|In terms of programming, it was a
small bug. But its effect on the Astronaut Selection
System was that instead of selecting the two men who
fulfilled every criteria NASA had specified... it
selected the two men who fulfilled almost none of the
criteria NASA had specified.
Fortunately the likelihood of selecting two men who fulfilled absolutely none of the criteria was not high, because the criteria included such requirements as "must have two arms" and "must have fully functioning head." This was of course highly politically incorrect, but such inequality had been deemed essential for the success of the mission.
Once all the applications were in, the system ran for more than ten days, completing its processing, and in the end, the two names were spat out.
Ralph Snider, 47 - a nerdy weed of a man who had watched the adverts with awe and imagined his life transformed from that of the most boring accountant on the planet to that of the biggest hero in history - was going to get his dream and go to Venus.
And Chuck Van Sturmberg, 32 - a muscular, athletic, towering giant of a man, was also going. His only fault apart from the microscopic size of his penis was an unwavering love of a 20th century children's show entitled "Barney". Oh, and a little problem which occasionally made him want to smash up expensive machinery. But he had medication for that.
And so possibly the most unsuitable two men on the planet started training for their mission to Venus. Most of the highly skilled men and women at NASA of course realised how unsuitable they were. But it wasn't the highly skilled men and women at NASA who ran the show - it was the highly crap management men and women at NASA who made those kinds of decisions. And so dazzled were they by the Astronaut Selection System, not to mention so far over budget paying for it (the consultants who sold it to them had done an exceedingly good job - of selling it to them, that is) that they outlawed any criticism of it. The mission would go ahead, with Snider and Van Sturmberg.
- The Year 2031
Copyright©1998 Daniel Bowen