I pushed the icon for the aptitude test, and the screen went black. A woman's voice filled the room, calm and neutral, speaking as the text rolled white across the screen.
Welcome to the Coober Aptitude Assessment System. Please answer all questions fully, honestly, and as candidly as possible.
All answers are assessed by a team of five differently programmed artificial intelligence systems, and double checked by Dr. Sylvan Watts. All answers are 100% confidential beyond those points.
Please note that while this assessment is in session, you may not leave the room for any non-emergency purposes. The assessment is not graded, but it is timed. Your time is neither a positive or negative indicator to your assessment, but rather helps to identify your processing and learning types, therefore affecting your overall results. Rushing will not improve your results, but may result in misaligned results.
Average amount of time taken to complete the assessment is between three and four hours. Total number of completed assessments to date: two thousand one hundred forty-three.
If you have any further questions, please type them into the terminal now.
If you have no further questions, please click the start button at the top of this screen.
A large, shiny red icon appeared at the top of the screen, with the word start in the center. I clicked it. Each question scrolled across the screen in large print, and as I typed my answers, the questions shrank and moved to the top of the screen to make room for my answers.
- Give a two or three word description of yourself.
Introverted, practical, emotional
- Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, nom de plume?
- What is your full birth name?
Dahlia Poppy Linz
- Why did you come to Coober?
I had an invitation from Sylvan, the details are confidential. Short description: Self-preservation.
- What is your citizenship status?
Citizen from birth.
- What is your most obvious blessing or strength?
Intellect and intuition
- What is your most obvious flaw or weakness?
- Was there any event or cause of these weaknesses?
Sure, plenty. Zombies, death, potential assassination, possibility of inherited insanity...
- How old are you?
- What is your gender?
- What is your race?
Mixed races. My mother was Caucasian, my father was Brazilian. He was adopted at birth.
- How tall are you?
I haven't checked in a while. Probably around 5'9"
- How much do you weigh?
Again, haven't checked in a while. Last time I checked was about a year ago, I was at about 165. I've lost a little weight since then.
- What is your hair colour?
- What is your eye colour?
Usually green or brown, depending on how tired I am or the lighting
- Do you have any scars, tattoos, or birthmarks?
I have some scars on my knees and elbows, and one on right arm. I do not have any tattoos, but I have a birthmark on my left wrist. It's a slightly darkened ring, it gets more pronounced when I'm exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
- If you have scars, how did you acquire them?
My knees and elbows, I fell a lot as a kid, so they've just always been there. My right arm, when I was a kid my mom accidentally cut my arm with a knife.
- What is your handedness (left/right)?
- Do you wear glasses/contacts?
I wear glasses
- Where were you born?
In West Virginia
- Are you aware of it’s history?
- When and why did you leave?
I left when I went to work for the CDC, because I had nothing left for me there and I needed to find more information about the disease that took my brother.
- Do you have any secrets that you fear becoming public knowledge?
- What do you fear would occur if the truth became known?
Either my incarceration or assassination.
- Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age, etc.)?
Yes. My mother was a diagnosed, but untreated manic bipolar woman, and she eventually killed herself. I found her. I witnessed a lot of her episodes. My brother died from PTA in the room next to me shortly thereafter.
- Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.
My brother's death was the most defining moment of my childhood. It's what drove me into my profession. I've missed him every day since.
- What was childhood like for you?
It started out pretty normal, other than my mother. But then PTA hit, schools closed, life became generally terrifying, sort of like it did for everyone my age. I got to be in that awful generation that straddles pre-PTA and post-PTA, so sometimes it's weird to think about what life could have been like.
- Did you have any childhood friends?
Just my brother. We kind of avoided other kids because of Mom. I had friends, but none worth noting.
- If so, who where are they now?
- Did you keep anything from your childhood?
I have a shoebox of stuff. Some photos, an address book of my mom's, her diary, stuff like that.
- Why? What do they mean to you?
They're all I have left of my family. They're how I remember why I do what I do.
- Do you have any sort of criminal record?
Not exactly. Well, sort of.
- Who were your parents?
Anais Linz and Jeremy Linz
- Were you raised by them?
Mom raised us til she died, then it was our aunt.
- What do you think of your parents?
We took care of mom a lot. She was sick. I don't really remember dad.
- Do you have any siblings?
An older brother, Drake.
- Are any or all of your family still alive?
Gramma Missy (mom's mom) is the only one I know of still alive.
- Have you begun your own family?
- If not, do you ever want to have a family of your own someday?
Probably not. This is not exactly the world I want to raise a kid in.
- Do you have any close friends?
- What is the history of their relationship(s) with you?
I found her in a garbage dump, on the verge of death, nursed her back to a semblance of health, and found her to have a PTA infection and a parasite that was somehow keeping her alive. So, patient/test subject/friend I guess?
- Do you have any enemies?
John Smith. He's the one who made me leave the CDC
- List any past serious relationships that you have had, and give a brief overview of the relationship(s).
John and I were a couple for a while, before things went bad. Professional bad, not personal bad. Although I guess putting in a hit for you would be personal bad. Other than him, no.
- How do you think others generally perceive you?
I think I'm easy to get along with, but I don't really socialize much.
- Who do you turn to when you’re in trouble?
Myself, anymore. I used to go to my supervisor, but I can't put her in danger like that now.
- What is the worst thing someone has done to you?
People don't really have a history of doing bad things to me. Really, even the stuff with John I don't know if it was something he did TO me, or something that just happened between us that we were on opposite sides of.
- Do you, or did you, have any role models?
When I was a kid, I looked up to Drake. Not now, though.
- Why did you choose your career?
I wanted to find the answers to PTA, to understand why and how Drake died.
- What do you expect to get out of this?
I won't be the top of my field, I know that. I just want to help push progress as much as humanly possible so that I can see the answers before I die. I'm okay with doing gruntwork, if that's what it takes, because someone has to do it.
- Do you have any dreams or ambitions?
Just to see the end of PTA before I die.
- Do you have any great rational or irrational fears or phobias? If so, what are the origins of or reasons behind them?
My greatest phobia is that I'll wake up one day and realize that I'm crazy like my mother.
- What, if anything, would it take for you to be able to overcome this?
It's just something I have to check myself on daily. It's a kind of obsession in some ways, because there's no way to be completely sure I'm not. I always doubt everything I see, feel, think, hear, because I don't know if it's all real or not.
- How do you react when this fear manifests itself?
I make definite statements of things I know to be true. I verify what I'm seeing or hearing through other people. If it's about feelings or thoughts, I weigh them against the situation and try to determine if they're rational or not.
- Are you willing to discuss, or even admit to, the situation?
I don't talk about my nightmares. It makes them too real.
- What are your attitudes regarding material wealth?
Do we even have that anymore? I think the wealthy people are just the ones who let the system take care of and protect them, so that they can have some semblance of a normal life.
- Do you trust easily (perhaps too easily) or not?
- What is your favourite food?
Manicotti with cheese and marinara, though I haven't had it since I was a kid.
- What is your favourite drink?
whiskey. rarely ever get any, though.
- What is your favourite treat (dessert)?
When I was a kid, the best thing ever were these little chocolate candies with colorful coating on them. I liked the miniature ones.
- What are your favourite colour(s)?
- Is there any colour that you dislike?
- What is your favourite type of animal?
- Do you believe in the gods or not?
I haven't decided yet. If any exist, they are certainly not kind.
- Can you kill?
If it means saving more people, I think I could. I've killed Z's before, out of necessity.
- What happened and how did you handle it?
A couple of times during my research, I've had live subjects that got out of control and had to be put down.
- What would you do if someone shot at (attacked) you?
Do whatever it takes to make them stop. First choice would be flight, but at some point there has to be fight, as well, if you intend to survive.
- What would you do if something were stolen from you?
depends on what it was.
- How do you feel about government (rulers) in general?
We need them. They're never going to be perfect. They're never going to be good at what they do, but we can't just not have rules, and we can't have rules without some form of government. The general population is not going to be able to protect themselves. We have to hope that the people we put in office are above average.
- What form of government do you believe is the best (democracy, monarchy, anarchy, aristocratic rule, oligarchy, matriarchy) and why?
I think that the general public needs to be able to choose who leads them. We need to be able to look at the options and say "this person is above average, and can lead us and make decisions on our behalf." There needs to be a consensus to some point, but there also needs to be someone there to make tough decisions and take the responsibility for us when decisions are wrong. Average people can't handle the responsibility and guilt of the consequences of making hard decisions when there is no right answer. It's not about what's best, but rather what's necessary.
- If your life were to end in 24 hours, what 5 things would you do in those remaining hours?
I would make sure that the right people know about what I've found with Nora. I would eat a lot of food, and drink a lot of alcohol, I would read my mom's diary one more time, and fifthly and finally, I would arrange to have someone take my body for research when I went.
- Do you remember your dreams?
No but I remember my nightmares.
- Describe a typical dream you might have.
They're usually about mom.
- Describe your worst nightmares.
Sometimes I dream that I am my mother.
- Where and how were you educated?
I started in a traditional school, then moved on to mail-order school, then mail-ordered secondary education through the CDC
- Have you ever done anything else for a living?
I worked on a farm while I lived with my grandmother for a few months.
- What is your normal daily routine?
What is normal?
- How do you feel and react when this routine is interrupted for some reason?
- What are your hobbies when you're not working?
I used to have an adopted daughter. Mostly I just liked to spend time with her.
- What would you do if you had insomnia and had to find something to do to amuse yourself?
Work, read, something productive
- What do you do for relaxation?
- Do you keep your house clean?
- Is it dusty?
- Is the bathtub moldy or coated in rust?
- Do you clean it herself?
- Do you have any pets?
- Do you keep a calendar or address book?
just the one my mom had
- Where do you keep it?
in my shoebox
- Do you have a written Will and Testament?
- What does it say?
Maybe I'll share that one day. It's in my shoebox, too.
- What would you like to be remembered for after your death?
I don't really want to be remembered. That's not why I'm here.
Then, there were about two hundred questions of simple and complex math, physics, biology, chemistry, history, and reading comprehension. Finally, when I had finished, the sweet little canned voice came across again, saying, "Thank you, Dahlia, You have completed your assessment. Your results will be prepared within the next 48 hours. You will be notified upon their arrival. Thank you for your cooperation with the Coober Aptitude Assessment System. You may leave by the same door you entered through if you have no further questions"
I didn't, so I left. I went home and waited to be notified. I did notice, on my way out, that, even though the computer said the average time to finish the test was three or four hours, mine only took about two.