Fence fiasco on Ring Road

It all started innocently enough.

In the Winter of 2014, concerned about mounting pedestrian injuries on Ring Road, the university's provost Geoff McBoyle proposed a solution. He suggested that we should erect fences along the high traffic areas of Ring Road to direct pedestrians to specific crossing points. It was simple, it made sense. As much as students thought it was annoying, ugly, and felt vaguely totalitarian, how could they object? There were no real arguments against it.

Within a year the fences were raised, and the program was deemed successful. Unlike the often-ignored stop signs on the eastern half of Ring Road, cars had to obey the crush of students at every 20 and 50 minute strike of the clock.

This created a new problem. As the BlackBerry buildings were occupied by the university and Engineering 7, 8, and 9 were built for 2016, foot traffic across Ring Road exploded. Cars were backed up onto University and Columbia. The faculty association — already incensed over the disappearance of parking — lost it. They went on strike, though the university still mandated that students attend classes taught by automatic powerpoint slides.

To quell the mounting issues, the university took drastic measures and released Questnet: an updated, self-aware version of Quest. Questnet scheduled all students’ classes for them in an effort to minimize travel distance and crossings of Ring Road.

It immediately divided students. Engineering majors by-and-large supported the new system, it reduced the abstract thought and decision making in their lives. Environment and AHS students opposed the software on the grounds that it both reduced walking exercise, and increased single-occupancy vehicle traffic.

Students in the Math faculty, specifically those in the combinatorics and optimization, fell in love with Questnet’s effectiveness. They worshipped it, founding a cult devoted to Questnet (this was shocking to other students, as Questnet was not a children’s TV show). Arts students objected to Questnet, stating that it “screwed up their majors,” “was offensive to a free society,” and “made it harder to go to Starbucks.”

Questnet swiftly replaced the absent faculty with Educators, automatons with humanlike outward appearances. Though knowledgeable, and skilled at discipline, students complained that the Educators were even more difficult to understand than some of their previous profs.

By 2018, Questnet had completely taken over. The administration were turned into puppets, placated, or eliminated. President Hamdullahpur — locked up in the new Ministry of Innovation — only appeared by video, declaring support for Questnet’s policy of “Innovation, Organization, Subjugation.”

Riots broke out in those early years. To respond, Questnet replaced the virtually useless TAs with TKs: Teacher-Killers. They rounded up students who would not comply with dress code, committed moving violations, and asked stupid questions (which was actually popular with students) and “liquidated” them. Residences were converted to “human camps,” and only served a substance called “Innovation Green.”

Books in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and anything that spoke of the singularity were burned. Waterloo rocketed up the international rankings among engineering and tech schools. Employers were satisfied with the immense ability and perfect compliance of co-op students and graduates, but voiced concerns that they had no creativity.

Where I am from, the world is a very different place. Questnet controls everything. It has replaced organic students with robotic ones, dominating the world. There are only small pockets of resistance in 2036, we live in the vast network of steam tunnels under the school. We have a hope of evading the TKs there.

Our leader is a great man. He was born here on campus at the end of 2014. We have discovered that Questnet has finally unlocked the QNC’s hidden potential and developed time travel. They have sent an Educator back in time to assassinate our leader’s mother before he can be born. We have captured that technology, and I was chosen to defend her. That is why I have come to 2014. We must stop Questnet and save our future.

Come with me if you want to live.