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Monday, June 23, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 39: Our Glorious Nation

Drill now, drill everywhere… and we’ll all have magic ponies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Our Glorious Nation

Bunch of lying so-and-sos. The grid never collapsed, the junta shut it down! I caught up with someone I know who works at the power company, and he gave me the scoop. He was on one of the trucks that went around shutting off power; a junta person rode with them and told them they were trying to reduce the load. He told me (constantly looking around and keeping his voice down) that he thought something was fishy, but couldn’t figure out what and didn’t want to be the first to speak up. Of course, Humpty Gridly was a little harder to put back together, and power is still flakier than usual (even for summer). That had been one of the rumors from Sammy, but it’s tough to pull facts out of all the noise at the moment. It’s hard to maintain a healthy level of outrage in this climate — but I don’t have to worry about boring you with the news… because a lot of you only get the junta’s side.

Between official pronouncements and what I’ve heard from Sammy, I think I’ve pieced together the story of the coup: Congress was out of session for the summer, and the President is (still) in Nigeria, where he was trying to negotiate some kind of treaty between the government and MEND (among others). A bunch of the hard-cores got their guns and made their way to Washington, knocked out power, blocked traffic in a couple of strategic areas, then stormed the White House and the Capitol. They then called the Joint Chiefs, and promised to “uphold the Constitution.” The military stood down, and that was pretty much it, until Pacifica (now calling itself The USA) seceded. When New England (much closer) and New York attempted to follow suit, things got dicey and the junta pulled the plug on just about everything to keep the rest of the country from hearing about it and getting any ideas. Presumably, they’re trying to take down the closer half of the rebel alliance (I’ve always wanted to say that) first. Most of the world hasn’t recognized the junta as the legitimate American government. Meanwhile, the President is arranging to leave Nigeria without getting intercepted by a junta goon squad, and will end up (God willing) in Pacifica before long.

But people need to eat, drink, and stay cool this time of year, so the junta couldn’t keep things shut down for more than a few days without starting riots. At least the “last mile” stuff for cable and DSL has been upgraded to run on batteries for large parts of the day, and they’ve always had backup power at the other end. So once some juice started flowing again, the net was back on line… and Sammy was ready. Supposedly, Russian or Romanian crackers (some of whom might be old enough to remember Soviet-era news controls) have been deploying their assets to bypass our new dictators. Suddenly, there are plenty of anonymizing relays out there, gateways to a shadow Net, easy to find and use. It’s how I’m getting this posted now. A little slow, but it works and might keep me out of trouble.

For their part, the junta is finding enemies everywhere, and a few are actually not imaginary. The biggest technology and media companies are on the west coast — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Hollywood — and the sheer numbers of zombie Dozeboxes around the country could be considered a fifth column. Some of the news orgs in Pacifica have started releasing a daily news capsule as a 10-minute podcast; they compress it hard so it downloads quickly and you can use them with any music player. One group out of San Fran have picked up on the “Sammy” thing, mixing news and entertainment but keeping the primary focus on the news.

Speaking of which, Shotgun Sam has ended up in an interesting bind. So much of his show depended on callers to fill time and provide a sounding board. He’s a dutiful junta mouthpiece, but after the second show last week he had to stop taking callers — even people who would otherwise support the junta want to know if (for example) about heating assistance for the winter, fuel deliveries, and so on… and getting agitated when he can’t give them a straight answer. I really don’t think he knows the answers. So he’s gone from a one-hour talk show to twenty minutes (maybe) of junta-approved news with a little opinion on the side, and he obviously isn’t enjoying himself.

Life at FAR Manor mostly goes on as usual. The kids were worried about things, probably picking up vibes from the adults, but we’ve all settled back into our normal routines. There's the garden to work, berries to pick, firewood to gather, and off to the creek in the evening. Guillermo and I have constructed a little hidey-hole, just in case it’s needed, but other than that we haven’t done much about the situation. Nobody knows whether school will start in September now or not, so we’re working up our own home-school curriculum. Biochemistry, writing (Maria handles the Spanish end of that, and I’m trying to learn enough Spanish to deal), math, all ought to keep them busy. Serena is catching up to the other kids with her Spanish, and they’ve created a sort of Spanglish to speak among themselves. Mrs. Fetched didn’t like that, but it might come in handy with the current situation as it is.

Most of the “99 percent’ers” have been invited to convene as a rump Congress. I got a laugh out of that, because “rump” in that sense means “an unimportant remnant.” Indeed. The news said that congressional elections will still be held this November, but I (and Sammy) suspect that the only candidates on the ballot will be junta-approved. For all the bad-mouthing they do at Iran, they act just like the mullahs.



  1. Hiya FAR.

    You make it sound so real, but who knows, it might be more real than we think.

    I was wondering during this installment what's happening to DD out in Pacifica.

    As always, I'm looking forward to the next installment.

  2. Thanks, FM. We'll be hearing from DD on occasion.

  3. I was hoping that you would have us NYers secede with the New Englanders, but no you had to keep us in it. ;-)

    Of course, I don't doubt that the Junta, or whatever the real world version would be called, wouldn't allow such a thing. It continues to have the ring of truth, Far.

  4. Hey Boran, New York *did* join New England. But that just makes New York the front line instead of the New England states....

  5. But you didn't let us NYers and New Englanders form Atlantica. ;-)

  6. Sorry, B2. Things might develop though! You gonna lead the resistance?

  7. Blog reading is different for everyone, and I apologize for letting my own habits get in the way, but ...

    something I think would be great is one post with all the episodes in top to bottom order.

    Blogs and Blogger make this difficult, I know. It would probably require cutting and pasting them all, but that brings up formatting problems.

    Keep up the great work!

    (somebody you know but will remain anonymous at this time)

  8. Hi Anon-buddy. No problem, that's a good suggestion — I've often thought about the same thing. The closest I've been able to do (so far) is provide a link to Episode 1 in the sidebar, then links to the next episode from there.

    Perhaps when I finish, I'll copy the episodes to a dedicated blog in reverse order.

  9. Hey Far-man,
    After reading alot of the other "real" scary stuff on the net, I swing on over to catch up on Future. Got a crystal ball cookin' above the comp, right?
    You're a scary dude Far.
    Keep it comin' an' thanks for the read.

  10. If you are going to start another blog for that purpose, I recommend Wordpress. They make it much easier (to do anything).

    Try starting an account (it's free, just like blogger) - so you can reserve your name.

    I know, I've been doing both for years.

    The way to do it on Blogger is to make one post which is just a list of links to all the permalinks of the different chapters.

    Then put a link to that post at the top of your right-hand column - as your book - "tales From FAR Manor."



  11. Hi Ceph! Thanks for the thumbs-up. Not a lot I can say in response, but they help more than y'all know. I might have given up once or twice if I didn't know there were people hoping to see what happens next.

    JR, good to see you post over here. A friend of mine recently moved her blog from TypoPad over to WordPress & is much happier with it. She gave me guest blogging privs, so I've already set up an account on WP. I'll give it a shot when I have time (I've touched on busy-ness at your place). Good suggestion with the page of links — I might give that a shot when I finish it up (so I don't have yet another page to update).


Comments are welcome, and they don't have to be complimentary. I delete spam on sight, but that's pretty much it for moderation. Long off-topic rants or unconstructive flamage are also candidates for deletion but I haven’t seen any of that so far.

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