The Bottleneck Years by H. E. Taylor - Chapter 17

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor
Chapter 16 Table of Contents Chapter 18

Chapter 17

Microbugs, Sept. 25, 2055

A couple of ConSec guys appeared and we climbed back into the paddywagon for the ride home. We didn't talk.

As I entered the kitchen, I was enveloped in a wave of unreality. It all seemed so fantastic. How are you supposed to feel when you are plucked out of your daily life, threatened, spun in the air, examined and then plunked back down to carry on? Olivia and I sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee.

"Can I see it?" She held her hand out. When I gave her Carman's signaller, Olivia got up and put it in the freezer. She gave me a coy look. "I'm going to have a shower. Care to join me?"

Who could pass up an invitation like that? We were soap from ass to tea kettle when Olivia whispered in my ear. "Microbugs."

Suddenly I understood what she was doing. The running water would wash some of the bugs away and we might be able to talk with the background noise. Microbugs were smaller than the human eye could see and some of them used optical processing so they couldn't be detected electronically. Carman or Carman's computers would be watching us continuously and there wasn't anything we could do about it.

I began to get angry. It wasn't right. I stepped out of the shower half covered in soap and yelled, "You hear me Carman?! I don't care what you hear, what you see. I am not doing anything wrong and I refuse to be cowed by you and your spying eyes!"

Olivia laughed at me. "Oh you silly boy."

"I don't care if they watch me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

"They won't watch us. They just have their computers monitor us for dangerous tendencies, certain phrases."

"I still don't care. I am an honest man. I have nothing to hide and I refuse to be intimidated. If they are going to condemn me, it might as well be for who I really am."

"You are a fool. A magnificent fool."

I turned around and kissed her. Things got more interesting after that.

 


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information see:
A Gentle Introduction.

Last modified December 4, 2012

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Yo HET- Saw your reply to my comment in Chapter 16.

I've done a decent amount of unpublished writing, and it appears we both discovered microbugs independently. I call mine "tracking dust" and first envisioned them (or "it" as the case may be, a linguistic convention also shared with lice;-) in high school in the late 1970s. I even have a brand name for them/it, which I'll not post here so as to not cross-link between here and elsewhere (compartmentalization protects against identity theft).

In my write-up about tracking dust, travelers to a liberated zone used "air showers" to remove it/them, and when the concentration of the particles dropped below critical mass, their mesh network broke so they couldn't communicate with their controllers (you're welcome to use that "critical mass / mesh network" concept if you choose, preferably with attribution somewhere).

I'd be interested to carry on a longer conversation via email where more can be said than in public. My public email address is attached to this comment so you can probably see it.

BTW, extra credit for hinting at sex without getting graphic about it. Too much writing these days depends on sex & violence for audience engagement, and "leaving nothing to the imagination" lets the imagination-muscles get weak. Sticking with subtlety brings out the ability of the readers to detect emotional and plot nuances.

Re microdust
There was a report a couple years ago of an Israeli propfessor who
had implemented ... I think he called it a fog. I'm not claiming
originality for the idea.
In a couple chapters you'll see what ConSec does to decontaminate.
The novel is already written by the way. I'm only making minor
changes now.
Coby handles the blog. I don't see email addresses.