Möbius had been waiting for about half an hour for the massive golden door to open and an assistant to invite him into Afael‘s office. All of this time he’d been sitting quietly, counting the sumptuous coffers of the high ceiling, looking out the window into the seraphic gardens, and gazing at his own reflection in the polished floors. He wasn’t a patient angel, it wasn’t his nature, and during the millennia he’d been working for the Department of Human Development his record indicated a dedicated, albeit rather temperamental character with a passion for florid detail.
He made his way into the office, loathed to endure another one of Afael’s scolding sessions. It wasn’t the first time he had found himself in this situation, but it wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t possible for anybody with a pulse to navigate the great sea of human life design without losing it every now and then. Truth be told, writing human lives wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, like he thought in his youthful enthusiasm, all those thousands of years ago, and after a while they all started blending into each other, an endless chain of births and deaths that had to have some sort of stuffing in between. That’s where he came in: he wrote the stuffing.
“This code could put a novice to sleep,” he often sighed, as he selected and pasted the standard life options based on life span, soul mate availability and gender.
“It’s the most sacred duty and trust to make sure that the humans in your care get the best life quality available,” his mentor had said, way back when. “What is an endless repetition for you is the only life they’ll ever have…I think…I would have to consult the records, to be sure…Anyway, you get the lesson, Möbius. Don’t be cavalier in your fiduciary duty, we are held to higher standards than that.”
“Easy for him to say, he doesn’t have to go through this mountain of crap.” All the same, not a thing he couldn’t put together in his sleep. It was simple, repeated billions of times: as long as the person was alive, they would follow the life code, until they were no longer alive, in which case their code was moved to the Department of Afterlife and, mercifully, it ceased to be his problem. Despite his moral misgivings, after all of this time, he had to admit, at least to himself, that humans weren’t all that interesting. Sure there was the opportunity, every now and then, to write the life of an Einstein, or a Beethoven, which required a superior level of creativity, but those cases were few and far between. For the most part life design didn’t require more effort than pulling in the boiler plate code and modifying the specific parameters.
“What have we here?” he yawned and pulled a new array into the system. “Female, life span 29, seriously, who is putting together this slop? You can’t get any good code out of that, there is just not enough there to warrant interesting outcomes.” Sure, his mentor would have given him a never ending lecture full of examples of people who had managed to achieve their purpose early in life, only to emphasize the concept that there are no human lives that are too short or unimportant, only lazy angelic hosts who don’t apply themselves. “Whatever!” he thought, and went back to the data. “Midrange college, on again off again fiancee, average starting job, why don’t you try and turn this into Sylvia Plath. I’ll just pull another life that’s similar enough and modify it.” He didn’t understand why they were still working life designs in the old system anyway, since they were days away from the upgrade, which promised a much more streamlined process, with less chances of error, and as such, less opportunities for headaches when implemented. And that’s when Möbius’ heretical thought emerged. “Just once, just for the heck of it, I wish I could get the chance to write something interesting and extraordinary, not this crowd optimized slop! What’s it going to hurt? I’ll put it in an else loop, it’s not going to execute anyway, a human can only be alive or dead. I wonder what that would look like.”
A rebellious streak of his personality emerged immediately to assist in the process, and for the remainder of the day he coded and chuckled with glee, excited by his little pet project. At the end of the day he couldn’t bear to instruct it to go to the end, since he figured that anything other than dead or alive was not a real possibility, so he set the code on a loop, with an infinite number of variations, based on information from several Akashic libraries.
He was so excited about his little project, which was quite the masterpiece, if he could say so himself, that the next day’s summoning to Afael’s office came almost as a shock, even though he knew exactly what the latter wanted to discuss.
“This is an embarrassment, Möbius! I can’t believe I have to gaze upon this plate of bad code from an angel of your caliber and reputation. Writing information that won’t execute! Copy pasting life designs without paying attention to the variables, he pointed at a blatant error in the code, which scheduled activities for the age of thirty five, six years after the subject’s demise. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
“I’m sorry, Afael, I don’t know what to say,’ Möbius made an attempt at an excuse, with so little conviction even he felt bad about it.
“Listen, Möbius, I know everybody is tired and hassled with the upgrade coming in, so I don’t want to waste my time discussing something like this,” he pointed to the document with non-dissimulated disdain. “Delete this nonsense before the upgrade and I don’t want to hear any more from you this year.”
“Figures,” Möbius went back to his work area, morose. He moved the code to the trash bin, to be processed by the nightly maintenance, and tried to put it out of his mind, so he could concentrate on the details of the upcoming upgrade.
Fate works in mysterious ways, even in the angelic realm. An energy fluctuation interrupted the reboot exactly at that file, counting it first deleted, then active, which gave the master servers the signal that it needed to be restored, so it put it back in the system, to be incorporated into the upgrade in due time. Fortunately for Möbius, neither him nor his superior noticed the aberration, which would have been a cause for much sound and fury, but instead the little unorthodox file made its way anonymously into the vast amount of data and waited patiently to be executed.
(Excerpt from Möbius’ Code – coming soon…)
Cover by gharkness at selfpubbookcovers.com