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Emergency Forensic Session on the Manhattan Incursion Excerpted Testimony of Dr. Lindsey Aiyeola Before the CSIRA Blackbody Council, Unknown Location, sometime between September 1 and 6, 2023.

(Names of all BBC members redacted.)


Excerpt Begins:

Aiyeola: AlcatrazProphet, whatever he calls himself nowthere is nothing in his file to suggest any aptitude or special training in the behavioral sciences. Certainly nothing to suggest he was capable of the sort of psychological insights sprinkled throughout his interviewand yes, some of them were quite astute.

In hindsight, we made the right decision by using an inexperienced and uninformed interviewer. Lieutenant Gillis couldnt give away much because he didnt know muchand on those occasions when he did bluff or dissemble, Prophet saw right through him. In fact, Prophet was in control of a great deal of the interview process.

BB 1: And yet according to your own report, you were manipulating him. You encouraged him to ramble, to go off on tangents, not only to acquire information about brain function but also in the hope that hed inadvertently reveal things he might not be likely to in a more formal setting.

Aiyeola: Thats true. And we believe we obtained a great deal of useful information, butwell, we also have to consider the possibility that we were being played, at least in the later stages of the process. The subjects abilities varied throughout the course of the interviews but the overall trend was upward. Certainly we werent slipping anything past him by the end of the interrogation. The question is, how much of the earlier information just slipped out and how much was deliberately fed to us.

BB 2: Excuse me, but Ive only just been brought into the loop concerning the esteemed Mr. Alcatraz. Would you be so kind as to give me some examples of these abilities?

Aiyeola: His linguistic skills have improved significantly over a very short period of time. His memory has become eidetic. According to his file he was originally right-handed; he is now functionally ambidextrous. Levels of comprehension, retention, and recall are increasing literally by theto make a long story short, he is simply becoming smarter. Theres some indication that the growth in his abilities is following a sigmoid curve, in which case theyre bound to level off at some point. At the moment, though, were not entirely certain where that might be.

And of course, there is the troubling fact that he still insists on referring to himself as Prophet, although he is fully aware that he is not Laurence Barnes, and that Laurence Barnes is dead.

BB 3: Why would Alcatraz feed us anything that wasnt true? Ive seen the mans record: He wasnt top of his class, but hes a good marine. I see no reason to question his loyalty.

Aiyeola: That was a different person, sir. We dont know who or what Alcatraz is anymore. We dont know whats going on in there, beyond the fact that his integration with alien technology has probably changed hiswell, his outlook. We do know, thanks to Dr. Gould, that he was privy to specific information about Charybdis technologyhis ability to hack the City Hall hive is difficult to explain any other way than by accessing some kind of memory archive from the N2s previous occupantand that he was not as forthcoming on that subject as he might have been. I will also admit that I find his remarks to Lieutenant Gillis about having to choose a side more than a little worrisome.

BB 1: In light of your position that he may have some special knowledge of the Ceph, what do you think of his take on their motives?

Aiyeola: He made a number of good points, sir. Certainly the Manhattan Incursion doesnt make any tactical sense as a conventional invasion, and even Hargreaves Gardener Hypothesis leaves a number of issues unresolved. Prophets take makes more sense, but its all pure conjecture at this point.

BB 1: Do you agree that the Ceph are not primarily interested in invasion?

Aiyeola: I believe that when we are talking about the Ceph the very concept of invasion is almost certainly inadequate.

BB 1: Would you care to elaborate on that, please.

Aiyeola: Are we invading an anthill when we build a drive-through bank machine on top of it? Probably, from the ants point of view. And if some small fraction of those ants surviveif they manage to get out of the way and set up a new colony somewhere elseare we incompetent invaders because we havent exterminated all of them? Have they beaten us, if the bulldozers came and went and left some ants alive? No, because we werent trying to wipe out an anthill. We were putting up an ATM. But you cant explain currency, finance, automated tellers to an ant. Its impossible for them to comprehend our acts as anything other than a devastating attack by a god-like force that the antsfor some mysterious reasonwere able to fend off.

BB 3: So your opinion is that were irrelevant to them.

Aiyeola: I have no idea whether we are or not. All Im saying is, given such a vast gulf in technology and biology, it might well be physically impossible to ever fully understand what happened in Manhattan. What might happen in the future.

BB 2: I think that what Dr. Aiyeola is suggesting is that we concentrate on the immediate tactical threat, and not waste valuable resources on an impossible quest to comprehend the incomprehensible.

Aiyeola: Excuse me, [REDACTED], thats by no means what Im suggesting. I said might. I profoundly hope that someday we are in a position to understand Ceph motivations. Unfortunately I can only think of one way to do that.

BB 3: And that is?

Aiyeola: Become very much smarter.

BB 1: Alcatraz may prove useful in that regard. Assuming we can crack that particular nut.

BB 2: Well, whatever the Ceph are doing here, we can safely assume it matters a great deal to them. They wouldnt have gone to the enormous cost and trouble of launching such a large-scale

Aiyeola: With all due respect, sir, we have no way of knowing what constitutes an enormous cost to the Ceph. This is a species with an interstellar reach, a species that can teleport macroscopic objectsincluding, apparently, living organismsover interplanetary distances. This whole campaign might have been a trivial investment to themperhaps no more expensive than bending over to retrieve a dropped set of car keys. All we know for certain is that Hargreave stole their technology.

Maybe the Ceph just wanted it back.

Maybe they got it.


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