Friday, March 31, 2017

States of Change Chapter 9: Granite (New Hampshire)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.
Prominently, The Augment, a real-time, virtual overlay of sensory data 
has become widely available for personal use throughout many of the post-fed nation-states.

The First Law of the V-State: Violence Focuses Chaos

At her campsite in the remote White Mountains, Shivare tosses the yellowed hardcopy page by page into her campfire. The time for contemplating philosophy is over though she now contemplates the two meter high pyre fueled by the antique paper from perhaps the last remaining copy of "V-State: Violence and How Humans Implement It."

The manifesto bloglet had been a gift to her from her father back in the '30s; he had hardcopied an xpdf from the Red Web before it went black PostFed. Special interest censorbots since then had purged unapproved online publications deemed scandalous in the state previously known as New Hampshire for decades.  Paper printouts, however, were immune, mostly, to such obliter-tech.

Now in her eighties, Shivare found it hard to believe there was ever a time when libertarian market forces advocated open source data access, alas the niche rogue tribes of this fully liberated state had demonstrated ravenous data annihilators were one of many results of complete deregulation. As such, the border states had built a Trumpian communication wall to keep Shivare's rogue state electronically isolated.

The Second Law of the V-State.  Violence Invites Order

Shivare gathers up her backpack, barely glancing back at the campfire as its indifferent flames begin licking up the side of her utilitarian log cabin. Her foraging gear, mobile CBT lab and the rest of her hard print library would be ashes soon enough, ashes that would fertilize the vicinity and provide carbonaceous building blocks for whatever life might find its way in time. For twenty-seven years she had defended this acre as an autonomous entity, indigo sociopath, and pioneer willing to confront dangerous ideas and circumstances head on.

Shivare imagined the ethics scholar who wrote the V-State blog back in the teens had intended parody, but her and her father had seen it as an actionable manifesto. The core idea espoused by V-State was nothing new: violence was the primal source of power for those who dared use it.

From Cain to Cthulu; from AmPats to Daesh; from Third Reich to NATO 2.0, those who wielded violence with strategic conviction commanded the plot threads of civilization in one way or another. In the realms of fiction and history violent ideas and actions time and time again dictated the landscape of the story-line.

Even before human society reigned supreme on Earth, other species had evolved improved attacks and defenses across the battlefield of time. Humans just upped evolution by a few magnitudes when developing their mechanisms of violence, not only against each other, but against the planet's ecosystem as a whole.

The Third Law of the V-State: Violence Begets Violence

Shivare's hike brings her to a rocky precipice, the summit where the Old Man of the Mountain used to look out over the valley. The rock debris of his face lay shattered, a random mess of granite boulders below, granite fragments one would never imagine had once had the form of a giant's scowling countenance.

Humanity's scowl for centuries had grown ever more dire. In aggregate developed newer and newer mechanisms of violence. Goat jaws gave way to swords which gave way to mercenary drones; shovels gave way to chainsaws and monster caterpillars. In general, society put its value added into weaponry of every type: nuclear, mechanical, chemical, biological and informational; each knowledge ingot was forged into tech-armies to engage the ideological wars.

Shivare shrugged at her reflection on the V-State. She was human and could not deny her very nature. She had brought her own engineering skills to bear in building hybrid infiltration systems, integrating nanotech and biotech for recon, defense and attack schemes.  The latest viral commands she developed could terminate an organism at the cellular level with expediency. Distribution protocols on the otherhand were a natural bottleneck--so easy to design a deadly bullet, much harder design the delivery system for it.

Sitting on a boulder with the smoggy sprawl before her, Shivare pulled out her her life's work. One vial's worth. With a shortest of sighs she popped the plastic stopper and downed the vial's contents. It tasted a bit oily due to the polymer medium that kept her microscopic creations in stasis.

Maybe this would change the world, thinks Shivare.

Shivare's death takes about fifteen seconds. The frozen smile on her face is the toothy grin that has for evolutionary eons signaled the confidence of a top predator. Fifteen seconds later her skin deepens in tone until it is obsidian black. Her reclaimed body then explodes in a maelstrom bits the size of deer ticks which dissipates quickly on the mountain breeze; 15,323,711 human-seeking, nano-drones launch to find their programmed destiny.

The Zeroth Law of the V-State: Violence Is Until It Isn't

New Hampshire Retrofactual: The Old Man of the Mountain was a glacial granite formation in the White Mountains that collapsed on May 3, 2003 in spite of decades of human attempts to fortify the popular pareidolic landmark.

Friday, March 24, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 8: Palmetto (South Carolina)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.
Prominently, The Augment, a real-time, virtual overlay of sensory data 
has become widely available for personal use throughout many of the post-fed nation-states.

(South Carolina* Retrofactual: In 2016 women accounted for 14.7 percent  of the South Carolina state congress, far below the then national average of 24.4 percent.)

State-of-the-art angular roofing comprised of solar panels and water reclamation conduits highlight the residential home's white obelisk, artfully mounted with a spiral wind-turbine. The state-endorsed domicile is tastefully surrounded by mature sabal palms, saw-palmettos and numerous other regionally native plants. The neighborhood itself is woven into an efficient yet organic layout to provide the community with wilderness-like beauty and easy access to the surrounding farm fields, all in the service of the Father. Of particular merit is the central green space decorated with ample pavilions for daily community worship by all at dawn and dusk. As with the rest of the divinely inspired zoning plan it is fully approved by the theocratic state of Eden. (aside: South Carolina's name change from one of royalist and secularist origin to Eden was the first change made by the Patriarch concurrent with the Day of Defederation, August 18, 2023.)

The current gathering is not in the central worship space but in the front yard of the soon-to-be Stone newlywed home. The atmosphere is festive, yet not frivolous. Polite conversation among members of the community touches on the discussions of the  latest spiritual direction seeking to fully isolate the State of Eden from the rest of an ever growing pagan and secular world. Arguments from evangelicals to pridefully expand Eden's pious movement interlace with comments that respect such prayerful visions, yet seek to focus current community efforts on fully ensuring the purity of Eden.

Thomas Stone steps forward from his new home into the dawn light with his bride beside him. Like the rest of the men at the gathering, Thomas is suited in drab brown with a simple black tie. The children are all dressed in simple clothing of a similar color. Thomas addresses his peers with the practiced solemnity of a saintly engineer..

"Welcome my neighbors, my co-workers, my brethren!"

"And welcome to you!" returns the gathered assemblage with melodic and resonant synchronicity.

After the briefest pause, Thomas continues. "It is with great joy that I celebrate the Father and our State of Eden this day with this ceremony of marriage. As it is written, brevity is integral to holiness, and so, I introduce my wife to be, Ruth, that she may present her oath of marriage for you all to bear witness."

Thomas takes a step back, leaving the diminutive form of Ruth holding her betrothal bundle before her for all to see.

"In the name of the Father and the State of Eden I stand before you today," intones Ruth with musical confidence and the sweetest of smiles.

"My soul has been warmed by the glory of the Scripture. My body has been certified chaste and healthy by the village Patriarch.  And my mind has been prepared by the school of the divine spirit. In all things I now devote my life to Thomas Stone, to bear healthy and pious children and otherwise to devote my services to my lord and husband Thomas Stone. Praise the Father."

"Praise the Father," returns the gathered assemblage with melodic and resonant synchronicity.

Being the end of the proscribed incantation, Ruth lifts her betrothal bundle above her head to don the covering she will wear for the remainder of her life. The hi-tech material, developed for oldfed military purposes, provides the perfect uniform for a wife in Eden. Its silky, nano-optic construction is self-cleaning, self mending, and most importantly renders its wearer completely invisible. For as Scripture dictates, a wife shall remain unseen in carrying out her life duties, duties which are to be performed with meekness on the property of her lord.

As the shimmering material falls over her head burka-like, the visage and body of Ruth disappear in front of the gathered men and children, never to be seen again in the holy State of Eden. Eyes smiling with earnest piety, the crowd departs in a cloud of hearty waves and congratulations for the newly-wed couple. A new day of scheduled, reverent tasks in and for the pastoral community awaits.

Lord Thomas Stone begins a new period of service for the state of Eden as an assistant lead engineer.

And thirteen year old Ruth embarks on the first day of serving her Lord as a woman.

Father bless.

*The official nickname for South Carolina before 2023 was The Palmetto State, referring to the state tree which was the sabal palmetto, a stalwart variety of palm whose trunk juts vertically 20 to 30 meters, yet whose root system has a notoriously weak hold upon the earth.

Read more here:

Friday, March 17, 2017

States of Change Chapter 7: Free (Maryland)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.
Prominently, The Augment, a real-time, virtual overlay of sensory data 
has become widely available for personal use throughout many of the post-fed nation-states.

Maynard meandered along the rusty fence line. At just over four hundred kilos, walking was becoming difficult lately; add to that the weight of being a bit lonely. Maynard had been on his own now for a few years and didn't know he was the last of his kind, well the last bovine in Maryland anyways.

At twenty-eight years old, Maynard was now more than twenty years older than his human breeders had ever intended. Belted Galloways had been typically slaughtered between age six and eight to maximize the profit of his human captors. Beneath his striking two tone furry coat, Maynard was a rather plain creature; plain in the manner of sometimes being bored, sometimes joyful, sometimes irritated, and often uncertain of what lay before him.

Maynard had wandered Maryland's open pasture parkland for most of his life. For a few years in his early teens, a donkey and a horse had been his daily companions. The trio had been the stars of drone vid-streams for the better part of a year back then. Together the three ruminants had explored valleys rural and suburban foraging for grass during Maryland's snowless winters. The trio often annoyed each other, still having fellow creatures to sleep alongside provided warm comfort both physical and psychological.

We take Maryland's mix of progressive and conservative policies for granted now, but when the state established its sovereignty back in 2058 the legislature forged several seemingly radical policies to solidify the political stability of the time. Famously, that was the first time a human legislature included artificial constructs in their midst to craft their post-federation future.

Struggle is frequently cited being at the heart of living.  From a nasty eye infection to fending off the occasional aggressive coyote, Maynard's life had its struggles too.  To be sure, he wasn't exactly the epitome of evolution given his current habitat. His ancestors had been chosen for esoteric reasons: survival in the Scottish Highlands, unique fat marbling and the general docility of their behavior under stressful captive conditions. Still, the roaming instinct hadn't been entirely forgotten; hunger and mobility were effective adaptations that Maynard brought to bear in his life journey.

Beginning in 2055 the Maryland legislature counted three non-voting, artificial constructs among its number. One represented the rights of non-human animals, while two others stood for the ideals of environment and creativity. In the early years the resulting political discussions were animated, and frequently the ideas of the three congress-constructs were side-stepped. Still, on occasion, the constructs were able to catalyze new approaches, one of which was the Maryland Humane Animal Act, a breakthrough policy that brought an end to animal abuse throughout Maryland's borders.

Like anyone free, Maynard's life was a string of events, many which are simply unknowable. Still, the aggregate of intercam recordings, human encounters, and reasonable speculation have contributed to several documentaries with Maynard at the center. Often the nevers were the focus of the narrative. It was likely Maynard never knew his parents. He never knew the hundreds of millions like him who had been imprisoned, euthanized, flayed, butchered and sold for parts. And ironically Maynard was sterilized as part of MHAA as part of Maryland's long term environmental plan; as such, Maynard never knew the fullness of a sexually active life.

Several other states followed Maryland's example: closing animal breeding facilities, feeding gulags and slaughterhouses. The double benefit of humane ethics and profitable new-tech food manufacturing was quickly putting traditional animal husbandry out of business. Whether empathy or business acumen had led the way continues to be a point of disagreement among historians.

Maynard lay down for his final night's rest on June 21, 2076. Many will remember the stubborn attitude of this Belted Galloway from viral footage in mansionland. Yet, for many a Maryland writer Maynard was more than bull who lucked out to wander free for most of his life.  He became a symbol, of the relationship between the non-human and the full citizens of Maryland. No one can know the last thought Maynard had, though by all accounts he passed peacefully from this world. One hopes that we all have the same opportunity Maynard had, a chance to journey, to struggle, and to be free.

 --excerpted from Maryland Is Its Stories, by Ricardex Tri, Creative Construct Officiate 3.7 of the Maryland State Legislature

Friday, March 3, 2017

States of Change Chapter 6: The Bay

**States of Change is a Goodness First work of serial, speculative fiction that takes place in 2076, several decades after the United States has defederalized. The story and subtext are provided for reader entertainment and contemplation. Feel free to comment on the ongoing story-line and themes .**

Barrie slid his hand over the ebony face of the transaction obelisk and then spun around with deliberateness to take in the glass and steel perimeter of the inner bay.

"Aye Dee processing," the obelisk affirmed with an English accent that was as annoying as it was polite.

Meanwhile, Barrie enabled his default visAR overlay array; as an indie data miner, he was constantly looking for correlations that could pay off. Fifty three layers of augment enhanced his visual perception at the moment. The tendrils of bay residences before him glowed with dense shorthand data rendered in razor precise vector lines.  His currently enabled overlays provided data that ranged from isotherms and human temporal densities to mundane structure and vehicle statistics and relevant VR grafitti. Today might be his weekly day off, but it was difficult to turn off the obsession of making a profit.

"What's the second of the minute?" Barrie quipped at the scanner obelisk.

"Apologies, Master Weber. New security protocols require a five second hold on all equipment access approvals to permit state oversight analysis."

"Living in a market forces state and still inefficiency shows its ugly head."

"Master Weber. Your access to Winston Storage units A78 and B34 has been approved. How would you like to proceed?"

"Let's take the Phantom out today, Winston"

"Yes Master Weber. Unit B34 is enroute." returned the kiosk management construct. "Conditions on the bay today are moderate. Expect winds of ten knots from the east. Low tide is expected at 10:17 and high tide at 16:23. Would you like an extended forecast while your storage unit is in transit?"

"Port it to my navigation stack. Can't we get a move on, Winston? Restrictions notwithstanding storage retrieval has been damn slow lately? "

"I disagree Master Weber," retorted the construct. "Over the past six months, Winston Storage retrieval times have sped up by four percent. Your equipment retrievals have averaged ninety-five seconds to date which is forty percent faster and ten percent cheaper than simulations predict other premium bay area storage facilities could manage. In fact.."

"Cut the PR comm, Winston. I might switch storage providers just to get away from your fancy chatter, even if it costs me a few thousand more Mitt per annum."

"Duly noted, Master Weber. Your locker is now parked at Dock A.  Winston Storage is happy to pay your public access fee today as mitigation for new protocol adjustments. Prosperous ventures."

"Well negotiated." Barrie returned with a laugh. Winston's compensation algorithms did always seem one step ahead.

Barrie descended to the public dock premium access area. The departing drone-tug had secured his locker and was already submerging likely off to retrieve another from the storage hanger that spread out beneath the bayside shore. As Barrie approached his locker and the storage access door, responding to neometrics, rolled upward with a hiss. His Phantom 2075 submersible hydrofoil craft greeted him with slick curves that would make even a fictional Bruce Wayne jealous. The craft has cost him just over a million Mitt Coin, and yet it was much more versatile than his power yacht at a twentieth the cost. When Barrie wasn't entertaining, the Phantom was his aqua stallion; it permitted him to explore the entirety of Mass Bay in stealth and speed.

The Phantom's cockpit slid shut with a grimace. The onboard control systems confirmed a link to his visAR. Barrie gave the go ahead and the Phantom's autonav guided the craft out of the dock area and into the water through-way. Today's destination was the UXO zone in the far outer harbor along the continental shelf where WWII artifacts abounded in spite of more than a hundred years of corrosion.  Last month he had hauled in a torpedo body from that dumping graveyard, making a hefty profit on the resale to the state maritime museum. Today's profit would be much less random.

The Phantom exited the limited wake E9 zone; the resident billionaires had such stiff fees in place that it took ten minutes to get to mid harbor where one could actually afford to have some fun.  At one time Barrie might have groaned at the hundred Mitt per hour harbor fee, but he couldn't argue with the effectiveness of the bay restoration those fees had funded over the past twenty years. Barrie himself had never been a fish hunter, still Mass Bay's crystal clear water and bass population brought in E6 clientele from across the state.

Approaching the UXO zone, Barrie instructed the Phantom to go under water. Maintaining ten knots submerged he headed to the agreed upon drop off point. His mission today would net him a million Mitt Coin, a worthy profit given the risk. Satellite transmission hardware was in high demand ever since Massachusetts had established its Statenet. Global information access was perceived as corrupting to the market forces state ideal. Barrie saw the out-of-state data restriction as a business opportunity; if someone wanted to pay for Californitainment or world news, then how could he as entrepreneur not step in to fill that demand.