Jim Akker

Previously

Fat, teenaged, spiky-haired, hermetic. It would be easy to say he was the kind of kid who wasn't interested in school or college or university or work because he was too smart, too far beyond the grade curve, too focused on loftier goals. The fact was he was just lazy. Too impatient for reality. The romantic notion is a purely creative life spent spinning exotic scientific hypotheses and high concept movie scripts over fifteen-euro lunches in independent coffee shops; the reality is bureaucratic centipedes with inflexible deadlines and a work-supplied computer from a year with a 1 at the start.

The reality is you've got to eat somehow.

Jim Akker lived for such a short period of time that his discovery in late 2005 of what ultimately became known as The Script was the defining moment of his life. It consumed him. What little personal life he'd had at that point - most of his friends were screen names - withered. He started living 26, 27, 28-hour days and didn't even notice. Then he became insomniac, his unconscious brain working so hard that it kept him awake.

Exactly what he began taking, or when, nobody ever really figured out. By the end of 2007 he was little more than a bed-ridden Turing machine, a collection of flipping switches racing through the seven-tebibyte message and drawing chemical energy directly from the translation process itself.

Mikhail Zykov had no idea that anything was wrong when he began to take over Akker's mind. He was too far inside to easily extricate himself when the psychic scenery began to twist and wrench apart around him. Akker had recognised Zykov's terrible true identity hours earlier when he landed in Amsterdam; knowing with horrific clarity what would result if Zykov gained access to his full interpretation of the Script, he had overdosed, poisoning his brain as a trap for his telepathic adversary. The shock of exposure to Akker's cracked, acidic thought processes left Zykov in paralytic agony on his apartment floor for almost 48 hours, though it did not kill him.

"|[A]| = p(·,|[A]|)+1" was the last coherent thought to leave Jim Akker's mind, a warning to Ching-Yu Kuang in the only language he could still speak.

Next: There Was No Leak

Discussion (23)

2009-03-10 17:17:16 by qntm:

Too long and too late for BrevityQuest09, but still part of this little trilogy.

2009-03-11 17:56:08 by Daniel:

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading Fine Structure. I really do hope to see it in book form someday. Keep up the good work!

2009-03-11 20:38:23 by Kochier:

Hmm the equation at the end seems to have changed, I assume it was an error. I guess the change makes more sense, now that it has the +1, it takes on the purpose of being a warning a lot more "there's more intelligence out there than you perceive" is the message he sent, letting him know that there is an intelligent force at work that can't be perceived. This makes me think that Michael is just a host, and there is an intelligence that took over Michael, one that possibly doesn't have a physical home, and thus can't be perceived.

2009-03-11 20:40:16 by Kochier:

Just wanted to comment again, the new catchum took me by surprise, nice change.

2009-03-12 02:15:28 by Ray:

I'm betting Zykov is "The Enemy" Calrus was referring to in Verse Chorus. Anyone with me?

2009-03-12 03:21:42 by Kron:

@Kochier: I think that was the original equation. Loving the storyline as always. =)

2009-03-13 03:31:56 by Kochier:

@Kron I'm pretty sure the original was just the square root of minus one. He's added to it. Took me a minute to notice the change, I wonder why he thought it was necessary to make the change, had a spam bot started spamming the comments, or is Sam just periodically changing the catchum?

2009-03-13 22:33:09 by qntm:

Some wandering collection of fools figured it out, so I made it harder. Now, only smart people can post.

2009-03-14 12:14:33 by Crane:

I love the idea of trying to kill a psychic entity by driving yourself insane. Pity it didn't work though. Still, this whole saga is getting increasingly unnerving, what with the manipulative all-powerful superbeings changing the laws of reality JUST TO KEEP US TRAPPED.

2009-03-14 13:14:27 by qntm:

I was just sitting there thinking "how do you, an ordinary human being, fight a telepath?" and at the same time I knew Jim Akker had to drive himself insane and die somehow, and it just clicked. It reckon it would be like eating a poison frog or something.

2009-03-15 23:48:29 by Dirdle:

Just thought I'd say, I really like the series. This latest trio of short pieces I find... disquieting somehow. Excellent work indeed.

2009-03-18 21:28:01 by James:

I really like how you did this trilogy (as short as these are, they're powerful), but it is the kind of thing that has to be taken a bit at a time. You are going back to the longer form after this, right? Also, I'm afraid that your little spam-prevention tool isn't accepting an answer that is technically correct (think exponents).

2009-03-24 18:19:33 by Bauglir:

I approve of the method for dealing with a mind-invading foe, but I have to wonder just how much of the Script Akker had translated. I also think the captcha may not be accepting correct answers, assuming that what's being asked for are other representations of the same number.

2009-03-24 19:52:27 by qntm:

The new solution to the CAPTCHA is "-i".

2009-03-25 13:54:21 by Bauglir:

I DO think it's a good captcha. I was just frustrated after my attempts at ln(-1)/pi failed.

2009-03-27 20:22:40 by Mick:

Ah, thank God I can finally post again. I kept submitting 'j', which technically is correct, and it kept refusing it. About the actual story, how is Ching supposed to recieve this message? And, I'm assuming this means that Ching is at risk of being targeted?

2009-04-01 09:04:40 by CJ:

Hah, so are engineers less welcome, then, if 'i' is preferred over 'j'? =)

2009-04-01 11:07:09 by qntm:

i is the same number as j, and we've established than i is not the answer.

2009-04-06 05:07:51 by Andrew:

Well -j doesn't work either, so...

2009-04-11 19:59:47 by Artanis:

While we're arguing on what the acceptable answers to the catch should be, I would like to note that it does not accept 'x' as the correct answer. I feel this is in error, as throughout my schooling it was proven over and over that x equals the correct answer.

2009-04-13 02:17:23 by Isaac:

very funny^

2009-05-12 21:09:30 by Ben:

The first two pieces in this series have identifiable narrators based on their ending sentences, but is this one meant to be written from the perspective of a known character, too?

2014-07-14 18:12:44 by Valmit:

Just wanted to say that the story upis incredibly good, though I probably don't understand anything.

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