Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another introduction

With some thought, I have managed to make the story blog a bit easier to read. I am dating everything as far into the future as blogger will allow, then moving backwards. All the posts will appear in order of the story. It will be much easier to read.

Also, in regards to the prologue. It's not a prologue that you should imagine is attached to the story. It's more just the setting, something I wrote to give myself an idea of time and place. It would not appear in a 'book'.

As the story progresses, I hope to reveal the various new ways of being and technologies as they occur in context to the story.

A friend asked if I was worried someone would steal this off the net. I say this. If my crap, unedited, poorly thought out and quickly written words are worth stealing, then we have bigger fish to fry.

I hope that what I write is enjoyable. I am treating this as an exercise in self-discipline, the aim is to add to it every day, but hey, it probably wont work like that.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Prologue

It's a time in the not too distant future.
Technology and its applications have been embraced within the Homeland Security sector. The ID card was implemented in Britain while the rest of the Western world looked on with interest. After eight years it is hailed as a success and the USA, parts of Europe, Asian countries such as the Philippines and Japan, and Australia and New Zealand all follow Britain's lead. Strangely, Canada remains relatively free of this new technological invasion, though is paying somewhat of a financial blow in its trade sector in doing so and is strongly reviewing its policies.
Soon to follow came iris-scanning devices to combat fraud within the financial sector. Businesses are no longer able to accept credit card payment over the phone, payment options now limited to online purchases, or in person. Home computers now carry iris-scanning devices as standard and all Internet transactions require iris scans to be completed. Microsoft is alive and well. Bill Gates is still kicking, though under private guard after several attempts are made on his life.
Iris-scanning validates all EFTPOS purchases. When the technology was first introduced, most Governments offered subsidies to businesses to help cover the cost of implementation within the retail sector. For example, the phasing in process was given a 24-month time frame in Australia, but was extended by six months. After this initial phasing in period, any business caught trading without iris scanning was fined and forced to implement the technology immediately at risk of having their business shut down.
New laws are passed regarding privacy. The Privacy Act is amended in all Western countries that have embraced the new technologies. Essentially, anyone wanting to live freely within these countries must be willing to give up any and all parts of their private life to the government. It's a Catch22 most people are happy to oblige what with the relative consequences if you don't.
Prison is no longer a real option. Most Western countries have embraced 'micro-tagging'. One offence, and you are tagged, the tag inserted into your brain tissue so you are not inclined to try and remove it, though attempts are made and there is a black market in 'tag surgery', though at some risk to the patient and the surgeon.
The tag allows the governing body to know where you are 24/7. If an offence is recorded, all known tags in the area have their movements back-tracked to prove innocence or guilt, depending. Caught offending a second time and you are subject to imprisonment. Prison is not safe. With the changes and amendments to privacy laws, most governments have managed to cloak their prison systems in a veil of secrecy. Governments have absolute power. No one objects. It's safer to behave.
And that's what it comes down to. People are driven to conform, behave, to stay out of trouble.
If you are a sex offender and you survive prison you are subject to recording devices in every room of your home. You are also rendered infertile. The gene stops there. There are no second chances with most offenders. As a sex offender, you are allocated a timetable, which regulates your daily life. You can only go shopping when timetabled; you can only visit friends and relatives when timetabled. If you are a child sex offender you can only schedule visits to people who do not have children. If you have children you will not see them again until they are 18 years of age or above. The homes you visit must comply with the video surveillance rules. You can not visit anyone who does not have video surveillance in their home. If you break the timetable, you are tracked by your tag and taken into custody. Punishments for timetable abuse range from lockdown in your own home to re-imprisonment, depending on the severity of the breach.
Murderers are imprisoned for severely long sentences. The Western world has become extremely intolerant of anyone who maims or kills. Acting in self-defence is taken into account, though you are still likely to be imprisoned. Showing violent tendencies outside the realm of law enforcement is not allowed. Domestic violence is not tolerated. Prison beckons for offenders.
Most people offend only the once or twice. Single offenders realise they will never be alone again, duel offenders are usually imprisoned and very rarely seen again.
The majority of society behaves. It's a no nonsense world.
Psychological profiling is prevalent, starting in schools, continuing into the workforce. People are forced to work harder, try harder, be better, or lose. Social Security is practically non-existent. Those forced to live on it will tell you it is not living. On a brighter note, people with disabilities are better cared for, lead more fulfilling lives. Unless they are mentally unbalanced and dangerous. In such cases they are kept in well-equipped asylums, safely drugged and out of harms way.
Euthanasia has been made legal in 152 countries, with more to follow.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Prologue continued

Social Security has been all but phased out, and the welfare class is no longer. Instead, welfare has been replaced by corporate sponsorship. Sporting, musical or scholary talents are identified at an early age and corporations buy allegiances almost from the cradle. If one child from a family shows promise in a certain field, the same company also sponsors all subsequent children of the same parents until adulthood and employment within that company. There are still regular jobs if you are not under corporate sponsorship, though your financial future is not as promising.

No sponsorship and no job spells extreme poverty and with no Social Security for the able bodied, a person needs to rely strongly on family and friends. Consequently, having a family is taken far more seriously. There are fewer single parents, people living with their parents and extended family for longer. Charities are under greater pressure, but have less support.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It has to start somewhere

O'Toole struggled with his captors. He was a strong man, at least 6ft to look at and solid. But three to one meant event if he were the strongest of men he could not struggle free. One on each arm and a third was holding down his legs. They forced him into a large stainless steel chair, a full body number with armrests and a step for his feet. Above the step, at ankle height, was some strapping, which was now being linked across his ankles. O'Toole couldn't see how. Further up his legs, some more strapping, across his shins. Across his chest and across his wrists. And now his head, almost wrenched off his shoulders in the fight to keep it still, with O'Toole flailing it from side to side, eyes flaming.
No one was holding O'Tooles mouth still though, and he bellowed his protestations of innocence. He screamed for justice, but justice wasn't listening. In her place came the calm movements of a male doctor prepping a needle and making for a vein in his left arm. As he felt it piercing his skin he let forth with a guttural roar of indignation, to which no one, least of all Justice, listened.
O'Toole quickly slipped into unconsciousness. Still now.
One of the men who had wrestled him into the chair picked up a pair of electric hair clippers and began giving O'Toole a new style.



Hannah guided the car up the familiar curving and tree lined drive of Evermore Mansion. It was a Tuesday. Tuesdays at Evermore were art and craft day. Hannah was the teacher, though to say teacher was misleading. More so, Hannah spent a great deal of the morning wondering if her charges remembered any of what she showed them. Each week it was the same.
"Gavin, so you remember how we did it last week?"shed ask.
"Yes"
"So how about you try and do it like that?"
"Yes"
"Gavin?"
"Yes"
"The grass outside is purple"
"Yes"
"Gavin?"
"Yes"
"Never mind"
"Yes"
At some point earlier on Hannah had reached to conclusion that she was nothing more than a glorified baby sitter wielding a glue stick. And once she accepted this, art and craft at Evermore had become less of a struggle for all involved.
With Valentines approaching, today they were going to make cards. Hannah would be happy if by lunch just one resident had stopped making kissing noises and had managed to glue the pre-cut love heart to the pre-cut cardboard.

No Scissors.

It was Rule Number 2.
Rule Number 1 was No Hot Glue Gun.
Number 3 was No Pipecleaners.

Hannah had found Rule Number 3 perplexing for a short while. After all, it was Rule Number 3 and came before Rule Number 4, which was No Toilet Rolls. After her appointment, she had left it a couple of weeks before she had asked Nancy, the ward nurse, about it.
"Why No Pipecleaners, Nancy?"
"Tapika"
"Oh?"
"Tapika tried cleaning her pipes with them"
"Oh?"
"You know, her pipes" said Nancy, gesturing to what resided under her own skirt.
"Oh!"
"Yes. One got stuck. No pipecleaners"
"No. Ok. No pipecleaners"
And Nancy had smiled and winked at her and it was the first inkling Hannah had of what she had really gotten herself in for.
But what was she to expect? This is what happened when you failed your mid terms. If she'd wanted to be a real teacher, she should have tried harder instead of letting it slip away. She'd been foolish to think it would turn out otherwise. Though 'Romanticism' had appeared as a flaw in her pre-school psych test after all.
At least she was employed. It's all her father could offer up during any given argument with her mother regarding Hannah's perceived failures and successes.
Mother "She threw it all away with that....boy"
Father "At least she has a job"
Mother "Is that what you call it? To think we wasted all that money"
Father "Rita, please"
Mother "I could have gone to Paris"
Father "You can still go to Paris"
Mother"It's not the same. I'm old now"
Father "You're not old Rita. You're 42"
Mother "I'm old!"
Father "Rita"
Mother "Ernst!"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breathing.

He was still breathing. O’Tooles eyes felt bruised. He didn’t want to open them, but he was being asked to. He had a headache.

“Open your eyes”

No. He didn’t want to. It was going to hurt.

“Open your eyes”

Suddenly it all came flooding back and O’Toole more than opened his eyes. He jolted forward, was ready to run, but went no where. His eyes opened. They did hurt, but he didn’t care. Had they finished?

“Peter Donin O’Toole, prisoner R4787, this is your formal notice of having been implanted with a Berger Tag Mark IV. This tag is located in your frontal lobe. The Caysyn System is now tracking your whereabouts. The Caysyn System knows your location at all times. It is our duty to advise you that in a court of law, evidence provided by the Caysyn System is absolute and cannot be revoked”
O’Toole, his head now free from the restraint that held it firm during the implant procedure, gingerly looked to his left to where the voice was coming from. It was Gardener.

“O’Toole, it is my…pleasure…to inform you that you are now no longer a resident of this prison. Your release has been officiated by myself on this day, February tenth, twenty thirty-two at oh eight hundred hours. You are free to leave. Please follow me”

O’Toole felt the restraints being removed from his legs, arms and chest. Gardener had turned and was walking from the room. He stopped outside the door when O’Toole failed to follow.

“It hurts” said O’Toole.
“What did you expect? Hurry up, O’Toole. It’s time to go”

O’Toole hesitantly swung his legs to the floor and stood with trepidation, but found his balance to be sure.

“You’re fine, O’Toole. The headache will be gone by this afternoon”

Thinking of his head, O’Toole reached up and felt where his shoulder length hair once was, replaced now by the sharp little prickles of the clippered stubble. Moving his hand, he felt a tiny indent center front, where the tag had been inserted

“You look beautiful” said Gardener “Just beautiful” a wry smile played on his lips.
“Let’s go”

Finding his feet, O’Toole followed behind Gardener through the halls of the prison hospital and out into the light.


The Caysyn System, named after Caysyn Rebecca Lauren Tomas, born 2014, died 2016. Murdered by Cris K Mullen, serial child rapist and petty thief. The death of Caysyn Tomas sparked widespread outrage and calls were made for a monitoring system to be implemented and used to track the whereabouts of known convicted criminals. At the time the Caysyn System was being trialed on wayward pets under the name of Roam Free. Its technologies needed little adaptation. The legalities were fast tracked. Little Caysyn Tomas’ death was not to be in vain.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

“There’s a lemming for you” Justin nodded his head towards a young man headed toward them on the footpath.
“Indeed. Very lemming like” agreed Hannah.
“Look at his shoes! Oh, he’s just too perfect. Please, Hannah, you must let me”
“No Justin”
“Hannah please!”
“No Justin”
“Pleeeease”
“No”
“Oh you’re no fun”
“And you’re almost as bad as one of my clients at Evermore”
“You’re so mean!”
“You’re so immature”
“You’re getting old”
“I’m not. I’m just not…oh, god, do what you want. I don’t care”
The young man was now immediately in front of them. Within a moment he had passed.
“You didn’t do it” said Hannah.
“You wouldn’t let me”
“I said you could”
“But you didn’t want me to”
Hannah stopped mid stride. Justin stopped just in front of her.
“I’ve had enough” she said, her shoulders sagging visibly.
“I’m sorry. Did the retards give you a hard time today?”
“Justin! I’ve told you enough times, don’t call them retards. I’m just fucking sick of you and this bullshit and how you treat everything like a game and I’ve had enough today!”
“Oooo, aren’t we testy?” he teased.
“Fuck! Justin!”
A few people were by now paying the pair some attention. A middle-aged man hesitated briefly before stopping and addressing them.
“Er, not that I mind, not that it bothers me, as such, but you know how some people are and, um, I just thought I should remind you about the new language laws” he saw a flash in Justins eyes “Sorry, it’s just, you don’t want your girlfriend in trouble?”
“He’s not my boyfriend”
“Yes I am!” said Justin brightly, latching onto Hannahs arm “And I thank you sir for your sense of community. I’ll just escort my girlfriend home now, where she can use all the profanity she desires”
“Um, yes, of course. Just, you know, I’m no prude, but it’s the law now and…”
The man stopped talking, bowed his head and mumbled a goodbye.
Hannah disentangled her arm from Justins and in a low voice said “I hate you”.
“You don’t mean that” countered Justin.
Hannah started forward, Justin followed. Walking quickly, looking ahead, Hannah said “I think I might”.
“Don’t be silly”
“No, Justin, it is you that’s being silly. Every day, twenty-four seven, and I’m tired of it. We’re not sixteen any more”
“Not even” said Justin wryly.
Hannah abruptly stopped walking again. Justin hovered beside her.
“No, not even. And it would do you well to remember it”
“Hannah…”
“No, not today. Not any more. Go away”
“Go where?”
“Away. Away from me. Go. I’ll walk home”
“I know”
“You don’t know shit”
“I know its today”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” replied, guarded.
“You do Hannah. You might not talk about it, but you know. I know its today. You know its today” taking Hannah’s hand, Justin said softly “Caysyn will watch him for you. You needn’t worry about him”.
Hannah jerked her hand away from Juntin’s and said slowly, quietly “You don’t know shit. Now GO AWAY”.
“Fine”
“Good”
Justin began to walk back in the direction they had come. Hannah watching him go, shouted after him “I’m not scared of him, Justin. He loved me. I don’t have to be scared”
“Of course not” Justin threw over his shoulder at her.
Hannah watched him be swallowed by the crowd.
“I’m not” Hannah whispered to his back “I don’t”.





Monday, December 25, 2006

He loved her. He’d never stopped loving her. All through the dark days of the trial and beyond. Even now. Especially now.
He had written to her almost every day, and those letters were now in a brown cardboard filing box on the dry grass in front of him. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. No. Not in winter. The greener grass was inside the prison grounds, fertilised, watered daily. But the green grass of the prison was bittersweet. Look, but don't expect to touch.
No, O’Toole preferred this dead clump under his cardboard box in front of the prison bus stop. The grass of free men. Crispy and dry, but give it some water an watch it come back to life.
He thought about giving her the letters, but realised that he probably never would. What would she think of them anyway? Some of them were sad and desperate and hardly spoke of the happiness of love. They’d betray the madness that he’d felt. The isolation. The anger. He never wanted her to know his anger.
O’Toole looked up as he heard a vehicle approaching. It was the bus. It drew to a halt at the kerb in front of the bus shelter and the doors slid open. The visitors for the day filed off. Women, children, men. Old. Young. Black, white, brown. Lawyers, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, wives, friends. For a small few it was a daily ritual, and O’Toole recognised a few faces.
No one looked at his face as they alighted. A few had stared at him as the bus had pulled in, but now he was the invisible man. So this is how it would be. At least there was no media.
Where was the media?
His release would have been shown on the scheduled media release for that week. There had been a storm of media presence at his incarceration eighteen months ago. Where were they now? Could he simply be yesterday’s news?
O’Toole boarded the bus, carrying the box in front of him, with his backpack slung over his shoulder. The driver gave him a brief look of appraisal as O’Toole fished for his wallet. His first purchase in eighteen months was a bus ticket to the city. Making his way down the aisle of the bus, he chose the seat nearest the centre doors, one that faced the aisle. Sitting down, he dropped the box in front of himself, between his feet and kept the backpack on his lap. He may have only spent eighteen months on the inside, but he’d learnt to keep his things close very early on in the piece.
The bus pulled away from the kerb and O’Toole swayed briefly with the momentum. Suddenly he was very tired. He still had a dull headache. Once again he found himself feeling his head where the chip had gone in and the stubble of his hair.
His next purchase would be a hat.