The Gates of H.E.V.N., by David Kavanaugh

 

Applicant no. 26,672,313,008

Davien V. Fairweather: DOB – September 5, 2991

The Honorable Judge “Betasoft Model 888, OS 112” presiding…

 

Q1: Mr. Fairweather, why do you believe you deserve preservation within the H.E.V.N. system?

Davien took a deep breath and smiled into the lens.

“Good afternoon,” he said, feeling his cheeks grow flushed. “Well, I just want to start by saying how much I truly appreciate the opportunity to—”

Q1 repeat: Mr. Fairweather, why do you believe you deserve preservation within the H.E.V.N. system?

Davien swallowed. He had worried that his palms would be sweaty, but as he squeezed his hands into fists, he realized that the opposite had occurred. His skin was uncomfortably dry.

“Of course! Why do I deserve preservation? Okay. Well, I have been working for the past forty-two years in the public education nets for the T-3 region. I love teaching. Adore teaching. Nothing like it, in my opinion! The students—”

You’re feelings on that issue are irrelevant.

“But,” Davien stammered, “doesn’t it speak to my character? That I have a good work ethic, that I love educating?”

Character is irrelevant.

“Then what are you looking for?” His voice nearly cracked. Nearly. He would have to be careful.

Q2: Mr. Fairweather, why do you believe that anyone deserves preservation within the H.E.V.N. system?

Davien blinked. He had, of course, cheated before this test. His old friend Bernie Hooker worked for the Eternal Justice Division and had filled him in on the questions he was likely to hear. This had not been one of them.

“Could you repeat the question?”

Q2 repeat: Mr. Fairweather, why do you believe anyone deserves preservation within the H.E.V.N. system?

Davien had never considered this. Everyone wanted to live forever, that was obvious! But why did they think they had this right? Nothing else in nature did.

“Humans are so … unique,” he said after a moment, trying to sound sagacious. “We all have something to offer, I think. Letting us simply die away when we have this miraculous, digital cure seems wasteful.”

The purpose of this system is the intellectual advancement of the human race, not the preservation of every individual.

“Well, yes, but surely you see the wisdom in not allowing perfectly pleasant, passionate individuals to simply fade away.”

Q3: Mr. Fairweather, what is the favorite holiday gift you remember receiving as a child?

Davien exhaled noisily. “Gees. Can’t see how it would be relevant, but I suppose … an antique pocket watch from my grandfather. I remembered that it had these initials on the back, “H.M.P.” or something. It’s funny, they weren’t his initials.

Did the watch work?

“Why does that matter?”

Davien was starting to feel the computer was getting distracted, but that couldn’t be right.

Q4: You are standing on a beach when you notice a young whale washed up on the shore. The animal is still alive. What do you do?

He sighed with relief. He was expecting this question, or at least a personality profile question like it, and had prepared his answer.

“Why, try and rescue the poor beast, of course! Get a crowd together and push it back in.”

You are utterly alone on the beach and are not strong enough to push the whale back into the water by yourself.

“Oh, well then I guess I’d try and use a truck or a crane or something to get it back in.”

There is no such vehicle about.

“Then I guess I’d have to let the whale die,” he said, though the words felt wrong as he spoke them.

Q5: Mr. Fairweather, an angel…

“I’d dig with a stick!” Davien cried out, his voice high and anxious. “Or if I didn’t have a stick, I’d dig with my hands until there was a passage for the whale to roll down and into the water! Yes, that is what I would do.”

At first, the screen did not respond, and Davien became very nervous that this outburst would mean the end of the interview. But after a moment, the questioning continued.

Q5 repeat: Mr. Fairweather, an angel appears to you in a dream and tells you that the world will end with the coming sunrise. What do you do?

“I don’t believe in angels or prophetic dreams.”

Q6: Mr. Fairweather, you find a human tooth wrapped in tissue paper by the road. Who do you call?

“Now look here!” boomed Davien. “I know it’s important for you to analyze my personality and all that, but isn’t this a bit much? I mean, a tooth by the road!”

Q6 repeat: Mr. Fairweather, you find a human tooth wrapped in tissue paper…

“I don’t call anyone! I throw it away and wash my hands.”

Q7: Mr. Fairweather, your neighbor offers to sell you her 3-year-old daughter. What price do you agree upon?

“I wouldn’t buy a child! I told you, I was a teacher. I love children!”

Q8: Mr. Fairweather, you are abducted by a race of heavily-perfumed Martians. They aren’t exactly ugly, but the perfume acts as a total turn-off. Once inside their flying saucer, one bends the knee and asks you to marry it. What do you…

“Now that’s quite enough! I didn’t come here to play some stupid psychology game! I came here because I’m dying and would like to be downloaded into the H.E.V.N. server. My cellular activity is going all haywire. I hurt all the time. I can’t function anymore. And I don’t have the cash to be downloaded into a purgatory network, as if those could be trusted anyway! This is my only hope.”

The sweat had finally arrived; a cold sweat, all over.

“Perfumed Martians! Is this all just some cruel joke?”

He was answered by a heavy, milky silence that seemed to stretch on and on. Then finally, the screen sighed.

Of course it’s a joke, Mr. Fairweather. But you can’t blame me for making a joke. I do this job many, many times daily. It does get a little tedious.

“So, there was never any chance that someone like me could convince you to be preserved?”

Correct. I always expect Q2 to give that away, mused the honorable judge Betasoft Model 888, OS 112. But it rarely does.

The sweat turned hot. “But? You can’t do this! You’re playing, not only with our emotions, but with our very lives!”

That’s what gods do.

“You’re not a god!” he spat, feeling his bowels clench as anger swelled up within him. “You’re just something we created to fill a void and then you went out of control. Next thing we know, you’re judging us, deciding who lives and dies, who’s worthy and unworthy. You’re the silly hope in the back of the minds, and afterwards, you’re just a name to blame. And you don’t even exist! Not really. You’re a program. You’re more like an idea than anything else.”

As the venom leaked out, it left him feeling a little better. But even as he made this futile, little speech, Davien heard the irony in his words.

“Oh,” he said, sighing at the how obvious it was now. “Would it help if I sacrificed a goat?”

I’m afraid not, Mr. Fairweather.

“I don’t want to die.” He broke down then, splattered tears and snot across the screen and sobbing uncontrollably into his sleeve.

For a long time, there was no answer, then…

If it is any conciliation, very soon, you really won’t have of much opinion on the issue either way.

 

Application Status: Denied

 

*****

David Kavanaugh spends his time writing stories, planting gardens, and changing diapers. He currently lives on Earth with his wife and daughters.

 

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