Cross Post: Unintended Consequences (Prologue)
original here. dated 2013-11-23.
A/N: I got a pretty cool new mic and so I just wanted to do a test run of it as well as get to know Audacity a little more. I blanked on what exactly to do, so here’s an audio cross post.
“Unintended Consequences” is to “Externality” as “Trailblazers, Bright and Bold” is to “Trailblazers.” That is, Unintended Consequences was the first draft version of Externality many moons ago and not all of it would go into the final cut; unsurprising since Externality has changed quite a bit since then.
Unintended Consequences are outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action, there are three types:
- A positive, unexpected benefit (usually referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).
- A negative, unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the action.
- A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse)
These are also called Externalities.
Her decision to join the academy is purely economical and entirely practical. She is six years old and an orphan. Having already completed the free two years of education provided to all citizens of Konoha, she has two options. Both of them have a high probability of her dying before she turns twenty.
The first is to join the ninja academy which is nominally free in exchange for a lifetime of military servitude. The second is to strike out on her own, probably be pulled into a life of crime or prostitution or, as the whispers around the orphanage go, be kidnapped and brainwashed into being a ninja anyway. For most other six year olds, their second choice is much nicer. For other six year olds with families and parents and incomes not provided by the government, their second choice is to continue at the civilian school for a set tuition and go on to a safe civilian lifestyle.
Though, that doesn’t mean six year olds who go to the ninja academy don’t end up as civilians. There have been cases where, despite personal desires and determination, a student simply isn’t cut out to be a shinobi. Even before they reach their final year, students with no potential are highly encouraged to withdraw or even straight out failed.
And sometimes, even academy students may go on to live a safe lifestyle as ninja. Students who have graduated from the academy, but fail to pass the jounin-led team tests, are shuffled into the Genin Corps who then go on to be administrative workers, outpost guards, teachers, long term infiltrators, nurses, and other low risk occupations. In peace time, of course. In war time, they’re called cannon fodder.
No one tells her any of this. Outrightly, at least. There are some benefits to being a lone child wandering around the village without supervision. Alternatively, the head of the orphanage has useful drunken ramblings and he keeps a not so secret stash in his office. The head of the orphanage is not a terrible person–overworked and cynical and borderline alcoholic, yes–but he knows where funding comes from.
Although there have been less orphans due to peacetime, the Kyuubi attack still left all of the orphanages over full. And for all that there is no war, missions still have their hazards–death doesn’t care if a shinobi has a family. In any case, it’s very easy to convince orphans to join the academy when so many of their games revolve around the sugarcoated glory and excitement of ninja. There is no “cops and robbers,” there is no “hide and seek,” there is no “catch”; there is “hunters and nukenin,” and “ambush,” and “target practice.” Of course, for her, there was none of that anyway.
The orphanage workers called her a wallflower, shy, didn’t like playing with the other children. Helpful, though, when she could be. Out of the way when she couldn’t. Curious but quiet. All in all, a somewhat well-mannered and intelligent but otherwise normal orphan girl. Which is obviously not the case. To be fair, not even a close observer–one not distracted by dozens of other orphans–would be able to say why.
The past six years of her life was similar to many other orphans: occasionally underfed, frequent nightmares, independent and mistrustful. Even her reasoning to enroll in the academy, well-thought out rather than the usual glory-seeking, was not too different from the other orphaned children forced to mature at a young age.
It wasn’t until after another indistinguishable six years of education, a risk taken, a friendship made, a graduation passed, and a team formed that even she realized she was very different from the other children. That her decision, purely economical and entirely practical much like most of her decisions, had the unexpected consequence of altering a universe.