Where am I?

Devil’s Canyon: No Signs of Sabotage

Independent security company Kaspersky say they have found no evidence of hacking or cyber interference involved in the recent plant failure at Diablo Canyon.

Critics have used the report to suggest the government created the excuse of sabotage to deflect attention from the reduction in maintenance that has led to this disaster.

With his duffel on his shoulder he pushed against the currents of shift change swarming out of the canteen.

‘Hey, Hux,’ a guy in his squad called out, Haddad. ‘Where’d you go?’

‘I had to report to the command office.’

‘You dropped a place. You okay? Is everything okay?’

‘Yeah, I’m fine, just have to head back to the city for a couple weeks.’

‘Fun times?’

‘No. Dead uncle.’

‘Shweesh, sorry mate.’

‘Don’t worry about it. Have you seen Rachel?’

Haddad frowned. ‘She went straight out the back.’ He nodded to the curtains. ‘Watch out for that stuff, Hux.’

I always liked that guy a lot. I wish we’d seen more of each other.

Thomas got away with a comradely hand clasp and took off through the back curtains to the darkness behind. His eyes quickened to the dim red light that kept being blocked out by Rachel’s spinning figure. Red, black, red, black. The curly haired woman pulled her clothes open and danced around the sprawl of droppers writhing on the ground.

‘Rachel,’ Tom called out. She continued to dance so he stepped closer and shouted louder. ‘Rachel! I need to talk to you.’

She didn’t hear him and spun out of reach. He waited for her to circle back and took her arm. ‘Rachel!’

‘Oihhhh heeyyyyy.’ She threw her arms around him and slurped his lips.

‘Rachel, stop it. I’m heading out tonight. I wanted to say goodbye.’

‘Heeeyyyy yoouu,’ she enjoyed saying and began tugging at his belt while shoving her other hand between his shirt buttons. She pressed her skin to his and licked down his neck.

‘Stop,’ he insisted, pushing her hands away. ‘Rachel, can you even hear me?’ Her hands answered, pushing and pulsing, tongue flicking out like a killbot he’d once encountered.

‘Okay.’ He sighed. ‘I’m being sent home. I don’t want to go but I have no choice.’ He pushed her back and her hands found her own skin and began squeezing and clutching.

‘I guess I’ll try calling you later.’

Rachel didn’t notice as he left.

On the bus he saw very little on the way home. The roads were entirely walled in, so only the high rooftops and skyrisers behind. He only knew where he was from the dot that was him moving along the map in his Queue.

Shreet on the Defensive

Northern California Govenor and Commune leader Annabelle Shreet speaks out against turning techonology ‘into something evil’.

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In response to a backlash around the world against technology-assisted governance, the new Governor gave a reminder at the Berkeley graduation ceremony about the benefits technology and science have brought to living conditions.

“Commune, like other AI’s around the world is helping to solve the crisis we face. Our civilisation has grown on the scaffold of technology, we cannot remove it now, or go backwards, without sacrificing all that we have gained.”

Tom woke to the news on loud. ‘Separatist groups in Spain have . . .’

The unit was set up according to Jack’s paranoia, that is, nothing was smart, nothing was programmed or connected to a computer. He was going to have to figure out how the place was wired up to fix it. Somewhere, under one of the piles of propaganda was a manual timer that flicked on the radio news.

He sat up, swirled a gulp of water around his mouth from the glass beside the sofa bed, grabbed his tablet and hid in the bathroom, locking the door behind him, out of habit.

The newsreader’s voice chased him down the corridor, ‘. . . creating perimeters of nano bacteria to protect against incursion. Security advisor for the European Union, Stefan Grolsch made this statement . . .’

The stream of words faded as he stepped into the bathroom, and slid the door shut, muffling the sounds of the radio. 

Tom filled the sink, turned off the tap, took a deep breath and sank his head until his ears were covered and screamed into the water.

Meltdown Refugees Flee Canyon

Satellite photos show residents on both sides of Diablo Canyon are moving in droves to get away from the area as dust storms threaten to spread radiation.

He remembered this bathroom – locking himself in to avoid his parents’ funeral service. Patrick begging him to come out, then Jack forcing the door open and dragging him out. The door jam was still splintered from that.

Now it was the first bathroom Tom didn’t have to share with anyone. Even though he couldn’t sit straight on the toilet without his knees jamming against the wall, and the shower was so close it made the seat wet, he could sit at peace for as long as he wanted. So he sat and watched little flies tiptoeing over an old toothbrush, hearing the last argument they’d had in his head.

‘You’re a fucking idiot.’

‘Thanks Jack, your support has always meant a lot.’

‘I’m not going to support you being a fucking idiot. You’ll stay right here.’

‘I don’t think so. You can’t stop me.’

‘True. I can’t. I can’t stop anyone being a fucking idiot. You’re just like you’re mother!’ Jack slammed the door as he left the unit.

Farmers employ extermination bots to cull feral pigs

They are relentless killing machines who never tire. Exterminators have saved our county.’

The toothbrush, this innocuous object made him think more softly about Jack; Jack as a fellow human. Tom panned around for the other trappings of existence his uncle had left behind; toothpaste tube, aged soap cakes, a razor. Hair and stains on the tiles.

Is that all that’s left of him? Once I get rid of the ashes.

The unit was small, in an old office building rezoned and retrofitted for apartments. One bedroom with a bathroom that adjoined a front room that had the television wall and where Tom and Patrick had to sleep, a kitchenette and balcony big enough for one person to stand.

It was hard to see these rooms without Jack. Every day his uncle would switch on the same morning show and almost immediately start shouting along with Roland Fitz — a former sports star who had graduated to a dispenser of unfiltered opinions.

‘If our politicians weren’t so damned incompetent we’d be in a very different position.’

‘Those bloody pollies!’

‘It’s all China. The US is split and we either get on board the red wagon or take the scraps. Australia deserves better than scraps.’

‘I’m sick of it!’

‘It’s a disaster. Anyone calling this an energy “plan” is a joker.’

‘Too right, Fitz!’

The toothbrush, this innocuous object made him think more softly about Jack; Jack as a fellow human. Tom panned around for the other trappings of existence his uncle had left behind; toothpaste tube, aged soap cakes, a razor. Hair and stains on the tiles.

Is that all that’s left of him? Once I get rid of the ashes.

The unit was small, in an old office building rezoned and retrofitted for apartments. One bedroom with a bathroom that adjoined a front room that had the television wall and where Tom and Patrick had to sleep, a kitchenette and balcony big enough for one person to stand.

It was hard to see these rooms without Jack. Every day his uncle would switch on the same morning show and almost immediately start shouting along with Roland Fitz — a former sports star who had graduated to a dispenser of unfiltered opinions.

‘If our politicians weren’t so damned incompetent we’d be in a very different position.’

‘Those bloody pollies!’

‘It’s all China. The US is split and we either get on board the red wagon or take the scraps. Australia deserves better than scraps.’

‘I’m sick of it!’

‘It’s a disaster. Anyone calling this an energy “plan” is a joker.’

‘Too right, Fitz!’

Mounting tensions between Soviet bloc and China

China raises northern military blockade.