In this society, intellect gets you everything. The cleverest get the best jobs, the best houses, the most beautiful wives and most of the money. And they have the power to make the decisions that affect the rest of us. Intelligence is the most sought after commodity of all and with it, you can get anything else at all.
The wisest no longer advertise their intelligence and never say anything clever in company. You never know who might be working for someone who might abduct you and take your brain worth. Even friends turn against friends when there is money to be made from selling out the bright. In school playgrounds where strong scared brainy for many years, who would ever have anticipated how much that power ratio might be changed.
I worked at the university when we started to hear the first reports of intelligence theft. It seemed like an urban myth, the kind you check on websites and find out the story has been doing the rounds for years. Only this wasn’t a myth. It was real and it was spreading.
Universities were one of the first places scavenged for intelligence. A group of us foresaw the risk and removed all visible traces of our identities just before the searchers arrived. I dressed in a janitor’s uniform. My head of department and contemporaries wore kitchen staff overalls. There were cleaners dotted throughout Astronomy, Maths and Engineering. And the searchers never thought to check whether people in service roles might have any spare intelligence to harvest. Well they wouldn’t, would they? They were just the muscle, not the brains.
For a while we carried on using the university to meet, carrying out our new jobs and escaping to meet up whenever we could. We formed a resistance movement and it would have been exciting if it wasn’t so terrifying. The historians amongst us gained new insight into how brave many people had been during the war.
We heard there was a machine that removed any advance intellect and advanced was set at above an IQ of 80. My friends and I would be an incredible bounty if we were ever discovered. The donor and recipients were strapped to the same device and they accessed the clever brain. Then they started to talk, just about whatever it was that was in the donor’s mind. Every fact and theorem and principle that was discussed was at the same time removed from the brain until there was just the minimum 80 IQ left. That was adequate to function in a normal daily life but not enough to work up a decent plan to defeat the vastly intellectual.
Between us we hoped to work out how to counter the threat to our society but also how to reverse it and return the balance of intelligence to how it had been before this started. Work had started and we were confident we could succeed in the first part of our endeavour. We met in secret, avoided crowds and spoke of it to nobody, not even our loved ones.
One day my old head of department didn’t arrive to our meeting. He never came again. I saw him serving burgers in a local eatery and although his face flickered in distant recognition, he had no real idea where he might have known me from. He seemed content enough.
He must have been caught and used as a donor. I didn’t tell the others when I met them. Fear wouldn’t help anyone work better and we had to find a solution before they found us all. But I suspect they probably all guessed what had happened.