Cleaning Up

Cleaning Up

This is a follow up to Clean…? from my Fishy Prompt Call here – anyone can prompt (if you haven’t already) and please do!

This story is set in the same world & city as Saving the Cult (If Not the World). It’s even talking about the same power plant as in Saving the Cult. Warning: This one is a bit spoilery to things not yet revealed in Saving the Cult. 


“We need answers.”

Austin stood in the Plant Director’s office, chin up, refusing to back down. This was the third meeting Austin had demanded in two weeks, and this time – this time, Austin wasn’t leaving except with answers.

“We don’t have answers, Dr. Houston. We have given you all the documentation that was given to us with the plant equipment. We’ve even given your team access to the confidential agreement information – those documents were supposed to stay within the management team. We’ve given you access to the inside of the plant, against our original agreement. There’s nothing else.”

“There’s something else.” Austin stared at the Director, willing him to listen. “There’s what you were told. You were in on the meetings, weren’t you?

There was a pause while Austin wasn’t sure the Director would budge. Then the man sighed and nodded.

“There was some – I wanted to call it technobabble, but it was more something you’d expect to see in some weird sword-and-sorcery sort of late-night cable show. I mean, it involved the ah, the magic that is inherent in the universe, or something like that? Something like the Matrix, like they were just draining power people didn’t even realize they were using, like waste heat. I didn’t follow two thirds of it, but to be honest, I don’t think that any of the management team did. I’m not even sure the people selling us the thing understood all of it.” The Director huffed. He closed his eyes and fiddled with the paperclips on his desk. “Doctor Houston, under any other situation, I might threaten to fire you for attitude here. But considering what you found in the river, I am going to accept that you are trying to help the company.”

“That is, after all, what you hired me and my team for.” Austin smiled. There was no amusement in it. “So-”

“They said that every person in the world had a certain – metaphysical vibration to them,” the Director cut in. “And that by tuning their machine to the vibration of a specific area – every area is supposed to have its own hertz, except they’re not actually hertz, it’s something metaphysical – they can turn a generator.”

“Metaphysical hertz.” Austin resisted the urge to scream. “Metaphysical hertz.”

“Metaphysical hertz,” the Plant Director affirmed. “Yes. I don’t know what it means, either.”

“The problem is…” Austin spoke slowly, because there were things that really shouldn’t be said out loud. Scientist or not, there were some things that were too real out loud. “I think I know what it means.”

The gears were already turning. “I think – I think we’re going to need a completely different set of filters, Director.”


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comments: 4


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8 thoughts on “Cleaning Up

      • It’s a potentially useful metaphor. As I don’t know where you’re planning to go with it, I can’t speak to whether it’s a good choice. It suggests there’s a single relevant quality for tuning a generator (but maybe also others for picking a location). Do locations have vibrations independent of the people there? How do the metaphysical vibrations of people and places interact? What else has such vibrations, or is affected by them? Fish, apparently, from which one might guess that all living things, or all living things that meet [criteria] do. Or maybe the fish are being affected by some other waste output of the power plant, or by lack of whatever the power plant is drawing on, or …

        • Well, I like it as – *considers* – a way to explain it to a non-technical person.

          What else has vibrations is a Very Good question!

          • A mildly technical way to explain to a presumed non-magical person. 🙂

            Metaphysical hertz suggest a single measure, something much simpler than, say, a spectrogram (while still being in the same concept space), which is why I’m wondering what you might wind up asking of this metaphor.

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