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Omnitrex Tech Part 6

kelson.philo's picture

Part Six
Link to part 1

And Paul went about his way, avoiding eddies, shuffling just so to keep in the main flow and was soon rewarded with a burst into the openness of the Public Expanse.

Air. Light. Space. It didn’t matter that it was filled with half a million souls all trying to get out of it as soon as they entered. Walking the Expanse was the sanest part of Paul’s day-to-day ritual.

That it was a circular plot of flooring of immense size would be too simple a description. The living capillary that Paul had spilled from was one of several thousand that lined the expanse’s slightly curving border. Slightly was probably not useful enough. Almost imperceptible would be a more accurate interpretation. The capillaries spilled out into the Expanse, whose floor was of a uniform hexagonal sections of spongiform material, always putting a spring in your step whether you liked it or not. Every so often, amongst the bustling multitudes, one would come across a column of pulsating green gel, about twenty feet tall, processing carbon dioxide and other gases and turning them into fresh air. They were nice spots to sit under, when not filled with the elderly. Here and there also were raised dais’ with plastiform tables and chairs, perfect for trexing out a cup of joe and appropriate compliments. Paul wouldn’t be making use of any such luxury today. The use of a dais was charged by the minute and so such spots were available only for the wealthy among the masses.

Overhead, bubbles of plastic and heated air loomed, pixels of color and light changing their skins to various advertisements, stills and vids, spotlighting people on their way too and from work, calling them out for the multitudes to here that they, the chosen few had won a prize. No one in Paul’s family history had won an Expanse prize. The Presidential Spending Coupon burning a hole in its folder were fairly easy to come by if one had enough debt. Expanse prizes were like winning a secret lottery. The winners were always very delighted it seemed and congratulated by the swarms of happy human flesh around them before the blimps moved on to search for the next lucky winner. “I can’t wait to see what I won," would beam the Winner, and they would rush off in a flurry of expectation.

Beyond the bubble line was sky, and Daemon Joe’s prediction seemed accurate, partly cloudy, the billowing wisps of white stuff heading about to no place in particular.

“I wonder what they get charged for, that lazy pace at which they move–
A burden on the social scene, them doing nothing in the groove”

Thusly went the old nursery rhyme Paul remembered some family member teaching him. Pity the clouds, his uncle would say. They come from nowhere, they go nowhere, and no once cares about them unless they rain. And that only happens when it’s supposed to, so keep your eyes and ears focused on the ground around you. Keep moving and make that trex work for you, he would say. Did the trex, dear uncle, help you in retirement?

The expanse surrounded the Business district and was never, ever empty. Three shifts of humanity were constantly entering and exiting its massive plane, metabolizing themselves from tubeway to expanse to tubeway, the thermodynamic components of a commercial dynasty. Paul approached the edge of the business district with a sense of foreboding. The gradual swell of the buildings towards the center always left him a bit nauseated. The buildings started small, mere bumps in the plastiform floor of the expanse, kiosks of various and sundry data mining schemes and trex covers, all advertising discounted rates for those who apply within the next thirty seconds or gourmet coding shops where you could have your trex upload the latest in food and fashion savories, gameshops, casinos, adult entertainment booths of exotic scripts that one couldn’t get off the main lines. Gradually the bumps grew larger as one worked towards the center of the district, administration offices of all types and all colors blooming out of the expanse, their entryways as galas to style and sophistication. The office complex he worked at was nearby now, almost a quarter of a mile away. The crowds are thinning slightly, separating into streams that go into offices. Paul took a moment to duck out of a stream and enjoy the extra elbow room, still moving forward.

To his left he sees something big and green roaring out of his peripheral vision.

He ducks just in time. It’s a green orb with a large mouth wagging a hideously long tongue with flailing arms on its side. The beast is screaming some gibberish and disappears into a crowd-stream on his left. There’s a startling cry from the stream as the figment disappears into a fuzzy blur of disembodied laughter. Paul turns to his right and sees a kid, maybe fifteen with sandy hair laughing and pointing at him. “Got you good, mainline,” the urchin calls and, seeing Paul’s temperament coalesce into red-faced anger, takes off running and laughing in the opposite direction.

Paul gives chase and a thought occurs to him, this is perfect material for the Triple-M. Catch the kid and get him to recreate that projection. Mash it up with some track off a megahitz channel later when the deposit goes through. He checked his trex for time and space. He should have just enough free memory to pull off a thirty second vid shot and make it to work on time.

The kid was running fast, disappearing in the crowdstreams, but he was sloppy, making too much of a disturbance with the folk he collided with that Paul could see from his vantage height view. Pushing in and out of streams was hard work though, people cursing, surprised by the kid, but now were prepared to hurl insults a larger, surly adult pointing his trex in what was obviously some stunt for the feeds. The streamlines were thinning now, though, and as Paul watched the child’s progression, he made a move that was sure was going to be a short cut and catch the kid by surprise, trex at the ready. Rounding the bend, he did not notice that the floor he was running on was orange in color.
***
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Routines and disruptions

It's interesting to see the contrast here between the relentless regimentation of the Expanse, with its three shifts repeatedly following the same patterns day-after-day, and the abrupt interruptions like the prizes and the kid's projection. It seems like, after a while, the events would be the only things that make the monotony bearable, even if people found them momentarily annoying.

kelson.philo's picture

good gracious, i hope that's

good gracious, i hope that's how it's coming across. I'm trying to find the happy medium (well, not so happy, as much as it is tolerable) that would keep the citizen's of Fritz Lang's Metropolis from outright revolution and into passive acceptance of their fate.

I want a world were you don't ask too many questions because it simply doesn't occur to you to do so. People are too preoccuied with keeping themselves in the 'with it' media culture that they don't take time to see if what they're doing is a good thing or not. That's the kind of world that i find scarier than apocolyptic authoritarianism, brave new worlds and 1984 scenarios i think would eventually devolve into eloi and morlock type scenarios, while idle accptence of a mediocre existence, has the capacity to just last and last until entropy catches up with it...

Oh no, I think your point

Oh no, I think your point definitely comes through. After all, Paul does find the Expanse "the sanest part" of his day.

There's certainly a kind of comfort in routine as well, and Paul's world seems to have found many ways to encourage people to embrace it. But I think this part also gets across the fact that--just as you're saying--people are putting up with a state of affairs that's less acceptable than they tell themselves it is.

And, yeah, very scary, because it's so possible.

kelson.philo's picture

I just now decided to put

I just now decided to put 'omnitrex' into google and was completely surprised to find an entry! I assumed i made up the trex part, but obviously it must have filtered it's way around somehow.

Two links:

Link one
Link two

describing different aspects of this German built digital calculator by Bohn. Crazy! Synchronocities abound!

and so it begins....

kelson.philo + German calculators = taking over the world

kelson.philo's picture

hahahahha...well, we'll see

hahahahha...well, we'll see about that. Picking up stuff after the fact always bugs me just a little. Like, you hear about inventors who come up with the same invention and one guy just happens to get through the patent office a little faster than the other and you're thinking, what's the process that allowed these two guys in different geographic regions to come up with the same thing in the first place?

And so that thought tends to lurk in the back of my mind...Am i being a psychic sponge for somebody else's story that i just haven't gotten around to reading but is already published? It's a little silly, but I think it's as good a reason as any to be prepared...and for this instance that means reading absolutely as much as you possibly can.