Make your own free website on
Robert's Realm of Redundancy
Utopian Slums
Poetry Page

Utopian Slums

         Papers were strewn about several tables in one of the many laboratories of Global Innovations Inc. Several plates with half-eaten meals were pushed off to the side amongst the dunes of paper. Dr. Zelard, a gray haired man in his early fifties wearing a t-shirt and jeans, sat back in his chair staring at his computer screen awaiting the results of his latest set of data. Setting up this current simulation had taken over three weeks. Perhaps this would be the experiment that would finally validate his theories, unlike the previous eleven. His thoughts shifted to his "forward looking management" which had begun to grow impatient with his lack of progress. They had told him that he had to stop wasting company funds to pursue his "pointless research". They had never even bothered to ask him what it was that he was working on. They just wanted him to get back to working on things that people really needed. Why waste time working on something that took so much money and effort? Why not just crank out several small inventions like voice activated toasters or self-cleaning carpets instead? The computer made a quick blipping noise catching his attention. The analysis was complete. Dr. Zelard hit a button and watched as a series of tables appeared on the screen. A smile broke across his haggard face that from its appearance had not been shaved in at least three or four days. He called to his assistant, Dr. James Fitzpatrick, "Hey, James, I think we have it."

         James looked up in disbelief from a simulation that he was running. "We do?"


          "That's impossible. There is no way that you can be right. I've put up with your ideas until now but this has gone on long enough. I...." Dr. Zelard gestured at the screen. Dr. Fitzpatrick sighed and wearily looked at it. Dr. Fitzpatrick paused for a moment, not making any reply at all. At the age of thirty, Dr. James Fitzpatrick was an assistant, if admittedly a reluctant one, to Dr. Zelard on one of the most stunning scientific breakthroughs in history, the ability to control the weather. Dr. Zelard looked at the younger man and felt somewhat sorry for him. This young man had so much potential but his only ambition was to become rich. The science itself was only a means to the end he desired. Such an invention would put both of their names in books for years, no centuries to come, but Dr. Zelard knew that the real thoughts now occupying his assistants mind were focused on his coming monetary compensations from Global Innovations Inc. Dr. Fitzpatrick merely returned a smile to Dr. Zelard and said, "Yes, we have done it. We have finally done it.

         I'm just glad that I was able to be your assistant on this monumental breakthrough. It is such an honor to work with you Dr. Zelard. With this data, none of our critics will be able to refute our work." Dr. Zelard simply nodded as he tried to repress a smile.

        A few hours later, the scientific staff of Global Innovations Inc. stood before a room of executives explaining the work that they had done. For the most part, the executives seemed lost in the maze of scientific jargon laid down by the staff. At some point, the CEO, a Mr. Harris, interrupted the lecture saying, "Let me get this straight. You think that by placing these devices of yours in orbit around the earth, you can somehow control the weather."

         Dr. Zelard nodded, "That is exactly what we are saying, and after our latest test, it is not only something that we think but something that we know."

        One executive blurted out "What good would controlling the weather do other than provide more beach days?"

         Dr. Zelard faced this executive, whose name he did not even know, as he did not have time to play these corporate games, and began to explain "Every year, dozens of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. occur causing losses in life and property. With the system that we have proposed to you, it would be possible to prevent this from happening. In addition, we could direct rain to areas of drought and slow rain fall in times of flooding. Such an advance would be a boon to farmers in supporting their crops and to humanity in general." Dr. Zelard continued on, talking about how such a technological advance would make the lives of millions better. However, by this time, the executives were not listening. Dr. Zelard could see that they had already begun to discuss this with one another before he had even finished speaking.

          As Dr. Zelard finished, Mr. Harris spoke up, "Yes, yes, excellent work doctor. Your work will make this company billions. Farmers in drought stricken areas will beg for such a system, and if they want its benefits, they will have to come to us. The shareholders will be pleased. Tell me doctor, how long until this can be operational?"

          Dr. Zelard looked down to some notes scribbled on a pad of paper before answering, "Due to the multiple launchings required, I would estimate that we could have the system operational in thirty-six months. But I must add something."

          Mr. Harris looked Dr. Zelard in the eye and asked, "And what would that be doctor?"

           "Well, I know that the company must make a profit, but the ideas that you were talking about, they, well uh," Dr. Zelard hesitated unsure of whether or not to continue, but he had already come this far. He might as well see this to the end. His assistant, Dr. Fitzpatrick stood there with his mouth open staring at Dr. Zelard.

       Mr. Harris nodded a bit impatiently asking, "They what doctor?"

       "Well it seems like many people who most need this protection will not be getting it. It seems like you are catering to the rich and the important. I created this device to help people but now it seems that those who I created it to help will not be helped. Only wealthy countries could ever afford the fees that I've heard you whispering about. The countries that most need this would never be able to afford it."

       Cutting him off, the CEO said "That will be all doctor. We thank you for your input, but we have a company to run. We don't tell you how to run your lab. Don't tell us how to run the company."

         "But you did try to tell me how to run my lab. If you had your way, this device would never have been invented. I...."

       "Good day." Finally getting the hint, Dr. Zelard and his staff left the room. Dr. Zelard could picture these suited tyrants in his mind debating on the proper way to market this system. What did they care? As long as they made a huge profit, what did it matter that no one was helped by this invention? At least it would take time for them to launch this system, and the cost would be high. Dr. Zelard prayed silently to himself that something would happen during this time to remedy the situation. Looking to his side, Dr. Zelard saw Dr. Fitzpatrick quickening his step to catch up. "Dr. Zelard, what were you doing in there?"

       Still angered by the actions of the corporate leadership, Dr. Zelard sarcastically asked, "Whatever do you mean Dr. Fitzpatrick?"

       Wincing slightly at the tone in the elder doctor's voice, James Fitzpatrick explained, "You know exactly what I mean doctor. You stood up to Mr. Harris like you were on some kind of holy mission. Who made you the moral authority here?"

       Feeling the anger building up inside him, Dr. Zelard vented it at his assistant, "The fact that I am a scientist gives me that obligation. I can't just invent things and let society do as it wishes. I have a duty..."

       Interrupting him, Dr. Fitzpatrick stated, "Yes you do have a duty. A duty to the company. They are the ones who funded this research of yours. They are the ones that pay your salary. I didn't help fight for this project just to have you ruin it for us."

         "Indeed," answered Dr. Zelard as he pondered whether or not he should point out his assistants lie about his support for the project. Deciding against saying anything, Dr Zelard instead continue, "They are the ones that will help you become rich as you have desired to do all your life. Though I have an obligation to this company I have a higher obligation to humanity."

       "Humanity? We are serving humanity!"

       "And just how does this invention serve humanity if only the rich benefit from it?," questioned Dr. Zelard as he eyed his assistant.

       "We are expanding human knowledge. What more can we be expected to do?"

      "You know as well as I do that some might use this invention for military purposes."

      Dr. Fitzpatrick shook his head, "What? You are being paranoid."

      "You don't think that it would be all too easy to cause one's enemy to have a drought, or to send violent storms in to wreak havoc? If not, then you are naive."

       "You are chasing shadows."

       "No, the dark things that I fear are of real substance James. Sadly, you too are hiding in the darkness, embracing it. It has blinded you to the truth that you don't want to see because the lie is so much more pleasing. Without answering this charge, Dr. Fitzpatrick turned and walked the other way.

       It was several days later when Dr. Zelard stood before a gathered group of interested nations. He eagerly explained the potential of this device once more. Looking out into the crowd, he could see a number of assorted individuals looking quite interested in this machine and what he had to say while others were obviously bored as their eyes were constantly panning the room looking at various objects while they muttered to themselves. As soon as the presentation had finished, Dr. Zelard announced that the floor would be open for questions. Immediately, all those that had been sitting restlessly leaped to their feet as if they were puppets who had suddenly been endowed with life by some magic wand waved by someone watching off stage. Dr. Zelard pointed to one man who had on a military uniform with a general's stars on the shoulder "Tell me doctor, this device of yours, you say that it can stop tornadoes and hurricanes?"

       "Yes general that is correct. With this machine, your nation could be free of such storms."

       "That's fine but could the device cause these storms as well as stop them?" With this question, many of those who had leaped to their feet became still and silent as they seemed to lean in closer trying to hear the doctors answer.

       Dr. Zelard had to consider the question for a minute and then answered, "As the system is currently programmed, I do not believe that this could happen. However, the reprogramming would not be that difficult." Knowing full well what the general intended for this invention, Dr. Zelard spoke feigning ignorance, "I just don't see why you would do this though."

       Sensing concern from Dr. Zelard, the general spoke to a the doctor in a condescending manner, "Don't worry about it doctor. I was just curious. That's all."

       Having had enough of executives and military types feeding him things that they wished him to believe, Dr. Zelard answered, "I see, but it seems to me that you are after the military purposes of such a device."

       The general finding himself caught replied, "Yes, yes, we are. We have to know what harm this device could do to a civilian population. We have to know whether or not we should acquire this device just to keep out of the hands of our enemies so that they can never use it against us."

       "So that instead, you could use my invention against them?"

       "How dare you accuse us of such a thing," retorted the general but Dr. Zelard was not in the least fazed by this display of offence.

       The doctor raised his voice, "How dare you think of using my invention for destruction. It was created to help people and to spare lives but you want to use it to deprive others of life."

       The general shouted back, "Don't give me that moral garbage. This is not a kind world and we can not trust others with such a device."

       "I would not think that you could be trusted with it either," argued Dr. Zelard.

        "Believe what you wish but the device will be ours." As the general said this, the other representatives began to howl, yelling that they would be the ones to posses the device.

        Before continuing, Dr. Zelard looked over to his assistant and merely gestured to the crowd with his eyes. Dr. Fitzpatrick said nothing but stood there staring at this exchange. Dr. Zelard declared "I will destroy my data before I allow it to fall into the hands of people like you." As Dr. Zelard said this he pointed his finger at all in the room including the executives of Global Innovations Inc.

       Dr. Fitzpatrick trying to defuse the situation said to Dr. Zelard, "But then your invention would help no one. It would never be used to spare lives or to help crops grow."

        Looking into the eyes of his assistant and speaking into his microphone so that all could hear him, Dr. Zelard said, "I don't think that it will be used to help people anyway. These characters don't care about helping people at all. The only way that they will use it is to harm others. I will not allow it."

       Mr. Harris had seen all that he had wanted to see. "That is enough Dr. Zelard. You are out of order. Dr. Fitzpatrick, take over the presentation. Dr. Zelard consider yourself in need of a new job. You will clear out your desk by tomorrow. All of your work relating to this and other projects is property of the company. If you try to take it, you will be shot by our security guards for stealing the private property of Global Innovations Inc. Then once authorities arrive, we will simply say that you had attacked our guards and that they were simply defending themselves. With our connections, no one will question this at all. Do you understand?"

       "Yes sir."

       "Now get out."

       As Dr. Zelard left the room, he began thinking of ways that he could stop this madness from continuing. Though he could not take his records with him, he did have much of the data within his mind. Using this he thought, it would be possible to go to the press and reveal what was going on. Through his few remaining contacts, he was able to set up a press conference a few days later. Over the course of the next few days, Dr. Zelard called some of his colleagues who knew the truth, trying to enlist their support but this proved to be fruitless.

       Dr. Zelard stood by himself facing a group of reporters. As he began to speak, he squinted as the bright light of multiple flashes went off taking his picture. Before he had spoken for even a minute, he was interrupted by a reporter who asked, "Are you claiming that this supposed invention of yours has the ability to control the weather?"

       Nodding his head, Dr. Zelard answered, "Yes this device has the capability to manipulate meteorological events within the atmosphere."

       "Do you have any proof of this?"

       "All of my data is on file at Global Innovations Inc. However, due to the fact that I have been fired, I no longer have access to those files."

       Another reporter spoke up, "Dr. Zelard, Global Innovations Inc. management has denied that any such files pertaining to a functional device exist. Your assistant, Dr. Fitzpatrick has stated that your data is extremely flawed and that such a device could never be built. How do you respond to this?"

       Dr. Zelard countered, "That's not true. Just a few days ago, Dr. Fitzpatrick supported my research. If you get a copy of my files, any expert in my field will verify my work."

       The same reporter asked, "Do you have a copy of these files?"

       "No, unfortunetly Global Innovations Inc has all the files on my work. Although I do indeed have some of the information in my head, I certainly don't have all of it."

       From somewhere in the sea of faces, another voice asked, "In your opinion, why is Global Innovations Inc. doing what you are alleging it to be doing?"

       "They are hiding the truth. If they revealed that they had such a device, they would have a moral obligation to share this invention, my invention, with humanity. As it is, they are now free to sell it to the highest bidder. They don't care about what it is used for. All they want is profit."

       "Dr. Zelard is it true that you were fired for assaulting several members of management due to your mental instability?"

       "That's not true! I was fired because I tried to stop them from using this machine from causing any harm."

        "Other than your word, do you have any proof whatsoever that this machine exists?"

       "All the proof that you need is at Global Innovations Inc. You should go there and see for yourselves."

       The reporters did go, but they found nothing to support Dr. Zelard's claims. Global Innovations Inc. did release files that they claimed were the work of Dr. Zelard, though they were in truth simply a hoax. These files were looked at and scoffed at by independent experts who stated that Dr. Zelard's work had no merit. Discredited, Dr. Zelard was pushed into the background, forgotten. He was able to find work as a science teacher at small community high school in North Dakota. One evening, five years later, he returned home and turned on the news. The anchor man spoke, "Opening ceremonies at the 2048 olympics in Santiago, Chile have been postponed due to massive flooding. In addition, over twenty feet of rain has fallen on the Atacama desert in northern Chile forcing all mining operations there to be brought to a halt. We will bring you further information as it becomes available. In California, authorities now believe that at least 500,000 were killed when a series of massive tidal waves hit the state yesterday. Rescue workers continue to search for survivors. In other news, another hurricane has appeared off the shore of Japan. If this hurricane hits, it will be the seventh time this year that Japan has been struck. So far, the previous six hurricanes have taken the lives of at least ten thousand, while leaving over three million homeless. In Russia, the severe drought has now entered its twenty-third month. Russia's harvest is expected to only yield a tenth of what the population needs. U.N. relief efforts have begun to stave off the mass starvation but it is doubtful that this will have much of an impact..."