Saint Sava (saint_sava) wrote,
Saint Sava

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Excerpt from a dream.

The boxes, each about ten inches on a side, were remarkable only in their near-featurelessness. Their cases appeared to be made of a single unbroken piece of dense black material that resembled the Bakelite countertops in high-school chemistry labs, though slightly textured like Sun hardware cases, and did not have any apparent tooling marks, composite junctions, external jacks or interfaces -- nothing. The matte blackness of their surfaces were broken only by four blunt conical "feet" on the bottom, four corresponding conical depressions in the top to facilitate stacking, and a single LED set in a bevel on an upper corner. As I brought each box into the room, its LED would blink tentatively about my second step past the doorway. Once a box was stacked with those already situated, its LED would momentarily blink a faint yellow, changing after a couple seconds to a solid, dim green1, at which point a faint whine could be heard from within, increasing in pitch until it rose off of the far end of audibility2. My guess it was a hard drive or servomotor spinning up.

As we removed the boxes from the back of the transport and stacked them in the far corner of the featureless room we pondered their purpose. Given their featurelessness, we agreed in our independent conclusions that they were individual nodes in a massively distributed system that probably communicated via infrared or RF. Beyond that, conjecture was useless. As more and more of them accumulated in the corner, I felt compelled to come up with some way to refer to their aggregate. Since the plural of ox was oxen, it seemed right to call the black cubes boxen.

Why they had us moving the boxen was hard to say: probably the typical governmental stupidity that I'd come to know and depend upon. Had they had epsilons come in and move the things, the boxen would have been met with a complete indifference and an inherent inability to even approach their significance. But the two of us had Sec clearances; Tri had his doctorate in Nanotech and I would be presenting my thesis in Biochem at the end of the semester, and we both knew that these boxen were not everyday toys.

1 It was at this point that I knew I was dreaming: in real life I'm colorblind.
2 To this day I can't be in the same room as a television not tuned to any channel because of the whining sound it makes.
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