The Last Private Conversation

Zabarwan Range and Dal Lake in Srinigar. Boulevard Road, the location of the LPC, is visible in the foreground. (Archival photo; source.)

The last private conversation was held on April 2nd, 2042, between Guhyaka Balaji and her sister Aarti, on a walk toward their school in Srinagar along Boulevard Road. The subject of the conversation is unknown, and in dispute.

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The local audible net was down briefly [[see: Srinagar Regional Outage Reports, 30–03–09–02–04–02042 to 45–03–09–02–04–02042]], and due to the angle of their faces, and the fabric covering their heads, longer-range telemetry was unable to accurately assess the words used.

An examination into the potential content of the conversation has entertained scholars for over two hundred years [[see also: Unheard; The Last of All; Unknowable Words; The End Of Prehistory, A Novel; etc.]]. Because both lives were immediately thereafter lost when Tian-Gong XI experienced uncontrolled de-orbiting and breakup [[see: Tiangong XI Tragedy#Civilian Deaths]], no subsequent backups of either participant are available for interrogation.

Literalist Existentials argue that the content is ultimately unnecessary for basic complete-understanding, as the resulting impact of the conversation — whatever it was about — had no further effect on any other being. This result has been inherently unsatisfying for Completionist sages, however, and so the debate continues.

The date is widely considered the end of pre-history by Completionists, though Inclusionists put the date much earlier to coincide with the advent of wide-spread audio/visual recording equipment being deployed in first-world countries. [[see: Pre-History#Literalist/Inclusionist/Completionist Split]]

Throughout recorded history many attempts have been made to extrapolate the content of the conversation from earlier backups of the participants. However, due to the age of the backups (1h35m for Aarti, 2h04m for Guhyaka), such efforts have not been able to definitively model the actual conversation, instead revealing a variety of possible topics.

Simulation analysis surfaced three key areas of possibility:

  1. Weather. There was a slight wind from the north on that particular morning [[see: Weather Simulations#478F2A003.1158A3FF03]], potentially indicating a break in the heat. This is strongly favored in 38% of simulations, and slightly favored in an additional 16%. While not particularly fruitful, this line of conversation is most favored by the widest range of simulations.
  2. Breakfast. The two sisters had recently consumed the same food, which led to a discussion of its taste and composition in 24% of simulations (secondary topic in additional 22%). Insight into the implication of this conversation on the two personalities has led to a variety of hypotheses. [[see: Breakfast At The End of Pre-History]]
  3. The upcoming school day. This meta-topic has led to the most interest in the community, providing unique insight into the time-evolution of the two personalities had the Tiangong tragedy not occurred. Exploration of this area has led to, to date, 127 distinct Masters’ theses, fourteen doctorates, and a funded chair of Prehistorical Science at McMaster University.

A variety of other topics appeared in simulation, but none have generated as much academic interest as these three.

  • Fiction inspired by the Last Private Conversation
  • The Last Private Conversation in song
  • The Last Private Conversation as religious inspiration
  • Marketing campaigns inspired by the Last Private Conversation
  • Forever Obscure: Cosplay in the universe of the LPC

Author’s note: Okay, so it’s a bit silly, but I do worry about the end state of ubiquitous surveillance. If you enjoyed this story, consider giving it a few claps, or buying one of my novel-length works as an ebook or as a physical book.

Obligate infovore. Antiviral blogger. All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans. He/him/his.

Obligate infovore. Antiviral blogger. All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans. He/him/his.