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Chapter 42 - Boganality

 

When Angela first met Zaire, she hadn't realised that Zaire was once a full-on Bogan. She even started telling Zaire about Bogans, as if she'd never heard of them.

"They're getting smarter you know," she said. "The requirement to get a baby licence and to pass the eligibility test has eliminated the really stupid ones. So, the average intelligence has already risen by a full ten points in the past twenty-five years. In another twenty-five it's expected to rise even faster. In a century we should get back to the average intelligence in Europe after the Black Death, from Elizabethan times through to the eighteenth century. In the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries really stupid people were encouraged to breed like rabbits so there is a bit of recovery to do."

Angela was only twelve then so her ideas were still in their formative stage. Bianca overheard this and objected that although the number of stupid people had risen, so had the number of precociously smart people as humans from many different environments interbred. It’s called hybrid vigour.

"The argument is far too complex for some trite summary and trite summaries have the risk that they can become sloganeered by demagogues, like the radio ‘shock-jocks’ of the early twentieth century, or indeed the Nazis,” she commented.  "You need to be careful to see all sides of a story. And this one’s very complex.” 

Yet since then, Angela has always liked to have a dig at Zaire's 'boganality' whenever the opportunity arose.

"I keep telling you not to run down Bogans," objected Zaire for the hundredth time. "We're not all stupid. Look at Bianca's friend Oliver, he's very literate. He writes books. By the way, is Connie actually you in his latest pot-boiler by any chance?" said Zaire, turning to Bianca: "That was a bit on the raunchy side. Does Lucent know?"

"Connie is a joke between us. His given name is Oliver. So, my name is Connie Chatterley and I call him Mellors," replied Bianca, avoiding the second question and the implication.

"I don't understand," said Angela.

"It's from a book. Lady Chatterley's Lover. D H Lawrence," explained Zaire. "See, you don't know everything, smartarse."

"How do you know all these Bogans?" asked Angela stressing the last word.

"I meet them in church," said Bianca for affect.

"Rubbish," exclaimed Zaire. "I approached you after you stalked me in a Mall. And you've just told us how you met Adán and Yvette."

"But Adán's religious and I did meet Oliver at a church picnic. He and Adán have become great mates. They like to surf and have some sport's team in common."

She failed to mention her other 'fishing trips'. That was a confession too far.

"And that brings us full circle. Do they want an atheist to be their child's godmother? And are you really related?" asked Zaire.

"Yes, they do. And no. But what difference does it make?  They have become quite liberal and free thinking since Yvette had to deal with lasting effects of the, so called Christian, priest who molested her. They want Oliver to be her other godparent and he's an atheist too."

"Goodness this child is going to have two unusual moral guardians," said Zaire: "Probably for the better. You'll have her off to school and university at fifteen, like this precocious brat," nodding her head at Angela.

That was when Bianca told them that they'd both been invited to the christening. Angela because she's supposedly another long-lost cousin and Zaire because she's a famous Bogan. When Bianca told Yvette that Zaire was a close friend, she was so excited that she started planning the reception. She would be devastated if Zaire didn't come.

It was time for Angela to go to bed in the guest bedroom that had somehow, become hers because she often stayed over these days. Now Angela has three bedrooms to spread her belongings around. One at Miranda's and another at Bertram's.

***

"So, tell me, have you been going about mesmerising anybody else?" asked Zaire suggestively, when Angela had finished messing about, as teens do, and gone off to bed.

"Would you like me to do it to you?" Bianca asked with a smile holding up the amulet; and avoiding the subject of 'fishing trips'.

"I sometimes think you do. How many times have I told you that I don't want to become a Grad and yet here I am, writing a thesis?"

"That raises the issue of what we're going to do with Circe. It's looking more and more like a manual to build another Margery. We don't want hundreds of virtual Margery's out there causing havoc. Up 'til now I've imagined it as supporting evidence for your mature University Entrance thesis."

"I'm not desperate to become a Grad. That's your dream. I'm happy with my present job. And we've put so much work into this now that it seems ridiculous for it to be hidden away in some academic institution. Anyway, it's nothing but theory until we test it to see if any of it actually works."

"Are you suggesting that we should do some real-life functional testing? That could raise some ethical issues," commented Bianca.

"Who cares? There is no law against sexy Apps. If there was, half of the content in The Cloud would be illegal. All our work is just academic time wasting unless we show that it's valid."

"I must say a small trial makes sense. I would like to see if it works too and I know Angela will agree, she's getting to that 'interested in boys' stage. When she's ready she's going to know an awful lot about seduction. For a trial we'll need a test group of people screened as potential dominators and dominated. Do you know a suitable group of Bogans?"

"Oh of course, we Bogans are all stupid. Perfect guinea pigs," objected Zaire smiling. "You're as bad as Angela."

"You know perfectly well that she loves you, that's why she's so rude, because she can be. Anyway, around half of all Bogans have below average intelligence." 

"And the other half have above average intelligence," responded Zaire.

Her stocking foot briefly grazed Bianca's thigh for emphasis.

"True," Bianca laughed. "We can't argue over the meaning of the word 'average'. Tautologies aside, those less than bright could be ideal for the dominated. And I suspect that the other half might yield a few good dominators."

"Then why not go with Grads or Busies? They tend to self-sort."

"Bogans are the best subjects, not because of intelligence or lack thereof, but because they are totally reliant on their VPA to function. We can simply install our software as an App in their VPA's program library. VPA's will suggest that their owner might handle the new partner this way or that; or that being treated like that was what they deserved and obviously, enjoyed. Feedback on the success of various approaches and types of abuse from VPA's would allow functions and routines to be iteratively refined using Prospero self-evolving software.

But we need to think of a way to encourage a limited group of them to download the software. Software they will want to install to win a prize perhaps?"

"I know," said Zaire: "Free concert tickets. How many tickets would we need to do some screening to sort the sheep from the goats?"

"Or the sirens from the sailors," amended Bianca. "A hundred should be plenty for a small trial."

"But how will we know the results? Do we just watch the news for evidence of an upsurge in sadomasochism?" asked Angela, who'd walked through in her pyjamas, ostensibly to get a glass of water.

"How do you know about sadomasochism?" Bianca demanded in mock surprise.

"Oh, Kids at school," she replied in an off-hand way.

"I'll write a small routine to have their VPA provide an update on progress," said Bianca. "We also need to include an abort routine to stop it running and another to have the VPAs help with the initial selection of test subjects."

***

They decided that using the VPAs would have other advantages. Just having a library of techniques available was unlikely to recruit subjects. As Margery had demonstrated that it's like a drug. The subject has to be given a taste and then another and another until they crave the ongoing experience.

"For victim candidates, we need the VPA to become more assertive to test their 'owner's potential to be dominated," suggested Zaire. "And to recruit a dominatrix the VPA should become more subservient than usual, I suppose."

"After selection we need to put them together matching pairs. It will be like one of those old adult dating sites from the first days of the Internet. Their VPAs can organise them to meet and prime them with suitable comments about their opposite numbers, so that the compatibility becomes obvious. Angela, go back to bed."

Angela had been hanging around listening, quietly hoping not to be noticed. She reluctantly went back to bed.

"At some point the dominatrix's VPA needs to start coaching their owner to take the initiative, suggesting that their new partner would respond to bit of rough handling and that it could be fun to make them do submissive things," suggested Bianca, after she'd checked that Angela was in bed and had gone to sleep.

"It's the others I'm more concerned about. Those who will become subservient to their VPA. We need to have a point at which their training is complete. Too soon and they may be able to resist their human mistress but too late and who knows?" Zaire said. "We don't want our carefully trained guineapigs all dashing off to a VE clinic, do we?"

"No. So, we need a proof of success well short of suicide. What about licking feet? "

"Licking an Avatar's virtual feet - it seems a bit tame. I'm sure we can think of something a bit filthier than that," laughed Zaire. "You know, I think this project is making me a bit nasty."

"Agreed. And now I can't wait to find out if it works," Bianca agreed. "And now I'm feeling a bit nasty too." 

It was time for bed.

***

The following morning over breakfast, Angela asked how they had slept, in a very pointed manner.

"Very well," Zaire replied as if she was answering for them both.

Angela smiled back knowingly.

After breakfast all three of them started work on the coaching routines that they would create as a pair of Apps and an initial selection App that would decide which the user's VPA then installed; dominator or dominated.

Zaire had no trouble getting a hundred premium passes to the Greatest Stars concert from the promoter, who's been very pleased at the free publicity she's been able to organise through her contacts, like Aden Hitch and Bosie Wild.

"Ok. Let's see who would like the free concert tickets," she said:  "C'mon, roll up, free tickets. Just ask your VPA to download this little App."

Zaire sent most of the invitations to Willow and Starfighter to distribute among their Cloud friends. She kept a few aside for some others she considers to be similarly deserving. The tickets went like hotcakes and those who hesitated were sorry to have missed out.

The concert is bound to be a great success. After all, it's late spring and Christmas is not far away.

 

 

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