The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Author:Sylvain Neuvel [Neuvel, Sylvain]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction
ISBN: 9781250312839
Google: 3BfhuwEACAAJ
Amazon: B07HF3QMBB
Barnesnoble: B07HF3QMBB
Goodreads: 41940388
Publisher: Tor.com
Published: 2019-01-01T06:00:00+00:00

5.

IN THE CONTROL ROOM, Deep thinks of his father as he watches the security guard fall on the larger screen. Laura turns the volume down on the simulation. She pulls out a granola bar from her bag, gets up, and goes to the coffee machine. The BVA kills are set at fifteen-minute intervals to accommodate the employee breaks in the government CBA.

—Do you smoke? You should go now if you do.

Deep doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t drink, either, except for the occasional limoncello soda his sister-in-law makes when she visits. He digs through his backpack and pulls out an apple.

—Coffee?

No coffee, either. It makes Deep anxious, and he has plenty to be anxious about already. He isn’t really good at small talk, and apparently neither is his supervisor. He takes a bite out of his apple. The sound of his teeth breaking through the fruit is incredibly loud in the awkward silence. Laura seems to notice his discomfort and looks away. Deep chews as quietly as he can.

He should be preparing for his evaluation, studying, something. But he doesn’t know what to do. He’s as prepared as he’s ever going to be. He knows the BVA manual by heart. He’s also too nervous to study. He’d just stare at his notes and worry even more because he’s not really doing anything. No. The best thing he can do is think about something else.

He gets up for a second to take his phone out of his pocket. No messages. Same news as this morning. The minister of defence left his laptop at a cafe. There was nothing of national interest on it, except for the naked pictures of his aide. The nation had a lot of interest in those. Some rude jokes about adultery. Deep doesn’t find them funny, though he does smile at one of the caricatures. He checks his social media feed. More jokes about adultery. Someone eating an entire jar of peanut butter in under a minute. Eighty-one likes for the pictures of Deep’s cat drinking in the toilet then licking his girlfriend’s face. He’s never got eighty-one likes before.

He takes another bite. Laura lets out a small sigh without looking. Deep throws the rest of his apple in the waste basket. Laura asks why he did that. For a moment, Deep thinks she might feel bad for making him self-conscious enough to throw the fruit away, but then he realizes there’s a compost bin at the door. He picks up the apple from the bottom of the waste basket and walks it to the appropriate container.

Deep looks at the time on the corner of the screen. His leg is shaking out of control. Soon, his supervisor will leave the room and Deep will run the rest of the BVA without her. His final evaluation. If he succeeds, the job will be his. Four weeks of vacation, paid sick days, sabbaticals every five years and a very nice salary to boot. The secrecy surrounding the BVA means this is



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