151 – Devon

I have here a report from Rupert Stanco from the Division of Recruiting. The Division of recruiting is responsible for bringing in new and exciting talent and helping us to place the people that they find.

“Hello, Mr. Deeth. Thank you for requesting more details about the case of Devon Mitchell. The case study has been fascinating for many of us in the Division of Recruiting, albeit somewhat troubling. 

“We assumed that Devon was introduced to Kakos Industries through the usual methods. You know we are fond of leaving business cards on dead bodies or at the scene of where we predict crimes to occur or in the pockets of people we have determined to be worth our time via reverse pickpocketing. Except that we didn’t have a record of looking for Devon or for leaving a card for him. He showed up with a card all the same, so we assumed that he must have been brought in by those usual methods, and if not, then he must have come across the business card through some nefarious means.

“There was something off about Devon almost right away. He seemed scared and uncomfortable to be in Kakos Industries, which isn’t that unusual for people’s first time being in the building. It can be an intimidating experience for sure. That being said, Devon was even more scared. We use certain scans and biometrics to keep track of the new recruits when we bring them in and begin orientation. We watch them using security cameras that are capable of seeing well into the infrared. They can also visualize and exaggerate motions. The readings for Devon Mitchell were far beyond the others we brought in at the same time. The level of perspiration alone was alarming.

“We went through the standard orientation videos and presentations explaining what we do here at Kakos Industries. Devon never stopped looking at the presentations. We had everyone else in the auditorium on camera looking around and second guessing their involvement in our company, which is normal. But Devon never looked away despite trying to hold in his tremors.

“This is when I asked my staff to do a background check and find out whatever information we could about this person to see why he was behaving so strangely. When new recruits come in without any background information and they don’t behave like all of the other random walk-ins we get, we start to wonder. They could be a spy, for example. The information came back fairly quickly to tell us that there was nothing particularly remarkable about Devon. No exceptional trauma. Minimal family dysfunction. Very few truly Evil relatives. None of this on its own really meant much in most cases. People come in with no history of Evil all the time. So we allowed Devon to move onto the next stage, which was the aptitude testing. 

“Devon had some of the strangest test scores we had seen, and that was partly because we determined Devon to be… not an Evil person. A good person, supposedly. Devon scored high in certain tests of empathy and sensibilities that we typically aren’t looking for. There was also a rigid adherence to cultural norms and expectations. Very little of the rebellious nature that we also look for. Devon was normal, and by most accounts, a good person. 

“This isn’t the first time we have ever had a good person end up in recruitment. Sometimes we get things wrong. Sometimes we get the wrong person when who we actually wanted was the person beside them. The question about what to do in these cases is somewhat complicated. A long time ago, we might have resolved this issue with a high speed chunk of metal applied to the brain stem. Now, this is frowned upon. The standard procedure is to drop them off at some sort of inpatient care facility with a diagnosis of a temporary psychosis brought on by an accidental ingestion of some kind of drug. We also administer that drug, just to make things seem more legitimate. After that, they tend either to never mention their time at Kakos Industries, or if they do, people tend not to believe them. And if they do believe them, well, that’s just marketing.

“I was preparing to send Devon to a nearby facility just like normal, when my supervisor, Mr. Collins, told me to hold off. He said he had a strange feeling about this one and wanted to push things a little bit further. So, we advanced Devon onto the next stage. 

“Not every Evil person is the same kind of Evil. Some people are better at administrative Evil. Other people like to get their hands dirty. We like to separate those people out so we know how best to use them. Sending a good person into this test should have given us very clear results that this person was not cut out for any kind of work here, but instead the results were the exact opposite. We test for cruelty using simulated animals at first. We tell the subjects that they need to administer a somewhat painful test to advance our knowledge of Evil. Not all of them are usually willing to do this. Devon did not hesitate for a second, even when we began the playback of the animal wails. Again, the biometrics we had were confusing. We could see that Devon was extremely uncomfortable, which isn’t unusual, but like I said before, good people tend to wait a lot longer before doing these things if they do them at all. A lot of the Evil people don’t even pass these tests. 

“I expressed my concerns to Mr. Collins, but he was curious to see where things went. For those that are willing to engage in the more hands on Evil, we set up a series of tests that are designed to look like job placement. We put them on a team working on an experiment when we simulate an emergency. In this case, Devon was working on an experiment that was overseeing a handful of human test subjects. Then the experiment went wrong. The test subjects were trying to escape and they were infectious with some disease or condition. Many of Devon’s supposed colleagues were incapacitated, and Devon was given the ability to euthanize the entire experimental group. Once again, Devon did this without hesitation. Now, we realize that this test is morally complex. It doesn’t mean that you’re Evil strictly because you’re willing to eliminate a test group when something goes wrong. You might think you’re protecting people. Of course the timing matters, but that does make things more complicated. That’s why the second test is a little bit more cut and dry. Instead of an escaping infection, the person is just told that they need to euthanize the experimental group because they might tell others about what happens here if we let them go and that’s not something we can allow. Devon once again acted without hesitation, killing the entire supposed group of test subjects. 

“This went on for weeks where we would give Devon an opportunity to kill an ever larger group of fake people, and Devon did it every single time. These were not real people, of course. In a few cases we did use some actors, but as far as Devon knew, every death was real and on his hands. Things went on like this until we reached a point where we gave Devon the ability to launch the first nuclear warhead, guaranteeing nuclear armageddon. We had not even finished setting up the premise before Devon hit the button leading to an elaborate series of lights and alarms and troubling news updates. At this point, we sedated Devon to keep him from causing any trouble and took him to an interrogation space where we could attempt some kind of debrief. We questioned Devon for hours over the course of several days and we never got any explanation as to his behavior. He didn’t even know why he acted the way he did. The best we ever got was “it seemed easy, I guess.” At this point, he still believed all of the deaths were real. He never asked for forgiveness. Not once. He just maintained this stance of complete confusion and misunderstanding. 

“This has posed an issue for our ethicists, of course. Devon should be an impossibility. There was no momentum. There was no cultural movement. In most cases there weren’t even any explicit imperatives to behave as he did. And yet he did. All while testing as a good person on all of our metrics. This is certainly something to think about. Perhaps our understandings of good and Evil are not complete in some way. 

“And because everyone asks, yes, we have had people behave the same way on tests before, but we had reason to believe that they would in advance, and they acted clearly out of malice. These people are often too uncontrollable for us to actually use in the situations they have been tested in, but some of them have made great groundskeepers.

“Devon, however, has escaped. We are looking for him. He is too dangerous to be unsupervised.”

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