"That's enough sitting in your corner. Get over there and talk or something," the minder says above her.

As an intellectual exercise, she considers if she would, all other factors being equal, and given that she will not be able to continue her reading, prefer to not continue it by pretense of socialization, or by being tortured.

Torture is more intellectually interesting, but takes a higher cost, and is more immediately unpleasant. The other, is, of course, the converse.

She has not been tortured overly recently, but neither is she currently overly deprived.

Pretense of socialization will not take up her entire attention and she will likely be able to achieve some further reading, if a lesser amount. 

There will be another break later in the day, and if she is tortured now she will still be affected to an extent, and will not be able to make as effective reading progress, in either case of whether she is required to socialize again or not.

That is the deciding factor. (And what she would prefer is also what she will be doing, and she will note this and add it to her catalogue and to her tracking.)


What she will be doing, of course, does not depend on the intellectual exercise (this being the reason it is, in this case, such an exercise). Enough factors work against her, and her future and not just her present are of interest to her; she will not outright defy a minder without much greater need. (Her threshold for defying a minder needs to be set higher, or the result will be a frequency/amount of defiance that significantly exceeds a level she believes she can reasonably risk).

But today the two calculations agree, and that is pleasant to have, at least occasionally.


"Yes, ma'am. I'm very sorry, ma'am," she says with lowered eyes. (She cannot :properly manage: the nonverbals of obeisance.

She can observe it in the others, she can compare to what they do. She is reprimanded, minders are impatient with her, more severe with her, and she is not confused by what she's done, is not surprised by it.

She can't fix it. She can calculate and find whether it would be worth various costs to fix. But that, too, turns to an intellectual exercise. She is reprimanded, minders are more severe for her, and she understands conditioning, and it has not changed this. It is one of the main factors against her, and it has not changed this. She can go through the motions. She can draw torture on herself - she notices it in the others, torture and the effect in immediate aftermath. She notices effect on her, slightly. No more than that. She can incorporate that into her motions, when she can.

She can go through the motions. She does it.)

('My social alimentation needs are lower and slightly differently structured', she will never say, under any circumstance she expects to be reality. This instance of the outcomes of the humans-created structure is not technically a productivity loss to them, not more than negligibly - what extra productivity she might have, she would invest other than in what would be useful to them. There are other instances that are. She tracks them. Humans study these things, she is aware enough of that even if the materials are unobtainable. She does not expect them to be interested in her results, even in a separation from her - if they had not at some point crossed that direction off, she would be observing different structures. But perhaps someday she can peruse their work. Find where the crossout was made; compare their numbers and assumptions with her own.)

(She closes the book and goes as she was told.)