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Inside Your Head

If there's one thing that was hammered into my thick skull at an early age--as early as I can remember, in fact--it's this: Our worst loss from the Catastrophe was knowledge. The thirst for knowledge, I was told, was the reason the ancestors of humanity first crawled out of the primordial sludge. Expanding and building on knowledge led to all human progress. If you have the right knowledge, you can do anything.

It was drilled into me that education is an absolute necessity for life, just behind air, water, food, and shelter (in that order). And I was quite thoroughly indoctrinated. Even though the basic general knowledge injections were expensive, I hoarded every micro-credit until I could afford them. And it was never enough: every scrap of knowledge just prompted further questions and made me hungrier for more learning.

Which, I suppose, explains why I recently found myself standing in a line awaiting a nanite injection for "Introduction to psychology and social skills."

I'll be honest: International Relations was never a field of particular interest to me. Leave that sort of thing to the diplomats, I always figured. But the introductory course was available, and the price was low enough that I could afford it even on my relatively meager salary. And--as a little voice in my head insists on reiterating--knowledge is never wasted. I have my rations, I have my room; education is the next priority.

But I never anticipated how impossibly useful it would turn out to be.

In retrospect, I suppose it should have been more obvious: Much of the average day is spent interacting with others, so it only makes sense that a better understanding of others would be beneficial. But I couldn't possibly have foreseen the extent of its impact. I now breeze through social situations that once confounded me. I've gained an almost instinctive insight into what others need, want, or expect. A subtle change of expression, the merest tilt of a head, even the inflection of a single word is like an open book.

And let me tell you, with skills like these it is SO much easier to persuade people to trust me!