Poetry-Thing Thursday: Forever To A Sigh

The creature is emerging
from its long respite.
The creature it is waking,
having slumbered a long night.

And now with daylight,
a goal in its sight,
it will labor,
until the job is done right.

An hour.
a day.
A whole month of May.
It matters not,
so long as it,
has its way.

It had a vision,
spawned of a fevered dream,
to coerce reality,
restitch its seam.

Whether it does or nigh,
depends on the creature;
its lasting high.
For fevered dreams are brutal–
can build forever to a sigh.

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VIN 4- Tech Darkness

People aren’t simple.

Teaching this idea is one of society’s greatest mistakes. Failing to recognize it as the horrendous inaccuracy it is, reinforces the divide between individuals.

Consider two people, alike in every way as individuals, but separated by economic extremes. In essence, the Dickenzian love-story between aristocrat and peasant.

This sort of societal block stifles growth of the whole by limiting the potential for aberration or mutation. Not only in the gene pool, but ideologically as well. These processes, wholly interlinked with social evolution, act like a wrench in fine-tuned gear-work in face of these blocks.

This is an admittedly rare and misleading example, but it illustrates the sort of manipulation possible in certain societies– such as that found in Tale of Two Cities. In other words, Revolutionary-era France.

The difference now is the oversight of the peasant-turned iron-fisted leadership; it is total. Through the medium of technology. Technology is enlightening and fulfilling, satisfying on many levels depending on its use.

But at its core, it is a thing of indifference, not virtue. Therefore, its virtue is a product of its use.

What it is used for currently, is insidious. Advertising, social engineering, unrightful surveillance, unlawful collection of said evidence. All of it has invaded every facet of life, demanding conformity.

But ultimately, the technology is just a tool. Its abusers, their failure to recognize their very existence as fault, is the problem. The end-user, in other words.

Technology is a child we are slowly but surely grooming for darkness.

We have helped it create shadow-industries. Introduced it to opportunistic-profiteers. Used it to tie nooses and binds around necks and wrists. And in little more than a quarter century, we’ve multiplied its collective power to do so by twice our civilization’s otherwise-collective power put together.

Then, awed by or own creation, we allowed forces outside our collective sphere of morality to guide it.

Just remember that when you’re hearing someone complain about shitty internet speeds or the latest fuckabout by cumcras’t. More importantly, remind them too.

Short Story: Great Harmony, Great Harm

The question that comes up most often is, “what did the corps want with all that power?”

Firstly, they didn’t want anything. This misunderstanding was partly their own fault and design; an effect of juvenile and prematurely formed P-R departments. Sub-entities incapable of seeing the larger one they were part of, its emergent sentience.

But then, if they’d seen that, they’d never have fallen. So, would the same problems have existed anyhow? Likely not.

While the corporations didn’t survive the fall, their seed remains scattered.

Incorporation was an idea never existent before its take-over. Many things had tried to reach for it, notably religion, but like the world that came after them, corporations were an evolution of those first-reachers. Rather than being copies or counterparts, they were an intermediate form of one of Humanity’s collective, special endeavors.

Like the Moon Landing and the Space-Age,Corporations were merely taxonomic delineations of Human transitions. This one, post-human; postdigital. Not because humans or digital things no longer existed, but because they would now always exist.

Such transitions were the evolution of Human society. Pre-corp history was ancient, no matter how recent. Simply because it was history without technology, its principles and ideals, its ubiquity.

A culture, or entity, unable to cope with its environment, dies.This is the basis of all theories of adaptation and evolution.Corporations took over by riding that evolutionary wave and thinking they could control it.

Really, they were deluded opportunists.

That was the Corps’ greatest mistake. Even to the end, they didn’t realize what they were. Even less, the damage they were doing to the order of things with their refusals to evolve or die.

Irony is, corporations evolved from a place of need. Like that of government and law, their niche was theirs and theirs alone, could never be met otherwise. They could forever be lords of their lands without care or worry for the world outside.

But only in their lands. Nowhere else.

Obviously, that didn’t last. Internal competition brought out teeth. Corps gored one another’s throats, spilling blood-money into their water and wine and making them thirsty for more. It wasn’t long before Corps were rabidly dividing the land, conniving and double-dealing for anything, everything.

A panic-scramble for ground spilled to the rest of the world as simple panic. Corporations had become either too big or too small. There was no middle ground. Some collapsed. Others became scavengers, cannibalizing their fallen brethren for survival.

The latter lasted.

Trying to fill every niche at once, and mostly failing, revealed the true systemic corruption within them; greed. In such a volume as to rival that of original sin. Humans had been greed-mad, yes, but postdigital humans were capable of such immense effect, affect– their corporations moreso– that each was capable of total effect in their own fields, contexts.

In other words, a single human could have the power of many– and vice versa, and thus each human could now alter the course of human history if they so desired. The only unknown was scale. Corporations made any scale possible.

They were prosperity and security beyond competition, or survival, or even primal need-fulfillment.

Corporations had resources on every level; in astounding numbers. They could build, test, and perfect ideas in fractions of normal time. They could perfect rockets to Mars before government papers were even seen. What else could be expected of elderly systems and organizations based on pre-digital-age mentalities.

Like Humans, Corporations were multi-cellular organisms. They simply weren’t sentient. Yet.

They were one creature, formed of groups of smaller ones, working together to ensure the whole acted in protection of itself. Governments, like corporations after them, operated this way. Their methods of action were justice, law, order. Corporations knew, and indeed cared only for, money.

If corporations had been satisfied with their place or their guiding Humans not so foolish, they’d have laid claim wherever money could be found and settled in for eternity. Ultimately, it was their playground. Wherever, however, so long as it was money, Corporations could handle it.

But the didn’t. Instead, they began to diversify into politics, security, law; places they had no business in but their money could buy just as well as anywhere else.

If things had gone any differently, they would have remained benign enough to coexist with the postdigital world.It was their aggressive manifestation of greed, impotent outside their own deserved grievances, that condemned them.

The possibility of niche breakout was the corporations’ first exit to evolution, however self-guided. Rather than approach it like sentient, self-aware organisms, they tore past, swallowing what they could and smiting the rest. The individual organisms therein, rather than recall the whole’s greater priority, aimed purely for personal gain.

Nothing unusual, but the way they did it was the problem.

These cells saw the inherent flexibility in their system, their environment; that any cell could take over any work. Then began to strive for the top, for purely monetary gain. That interchangeability of components was an idea formed first in mass production.

To corporations though, it was the people running and maintaining the system– its employees, that were the interchangeable parts.

In the end, all that mattered for a corporation was that its parts ran. After all, that was how the money was made, the resources stockpiled. Even the engine through which the money was made was interchangeable. Its context, through-put, was part of the immense robustness of the system as well, because it was really a framework.

As a chassis is the frame work for a car, any car, a Corporation could do anything. Not because it wanted to, but because it was designed to, engineered to. Corporations were the culmination of millennia of social organization, collapse, and restructuring of society through unguided chaos.

Like those ramshackle, sheet metal systems of law, government, you-name-it, they were meant for easier repair after falling down in the storm. Their parts were only ever phased-out. Not replaced. Above all, they were never meant to weather the storm.

Storms were part of the environment. Humans had grown to recognize that now. Thus, it required preparation and collective strength, will, resources. Re-enter Corps, their greed, until their very purpose was so corrupted nothing of them could be allowed to remain.

Perhaps, if left to time to evolve, become re-prioritized, and adaptedto a new purpose fitting its structure they could have functioned again. In effect; the same garment, different label effect of copy-paste, inherit and sale Corps themselves pioneered.

However, while most corp-people, or cells, recognized this as the point conscious or not, corp loyalty did exist, could be used. Tribal mentality could still wholly manipulate people. It was an effective means of re-orienting, but it was not to be used lightly.

Even before Corporations took that precious grounding-rod of control from the people, their chances of survival were shrinking, as a result of Corp mistakes. History had shown only a small, conscious fraction was needed to corrupt the whole, and gut-instinct alerted humanity it was happening then.

Namely, through mediumof personal greed. Chiefly, by those aforementioned level-jumpers.

In effect a small group had, and were, utterly corrupting the very fabric of Human living simply by trying to corrupt their own, conceptual reality. One was a byproduct of the other, certainly, but neither were acceptable or health for the system, those affected by it.

Theft of concepts was nothing knew. It had long been happening: since the thefts of pagan culture and beyond. The corruption was never whole. Never glaring. It was by degrees. Parasites putting themselves near their host-brain to control its actions.

In other words, their meaningless titles came to mean more than they were willing to accept for the required ratios of risk/worth, win/loss, 0 or 1. Instead of bowing out, they put the weight and squeeze on the rest of the system for their mistakes. This was untenable.

The first Japanese corporations understood this reality. Their culture so perfectly fitted the corporate way, it was a wonder they weren’t its inventors. While that honor remained the West’s, the Japanese were the first and foremost to embrace it.

And why not? The Japanese do-or-do-not absolutism more or less defined corporate existence. It was the manifestation of Eastern culture. Its duality of yin and yang.

Following the aftermath of World War II, and the inherent, flexible modularity of the corporation, it was no wonder the Japanese clung to it– it was hand-tailored to their mental-build on mass-production scales. Ones they’d never seen before because no-one had, but that they needed because of post-war Japan’s desperation.

Any extraneous, cultural details lost in the fitting of one system (society) to other were the eventual consequences of change and prosperity. Necessary sacrifices. Accepted as the price of adaptation and survival. Just as Japanese surrender was a consequence of fighting and losing.

The need to rebuild following retaliation was cause and effect; a system. One fitting perfectly to a rigid, logical culture built from inherently identical, core principles. Though devoid of emotion, it spoke to these humans’ psyche using the same, fundamental methods as learning not to touch fire. It simply did so through the medium of technology.

Technology’s inherent modularity, its reliance on systems therein, simplified all systems to the fewest components necessary to function. It was required for achieving maximum effect and permeability, as per its more or less intended design; ubiquity.

In a changing society increasingly composed of ones and zeroes, and comprehending the scale of their task, the Japanese saw the simplicity of corporations’ dominance as manifestation of not just everything natural, but also logical.That dominance, simplified, was Input=Output.

Likewise, its Yin came of age as digital in all but culture and maturity. Eventually the harbinger of war, it was then too late for any amends. The Yang was long corrupted by greed. Western first, true, but greed.

The difference between Japanese corporate (Zaibatsu) culture and Corporate culture, was the first encompassing the second as a means of functioning. They were separate entities, but no less layered atop one another. Corporate culture was a thing unto itself, designed to appear similar, but too closed and small a system for any of structural redundancies.

The second existed to mimic the first and line its constituent parts’ pockets, so far as they believed. Really, the first was required because of instability in their particular environment; finance.

Japanese culture functioned well with Corporations. So-called Zaibatsus required willingness to accept responsibility, but Vietnam showed western culture vehement feared responsibility. More than that, they’d found they could live without it, however uncomfortably.

Japan’s utter lack of counter-culture during the Western excess of the last half of the 20th century was evidence of a major, social reformation in thought. The entirety of Japan’s culture had been shamed for generations to come for opportunistic greed. At some level, all of them knew that.

None would defy it for generations.

Zaibatsus doubly ensured Corps came to form with the manifestations of Asian, cultural history. Japanese ones in particular were evident in their design and structure. Who better to care for structural redundancy than those so recently and personally reminded of its dire importance?

Japanese cultural evolution was no-one else’s. Not then. And when the time did finally come to emulate it, the message was lost in translation. It came encrypted in silly game shows and absurdist humor; Sensible Chuckles of the post-modern post-war world echoing outward.

In the end, Japan was fertile ground for the Corporations; its people their gentle tenders.The Japanese had wanted it that way. Somehow. Collectively. In time, they helped cultivate it in gratitude for the chance to redeem themselves, however small.

Therein, they cemented their redemption as one of grace and poise despite history. They wished to show how redemption should be done when the sword was no longer an option. Rather than burning the world down, to spite it, as corporations tried too, Zaibatsus attempted prosperity for all involved.

A legacy well worthy of the care provided to it.

Even the loose culture Zaibatsu employees could have been said to form was only such tangentially. The system of culture itself was now modular too, accepting of the full-range of Human effect. Including deep shame, so long as it were aired properly.

Humanity’s dregs of course, took this as a personal challenge, humbling only themselves before the might of time and stone. There, they were eventually forced to rest, for benefit of one and all, themselves through it.

The following admission and correction of mistakes,when made, became the basis of all of life’s continually observed purpose.

Had life not needed observation before, the Japanese might never have seen the benefits it provided. Perhaps, had Zaibatsu Corporatism caught on, corporations would still exist. Perhaps, some day, they will return; evolved and therein immune to greed and people willing to embrace them as the Japanese once did.

So long as the system’s constituent parts remain vulnerable to greed however, it remains removed from civilization’s grasp-at-will tools. A surgeon does not carry a mallet for work of his pay-grade. Thus unneeded tools can be set aside for more viable ones.

Avoiding that mass of potential, its corruption, was the point. Whether aimed toward great harmony or great harm, they could not be allowed. That was the point of the revolution. Not the power the corps had or had not. It was about taking the loaded gun from the child’s hand, keeping it safe until they knew its purpose– and only ever with hope they never need use it.

That was the revolution’s purpose, and the corporation’s downfall; restoring Humanity, its control, to Humans.

Hard Lessons: Part 13

13.

Complex Problems

Crystal smeared anti-ID paint across her face as she monitored the vids for the signal. Her weapon harnesses and belt-pouches clasped with industrial clacks. She tested the fit of her clothes, re-laced her boots; she’d have only seconds, would need them all. She checked the baby Deagle at her side, flipped the safety off, just in case.

Titus reported in, “’round the corner.”

Crystal watched a figure in high-end silks enter from one side of her digital surveillance net. She turned for the door, HUD superimposing the vid-feeds on a corner of her vision. It tracked Saito, shifting cameras as recog-software cycled angles along his passage of the buildings.

Crystal slipped from the rear of the building and into the shadows amid the downpour. Rain puddled on the porous jungle of concrete, reflecting the gray behind the blare of countless, incandescent street lights. Water rebounded off sheet metal, ricocheted into the distant gurgle of street-drains suckling rainwater. Their gullet’s resonance said it they did so as dutifully as failing infrastructure could; as the prideful, final remnants of a near-ruined system might, when emblematic of the depth of its own flaws.

Dim, GPS blips tracked Titus and Saito across her HUD. The information was further resolved on the screens before her. Titus remained in place. Saito moved laterally, toward the edge of the building where his palm-pad was hidden. Beside it, the alleyway concealed the entrance to his vault as the alley outside Angela’s apartment concealed her garage.

Saito’s blip gave only the slightest moment of hesitation. Crystal watched him on the PiP-feed: He glanced over his shoulder, around. In only a beat more than usual, he continued for the side of the building, his hidden panel. He rounded a corner and disappeared behind a series of columns and overhangs.

“Go,” Crystal instructed.

Titus sped past like a shadowed freight-train. Cameras tracked him, their recog scrambled by his face-paint. He doubled his pace on the PiP view. Saito hesitated again.

“Wait!” She commanded.

Titus stopped a step before the edge of the building that would expose him to Saito, the alley, and blow the job. He back-stepped quickly, doing his best to look nonchalant despite the exposure he felt. Crystal watched Saito rubberneck the alley, then put a hand on the wall. A section of alley-floor sank into darkness, revealing only the slightest hint of stairs in the edge of its scant light.

Saito was moving again. Titus was ready. He struck with precision; the sniper’s distant bullet, there and gone for one purpose. He flashed through from obscurity and into the alley. In two steps he’d bridged half the distance. The mark stopped mid-step. He’d had just enough time to squint through the rain at his assailant.

Titus struck. Saito was down, dazed. Titus reeled back a fist. Then, Saito was out.

Crystal was too busy running to watch. She sprinted over puddles, never splashing ground, silent. The street became alley, the alley, stairwell. A moment later, groaning, mechanized hydraulics re-sealed the hatch and she found herself in the dark.

“I’m in.”

Titus strained against Saito’s unconscious weight as he carried him to their hiding spot. Crystal crossed from stairs to floor. Lights flared on in the walls, forcing her to blink against suddenly-wet eyes. Her HUD engaged her new software, readjusted the contrast. She blinked out the last of her confusion and took in her surroundings:

The staircase had deposited itself in an unceremonious foyer. One of necessity rather than form. Walls of light, as in Angela’s garage, confirmed the shared architect. The design, as much for function as form, equally complimented the post-digital-age aesthetic. A style further evident in its extra-wide, utilitarian corridor running the length of its high-strength vault.

From the layout above and below, Crystal judged the vault-proper as just below the near-edge of the warehouse. The design of Angela’s home and garage said the vault was likely built up beneath the warehouse-floor, kept as innocuous cover easily investigated.

That was a popular theme in the shadows; the sleight of hand that kept one looking in the warehouse for wrong-doing, not the property above or below it that was equally there and open to construction. It was an obvious relic of a Pre-3D age. One where the idea of everything came from notions built on paper.

Paper was flat. 2 sided. Or at least, only 3 sided after exceptions or manipulation.

The post-digital-era was different. People weren’t flat anymore. They had depth too; had gone beyond the X and Y planes to the Z, even the T. 1 and 0 was old news because it had done so much more already. It was a symbol, sure, but an old one. One that wasn’t right for the times.

She started down the long corridor. Immediately drawn right, into a dead-end occupied on either side of a smaller hallway.

To the right, safety-glass walls sectioned and protected computer panels controlling various, connected hardware, no doubt monitoring and linking the vault’s various systems. In addition, large breaker panels and high-voltage symbols and cabling led in, spliced from the nearby grid-work that fed the warehouse

None of that was technically illegal, but it wasn’t exactly board-approved building code either. Clearly Saito wasn’t entirely above using old connections, despite the game he supposedly wasn’t part of. Their job aside, Crystal could already tell this guy was headed the way of his old boss if he wasn’t careful.

Judging by immaculately organized patch-panels, network switches, and other routing tech more was freshly interconnected here than procurable outside his former-network. She knew what network it was, because it fed her and Titus too.

Crystal focused left, on the immensely-thick vault-door half-protruding from the wall.

The door was decidedly intimidating. More than that, it was disheartening. Vaults doors couldn’t be picked or tooled. Most couldn’t even be blown open. They had to be plasma-cut or utterly removed. Neither was an option here

Unless they contained a small key-panel to the side; a standard panel for a non-standard door. One Crystal couldn’t help but smile at.

She stepped over, producing a small, cordless drill, and started working out hex head bolts. The internall-suppression mechanisms, some self-modified, withdrew the bolts in utter silence. The panel of number-letter keys and LCD readouts came free.

She fished through the internal wiring, feeling for the connectors. A wrench and a twist freed a pair of wires from a conduit, spliced them. A spark, a whiff of burnt insulator, and the grinding clicks of a few thousand pounds of meshing gears and bolts fell open.

Then, a prolonged hiss as the door eased open within its extra-wide corridor.

Crystal never ceased to be amazed at how few whom relied on digital technology actually understood it. Whether the highest-grade, state of the art containment facility, or the lowliest car-door lock, it relied on and required one thing to work; power.

Thus, power was also its greatest weakness and vulnerability.

Crystal couldn’t help but think of what Titus had said about vulnerabilities. In context, people whom didn’t understand such basic principles of digital security were incapable of planning for its exposure. Most electronic-locks had the fail-safe of a latch lift-able in the event of a power failure. Thus, the idea was to never lose the power in the first place.

State of the art facilities with billion dollar security systems compensated for this with multiple redundancies, complimentary fail-safes to prevent total system-loss. From their own, private police forces to their own power-plants, there were back ups to the systems.

All the same, Crystal guaranteed one or more vulnerabilities existed. Even in the most powerful systems, there was some weakness to exploit. What made her job difficult were the redundancies, the layers and overlap.

All of it though, required power. If it couldn’t be cut, that meant peeling back layers until getting to the target. As mentioned, it made her job difficult.

What made her job hilarious, almost pathetically easy, was ignorant fools putting a half-mil door on a vault they never bothered to reinforce digitally or electrically. It was its own weak-link in the chain of security.

The door stood open before her. Were she not so certain of Saito’s own foolishness, she might’ve hesitated. Fortunately, the door told her all she needed to know. No matter what more lay inside, protecting the vault and its various charges, something would betray them.

“I’m in,” she said, HUD scanning for anything suspicions.

It found nothing but clear ground.

Titus’ drugs would keep Saito out for hours, but he couldn’t risk him becoming lucid. Worse, if something happened to him, Curie might hesitate with him in the future. Their relationship required knowing exactly when and where to strike, how to compliment each other therein, for the best collective effect. It wasn’t always a Grand-slam, but it was never a miss outside their control.

Meaning, mostly fielders like Crystal assigned to jobs, fucked up.

Those were the requirements of a Fixer-Middler relationship; trust and loyalty. Curie was the M to his Bond, or near enough to be indistinguishable. Shaking the foundation meant shattering the usefulness of that partnership. It would happen eventually, if they lived that long– always a question in their line, but until then it couldn’t happen.

Neither side was prepared to weather it.

“You’re looking for a workstation. Concealed. Its drives.”

Crystal stared down rows of sleek, metal cabinets, counters, and drawers. Each was locked with a number-print bypass. Nothing beyond her skill, but the room looked to be half as wide and long as the warehouse above.

“Anything more?”

“No.”

“Titus, this place is fucking enormous.”

There was a long, deliberate quiet. Crystal was left utterly alone, just beyond the intimidating vault-door. She’d never wanted to run from a job so thoroughly. Something about the looming walls, the cold sterility of the vault; the sudden silence and aloneness. She felt trapped, imprisoned.

Something clicked. She suddenly understood the vault.

Rounding the door and heading out along the short hallway for another, her steps and HUD scanning. Lines of invisible code flickered like particle collisions in an accelerator inside her brain, processing for traps, lasers, trip-wires, pressure-plates, anything that might signal something.

There was nothing but white-light paneled walls, ceilings, and tiled floors.

Her steps remained cautious regardless; if she’d learned anything, it was that the more benign something felt, the more benign it was. Call it intuition; simple human sensory-logic, but if a room felt unused, it was.

Vaults had that feeling as a rule, most times. They were seldom used, but always contained the lingering presence of humanity. A distant, decayed hint of cologne, perfume; the last, infinite echo of a footstep; the hint of minor, animal warmth long since cooled.

That was what comprised reality. What gave an old house its musk. An old leather its feel. In simplest terms, it was life’s effect on a thing.

But Saito’s vault wasn’t merely empty. It was sterile. It didn’t reverberate. It didn’t smell. It didn’t echo. It didn’t linger or breathe. It was dead. Or rather, had never lived. It was just one more redundancy in a 2D system turned 3D. That’s how she knew it.

She found herself at the end of the hall, still awaiting Titus’ reply and knowing why he’d been silent. He didn’t want her getting dependent on him. They’d had sex. The relationship had changed. They hadn’t. She snapped back to her senses, alone but recomposed.

She found it then, another door. Expertly concealed to a human eye seeing a 2D plane, her HUD spotted it instantly. The wall panel rose imperceptibly but outside digital tolerance, decidedly out of place to the software in her HUD. In its adherence to remain innocuous, it sacrificed any further, external security.

Were the room beyond it not 3D, unlike the unliving, unbreathing vault, it might gone unnoticed. Even had the HUD missed it, Crystal knew she’d have sensed it eventually. Ultimately, this saved time. She looked about the door and scanned for any hidden method of entry. She slid her hands along its edges. They suddenly hissed, came loose, and slid into the wall to reveal the small, glass-walled entryway inside.

“Found something. Lab-like.”

“Worth a shot,” he said, tapping Saito’s phone as he squatted beside his unconscious body.

Crystal pushed forward through an inner glass door that sealed behind her. Decon fans spun-up and whirled gaseous air. She tensed up, too focused on the room beyond to notice. The sterile white made more sense now.

What didn’t was the thing lying in pieces on a steel table across the room.

The door to the lab-proper opened on something crossing an OR mid-surgery with a tech-workshop. The steel table, like a gurney, contained one-half a vaguely-human thing. It wasn’t, of course. Too much of it was open, exposed to the air; too much mechanical, robotic, to be human. All the same, Crystal couldn’t contain herself.

Jesus Christ,She breathed, eyeing the craftsmanship of the micro-joints beneath a hand. “It’s like Blade Runner in here.”

“Cee, stay focused,” he instructed. “The drive.”

Crystal swallowed, giving the creation one last, awe-inspiring look before turning for a nearby table and a computer there. Contrary to Titus’ expectations, it was not concealed. Even further contrary to Crystal’s expectations, it was also not protected in any way worthy of what likely resided within.

With a quick, few applications of her cordless driver and deft fingers, she worked the small SSDs from the computer and server cases and pocketed them. After one, last look of eerie sorority at the half-assembled creature, she hurried out and toward the stairs.

She started up, triggering an automated protocol that opened the staircase again. Top-side, Titus was stuffing Saito into his driver-less Continental, its scenic-route re-programmed. He shut the door, and it started away for the other side of town. Between that and the drugs, they’d have more than enough time to pack up and get out before anything was discovered.

The pair started through the rain to pack-up their hideaway together.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: How Indiscreet

Bluebirds do not sing,
but rather squawk
in early spring,
when separate from the flock.

How like them we are,
even if we don’t notice.
How high they’ve set the bar,
and how high we are above this.

To say we are not animals,
is to gravely miss the point,
for all of us become irrationals,
when we, with blood, anoint.

Whether sentient or intelligent,
we’re bound to make mistakes.
Fly from the diligent.
Fail to apply the brakes.

Still the bluebirds do not sing,
they merely squawk,
when encircled by a ring,
of steel and domed frock.

Yet we do it ourselves,
with steel and wood, concrete
leaving our hearts on shelves,
how indiscreet.

VIN 3- Out with the Bathwater

When you call a professional to do a job. You tell them what you want. They do their best to compliment you. Ultimately, you get what you need. You will never get all you want, but you can get at least some of it, with what you need.

That is why you call a professional. Not for the labor; for the knowledge of that labor.

What some people seem to forget is that this is the very basis of economics; fulfillment at a premium. The premium itself decides the investment. Not t’other way ’round.

Incidentally, this principle is the basis of all evolution, often going by the common name of “competition.”

Competition is at the very basis of nature. The strive for finite resources is what drives evolution. Success and reproduction through environmentally-honed adaptation; AKA, Natural Selection.

In the case of a market, the selection is for those bold, innovative, intelligent, or any combination enough therein, to take proper, calculated risks. The kind with large and lasting results.

For a species whose intellect has completely removed not only itself, but other species from the natural order of things, what direction are we to take?

Humanity as we knew it, had examples. It had the Romans. Greeks. The Mongols and Ottoman, and the Crusades, and everything between, in, and around. The dark ages. Slavery. Oppression. Warfare. Genocide.

Humanity had it all, good and bad, to learn from.

Yet here we sit, post-digital children torn between human and post-human. We have no great horizons, because we have only great horizons. The problem is, those horizons can only be seen if we survive to them.

Right now, we are newborn infants in bathwater. If we are not careful with our current and succeeding generation, we will fail to thrive. Ultimately consigning ourselves to be cast out with it.

Humanity is in dangerous need of deep reflection.

Short Story: Fractured Nets

I don’t know what more can be said on the Paris Incident, but I know the Eur-Asiatic invasion was never avoidable. Sooner or later, all the Corps knew, the Great Wall would break and spill itself into the rest of the world.

Europe would always bear the brunt of it. Sooner or later, it was inevitable. There was nothing to do but steady on and hope. When the wave hit, we were either prepared enough to weather it, or prosperous enough to rebuild.

The Web 2.0 crash changed that.

What didn’t it do, really? It gave Corps more power; gave people something new to get high on; gave the builders exactly what they wanted. Most of all, people got a new reason to keep slogging through the daily grind of human existence. If only for a while.

The net-fracture was the unexpected treat helping to further cement our complacency. It kept us that much further from, as a whole, exploding into all out anarchy. The after-image showed what was really possible; what was really going on.

We couldn’t have known the extent of things then. The rebellion wasn’t public yet. There was no resistance to speak of. To us, its leaders were still pissants from a new generation of tech-heads and nerds stretching back before Lord Gates and his Microsoft billions. It was there progress had originated, had rooted through and mined all the veins it could.

Why re-tread ground in some other, only-vaguely dissimilar way, hoping for more greatness?

We, the public, were thinking of rocks when we should’ve been thinking about diamonds– the next overabundant, meaningless resource we could place arbitrary value on.

That concept was simply beyond most people though. The rest didn’t care to think on it. The true Human weakness, as a species, is its inability to recognize irony. Irony which dictates our immense capability for emotion yet forces us to live so stubbornly in one state. Humanity, that is. That same irony forces us to identify so wholly with those emotions, we refuse even the possibility of upsetting them.

Sad.

And pathetic.

If we’d paid attention even half-a-second longer than normal, we’d have seen reality crashing down on us. It didn’t require clairvoyance or precognition. Just attention. It was the same thing that had been happening. It was another merger, another monopoly, but of a context we didn’t recognize for little more than a merger then.

Web 2.0 buckled beneath the weight of its own propaganda. It was no longer a people’s gathering ground. It was a bloated creature of pus and bile cleverly disguised with warm themes and cunning language. It had many jobs, but all of them cutting; it was a masochist’s playground.

What took its place was a former dark-net, the former dark-net. The Darknet itself was merely a moniker, a name for the conglomerate of hackers and wannabes running tech gear with masking programs and no data-loggers. What no-one realized was how much more power they got when the nets fractured.

People wanting to, and working against the system, found a way to do just that. The corporations had inadvertently dug their own graves. Everyone knew it eventually, saw it for what it was, but it took time to figure out. Even longer to force the dying corps into the ground.

In simplest terms, the internet fractured from one, interconnected and ubiquitous system, to several whose interconnection was often one-way. That is to say, the light-net was accessible via the Dark-net, but not the other way ’round. The purpose was two-fold: The nature of the Darknet’s inherent security required safe-guards that barred all but the most complicated external access; while the corps wanted to ensure no-one from the light-net– or inside, got out.

The corps attempted to create digital moats around fortress-cities, more or less succeeding until Darknet users fired back through cracks in the system. The sparse revelations of the light-net’s flaws eventually led the Resistance to take hold, using such attacks only when it was most beneficial. They were sparse until the light-net responded with quietly-tightened security. By then, only the most die-hard loyalists and their confused kin, bothered using it.

The Corps’ biggest mistake will forever be stagnating, never evolving. That seems obvious in retrospect, but it wasn’t then. People didn’t see the true force of creation Corps inevitably were. Of that, they most certainly were a creation of Humanity, by any empirical standards, and represented a new entity for the cosmic field-guide.

They weren’t quite alive, but they existed. They were particularly cunning, if only by way of hive intelligence. They could defend themselves through guard-dog lawyers and corp-sec ops. Most of all, they needed sustenance to survive. For a corp, that was money.

Corps could not survive without money. They lived and consumed,able to starve to death, one lay off after another,if not careful.The corps never did learn that.

At least, not until it was far too late.

No CEO or Board of Directors saw the truth for what it was; in the eyes of the machine, no-one was meant to be immune. Execs may not have been as susceptible to predation as most of the machine’s prey, but their money could feed the beast too. The way it was meant to be– between the beast or their money, was that the beast was allowed to win or it was game-over for everyone.

That is what the Corps never learned.

So, they fell to ruin in the shambles of their own stubbornness. Board-room warriors without any, real battle-prowess had been inbred for generations. Their ilk were now men whom grew fat off luxury even when besieged. Etiquette and protocol were ignorantly bred into those unsuited for their inherited stations. Dimwits became indistinguishable from honorable workhorses, until everyone ended up covered in shit from the fan.

And all the while, smiting their underlings; tightening fists to squeeze unneeded pennies from stone, lest it fatten a competitor’s bottom-line instead. It wasn’t done so brazenly of course, but what is?It was done “for efficiency,” “freedom.”

Corporate cards became conveyors of private, digital bit-currency run by the issuing corp, and useless elsewhere. Everything was handled by their software, and on their servers. A corp no longer gave a paycheck, it totaled your life’s exchanges digitally, deciding if you were in the red or black based on various work and purchase statistics.

Then the crash came, and the nets fractured.

As prepared as we could be, the first bits of wall and water rained down almost imperceptibly. Then, the Great Wall broke. The markets and nets flooded with people clamoring for pieces. New corps, new private-companies, subsidiaries, and assets.

In time of course, the Corps simply bought everything up, called it diversifying, and settled back into the groove with the board more cluttered with their assets than before..

Until then however, the fracture was doing something much more subtle and profound; it was funneling value into a universal currency. One only growing by the moment. That, by virtue of the technology backing it, was completely untraceable. It didn’t need to be. The currency was good anywhere and could be traded for anything. The issuer and purchase system were completely moot.

What mattered was money coming and going, somehow. That it came and went, and something was exchanged for it. That currency infected the world like a computer virus downloaded and opened a billion times a day, and spreading its influence with each iteration.

The Web 2.0 crash, in its roundabout way, was the closest thing to a miracle in the modern, digital day that could exist. It was completely prompted, expected, even programmed for. Yet the forces of mutation existing through-out the universe brought upon an anomaly that more or less solved– thus-far– an eternal problem; money. Mostly, backing its value.

How? Data.

What better than data? Data was the byproduct of all things. From the smallest subatomic particle to the universe itself, everything either is data or generates it by existing because it is record-able as data. The universe is composed of such preposterous amounts of information it can never be fully obtained. It can neither lose nor accrue value, because it simply is. Data is a constant. It is a single, fertile, and ever-replenishing thing by virtue of its nature.

Its size, so immense, can never be fully envisioned. It is the horizon of our observable universe and still more. Infinitely more. Information is everything. Our linking to that information, in form, matters not; only that we link. So why not make the information’s divisions, its pieces or bits, the backing of currency?

The idea mattered more than anyone could’ve anticipated.

Bit-currency was more than just a new dollar. It was something bigger. Something universal. Stable. It could be poked and prodded– mined– whenever needed. Something that let us do our thing, shut out the bullshit long enough to make sense of what was really happening, still come away with the bills paid. We didn’t need governments or Corps fighting over whether or not they’d take our hard-earned money because one person’s dollar meant less than another’s.

And just like that, creds were out and bits were in.

The Web 2.0 Crash left us entirely outside expectations. It was the anomaly in the system. The new-age Big-Bang. The final bit of pressure that cracked a nut. It opened our eyes to our ability to collectively will a problem’s solution into place. Let’s not worry about money anymore. Let’s just know it’s there when we need it, and can earn it if we’re willing.

Bit currency did just that whether you were a thief, an architect, a corp-exec, or a wage-slave. Bits simplified everything.

And all that time, the masses were figuring that out; counter-cultured, shadow-dwelling, Resistance leaders were lining their pockets with it. For years, they’d hoarded stockpiles of information. Even when no-one else was looking, and were still thinking about e-creds and dollars and yen, they’d been hoarding and squirreling it away.

The world willed it, but they made it happen; the black-markets, the shadow people, the hackers and wannabes and forward thinkers. And they all made off with that money-trailing after them, cackling like mad as we gawked, utterly destitute and morally bankrupt from the turbulence in the former money-system.

One that, like that version of us, no longer existed.

More than anything, the power of the net’s fracture told more than we realized; that it had always been there, the fault-line. We were always warned and told to be aware of our actions, and the workings beneath us. Yet we weren’t. The fracture was the result. It’s a shame it took so much bad to develop such good, but at the very least, it’ll never happen again….

Probably.