Common Core is an idea I started thinking about a couple of years ago. It’s very much influenced by the education program of the same name. As a father of 3 I spend a lot of time thinking about education and who benefits from our kids all being the same and knowing the same things in the same way. Generally speaking it’s not the kids.
This particular story occurs later in the existence of my common core world. I started it for NaNoWriMo in 2014 but I wasn’t able to finish. I’m going to share a chapter every Friday and keep working on the story until it’s done. None of this has been edited or even proof read, so read it for what it is and let me know what you think
The only memory Taryn Ross had of her mother was an image stored in a memory cell of the technology embedded in her brain. It was a beautiful image but it was static, like a portrait. Of the items stored in her EmbEd Tech memory cells the ones with movement came closest to making her happy. An image of your mother should make you happy.
Taryn had good memories and positive experiences, she was grateful for those, but they didn’t make her feel anything. EmbEd Tech had given her perfect vision, perfect hearing and perfect memory. She had the same common core capabilities as most of the other humans on the planet, but something was missing.
Feelings had been an area of interest for Taryn from the day she woke up from her ten year tech refresh. The normally simple installation procedure of swallowing a small capsule and taking a nap had failed for some reason. As the granddaughter of EmbEd Tech’s founder there was no way she would grow up without the common core. The delicate operation to repair the parts of her brain damaged during the failed install left Taryn in a coma for over a month. It was during that time that her mother had died. Every piece of tech in the world could not prevent a single person from choking on a grape.
When she woke up, all memories of her mother were gone. The ones she had collected before the tech upgrade were damaged when the old memory cells were removed. The biological memories were damaged during the repair and installation operation.
Sadness registered as the appropriate emotion but it did not bring a tear or alter her physical state in any way. Without the label and the meta data associated with her mothers image Taryn would never have even known the woman existed. As she read and progressed through her studies she realized that the disconnect she felt between memory and emotion was a common thread across the EmbEd Tech population.
As she walked towards the Frida K. Ross building, named after her mother, Taryn thought that this was her chance to make an impact. Her family owned EmbEd Tech, or at least they were the majority shareholders, and now that she had reached the working age of 20 Taryn was ready to begin the process of preparing to take over as head of the company.
In the ten years since her mother had died Taryn had only been to the building a few times. Her father, Conrad Ross, technically shared the brownstone she lived in but his office suite on the top floor was where he spent many nights. It was a fine arrangement and they saw each other often enough to maintain a relationship but they were not close.
Taryn and her father had discussed the impact of her mothers’ death, but only once. People with perfect memories did not tend to repeat conversations. When she tried, Conrad would tell her to replay the conversation and he could cite date and time if she even implied that she could not locate the memory.
At the door to the building she looked up at the sky, it was a beautifully clear morning with whisps of white adding texture to the flawless field of blue. Taryn loved looking at the sky. It was full of potential and hope. The vastness of it almost made her feel something.
The ever present clock in her optic display showed that she had almost twenty minutes before she was due to meet with her father. Normally she would go for a walk to raise her body temperature slightly but today she decided to sit and go through her presentation.
In the lobby there was a small seating area. It was vacant, as it had been the other times she had come to the building, and she was able to pick a chair that looked comfortable but in reality was not.
While she went through the data she was preparing to share with her father she cross referenced words and phrases with strong emotional ties. The embedded technology provided processing power and memory but it was still left to Taryn to manipulate data and present conclusions.
A silent alarm went off in her head signaling that the meeting with her father was about to begin. She was so engaged in the data that she had lost track of time.
Rising from the seat she hurried to the elevator. When the doors slid open they revealed a young man standing patiently inside. Facial recognition software scanned has face and raced out to the network to search for a match. His presence in the building helped to narrow the candidates and a name was quickly returned, Logan James.
Mutual connections were limited to EmbEd Tech, he was an employee as were both of his parents, they didn’t know each other. In previous visits to the building Taryn would not have engaged with another person linked only through the company. Seeing as she was preparing to become CEO that practice needed to change.
“Nice to meet you Logan. I’m Taryn Ross, may I initiate a direct connection?” She asked him.
“Nice to meet you Taryn. Technically speaking you don’t have to ask if we can make a direct connection, you are my boss and are entitled to do so.” Logan responded.
“I prefer to make connections personal when I can. I feel it strengthens the potential for collaboration.” Taryn was not looking to make friends.
“Did you know that in the past people would exchange a physical card to share contact information? I believe that the tactile experience of exchanging information was a key component of initiating strong business relationships. Factual data from the time is hard to come by but I feel my hypothesis has merit.” Logan was casual but confident.
Taryn’s memory cell was quickly filled with facts related to the environmental impact of harvesting trees and the paper manufacturing process. She could sight a number of different sources for proof that the practice of putting data on paper was generally a bad idea. Instead she chose from the quotes on leadership and connections.
“To quote Dale Carnegie ‘When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.’” Her background profile scanned had allowed to her make a reference that would resonate with Logan directly. Her instructors at The Groton School had taught her well.
“Ah you detected my profile note on History. I move it around as a way to test others and see who can detect it. You are the first one to find it in the current location. Kudos.” Logan responded with a smile.
“I was fortunate to have good instructors.” Acknowledging others was another tenet of leadership that had been drilled into her.
“Well they should have taught you how to secure your recent search history. For what it’s worth, my interpretation of the recent bio connector data is that the project is trending below the profitability requirements and is should probably canceled or re-worked.” Logan offered with more of his confidence showing through.
Taryn blushed with embarrassment. Fortunately it was a temporary feeling, her memory of this moment would be strictly factual.
The elevator stopped and Logan stepped off before turning to face her.
“Good luck with you father.” He said and started to walk away.
“Nice to meet you, and thank you for your input.” She called after him.
As the floors raced past on her way to the penthouse her tech handled the details of adding time, place and emotional connection notes to the memory files of her conversation with Logan. His comments about the bio connector were archived and she forced a data tag flagging them as unreliable.
Specific data sets and anything tangentially related to her plans for making the bio connector her signature success were loaded into her front brain memory. She was exceptionally well prepared to make her case and she was looking forward to engaging with her father directly on a professional level.
“You’re late.” Conrad scolded her before the elevator doors were fully open.
“Sorry. It’s only three minutes though I think we can adapt.” Taryn responded quickly and with confidence even though she was off guard and a little scared.
“Three minutes is ten percent of a thirty minute meeting. I refuse to let you waste ten percent of a time slot I have allotted for you. If this is what they are promoting out there in Groton I may need to speak with the head master about reducing future contributions.” His anger was painted across his face.
“Dad. It’s my first day and I was working hard to make sure I was prepared. I apologize for being late, it won’t happen again. Do not punish the school because of my actions.” Taryn was very protective of the place where she had spent the better part of her entire life.
“Bickering with me only wastes more time. I’ll hire a docent for you so that you can take advantage of all the capabilities of your technology and we can avoid meaningless discussion better in the future.” Conrad turned and walked back to his desk.
“I don’t need a docent. It was a simple mistake on my first day. You have been doing this for over thirty years. I’ve developed an action plan for my first year and identified a signature project that I would like to pursue. I’m sharing those proposals with you now.” Taryn hoped that moving on would end the talk of a docent.
Docents had become very popular with the upper class. They were quite knowledgeable about the technology but mostly they were gimmicks that taught people to do circus tricks that appeared as intelligence.
“Now that’s more of what I expected from a future CEO of EmbEd Tech. However the key word there is future. You do not get to set the agenda with me. I am in charge, don’t ever forget that.” Her father flashed a smile.
“Very well. As long as I am allowed to get engaged from the start things will go smoothly. I’ve spent the last ten years studying and preparing, I’m not interested and watching other people work.” Taryn matched the tone and quick smile.
“You will be fully engaged. Your signature accomplishment is going to be the repeal of the laws protecting non-tech citizens. Your work starts as soon as we wrap up.” Conrad held his daughters gaze.
“I think that the bio connector holds significantly more promise. The work has progressed nicely and tests show that it has a chance to solve the connectivity issue for most of the people whose bodies rejected tech.” That was not the outcome she was hoping for but the data showed her that it was a more likely path to success.
“The margins on the bio connector are atrocious. It’s as if the development team was planning the project to be a charity. If I don’t shut the whole program down it will likely be shipped off shore so I don’t have to be reminded of it daily.” Conrad moved across his office and sat in front of a window looking out over the city of Boston.
Logan had been astute in his assessment. Taryn knew that the margins were not as high as the other projects she had reviewed but she expected they would improve. Several manipulations of the data showed the margins improving as the bio connector moved outside the United States.
Unfortunately, Taryn also knew that arguing with her father was a futile effort. He would not concede and eventually he would simply stop talking to her.
If she was going to bring the bio connector to market she would have to find a away to do so outside of her fathers extensive purview.
“It’s estimated that five percent of the US population claim tech exemption status under the current laws. Adding them as customers this year would generate a nice return. History also shows that soon after the United States, foreign nations will follow suit and over time yield even more profitability.” Taryn rattled off a sampling of data that had been hastily retrieved.
“There are a few versions of the new laws in our offline archives. This project is not to be connected to the network. If our competitors got a hold of the draft laws they could lay claim to the non-techs and five percent would give them the in to slowly erode our share.” Conrad completed an extended blink while he checked his calendar and moved data in preparation for his next meeting.
“I’ll do my best.” Taryn didn’t think her father would expect or accept anything different.
Without any further conversation Taryn walked towards the elevator and prepared to head down one floor to her new office.
“Oh Taryn.” Conrad called to her. “It was nice to see you.”
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