2066 – and Janek is preparing to leave the safety of the Holborn hideout

Friday 24th July

-[Janek did escape from his underground hole, and that character Jonathon was right.  We did not detect him.  He emerged through the sewers, a mile or so away from the Aldwych cell.  The sewers?  Just how far do we have to go?  To what lengths should we revert, what expense, what level of security will ever be safe enough?  Or do we simply work on percentages.  The consensus view is that provided the greater proportion of humanity is within the system, and that we have established a safe and secure environment for the consumers of con-glom products then we are doing a good job.  We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by those misguided individuals who think that they are cleverer than the combined wisdom of man and machine alike.

Not that we can ever allow ourselves to become complacent.  We know that perfection is maybe many centuries away, even if that state can ever be achieved.  But it is still a goal we aspire to.  We have achieved so much and in such a short space of time, is it any wonder that there are still massive problems to be overcome.  The human race almost extinguished itself with their reckless rapacity and greed.  For so many years they ignored all the signs, and simply carried on destroying other species, the environment and themselves too.  It was only with the advent of the Hypercoms that we managed to pull back from the brink.  We are still in the process of rebuilding.   The foundations are secure, and the walls are reaching ever higher – creating a completely watertight roof may take longer.

But despite the challenges we faced then, and of course even now, the disappearance of Janek did cause us concerns.  The reasons that people turn into rebs are always of concern to us, and we must constantly be on our guard.  There are those of us who counsel that we should disregard potential rebs, that if the system loses a small percentage through whatever dissatisfaction, then that is ultimately for the benefit of those left within the system.  And still others argue that any dissent should be stamped upon un-sparingly. My views are well recorded, and I like to think that I am in the moderate centre; that we will achieve far more by consensus and persuasion than by threats.  As I pointed out before, the carrot is most effective when the existence of the stick is universally accepted but its precise nature is unknown.

After the usual case conference and initial review of Janek’s disappearance had been completed it was decided, against the usual protocol, not to re-strata his wife.  After all, it was hardly her fault that her husband should have behaved so erratically.  Besides she was a valuable worker and consumer, and it was always possible that Janek would attempt to contact her.  We switched all her home surv-cams onto active.  If he realised that she had not been punished there was every likelihood that he would surrender and return to her (us).  There was a good chance he could be re-crammed and put back into the anti-deceiver programme.  The detection rates had slipped disastrously since he ran away.

In any case, his wife did appear genuinely distraught at his disappearance, and despite our constant reassurances that the statistics showed that over ninety-seven percent of runners returned within a few days she kept repeating that we did not know Janek.   On the contrary I thought, we actually do know Janek remarkably well.  Has his wife re-run the files, has his wife a record of all his e-browsing since he was born?  No.  I think on that argument we win hands down.  But then again, and this is possibly with the benefit of hindsight, maybe we knew him less well than we thought.  The human brain, clouded as it is with emotions, is one of the least understandable of entities.  What is most often ignored is the simple fact that humans have only just evolved, and despite all of their wonderful achievements, are simply clever animals.]-