Fat, teenaged, spiky-haired, hermetic. It would be easy to say he was the kind of kid who wasn't interested in school or college or university or work because he was too smart, too far beyond the grade curve, too focused on loftier goals. The fact was he was just lazy. Too impatient for reality. The romantic notion is a purely creative life spent spinning exotic scientific hypotheses and high concept movie scripts over fifteen-euro lunches in independent coffee shops; the reality is bureaucratic centipedes with inflexible deadlines and a work-supplied computer from a year with a 1 at the start.

The reality is you've got to eat somehow.

Jim Akker lived for such a short period of time that his discovery in late 2005 of what ultimately became known as The Script was the defining moment of his life. It consumed him. What little personal life he'd had at that point - most of his friends were screen names - withered. He started living 26, 27, 28-hour days and didn't even notice. Then he became insomniac, his unconscious brain working so hard that it kept him awake.

Exactly what he began taking, or when, nobody ever really figured out. By the end of 2007 he was little more than a bed-ridden Turing machine, a collection of flipping switches racing through the seven-tebibyte message and drawing chemical energy directly from the translation process itself.

Mikhail Zykov had no idea that anything was wrong when he began to take over Akker's mind. He was too far inside to easily extricate himself when the psychic scenery began to twist and wrench apart around him. Akker had recognised Zykov's terrible true identity hours earlier when he landed in Amsterdam; knowing with horrific clarity what would result if Zykov gained access to his full interpretation of the Script, he had overdosed, poisoning his brain as a trap for his telepathic adversary. The shock of exposure to Akker's cracked, acidic thought processes left Zykov in paralytic agony on his apartment floor for almost 48 hours, though it did not kill him.

"|[A]| = p(ยท,|[A]|)+1", was the last coherent thought to leave Jim Akker's mind, a warning to Ching-Yu Kuang in the only language he could still speak.


< Mike Murphy | Fine Structure | There Was No Leak >

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