8.30 am GMT, Friday, September 19th, 2130
They had gone to the disco again, the following Thursday. It was just the safest possible place. Who would plan a revolution in a disco? There was a kind of revolutionary committee by now, consisting of John, Jocelyn, Slavica, Maria, a fearsomely practical young lawyer called Nestoras from Greece who had bullied his way into their counsels from SSGX256 (Social Sciences) and claimed to - and surely did - have a complete understanding of the entire regulatory structure of the Assembly, and the leader of another Brain Sciences Group, Sven Sedgwick, whose grandfather was actually on the Assembly.
"How can that be safe?" agonized John. But Sven's father, Michael, was Chief Executive of Sedgwick Global Media, descended from the fabled Australian media magnate Michael Campbell, the third richest person on the planet, and one of his divisions was Google. Ferdinand's grandfather, Charles, had been a close business associate of Sven's grandfather.
"You've got to have the media," said Ferdinand to John, who had come round for breakfast halfway through the week. "Aloysia knows Michael's wife, Griselda, they do charity stuff together; and he's just been waiting for something like this for years, she says."
"The Educational Committee Plenary is on Monday morning in Brussels," said Nestoras. "I know that the Disciplinary Panel is ready to gull them, but honestly I'm against that if we can avoid it. Once the individuals realize what's been done to them, how do you think they will react? They'll never trust Ferdinand again, and we need him clean. What's the score, Jocelyn?"
"I can't believe it," she said, "but we're already over a hundred, and they're flooding in every hour. It's like a dam breaking, and this is just in Brain Sciences. We've had a few from other disciplines, just because people have talked to each other, but we haven't set out to broaden it. Maria, you're looking after them, what are they like?"
"What a question! I don't know what they're like, because to an individual they're just a jumble. I can check that they conform technically, and most of them do, although Slavica has to do some work on a few of them, but it's no good me trying to judge them from the outside. I just label them with the description they come with, and try to classify them a bit. To experience them means an RCC with a clone, and you know how limited our time is. Bloody tutorials. Anyway, BSGX430 has managed to experience about twenty in a very approximate kind of way, and we seem to have a good variety of formats. Actually it's overwhelming. It's like being introduced to a new composer called Beethoven and being asked to judge his work in a couple of days when you're completely new to it. In 1820. None of them are bad. They're all very different. Some tell a story, of how the group has developed or how it wants to develop, but most of them are like the boys' original, a kind of presentation of group feelings."
"Sven," asked John, "Can we publish before the Plenary? And what does 'publishing' actually mean?"
"Phew," said Sven, wiping his brow metaphorically. "You guys are something else! There are horrendous privacy and legal issues here apart from trying to work out what a delivery process might look like. Then there's the whole contribution interface to be thought about. The whole of KISS is based on RCR responses; no-one has ever tried to measure group responses directly, and there aren't any rules for it. Anyway, sorry, those are side issues, really. The big question is how to frame it. Once it's public, we can deliver the packages to anyone who wants them, well of course we don't deliver them, they're just there in the cloud for any RCC to use like another app. Slavica has already bundled some of the packages with the clone. We just can't test it yet, obviously."
"How's your Dad responding?" enquired John.
"Brilliant," said Sven. "He's a publisher, and he knows a scoop when he sees one. And he thinks the whole thing goes with the grain of the times. He's been wanting to take a pitch at the Assembly for years, and this is perfect. The issue is to produce something for RCRs which would get close to describing the actual packages, then that can be used in our normal distribution channels, and billions of people will see it. It's set for Monday.
"How are we going to do that?" asked John.
"There's a weekend tutorial course on developments in Brain Sciences, open entry," said Maria. "It's all RCC based, you have to enter a group, so I've got together eight of us from half a dozen different groups, and we're going to bash through all the materials we've got, try to select fifty of the best and work out how to present them, describe them. The tutors won't know us, so we can play fast and loose with the sessions; and if they suspect anything, they won't have time to do anything about it before Monday, anyway."
"The actual cast will be an animated RCC session using actors," said Sven. "Magazine format, leading the news support format. Rehearsals on Monday morning, and we go live at lunchtime GMT."
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