way. You might want to factor biological depreciation into your axiom.”

Stenslen eyed Bihrduur icily. “You don’t want this to work.”

“No. Not really,” Bihrduur replied. “Call it my Oppenheimer moment.”

“Ever dramatic.”

“Can I get an atomic drum roll, please?”

Turning back to his cloud station, Stenslen gestured three new apertures open and nested the targets within. “They’re out there, and this will find them.”

“I have no doubt we’ll find them. But, this isn’t the way to do it. In this case, the means are much meaner than the targets.”

“They’ve killed many and will kill more.”

“So will this algorithm.”

“You tried that argument with Harbaugh and Suarez. They didn’t buy it.”

“Yeah, because life is cheap, if you’re not our target.” Bihrduur spoke so softly Stenslen had to pay attention. “This software can find anyone, anywhere. You really want that?”

“For these guys, yes. I know there are potential misuses and abuses. That’s always a risk, but it’s not scalable for anyone without our resources.”

“How about in ten years?”

Stenslen shrugged his broad, rounded shoulders.

“That’s what I mean,” Bihrduur insisted with the same quiet intensity. “In a decade or sooner, Quantum Density Displacement software could be available to any dictator, hitman, stalker or paparazzi on the prowl. Nobody would be able to hide.”

“Including dictators, hitmen, stalkers and paparazzi.”

Bihrduur dipped his head, acknowledging his colleague’s point.

“Perfect transparency,” Stenslen followed up matter of factly.

“I’d term it forced nakedness,” Bihrduur snorted. “You’re undressing all of humanity. What about privacy? What about anonymity? What’s wrong with being inconspicuous? With getting lost?”

“Nothing—until you want to be found. Or need to be.”

“And who gets to determine that.”

“The same folks who always have.”

“Well, that wouldn’t be much of a comfort to Anne Frank.”

“As much as it would’ve been to Osama bin Laden.”

“There’s no winning this.”

“Never is. We’re humans. We battle. Finders keepers. Losers weepers.”

“I’m ready to cry, Stenslen.”

“I’ll know if you do—wherever you are.”

“Our loss.”


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