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.

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