Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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39 Just another paranoid fantasy
    Probably because of things like World War II, the Cold War, the Watergate breakin, and J. Edgar Hoover, I woke up dreaming about how hard it is to escape government surveillance, in a less than perfect world.  I don't need to escape government surveillance (for the most part) but what if...  What if, after another series of terrorist attacks, everyone was required to carry identity chips that get scanned at regular places around the town?  What if cell phones or credit cards already have those kind of chips?  What if the cameras monitoring red lights are also scanning license plates or chips and feeding them into real time data bases?  We probably don't have that now, but how far away might that be?  What way can you travel without the government knowing where you started and stopped?  --Not planes, trains, or buses, which all require identification.  That leaves walking and bicycles, since the license plates on motor vehicles at least identify the owners.  As traffic and other surveillance cameras become more pervasive, even walking and bicycling are traceable activities.
    In the last two days I rewatched Star Wars III, where Plan 66 involved  killing all the Jedi.  I also saw Tea with Mussolini, where the Jews get gathered up in Italy.   So in my dream, I saw the ACLU lawyers getting arrested first, and the rest of us too busy watching entertainment to notice.  After all it's only bad people who get arrested...  Like the McCarthy hearings, you could get off if you named names.  Mothballed Army and Air Force bases became the new internment camps, with residents' laptops and cell phones only allowing incoming communications, which were all monitored.
    My dream didn't bother to explain what it was the people purportedly did to deserve this...  Clearly we don't deserve this in a free nation, but the bureaucratic response to pain is to spread it around...  When our post office got vandalized, they cut back hours severely, affecting all the patrons...  Random acts of violence are easy to respond to (inappropriately), and impossible to prevent.

Report from Adjuster MN4237:
Klein bottle explosion at Gateway to Anyspace, M54
Insured by Kroft
When arriving in System M54, I hopped short so as to perceive the visual scene as it happened in real time.  As is typical of Chumerch invasions, the local inhabitants (humans) were fleeing the world as quickly as possible.
This particular human settlement used Klein bottles to transport the humans and their possessions to Anyspace gateways, which were located in every city on the planet.  These Klein bottles are 4 dimensional constructs of a 3 dimensional closed form which is simultaneously inside and outside (sorry, the concept is beyond my computing ability).  Due to the leakiness of its design in 3 dimensions, a graphene bag is added to secure the contents against
anything short of an O-bomb explosion. This Klein bottle design has been insured by our company without incident for the last 1400 sklargs.
    I perceived the normal panicked conversion of buildings, humans, and other property into the black spheroid shapes of the Klein bottles, which then lifted and filed towards the nearest gateway.  But at Gateway E-17 (also insured by Kroft) there was a flash of light and the terminal was destroyed.  Following the explosion 1.2 million Klein bottles, waiting to exit that gate, were forced to attempt exit at more distant gateways, and  most failed to
exit before arrival of the Chumerch.  (Although these bottles were also insured by Kroft, our liability is limited, due to being an Act of Glomsh)
    As is standard in the case of those who are present at the arrival of the Chumerch, all remnant Klein bottles were taken aboard as reactor fodder.
    I am also aboard the Chumerch ship, and they agree to release me after the customary bribe is paid.  The captain assures me a credit towards their own Kroft insurance policy will be acceptable.     When I perceived the explosion in real time, I captured the Tau signature of the Klein bottle that
exploded, and will append that insurance ID so that next of kin can be compensated.  I will also include the spectral reading so that our research department can determine the exact cause of the blast.  I recommend waiting until the lab results before making payout.

Here is  the Chumerch opinion of the incident as an addendum:
“The power bottles are stored in our reaction hold, Captain.”
“Pick up the moon of this planet for propellant mass, and we will be on our way to the next human outpost…”
“Your desire is our goal in life, oh Captain.”
“Any word on the cause of that explosion, Lieutenant?”
“It could only have been something with the force of an O--bomb, which is slightly troubling, but it would take a
million O…”  
Transmission ended.

Home office:
Memo: do not pay on the M54 gateway explosion--act of war.  Also send an adjuster to the Chumerch Accumulator
in the same sector.

Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
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Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
6. The old
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
Lost in the City

What's in
a name?
The Curse of
Bently Manor
Shortbottom Possessed
The Lost
of Iraq
Phil Steen
for President!
Phil Steen
for Rehab
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
The Quest
for meaning
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
How I spent
my summer
I am
trapped in
the Present
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death