Skip navigation.
Write - Share - Read - Respond

Omnitrex Tech Part 5

kelson.philo's picture

Part 5: heading to work, a flashback beckons.
Link to part 1

Paul heaved a sigh as he stepped next to the apartment’s doorway. “You can do this” he breathed out loud. “Easy stuff just open the door and go.” He felt the weight of the trex and realized that his hands didn’t want to touch it to the door pad.

Finally, he shut his mind off as much as he could and bum-rushed pad and door, just moving, not thinking and was plunged into a river of humanity hundreds of people walking at a pace reserved for marathon maniacs all jiving and bursting at the seems to their own beats, provided by their trex’s. He was in a capillary of his apartment complex, an off-shoot filled with a hundred folk that then converged upon an even larger hallway containing thousands. The tubeways were round with biocap lights stripped along their tops and corrugated pastel plastic sides that would lead off to other capillaries.

You could instantly spot someone who had let some script or another go lax and was no longer available to their service database…they weren’t the ones bouncing along with a spring in their step. There were so many people all moving in one direction, out of the complex, out of the über-hive from all kinds of levels and on to their day-to-day grindages. At six foot three, Paul was tall enough to see some hint of pattern in the flow of flesh, the faster ones instinctively grouped towards his left and the slower ones formed eddy pools as they waited for faster ones to hurry through exit ports of the vast tubeway. Woe to the folk that got caught in the middle of the eddies, they were trapped for minutes and minutes meant lost cred and lost inwykbwyk points, all a lesson of course to keep your cred line in the black

Once, when Paul was a child, he saw someone who looked old enough to be retired (though he did not know it yet) just stop trying to break free of one of the eddy currents. He was at the center of its swirling mass and he just stopped and sat down, an unthinkable social faux pas, the people around him tried to push back away from the crazy old coot and found that they couldn’t, the pressure of humanity was too tight and panic started to rumble through the crowd. It was over almost as soon as it began, however. People were starting to gawk, turning their trex’s in their hands and pointing them towards the manic scene in an attempt to do a multi cast of this strange old man through the bursting crowd, a look of serene stubbornness on his face. There’d be a hot time on the old feed tube tonight!

Something was forming out of the ceiling. It looked like a bioplastic bot, like what was in Paul’s parent’s alcove but more complex. It threatened to drip on the floor but never quite separated itself, instead it started to bead up around the old man, more and more of the stuff coming out of the ceiling. THIS broke the ancient’s reverie and he started to fuss and fidget, tied to escape the red plastic molasses but he couldn’t while this was going on the connecting strand of goo that fell from the ceiling was getting thicker, and from it’s middle party balloons started to form and the mass started to vibrate, then hum and then produce some sort of fanfare, like a marching theme.

Suddenly the mass of humanity was in a festive mood, as was Paul and the old man stopped fidgeting and starting waving to the crowd with a smile on his ace. Members of the crowd waved back and all at once the old man and all the plastic and balloons were pulled upwards exceedingly fast, disappearing into the spot the goo had originally formed in. The bustling multitudes cheered and went about their way.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Great organic descriptions of the capillaries. Couple questions..what are inwykbwyk points?Just curious. Also, the last scene with the goo, it didn't come across clearly for me. Maybe a little more about what happened. here is what i got from it:

the goo is some sort of problem remover for the cappilaries, I think it has some kind of drug in it that makes the offender feel good. The crowds were relieved that this strange event had been resolved, hence their jubilance. as for the baloons, i dont know

good work..-alpha

kelson.philo's picture

hahahha...thanks! yah, it

hahahha...thanks! yah, it needs some fleshing out. there's this whole bio-esque-ness to Paul's environs...yer right, the goo is a problem remover, i want it to come across as a kind of carnival affair. "see! look, kiddies! nothin's wrong, no, not at all! ol'man henderson is just going on vacation."

i want to build a sense up that not only are people's lives being overtly controlled by trex tech and what not, but also subtly controlled as well. when you look at a trex, you feel serene and calm (i might have put that in part 4, i'll have to check), why is that? is it simply a matter of good design? could the goo, in fact, radiate this sereness as well, as a form of crowd control?

as to the inwykbwyk points, more on that will be forth coming when paul gets to work. i just wanted to put it out there so you're keyed into wondering about them before the final explanation is revealed. they aren't exactly whuffie, i'll say that much. they're more sinister in nature. they'll also probably get a name change as "in-wick-bwik" is rather hard to say, no? right now, it's staying that to remind me of their function.

good old Whuffie

sinister whuffie. nice...the whole scene reminds me a little of THX-1138, just more colorful...

kelson.philo's picture

ha! yes, i'm going to try

ha! yes, i'm going to try and avoid the clausterphobia in thx-1138, same with the dysopia factors in 1984 and brave new world...from our eyes i want it to seem, "yeah, i wouldn't want to live there," but also i want to impart a sense as to why the masses aren't revolting against it, either. Slavery as a choice, kind of thing. Or sumpthin'...


perhaps slavery through art, technology, psychology,etc, all the great inventions of human history. Kind of like people getting hit by cars because they are listening to ipods instead of being aware of what is happening around them (it happens). Or im off the mark.....

kelson.philo's picture

oh, not at all. that's

oh, not at all. that's certainly one aspect of it. i think that innovation unbound is a rather dangerous thing because you have to stop and think what kind of impact has resulted and, people being people, what kind of exploitation might arrise from that.

the ipod, in and of itself, is not an 'evil' thing. having to use itunes as the only way to program the ipod (unless yer really savvy) is, imho, evil. drm that cripples machines (for example, Texas vs. Sony) is evil.

Any sort of meter that is put on a piece of tech, no matter how insignificant, is a method of keeping the status quo, of keeping a have and have-not society.

Its always been that way...

I started writing a "comment-dissertation" on technology, humans, and the role that information plays in the fragmentation and stratification of blah,blah,blah. i deleted it. Short answer: knowledge is not inherently evil, how its used, and by whom, and for what reason is what makes the outcomes unsatisfactory. Noticing it before its a widespread phenomena is also an important thing to think about.....

kelson.philo's picture

hahaha...yah, it has always

hahaha...yah, it has always been this way, at least within recorded history. Is it an inherent trait of civilization? There's an interview with Doctorow [i need to find the link] where he talks of this ancient axe he bought. It's 200k years old. The dealer he bought it from said that there was little difference between an axe from 300k years ago and 100k and 200k years. So, for all this time, the tech didn't change. It was pure survival mode.

then civilization starts up, and people start imagining different modes of existence and eventually invent the concept of the future. the why's are prolly for another thread, but the general point i'd like to make is that we now have enough hindsight catalogued to realize that there are certain behaviors designed to keep some people under others. We also have an advanced enough inventory of artifacts to realize that it doesn't have to be haves and have-nots anymore, but out of some kind of social inertia, we keep going with the old mode because it's what we know.

sf is a good medium for noticing widespread, poorly used phenomena.

sometimes it falls short, of course. Golden Age sf didn't predict transistorized computing and the resulting miniaturization, for instance. That too, though, is prolly for a different thread.

hmmm..I want a ancient battleaxe

So really, the whole of human civilization is SF. Asimov said (paraphrase) that Science Fiction allows us to see what might happen, and also what we don't want to happen. He wrote it differently, but thats the gist of it. So really, its a question of noticing the phenomena for what it is....

kelson.philo's picture

ha! yes. i suppose you

ha! yes. i suppose you could say that. from the very get go, we've been sf all along. hm...

Found that link for you

It's from Doctorow's interview with RU Sirius a few weeks ago.

I'm not sure how far into the podcast the quote is, but it's a great interview worth listening to anyway.

kelson.philo's picture


Appreciate the hookup, Richard. Overclocked is on the list of books that need to be read....the nice thing about CD is that his stuff is so easily available...


I agree. Overclocked is a great collection. I heard most of the stories on his podcast, but now I'm enjoying them in print too.