Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 3.

I had no idea what Jason was doing in there, and quite frankly I didn't care. That was his part of the fiddle. I was concerned about what was happening where I was. I buzzed Drake to find out if he was cool. He said he was, but I was sure something was wrong. I was about to buzz Dante when I caught a glimpse of something very odd. It was as though something had moved the air aside to make space for itself, although I couldn't see what it was.
And then it clicked. Those damn invisimacs! They were really just very high tech camouflage, taking multiple 3D images of the wearers surroundings and projecting them from the surface of the fabric, which was a nanofibre polymer. They were only available to the police, so was sure we were in trouble. I said one word into my com and started walking sedately to where I'd spotted the anomaly and kept walking.
"Gotcha!" The cop yelled, bursting out of his invisible clothing and wrestling me to the ground. I could easily have incapacitated him but chose not to. They had nothing on me. On any of us. I just hoped the others had scarpered and not tried to finish the job, as there were certainly more cops around than this one that had accosted me.
He hauled me to my feet. He really was full of vim and vigour this one, frisking me and confiscating my com like he had any right to. I patiently let him finish.
"Excuse me officer, but why are you doing this?"
"We had a pretty reliable source tell us you were plotting some shenanigans, so we came to catch you at it."
He was more eager than he was smart. He hadn't even thought to call for back up. What would've happened in the event of me beating the crap out of him, I wondered. Thankfully someone higher up was thinking along the same lines and came striding up, pushing me into a police car without a word.
"This isn't right" I said.
"Neither are you" he replied.
Touché, I thought.
The police station was abuzz with activity. Robot secretaries whizzed around taking dictations, displaying images on their screens and printing documents from their stomachs.Policemen and women interviewed criminals, shoved them up against walls, screamed at them, tried anything to intimidate them into spouting all their evil deeds. I wasn't moved. There was no case against me and I knew it. It was just a question of me keeping a cool head and answering the questions as they came. I looked up and saw Mr. Blake. He walked towards me and frisked me.
"Hey I've already been..."
I fell silent as he pulled a button out of my pocket. A cheap satellite transmitter. So that's how they'd found me. They still didn't have anything, I just had to explain why I spent half an hour hanging around the Bureau of Statistics. I kept a straight face while I thought furiously.
Blake pulled out a copy of my National Statistics file from the time he'd come to my apartment, and downloaded the most recent version from the Bureau files. I had to suppress a smile. Did he really think we were that stupid. The changes, if Jason had successfully made them, wouldn't reflect until the day we transferred our Statistics to our homelands. The increment would happen between the deletion of the files here and the creation of new files wherever it was we were going. It would be very hard to spot. I had to hand it to him, Jason was an absolute genius.
I left my thoughts to look up at the frustration on Blake's face. I could see he knew I was guilty of something, but he had nothing to accuse me of, except maybe loitering, and there weren't any signs around the Bureau of Statistics to make that a valid offence. According to the law he could arrest any citizen on a whim, but had to have a valid and reasonable accusation to hold anyone prisoner. He wanted to question me, but he'd been beaten. He was a good sport though, he didn't make a fuss, didn't ask me any futile questions, in fact, he said just what I would have if I were him..
"I'll be watching you Ethelbert" he said, stupidly thinking I'd give him the small pleasure of letting him think he could get to me. I had the upper hand, no matter how guilty I was.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 2.

Mr Blake left fifteen minutes later, after reeling out all the property I wasn’t supposed to have under the Unitary Dividend Caste System. He left without any solid evidence against me anyway.
I hopped in the ride and cut a tortuous winding path to my rendezvous with Dante. It was a cute little bistro in the heart of the central business district of Lagos. Dante was waiting for me, her lips pursed and arms akimbo.
“You’re late.” She said. “Again.”
“Yes Dante but it’s not as easy to sweet talk the QSA as it is to get to you.”
“The Queers?! Are you sure you still wanna do tonight?”
“Sure. It was just some sop called Blake.”
“Blake? Not Elijah Blake?”
“No, this one was called Silas.”
“That’s still bad. He’s Elijah’s son. Don’t you remember Elijah Blake, the square that took over from Nuhu Ribadu as head of the International Anti-Corruption Force?”
“Yeah yeah,” I said, trying to be flippant. “Well he didn’t get anything on me. Where are Drake and Jay?”
“Probably on their third bottles by now. Let’s go in.”
Damilola Rafferty Kentebe preferred to be called Drake. He was the strong silent type. Too strong, in my opinion. But silence is good in this game. Jason Johnson Coker had long feminine fingers that could operate a computer in exactly one ninth the time it’d take a regular guy. And Dante knew something about absolutely everything except her real name. She’d shown up amnesiac on my doorstep two years ago and since then had spent all her time learning about anything and everything. She was just Dante though, the only person apart from me I could trust. And she was 5’ 7”, and sexy in that weird way that only girls that aren’t drop dead gorgeous are – not absolutely stunning, but you’d always take a second look.
We headed out for the Bureau of Statistics. There was only ever one guard on duty. Dante got out of the hover car and walked past him. He ogled her and got a sleeping dart in his neck for his trouble. I tend to be surprised at people who use guns. All you get is a murder trial or an attempted murder trial, and since all guns are linked to their owners UDCS accounts, you get caught. You can’t avoid getting caught with a gun, so why use one?
“How long will he be out?” Drake asked.
“Five hours plus a monstrous headache,” I told him.
Drake stripped the guard and donned his uniform. He looked almost respectable. I told him so.
Drake took one end of the building, and I went to the other. That left Dante and Jay free to go into the building. We’d thought out this little fiddle a few weeks ago. Jay said he could crack any code in existence, so we decided to test him. He’d cracked the Unitary Dividend Caste System remotely in an hour and a half, so we thought we’d do a bit of book keeping, or cooking if you’d prefer.
We were all in our final year at Livermore, except Dante, who worked in some kind of lab on the outskirts of town. We’d decided to change the figures in our accounts exactly a week after graduation. We’d be rich, and since we’d all be expected to return to our homelands, our new identities wouldn’t be traced as long as we left this town. Dante would come with me of course.
Jay was in, fiddling with whatever it is them computer people fiddle with, and Dante was making sure he felt secure doing it. She was a great learner; she could take in information faster than it could be dished out. She wasn’t in school, but she was the reason my grades had been holding up so well. So learning martial arts had been no problem at all for her, and she was a champion. So yes, Jay felt secure in the knowledge that Dante could take anything short of a riot squad.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 1.

“Hey baby.”
“Oh hi Dante. What’s happening?”
“Nothing much. I’m bored. Are you coming to see me tonight?”
“Sure thing girl. And I’m bringing something special.”
“Oooh. I can hardly wait. See you. Bye.”
“Love you.”
“Love you too.”
As I put the phone down the doorbell rang. I walked over to the Sector. The life futuristic is a good thing. The sector is one of those things you just can’t do without nowadays, a voice and touch activated remote control to every part of the house. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I was a bit rattled. When I saw the thin smile on the smooth shaven face, the close cropped hair and very smart suit, I just knew it couldn’t be good. I flipped a switch and all my appliances were hidden from sight. My apartment looked like a regular student’s hostel with sparse furnishing and much clutter. Third year was not an easy task. I flipped another switch and the QSA (the government called them Quality and Standards Assessors, we called them Queer Snitching Assholes) could see me.
“Tosoye George?” he asked. I grunted.
“Tosoye Ethelbert George?” I winced at the middle name.
“Yeah, what do you want?”
“Oh just a routine check citizen.” I winced again at the term, but I let him in anyway. He frisked me.
“Hey hey hey,” I yelled “you ain’t harassing me in my own home man!”
“Very nice home if I may say.”
I shrugged.
“Rather too nice, really.”
“Whaddya mean, too nice?” I wanted this guy out of my flat asap.
“Well you’re classified as a DC3 student (DC stands for dividend caste, by the way). You shouldn’t be able to afford a single resident’s flat. You should be in a six man apartment.”
“Is that why you’re checking me up?” I actually laughed while I told him a friend of mine who lived with his parents let me stay in his place. He frowned, so I offered to call my friend up.
“We know all about your friend. We also know you drive an H8M3 Overcraft. You couldn’t in eight years save up that much money. Your basic allowance only covers for public student’s transport.”
“Look,” I said, finally ticking over. “I honestly don’t have time for this. I’m meeting my girlfriend at eight, and I need to get spruced up.” I was really starting to hate this guy.
Silas Blake. That was the name on his lapel pin. I wished he would just leave. He just stood there watching me, the epitome of patience. I sighed and began to answer him.
“Okay see, I got the ride from my friend’s dad. He promised me one if I got direct admission into university. Then he told me to wait a couple years to see if my grades would hold up. They did, so first thing this year he called me and gave me the codes to my spunky new craft. Is that enough for you?”

A Curious Tale... a preamble

I started this a while back on FaceBook, then the pressures of life made me stop... While I wasn't writing, I realised that what I'd written was effectively a sub-plot of another story I'd had in mind for a while, so now I'm writing that story, and trying to write it out in full... So I'll delete everything on FaceBook and essentially craft a new story, with those chapters coming in somewhere... As before, everything except what's already been written is off the top of my head, and I'll try to come back and write a bit more everyday. If you like it spread the word...