The Probability Bender

By David Higgins  published on Yahoo Voices in 2013

A different kind of institution, a campus where students are taught to fail and how to appropriately cope. A student stands out never ever having tried, avoiding the important lesson by default, but there’s far more to this boy than meets the eye.

“Why Miss Darcel, our school teaches real life.” Dean explained to the concerned woman.

Dean continued,”It’s a relatively simple system here at the academy Miss. We treat education like the competition which life itself is, and we start early on–no coddling, no trophies for second best, no trophies for coming in first really either.”Dean paused to clear his throat,”We simply educate all who enter our halls in rational successes and failures. And all are welcome to the school there are no token systems here–once you come through those doors you are rendered equal until you prove yourself to be inferior or superior.”

Miss Darcel responded,”Is that why your institutions failure rate is so high compared to others?”

Dean laughed,”Outside of this institution Miss Darcell, we are not in competition with any other educational models, what we teach here is how to handle life rather than candy coat it at one extreme rewarding everyone telling all they are special nor do we run a draconian institution where nuns break rulers across children’s wrists–our program’s success rate based on our curriculum is 99.999…% and while both the new age sugar coated and the archaic draconian methodologies may disagree with our practices the students learn here”

“We have our failures and successes within, our institution accepts that failure exists and we embrace it, neither of the two other do those systems embrace it. They despise failure and either ignore it’s very real existence, or punish any mention of it. Here the young learn to cope with it.” Dean explained.

“So a 50% failure rate is 100% success? Very strange,” Miss Darcell responded.

“Not everybody is going to make great strides in life Miss, our job is to allow them the time to develop the tools to adjust to failure better than most do now, sure there have been some among our student body who have been wildly successful at everything they chose to do, but there is a drawback.” Dean said.

Miss Darcel was puzzled,”If they are such a grand success what is the flaw?”

Dean returned,”Quite simple Miss, they never learn to fail. Our success rate is actually quite high in teaching this most valuable lesson early on that you will fail in life and even if you don’t or think you won’t or evidence suggest you never will. It’s better to get the taste of failure out of the way so you can understand how to process it and continue with your life. Just look at our society for example of how denying failure has caused so many social problems. Figuratively speaking the biggest winners fall the hardest doing the most damage as they tumble not because the fall is from so high, but because they do not know how to tuck and roll. They have constructed huge ego’s around their success, but know nothing of a situation they cannot win nor how to cope and recover–nothing is truly learned this way.”

Kids in this school are taught a very valuable lesson based essentially on Dr. Nash’s mathematical game theory models created in the 1950’s, but it is less about the actual theory than how to gain the insight on how to adjust ones own personality in response to failure based on this. The open school campus stretches for 5000 square acres making it the size of a small town and the students are treated like citizens working and maintaining the town as they would in adulthood the average age of the schools residents is around age 15, and the gender lines are pretty evenly split. There are adult staff on hand to operate critical functions such as the hospitals, and security services side by side with the student residents learning vocational skills, but the city is essentially run by the children most of the adults there are in place to monitor the educational process. Success and failure within the society come at the same sorts of extremes as adult life. There are kids who become vagrants living on the campus streets while still maintaining enrollment, others manage to gain small successes like political office or social and religious authority of some sort then wind up screwing up facing public shame for their actions.

They are taught much more than how to cope with this they are taught how to survive society gracefully–this way of learning saves thousands from the lack of coping mechanisms which caused many former Wall Street trillion-ares in the early 2100’s to leap to their deaths, remove their own skulls in their factory’s machinery, or a number of other gruesome ways the wealthy committed suicide that these people who never achieved failure were incapable of coping with. You had to feel pity for them really. Not because they lost everything they had, but because they were so maladjusted. Very little except the material is gained from constant success of such a nature and for some it comes to a point where success cripples the ego creating a deep dependency on the material. Failure on the other hand can be freeing.

The school doesn’t actively teach its students to screw each other outright, but the system is balanced to the point where in order for one to find success another has to fail, sometimes it is on purpose sometimes by accident between the parties involved. There are no diplomas or transcripts issued. The basics are taught to do whatever job is applied for including Math and Writing for communication–even the vagrants are scheduled courses once a week along with everyone else to see that those are met. When you leave you are issued only a certificate indicating the amount of time you attended. All successes and failures documented remain strictly internal to the institution. It doesn’t stop memories between former students now adults in society, but slinging childhood resentments at each other and the ability to hold irrational grudges was always based on an honor system no matter what educational model was implemented.

The students learn to compete and cope with stress, and the rewards are intrinsic. The faculty logged every failure that individuals of the student body accomplished and overcame. Initial successes were deemed unimportant, but even small successes in the wake of colossal failure were valuable learning experiences. Dean created this unique school after the death of his son many decades ago, investing his billions in its construction and development was his way of grieving.

He gave his child the best available education of the times, his son had no wants or needs, everything was provided to insure Deans sons success through life–except the stink of failure. The one variable no known educational system of the time admitted to or accounted for. With either the nurturing or the authoritarian models of education their biggest shared flaw was the denial of failure either masking it with physical rewards for second best or punishing second best for not trying hard enough. Neither extreme is effective, one system creates idiots who believe they are privileged to being rewarded for a half done job and the other creates predatory psychopaths who self destruct when faced with an un-winnable situation.

The creation of the school was not Deans initial coping response of course. His sons suicide was not a real rational cause for his drinking then, it was the way he chose to cope. Six years in a completely intoxicated state was eating away at Dean physically while he continued to mourn his sons loss. He never went broke having billions in assets, but with no heir now slowly trying to kill himself torturing his own body for what his son had done.

Time for the town hall meeting. Dean looked at his wristwatch realizing he was running a little late for the appointment with the faculty to observe the campus/city government.

Dean said with a slight surprise,”Crap! Miss Darcell, it has been a pleasure interviewing with you, but I am running late for faculty observation group. Can we take this conversation up again tomorrow over breakfast?”

“Sure Dean, that’d be nice” she returned.

Dean grabbed his black leather case pulled his coat on and paused a moment looking towards Miss Darcell and asked,”Would you like to accompany me to the meeting ma’am?”

Miss Darcell responded a little timidly,”Oh I don’t know Dean, it has been a long day I should turn in for rest.”

“You certain Miss?” he paused,”Seeing the local government in action is a site rarely beheld by outsiders, and seeing the faculty observation room is something almost never witnessed the kids don’t get to see that, but they are fully aware they are being observed. You have a unique opportunity here.”

Miss Darcells response,”Oh well that would be fine then I didn’t feel I should impose, I’ll come along since you asked nicely”

Nothing in the city was really kept much of a secret. The students rarely had direct contact with many of the faculty at this school. All observation was random and discrete strictly for educational purposes only. Private areas remained private always only public places were observed. The students were fully aware of this system of the institutes watchful eye only never knowing when and where in a public forum that the staff were taking notes. Intervention was rare and only in instances where life and limb of a student was at serious risk through violence like attempted murder and rape. Things such as accidental injury, minor physical altercations, theft, intoxication and other minor vices were regulated among the students themselves with the very least of interaction with faculty.

Dean was seen the least of all among the faculty. Everyone was aware he was there but even the staff wondered if there was some sort of observation system within the observation system that only Dean was privy too. Kind of funny that the watchers were somehow just a little concerned that they themselves were being watched, but the reality is Dean was just a very private man, and very private men do tend to breed all sorts of suspicions. They followed the mag rail tunnels beneath the city to the town hall observation rooms for approximately 15 minutes exiting at the subterranean access point greeted by 2 doors. One door was for the general staff left unlabeled the second led to Deans private observation platform marked ‘maintenance’. Darcel and Dean entered and seated themselves.

“This is a rare opportunity for you Miss, very few outsiders get to see the workings of the campus government and no one at all gets to see it from this vantage point other than I usually.” Dean stated proudly as he pressed the button to make the refractive liquid crystal wall become one way transparent. He could see out into the entire meeting hall from this vantage point remaining perfectly cloaked behind the wall, the room below for the staff was of a similar configuration.

Miss Darcell looked through the crystal barrier in amazement almost self conscious about the thought of being looked back at by the students gathering to discuss the days community politics but no one looked back. Almost no one realized Deans private rooms existed, they were aware of the staff observation rooms, but paid them no mind. The staff room was of the same basic configuration of liquid crystal peering out into the meeting hall. Dean could feel the soft rumbling of the tube train pulling up to the doors just before 5 staff members entered below.

Miss. Darcel asked,”Why do you keep separate from the other staff?”

“For the same reasons the staff remain separate from the student population Miss. If my observations were known to exist, it would change the experiment dramatically.” Dean returned.

“This is an experiment to you?” she inquired.

Dean responded, “Yes, it is as much a school as it is an experiment in social engineering. In order to create the best and the brightest of humanity they acknowledge that they are being observed but not strictly guided. The observers exert no authority over them only watching their community play itself out and only instituting the necessary safety measures to prevent mortal harm.”

“So you don’t really teach anything at this school?” Miss Darcel said staring at Dean puzzled.

Dean responded,”Oh Miss, we teach them a great deal. Not only the necessities of reading writing arithmetic and the other academics in the scheduled sessions, but also advanced social skills which can only come from doing in daily life rather than looking to a text book or the scheduled class sessions.

“You rarely interact with your staff and they rarely interact with the students, where is the structure in that?” Miss Darcel fired back.

Dean smiled and quietly pointed to the floor, “Please look down.”

Miss Darcel let out a short shriek pulling her legs up onto her chair after finally noticing the floor of the room was just as transparent as the walls. She felt the momentary sensation of vertigo as if she were falling to her death, but this was not the case. 20 feet below them in what seemed like open air was the staff observation room fully lit as members settled into their seats to observe the meeting unaware of Dean and Miss Darcels presence above. Dean observed everything. Not only the students but the faculty as well. making sure no interference took place unless there was dire need. There hasn’t been much need such as that for a decade of course so they watch, the crimes not stopped by the staff such as robbery and assault have gone unchanged however the student’s manage to regulate that with efficiency on their own. The internal justice system is quite fair for both the accused and the victim. Incidents of attempted rape and attempted murder are non existent here now so far and that is the only time the faculty may step in to intervene.

After calming herself she placed her feet to the transparent floor, the pressure caused the crystal to form rainbow auras around her heels and toes. Dean assured her that it was safe to walk upon and no one observing below was capable of seeing up. Miss Darcel was beginning to blush a little conscious of her clothing choice for the interview. Noticing one of the staff below lounging in his chair lazily looking up at the apparently solid ceiling from their vantage point. She was assured that they couldn’t see through but still it felt very awkward being in the possible line of sight.

Miss Darcel giggled politely and said,”So this is what God feels like huh? He’s probably paranoid that people are peaking up his golden robe when they look up to pray.”

Dean laughed out loud and responded,”Hahahaha, funny Miss. But I was never sure if God gave a damn either way. What I do here is not such like the deity. Or maybe it is I am never sure.”

“You consider yourself a god?” Miss Darcel came back.

“Oh no! I’d never assume such a thing of myself, at least definitely not in a biblical sense.”pauses to clear his throat,”I don’t actively interfere in the daily goings on of this school as such a deity would with a society. Not worth the trouble.”

Miss Darcell spoke again,”Well at least you try to be humble about it.”

“The meeting is starting Miss” Dean said as he reached out to the console to adjust the volume. At the same time one of the faculty was making the same motion or at least attempting to without watching what they were doing. Instead turning up the halls PA system causing screaming feedback echoing through the entire building.

At that moment the students were well aware that this meeting was definitely being observed by the staff as laughter broke out in all 3 rooms. The PA was usually only reserved for the rare important announcements from the staff instead the message came through,”Oops! Sorry about that!” then cut off.

The Mayor was quick to recover the halls attention as the student body settled down from the laughter opening with,”Welcome everyone, glad to see you all here today.”

Calmly motioning his hand to the back of the hall smiling with a wink,”and welcome our faculty hosts” stirring up a little more laughter in the three rooms. Dean wasn’t worried about minor slips ups in the system, errors happened occasionally it was never major enough to deviate from the experiment. Some students looked back real quick others waved hello, but one student did something peculiar. Aside from looking back he looked up at Deans observation point as if he knew he was there, No one else in the hall paid any particular attention to it or him for that matter but Dean and the students eyes locked for a moment.

Dean noticed the kid too. Seemed as if they spotted each other, but that’s impossible through the one way crystal Dean thought to himself. Reaching for the console he pulled up the hall cameras displaying them on the wall adjusting the angles to look back towards his private room.

The wall in the feeds looked to remain as if completely opaque from the hall but the kid kept looking back and staring directly at him.

“Something wrong Dean?” Miss Darcel asked.

Dean looked back at her quickly,”Oh nothing! Probably just me, becoming paranoid in my old age is all.”

Miss Darcel responded,”It’s not that child looking up this way is it? You said the walls were solid to them.”

“And they are! Solid as day to them Miss. Why?” Dean asked.

“Because he is looking up this way again. I am as sure of it as you are, or we are both sharing the same delusion” she said.

Miss Darcel looked down below her feet at the second observation room and could see the faculty talking intently observing the room apparently they got the same sort of feelings as her and Dean. As if the student was more than casually aware of all of their presence than the rest of the student body. He was glancing back at them making eye contact as intensely as with Dean and Miss Darcel

A chime rang in Deans pocket, the staff below was contacting him about whatever this strange child was.

He picked up the communicator holding it to his ear,”Yes I see it too…Above you…Exit the room and use the maintenance door I’ll be here.”

At that moment Miss Darcel realized the staff downstairs were staring up now talking directly to dean through the communicator, she once again blushed concerned for her choice of dress.

“Don’t worry Miss, the crystal is still one way no need to question your previous decision on what panties to wear. the staff will be joining us in a moment.”Dean once again assured her.

But this one child could somehow see through it against all odds of that happening.

The impromptu meeting continued in Deans private observation room throughout the afternoon the town hall meeting by the students had let out much earlier. The staff remained for hours to discuss the strange student and what actions needed to be taken. There was a small amount of conversation concerning Deans separate chambers but it was not the topic most were focused on.

There was this boy who could essentially see through walls without the slightest hindrance it seemed. Nothing could be kept secret from him. Sure the entirety of the student body knew of the staff observation rooms but Deans rooms weren’t known of by anyone but Dean until today. The cat’s out of the bag.

After returning with Dean to his office Miss Darcel took her seat. Dean tapped a finger on the desk pondering this students situation. The child was otherwise unremarkable until today. In fact this child was one among the impoverished on campus sleeping on the streets living off of the handouts from the other students. In this society where coping with failure was the standard this boy was one among many who demonstrated success in his attitude towards that adaptation. He lived as if he did not need wealth or material goods nor seemed very concerned with attaining them. In a strange way this boy avoided failure altogether.

According to the records kept he didn’t even try in the first place, he was the least ambitious student ever seen yet he thrived in his environment. Upon placement in the school the boy tested well in the scheduled classes but seemed to fail in the occupational and social portion of the school curriculum from the very beginning. He was on the streets now for over 5 years having set a record in that area, but poverty as a record was never recorded the only thing which impressed the staff was his apparent ability to cope with what they saw as a continued failure without being pushed over the edge. The truth was that the boy was beyond coping with failure everything done was for a distinct purpose–if he didn’t try he wasn’t forced to fail.

A lot of how this child functioned so easily given his chosen poverty was based upon calculation. The boy knew from the start the more effort he made the more risk to him personally there was. Accumulation of the material things which others desired was not how he chose to live. Others developed attachments to the material things they worked for and thus when failures happened had to figure out how to cope when losing these things. The boy circumvented the system and lived by instinct. An instinct which compelled him to avoid the material desire of his fellow students. He knew the odds were against maintaining success by acquisition of material things unfortunately the one major flaw of Deans institution was that it never accounted for such a thing.

Most common of societies successes and failures being taught here were concerning the gain of material wealth and status. By those standards the apparent coping skills the boy was demonstrating were excellent but not exemplary. They missed the fact that in reality the boy had failed at nothing because he hadn’t bothered attempting anything in the first place. He possessed no wealth, and attained no societal status–just came and went where he wanted to be and got only what he needed. The odds based on how contemporary society worked were weighed massively against him but somehow he thrived and experienced none of the pressure as those doing the opposite.

“You Know why I requested you to come to my school Miss Darcel?” Dean inquired.

Miss Darcel responded,”I was offered a job on your staff sir.”

Dean returned,”No. Not a job.”

“Then why am I here Dean?”she asked a little puzzled.

“Initially I was, planning my retirement. Training my replacement, but given the circumstances of the day I feel the need to stay on a little longer–this boy concerns me.” Dean explained.

Miss Darcell was chosen as Deans successor, but the situation demanded Dean continue to stay on until a solution was found. She was taken a little aback at the initial job offer, expecting only a lower staff position, but a s Dean had explained she was by far the best qualified to run the overall operations of the campus. He had originally planned on training Miss Darcel to replace him within three months and retire peacefully, but the boy changed the plan for him.

Postponement of the hand over was agreed to by both Miss Darcel and by Dean that evening and instead she would serve as his assistant while working on a solution for possibly as long as another three years while this child remained in the school. The first order of business was to have the boy brought to Dean for evaluation the next day. Dean wished Miss Darcel a good night as he ushered her to her quarters then turning towards his room to ready himself for bed. Walking the hallway past his office Dean pondered about the boy intensely. Staring back at the cloaked rooms was really no serious cause for concern, but they all seemed to feel something strange aside from the general discomfort which caused them some mild alarm. The boy’s stare was piercing as if it was etching itself on the faculty, Miss Darcels, and Deans minds imprinting into them somehow. It was far beyond a paranoid instinct of thinking they were being watched back but rather knowing with perfect certainty they were. Normally students would stare back at the cloaked room below Deans and the faculty would get a little creeped out by the incidental eye contact. It was easy to remind themselves in those instances that it was just coincidental even if a little freaky.

Dean sat in the chair by his bed continuing to ponder while going over the days notes reaching in the night stand drawer for a small scrap book. Pictures of his son it contained. Deans only family in the whole world now long dead was one of the most successful men on earth. In those days Dean wasn’t really much a whiz at business himself, he inherited his small fortune as the only surviving heir of the former richest man on two continents. His son was a success at a young age excelling in everything he attempted. High marks in academics, and athletics Dean worked two jobs to pay his sons way through school never questioning his consistent success nor foreseeing his child’s ultimate psychological collapse and eventual death. Dean was blindly proud of the achievements too much so to fail to notice that his boy as high as he climbed was not immune to utter defeat or the scrutiny of societal authority. His son amassed a great fortune late in the 21st century through business dealings and investments, eventually holding stakes in almost every company traded on the planet. This was of course against the trade laws since it created conflicts between competing companies, his son wielded financial power unheard of for a decade until the market crashed in 2105. He used all his power in the market he could to prevent the crash but the downward trends were too strong to halt.

By the beginning of the recession caused in the crashes wake Deans son was put under investigation and smeared across the news feeds as a colossal failure going from owning and controlling tens of trillions of dollars in assets to a quarter of a billion in a few small accounts. Inflation being what it was the value of North American currency by that point the dollar was worth fractions of a cent of its face value prior to the crash an orange cost a dollar afterward it shot up to 500 times that, Those who invested in precious metals such as gold and silver could no longer find buyers for their hoarded stockpiles of bars and trinkets–there was no longer value in something that you could not consume practically. By the mid point of the recession money still held value but very little, it was hardly trade-able–easier to barter with chocolate batteries and tobacco which held a far higher value as both a luxury and a consumable. Deans son killed himself before this point leaving what remained of his material assets and fortune to the father who rode out the remainder of the recession in a drunken stupor wasting nearly a tenth of that inheritance on liquor alone.

The wife left the scene long before then dying during child birth he only ever knew his father Dean. Dean viewed a picture of his son and himself, a moment from a long time in the past when his boy chartered a fishing boat for them–the last pleasant memory left before his son knowingly and calmly entered one of his closed down buildings for a news conference to address the by the trade commission of running a large underground monopoly which lead to the crash. He stepped off that platform into the jaws of his own ore refinery equipment. Having already fallen so far he could not cope with the failure and finished the fall allowing his own machinery to grind him to pieces in front of ten dozen witnesses saying as he stepped off,”I am sorry, I tried to stop it.” Dean was at work that day, building motorcycles in a small Arizona plant when the officials came to him bearing the news. An old father falling asleep in his chair, another night dreaming about him as he always had, and Dean drifted off into slumber he slowly said,”George” trailing off into light snores.

The next morning Dean awoke in his bed not sure how he got there to a knock on his door. Miss Darcel awaiting him on the other side.

“Please enter” he answered.

The door opened to show the silhouette of Miss Darcel backlit by the hallway light. She spoke,”Your door was open last night sir, and I noticed you sleeping quite uncomfortably in your chair so I moved you to the bed. Hope you don’t mind.”

Dean was a very small man old, light, and sort of frail he could imagine Miss Darcel had physically picked him up and placed him in bed with some ease. At his age a stiff wind could probably knock him over. He snored and muttered the night before as she placed him under the sheets tucking him in. Then quietly shutting the door behind her to retire to her room again.

Noticing he was still in his clothes from the day before Dean remarked,”I thank you for preserving my decency, I’d have felt kind of awkward waking up having been re-dressed without awareness of it.”

A curious look in her eye she inquired of Dean,”Is George the boys name?”

Pausing a moment as he stood from the bed Dean responded,”Oh no Miss, George is… someone else–further past secrets I wouldn’t care to go into now. We have some work to do today.”

As old and frail as Dean might have been he was still quick on his feet passing Miss Darcel at the threshold and motioning her to follow him to the study. Entering behind Dean she seated herself as he looked around his bookshelf for something seemingly important. Pulling an old yellowed glossy periodical from a shelf Dean sounded pleased as he spoke,”Ah, here’s what I was looking for.” it was an old issue of a publication known as Scientific American dated in July of the year 2075 the magazine had long since been out of print running its final farewell issue in 2101. these were collectors items in the same sort of way people from the early 21st century collected memorabilia like Police Gazette magazines and Pulp Fiction novels from the 1950’s–only far more valuable for it’s insights on early scientific studies. The cover depicted the first Martian colony which had been later abandoned during the recession.

Dean wasn’t interested in that story but an article on an evolutionary phenomenon 10 pages in that received little news coverage during its time. Entitled ‘Probability Bending’ it was a three paragraph piece on a hypothesized existing human offshoot called ‘metasapiens’. It was thought to be a minority sub species of humanity with the ability to alter chance in their favor. By all outward appearances they were human but demonstrated an uncanny ability for adapting the physical properties of the universe ever so subtly to their needs rather than having to adapt. These probability benders lived among us and rather than coping with change they dictated the changes made around them ever so slightly.

Dean suspected this was the case with the child, no one could survive and cope with such failure as well as this boy has given his apparent continued poverty on campus. There were other vagrants experiencing the sensation of becoming poor and riding out those highs and lows of this society in training. But this boy never knew such success to discover the stink of his own failures by losing them he remained on that bottom rung for so far the entire duration of his attendance and did not seem to mind it.

According to the article with the basic ability to skirt around chance, these metasapiens were thought to posses at least one heightened ability (improved sense of smell, taste, touch, strength etc,.) never something considered really far out or unnatural like an old comic book or horror movie. Just natural enhanced ability. Some could heal just a little quicker, others slightly stronger, better hearing than usual, or a very well refined sense of smell, but nothing like flying and stopping lasers or turning into werewolves and vampires like the old fiction stories. All this of course buried in one science journal many decades old Dean suspected the boy who could see through walls was one of these theoretical metasapiens. Even walls were not perfectly opaque to the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Perhaps the child could see or adjust his vision to a slightly higher or lower wavelength than normal visible light.

Of course as previously stated it was all totally theoretical, no metasapien had ever been encountered before and the odds of one’s existence were one in 75 billion and the earth hasn’t reached 30 billion yet. Then again could a probability bender change the probability of its own existence? That is of course more a philosophical question than one of science–like asking if the deity purposely created itself, but its hard to think that intent to create a self would pre-exist ones own creation. The debate has always raged as whether something can come from nothing or not.

“We’ll interview he boy here Miss Darcel, just you and me.” Dean said as he glanced through the article.

Miss Darcel responded,”When will we need to be ready to receive him?”

“Within the hour Miss, I need these things from the workshop in the South wing back here before then.” Dean returned while passing her a list on a folded piece of yellow legal paper.

The walk took five minutes for Miss Darcel to reach the workshop, gathering the requested items in a fruit crate took another ten, the walk back was a little slower with the extra carried weight. When she returned to the study the boy was already present seated comfortably. Among the items was a smaller portable version of the observation room wall–an older prototype almost as old as the school itself but still functional. The walls of the observation rooms throughout the campus were based on an old patent Dean had acquired toward the end of the recession for a more efficient solar energy collector. It allowed light in and suffered nearly no energy loss from reflected photons bouncing back out unfortunately it was still impractical due to it’s proneness to serious overheating and rupturing the silicon substrate–no known collector has ever been capable of efficiently harnessing more than 75% of the collected light and converting it into electrical energy safely.

The patented device had an energy conversion efficiency of approximately 95% but no known material was capable of handling that amount of energy for very long. The one way liquid crystal surfacing however did prove practical for Deans purposes and was applied to production for use in many other applications including the observation rooms on campus, laboratory research areas requiring isolation, and cloaking military equipment. This small device was to be used to test the child’s eyesight, if he could see through walls then he might be able to see through this as well.

“Lad welcome, Miss Darcel and I are here with you to have a friendly talk. Can you tell us your name?” Dean initiated the conversation calmly.

The boy sat up and spoke with a slight stutter,”J-Joseph sir.”

Miss Darcel turned toward him with a small degree of motherly instinct,”You’re not nervous are you Joseph?”

“Oh n-no ma’am. Th-this is just something I’ve dealt with my whole life.” he returned.

The boy demonstrated to them as having a slight speech impairment–nothing so unusual Dean guessed. The test would come next. Dean grabbed the device only showing the opaque side to Joseph confirming with Miss Darcel that the crystal was functioning properly though subtle gestures and she nodded in agreement. The experiment was simple Dean placed his hand under the device.

“Joseph, may I call you Joe?” Dean asked.

The boy responded,”Sure s-sir that’s fine.”

Dean started the test,”Joe, how many fingers do you see?”

Dean folded his hand closing two fingers behind the crystal device.

Joseph answered back,”Three.”

This of course may not have been an extraordinary observation but a guess by Joe–it was however the correct answer as Dean had indicated to Miss Darcel by his body language. Dean changed up his hand gestures, closing the middle finger, the ring finger, and the thumb this time and asked again.

Joseph responded again,”T-two”

A little hesitation but two for two so far Dean thought to himself then asked,”Which fingers?”

“Pointer and P-pinky.” Joseph responded.

Another change up of Deans digits and he again asked both count and position.

Joseph again responded accurately,”Three. Th-thumb, middle, and pinky.”

So far four for four in count and two for two in accuracy. Miss Darcel placed the box of objects behind Deans desk out of Joseph’s known view. Dean rotated his chair while holding the device quickly grabbing an object from the box and placing it to the screen and asked Joseph,”Joe, what am I holding in my hand?”

“A ball sir.”Joe answered.

“What color Joe?”Dean asked.

“I-I cannot tell sir.” the boy stated.

Dean removed it from behind the screen and asked again,”Can you tell me the color of this object now?”

“Y-yes sir. It’s blue.” Joe responded.

The heightened vision was apparent, further testing would need to be done to figure out exactly which end of the electromagnetic spectrum was being received but he could see through what no one else could–not perfectly but within the criteria to be considered enhanced. It might be possible that this child is what Dean assumes him to be, the first known metasapien. Joseph was unable to make out color but Dean had repeated the test with more complex objects from the box and Joseph was able to describe them in some great detail when instructed to. The device shrouded visible light perfectly to Dean and Miss Darcel but Joe could see through it on another wavelength.

He could determine all the shapes in 3 dimensions and describe the fine details to them with ease which explains why he was capable of staring back through the walls at those observing and making true eye contact. Which unsettled anyone not used to such intense scrutiny on the other side of the crystal–intuition told the observers that for once they were indeed being watched this time. This ability was natural for the child under certain conditions, particularly when normal visible light was filtered out enough the few higher or lower wavelengths (at whichever end of the electromagnetic spectrum they might have been) were far easier for Joseph’s eyes to collect and process in his brain.

“Just one more test lad.” Dean said as he pulled a peg board and shaped objects from the box.

He placed the peg board on his desk and asked Miss Darcel to move Joseph and his seat to the corner of the room. Dean stood up and walked across to Joseph handing him the objects.

Dean made a request,”Place these shaped pegs in the appropriate holes on that board son.”

The child stood for a second to walk across the room, Dean and Miss Darcel gently put their hands to his shoulders re-seating him.

“From here please Joseph.”Miss Darcel instructed.

Dean looked down at him,”It’s all right young man. Give it a try.”

The boy sat back and nervously threw the pegs toward the desk. Looking up at his interviewers when finished tossing the pegs Dean looked back,”Thank you Joseph, you may go now.”

Miss Darcel and Dean together showed him the way out before returning to the study Impressed by the boys heightened sense. The test involving the peg board though was far beyond what was expected.

As they stood over Deans desk looking at the peg board he asked,”Well, what are the odds of that Miss?”

She responded in awe,”I don’t know if odds matter anymore now.”