Processor

A person or thing that takes a series of actions or steps to achieve a particular end

Jonathan had not had a peaceful week, not in the slightest, which was odd for his post.

First came the younger woman who wanted her name changed. She submitted a form for name changes not three days earlier, and it took even longer to get her on the phone about it to see what was the matter.

"Yes, Ella, this is Authorization. We received a name change form by email."

"Have you authorized it?" Why is that all people ever want to know? Why can't they just call to say hi sometimes?

"Not yet, it seems filled out, but we need a reason."

"There wasn't a space for providing a reason."

"Yes, that's true, but...why do you want your name to be Ella Emily Eloise? Why? I just don't understand, I've never seen anything like this."

"That's the name I like best, sir, so unless there are any other problems, it would please me to have it changed on all official documentation."

"But..but this is ridiculous... it doesn't even make sense- you're going to lose all connection to your life and family by changing your name, and this is the name you pick?"

"Yes." Dead silence hung on the air. Not a single sound came from the other end, not even breathing.

"Very well then." He remembered saying as he hung up, deciding he had better things to do than argue with a woman who wanted three first names. The very idea of it, however, continued to bother him for days as he answered calls. A new hatred for his post crept to the forefront of his mind as he checked angry emails about the shipping agency picking up multiple bodies at no fewer than seventeen different morgues in the past week. He had to promise them the matter would be entirely resolved, and even as he got off the phone with the chief offender, he doubted it was. For days he wondered what would be done until he decided to blame the matter on mass confusion in the department, especially after receiving both a request for approval for faster 'body processing' procedure and a request to intentionally retard the process to allow for proper mourning, though not necessarily embalming. That was a point of compromise. In frustration, he sent each to the other sender in an email. It did not stop there.

The public defender's office had emailed him no fewer than thirty seven times with 'personal matter' in the subject field. What the hell is he thinking? Jonathan deleted the first twenty or so, but as it became a growing concern, he opened one. Apparently it was not the public defender at all, but a gatekeeper who had broken into his unguarded office and managed to email the only address on the contact list, by all appearances never having learned the ins and outs of a computer. He was impressed, it had taken him at least a few hours with instruction to figure it out between the keyboard, mouse, and interface, but fortunately it was locked on an email server, so there was not much to learn. He deducted nothing from himself for not having recognized the emails as coming from someone else, as the attorney frequently messaged him concerning evidence in various cases as well as official documentation.

The gatekeeper, however, rose a very different concern. He had never heard of such a problem in his existence, not in all 500 or so years. Perhaps in the third or fourth century of his employ, there had been a problem with a mass overflow of souls trying to pass through the gates to where the first had broken off its hinges, but that was over and done. What worried him was the future of the problem. The demons were almost certainly in Aaru, any future gatekeeper has no chance of taking the job seriously, but perhaps the worst problem was that it would be a long time before the gods found out, since none of them inhabited the paradise or watched the souls go down the path through the gates. When they found out, their fury would be unrivaled, and there would be a massive influx of requests to process.

Ra would be especially perturbed by the unprepared and even monsters and demons making their way into Aaru, as such creatures were his to smite. Though he was old and easily forgot himself, no force in the Land of the Dead forgot his force of smiting. It was fortunate most gods never bothered to submit requests.

Not long after, he received more calls for evidence in a major case, though he could not be moved to care. The cases were never decided by facts or evidence, they were determined by the fastest possible way Osiris could resolve the change, guilty or otherwise. The case itself was an interesting one, apparently both the attorney and the defendant were entering an insanity plea, which he expected would do well for anyone who still was not familiar with the way the court system worked.

His most interesting call all week, however, had come from Anubis. In response to recent crises, he moved, not in an 'asking' manner, for a new bureaucracy below the existing one, agents to serve agents, arguing that, in so doing, they would be able to give shorter terms for souls in each post. He denied the program, not because he found it to be frivolous, as most of the requests he received were, but because the current system seemed to bother Anubis, for whom he had no love. Long before the advent of computers in the fourth century of his employ and their introduction to the free agents in the fifth, the guide of souls had shown him his responsibilities at a less technologically developed form of the Authorization department. At this point, the god with the dog head of some description had lost three of his four roles in the text, as it was unclear he had them in the first place, and the Greek name 'Anubis' was so prevalent in use and so completely unmet with opposition by those who might have preferred the original 'Anpu', that he had almost completely forgotten it had been his name in the first place and struggled to even pronounce it. During the entirety of the explanation, the god insisted on trying to pronounce his original name and consistently attempted to get him to do it. Jonathan, not amused, remembered refusing unilaterally. They had avoided each other for a long time until the god's spirits seemed to be raised in the fourth century, but the processor flatly refused to associate with him as soon as he started dressing in purple coats with leopard prints with massive rings on each finger, accompanied by a top hat on his pointed dog ears and a cane made out of the ankh he usually carried crudely fastened to his staff, with a massive amethyst embedded in its loop.

He had not respected Anubis since.

Looking away from the emails, the phone rang.

"Hello, Authorization." The man who answered had some sort of Manchester accent.

"Right, sorry, I didn't think this phone would work. It's mad that it's even here, really."

"Do you have a request?" What the hell do you want.

"Yes, I have filled out a form to deny all requests to close the gates to Aaru. Left the bugger in your office a few days ago before the old trial. Should be under the dead plant."

"What is this-"

"Look, I thought I'd do some good for the sanity of this place. Didn't really work out logically speaking."

"I derive my authority from-"

"Ra, I know. This isn't his problem. I did my research, he might get a bit of a laugh, even." Jonathan looked over the form in dismay. Everything was in order. All that was required was a rubber stamp and the act of putting it into his physical outbox.

"You're doing this all for logic?"

"It sounds crackers, I know. In reality, it's this place that's batty and very few of us realize it. Of course, this isn't all I'm going to do." He wished he had been sitting down upon hearing it.

"What? What more could you possibly do? Five hundred years or thereabouts I've been at this job-"

"When we have the gods see things as they are, they'll understand. After all, we're going to straighten out their parentage for authority purposes. Anubis might even get behind it." The idea of working with the dog head god was already intolerable.

"What makes you think-"

"Things are changing in the afterlife. It's been an utter madhouse here, and I won't tolerate it. We are not Sisyphus, that isn't even the correct mythology. Whatever is our just deserts, that is determined by a fair trial, not riddles, monsters, and demons, certainly not centuries of mind-numbing repetitive tasks. This is the part where the absurd gets tossed out and replaced."

"The gods are merely doing what they know-"

"Which is confusing because of the text, yes, I am aware. But we are trapped in a prison of our own choosing to escape, we have to form up and stand together. All I ask of you is that you process a few requests." Click.

Jonathan hung up in confusion. The first paper, he had already stamped without realizing. What would he do with it but file it in the outbox now? It could not simply stay on his desk, no, that would not do at all. He could only imagine where the rest of the forms would be hidden in his office, or if the voice on the other end of the phone intended to have them delivered. Thinking about it the other way, perhaps Ra would enjoy things being brought to light, as that was his general responsibility. Alas, he was only guessing. Quickly stuffing the stamped form in the outbox, he began to munch on some grain. It had ever been humble fare, but he had long accustomed to it. All at once, though, the taste seemed to dissatisfy him. Better not think about it.