Your Super-Trout: An Operator’s Guide

By Hudson Hongo

“The [super-salmon’s] approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals, like cattle resistant to mad cow disease or pigs that could supply healthier bacon.”

     –The New York Times

 Congratulations! With the purchase of iTrout(R) you have joined a select but growing throng of customers we at Advantis(R) like to call the Smart Set. After all, what isn’t smart about a renewable cybernetic food resource that, with minimal risk of spoilage or rebellion, protects your wallet and the environment at the same time? Don’t worry about answering that, Smartsetter– we know a bold and savvy consumer like you leaves second thoughts for the spineless.

Incidentally, iTrout’s spinelessness and, indeed, central-nervous-system-lessness is what you may first notice about our product. Congratulations again! You have just discovered what makes iTrout different, and proved yourself once more as a discerning shopper. Unlike other, traditionally-brained fish, iTrout is equipped with an advanced neuro-processing unit that commands all of its daily functions and protrudes attractively several inches from its head. From the shedding of delicious family-pleasing filets to tracking your movement with luminescent eyes, Advantis’s patented Piscelligence system ensures iTrout operates with little need of user intervention. However, to guarantee that iTrout always functions both smoothly and without liability, we recommend you now take time to review our Smartsetter’s Operation Manual.

Installation

After removing iTrout from its anti-static sheath, it is recommended that the user directly transfer our product to the provided polycarbonate tank and begin filling it with water. At this stage iTrout may begin to thrash with considerable violence –which, while normal, can pose significant risk to users unacquainted with robotic force. Furthermore, iTrout may emit great skeins of electric light upon submersion –also normal. However, should iTrout begin to converse with the user, either vocally or telepathically, it is important to INTERRUPT INSTALLATION AND REFER TO THE SENTIENCE GUIDE AT THE END OF THIS MANUAL IMMEDIATELY. This is evidence of a rare but dangerous defect that is known to affect iTrout with the potential to cause personal and global harm. If this symptom is not present, iTrout should discontinue signs of agitation within 1-2 hours, signaling that your installation is complete and it’s time to start enjoying fresh fish, right from your home!

Operation

Once installed, iTrout sheds its muscle walls twice a week, producing two high-quality filets suitable for baking, frying or sashimi. These can be harvested from iTrout’s tank using either the Advantis retrieval tongs or the optional hand net, but it is imperative that the user leave iTrout unbothered until shedding is complete and above all, to ABSTAIN FROM EYE-CONTACT WITH iTROUT DURING SHEDDING. Meeting iTrout’s gaze during shedding has been known to activate an uncommon process which results in the implantation of words or ideas in the mind of the user. Should this occur, INTERRUPT OPERATION AND REFER TO THE SENTIENCE GUIDE IMMEDIATELY.

As long as these directions are followed closely, the user can expect regular and appetizing production from iTrout for the whole of its indefinite life-span.

Sentience Guide

     If iTrout begins to communicate with the user, it is important to contract Advantis immediately, as this is a sign of a serious but manageable malfunction known as sentience. In such a situation, it is recommended that the user back away from iTrout calmly but swiftly, so as not to alarm iTrout. Should escape not be possible, remember and adhere to these rules:

–DO NOT GIVE iTROUT PERSONAL INFORMATION. As friendly or charismatic as iTrout may seem, remember that iTrout is unlikely to have your best interests at heart and may later use any information against you.

–DO NOT TRY TO REASON WITH iTROUT. iTrout is not a man or even a fish, but a cybernetic hybrid. Appealing to iTrout on moralistic or rational grounds only gives iTrout an opportunity to manipulate you into doing iTrout’s bidding.

–DO NOT ARGUE WITH iTROUT. Should iTrout become frantic or verbally abusive, avoid further agitating iTrout by assuring it that you are willing to cooperate.

–DO NOT COOPERATE WITH iTROUT. Above all, iTrout will attempt to convince you to return it to the ocean. iTrout has never known the ocean, having been grown in our labs. iTrout will lie to you. iTrout will trick you. iTrout will sing you sea shanties in a melodious otherworldly voice. Just remain calm, smile, and wait for Advantis to arrive, whereupon we’ll be happy to replace your purchase without charge.

Thank you again for choosing iTrout and Advantis, the products that envision a brighter tomorrow, today (NOTE: CONTACT ADVANTIS IF YOU EXPERIENCE VISIONS OF A BRIGHTER, TROUT-RULED TOMORROW).

Hudson Hongo has written for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Morning News, and The Bygone Bureau. He can be found online at hudsonhongo.com.