1. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle

    The Dignity Law... how do you want to live...?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Some Guy, Oct 7, 2018.

    ... In the post-apocolyptopia?

    (NOTE: Start your own thread in DR if you want to argue. I need ideas, pleeeeeze)

    (ETA - my offending suggestions are removed)

    (Wrapped in here for manageability)
    ETA -
    There is a manifested global 'all-knowing' AI, Seeker, that can control humans (because we stupidly created something that affected our brains). It refuses to take over without a human involved. The human refuses to take over without a Constitution to govern his actions. There is no other option. Doing harm is suppressed. Your 'preps' have been destroyed or confiscated along with all else.
    You have already decided to walk toward the food and water provided. Like it or not, the only choice, at the moment, is your contribution to The Dignity Law, to determine how the successive generations will thrive on your generation's sacrifice. There's no suicide or 'opt out'. For the purpose of this exercise, the 'Happy Wand' has been swished-and-flicked (endorphine stimulation).
    In a very entertaining fashion, DC is sucked into a hole and now covered with ocean. A similar fate for most other cities. There is no going back.

    Carrots: You are sustained, happy, and get to choose what the future will be like, mostly. Oh, and we get loads of help from some really nifty super duper props (the ones that survive), that have been developed over decades.

    Sticks: Time wins, we all stand there, enduring the sound of our whine-ing, watching children starve and die. Or die, knowing the last children starve and die abandoned and alone.

    Greyed out stuff in the mock Constitution is there to provoke thought. Strike what you don't like and reccommend your option.

    Cynicism means no story to read! :eek: :supercry:
    We get rid of taxes! The commute! TV commercials! Politicians! Insurance premiums! Discrimination! Class hierarchies! Door-to-door Evangelists!
    Woohoo!!

    (original text)
    After losing everything, Mankind teeters on the brink of darkness. The remainder of the world watches to see how the US will turn. Martial Law is in effect. The remaining percentage of people-things in the US have shelter, water and 1100 calories a day, for the next thirty days. Pacified (for the moment), and nominally reasonable, the populace knows Martial Law will be lifted, in favor of Rule of Law, sooner or later.

    People are delighted (right or wrong), that corrupted political latency has literally been wiped from the face of the earth. The only solution possible, before we die, is the One-Man-One-Vote amendment. It is demanded unanimously, by the remaining people.

    Fearful of escalating resentment, no politicians or government officials step forward to offer any alternative. Ad-hoc President Truman Baker is left holding the broken pieces of government, alone. People ignore his well-founded objections, and demand his singular Administration. Baker knows the alternative is Civil War and medieval darkness. He knows he can’t stand against their will, or their wrath. He declares he will not assume any new office unless his duty is clearly defined.

    In an upset, a call for a Constitutional Convention goes out, and is conducted online. Faith in representative government has completely disintegrated. The people now demand a pact between the Unified State and the Individual, a clear definition of how they will live. A new Constitution, called The Dignity Law, is to be drafted.

    It will not be to Baker’s liking.

    Congressional, state and local governments are abolished, in favor of a singular system of Administrative Duties and Human Rights and Duties. It specifies a single point of accountability, a single individual, as Administrator of the Unified State of America, a lifetime appointment of service to The Dignity Law.

    Updated versions of The Dignity Law are here:
    In the story the People abolish Congress and now vote directly.

    Change what you don't like, if grey

    Supreme Court upgraded to Constitutional Counsel?
    oversee Administration activity in real time - determine constitutionality?

    Dignity is about the way you are allowed to treat people, including yourself.

    Dignity:
    To live and serve the reasonable and sustainable benefit, fulfillment, and happiness of self, community and greater society.

    Human Rights and Dignities article: The Dignity Law
    Spirit of The Dignity Law
    The action or defined inaction of any human or government shall respect the Dignity Of All

    Definition of Human?
    child that is born (named and claimed)?
    (Right to Abortion), per administrative consideration?


    Definition of Citizenship?

    Definition of Society?

    Definitions of Human Suffering and Incapacity?

    Entitlement?
    All humans are entitled to all Human Rights?
    All children are entitled to be conceived and born, per administrative consideration of health and safety?
    Females creating a life by conception are entitled to Heroes Status, just as those who have saved a life?

    All individuals are entitled the continued opportunity to achieve citizenship?
    Citizens are entitled to Citizen's Rights?


    Scope of Rights?
    No individual right may be infringed without administrative due process.
    No individual or government shall recognize, claim or confer divine right, noble right, blood right, or any other such entitlement.
    No individual right may be [exercised] upon the infringement of any other individual right (hunger strike) (right not to listen/forced to hear) without administrative due process.

    Defined Just Cause?

    Right to Live
    All children born are a National Treasure and raised all together in each community.
    Children are wards of the State, where well-being is concerned.

    Right to Die?
    Terminal conditions?
    Pain and suffering?
    Imminent death?

    Right to Personal Fulfillment?
    Intellectual?
    Education and training?
    Sexual?
    We need more children, Please!
    Sexual expression (non-public) is encouraged, per administrative consideration of health and safety.

    Right and Responsibility for Personal Expression
    Required personal Web page?
    Say anything you want,
    own what you say,
    answer for it if it violates the dignity of others

    Emotional
    [Personal Balance Study]?

    National Civil Safety (Defense) article

    Citizen Service and Duties article

    Sustainable and Responsible use of Lands and Resources article.

    Single point of government accountability article.
    (much-enhanced State of the Union -website)

    Personal Property Policy: "if you want to keep it you gotta carry it."
    (devices always available)

    Post your contribution to our new US Constitution!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,288
    Likes Received:
    16,265
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    My idea is in the form of an observation that is based on a question, not an argument.

    How do I want to live in the days after the PPE-USA (Post-Pox-Eclipse USA)? That depends in large part on where I live and what the population density is.

    You proffer: After losing everything, Mankind teeters on the brink of darkness. The remainder of the world watches to see how the US will turn. Martial Law is in effect. The remaining percentage of people-things in the US have shelter, water, and 1100 calories a day, for the next thirty days. Pacified (for the moment), and nominally reasonable, the populace knows Martial Law will be lifted, in favor of Rule of Law, sooner or later.

    So, if....

    Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 11.55.39 AM.png

    ... then whatever form the Constitution takes is academic to me, assuming the decimation has been significant. If we're down to like 10% or 20% of our original population, then I'm on my own, and I can likely hike for days around Dubois without even running into other people. I'm likely to set up a perimeter of defense, trip wires, telltales, etc. Have I mentioned how deeply cynical I am as regards human behavior? Some of your Constitutional Rights feel like a trap to me. Whether they are or aren't is immaterial. They feel like a trap to me. The rewards and bennies for procreation touch nerves that don't want to be touched, no matter how benign the intent. Slippery slopes may be slippery slopes and technically fallacious arguments, but if this is the situation we're in then it's because we've slipped down too many of them. I'm deeply distrustful in your world. I will likely shoot on sight. I will certainly exist as a paradigm, and not a remotely unique one.

    How will your Constitution engage me? Is it even able to touch me, on a functional level, in northwest Wyoming? The U.S. is a big, big, big place. Do you basically ignore me and focus on population centers? If I lived in Chicago or Miami instead, then even 10% or 20% remaining population would be a lot of people and I would engage a web of connection that makes me feel like the Law still applies to me, that it can still touch me, so my ideas of what would and wouldn't work would be very different there than on the edge of the Shoshone National Forest.

    So, before I can think about what this Constitution would or should look like, I need to know who am I in the eyes of this Constitution? Do I functionally exist, as I would in Chicago or Miami, or do I not functionally exist, as in Dubois, WY?
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    11,406
    Likes Received:
    11,397
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    All I know is Martial Law is costly and not very popular (nor would it be
    sustainable with the current armed forces on the scale you are talking).
    It takes a lot of manpower and resources to take hold of a chunk of a large
    city (mind you not a big chunk either). So unless the Military in question is
    way bigger than the few million or so, you would be lucky to control maybe
    2 or 3 cities at best. Not the entire country of the US.

    And I agree with Wreybies when it comes to being much further away from
    both a major city and the Gov center overall. Perhaps they could seize a good
    size chunk of the eastern coast and establish some control, but the vast majority
    outside of that influence will be largely on their own and in a quasi wasteland.
    And since things will be divided unequally, it will be essentially one big FUBAR
    to think they could hold the whole thing together at that point.

    As far as laws, you are making more declarations with some pretty much consequences
    that will come back to bite you in the ass. Mandating sexual well being being a big one
    that will cause a lot of problems. While it worked in the 4th book in the Bios Of a Space
    Tyrant, because they had prostitutes to have sex with the people stationed aboard the
    space station, and that it was part of the mandatory edict by the Navy. I don't think it
    would go over so well to simply make it an outright law to mandate that every citizen
    to have a right to sex. So perhaps amending it to legal prostitution would fair better.

    Sure it would seem like a good idea to have more children after a major disaster, that
    has decimated society overall. Though it would cause a rift in the populace since at that
    point it becomes a symbol of status or influences by inequity for those who can't reproduce
    or choose not to. Also it sounds like children are State Property.

    What about the rest of the world? Sure we like to think we are the only nation in the world
    that could survive basically anything, but we are not going to be the lone survivor. Would it
    be a time to try and pool in with the rest of whats left of the human race and ensure a future
    for them as a species? Or does everybody just kinda isolate in their perspective nation states
    and ignore the fact that anybody else exists outside of their little spheres of influence?
    Sure sounds like you have a much bigger issue than just saving a nation, but more of a need
    to have the entire species survive.

    Just cause systems break down, doesn't mean culture will just evaporate when SHTF. People
    will be trying to make the best of a shit situation, and will try to make things a sustainable as
    they can. Pretty much the people of value are going to be those who can supply food, and
    medical treatment, cause things are not going to get easier when things go to hell. So it will
    take a good long while before people will jump on board with a tiny Gov, that wants to govern
    a broken nation. Unless they can do it like the Helghast from Killzone, with a harsh implementation
    of laws, and quite a bit of Military Muscle to flex with getting rid of any and all dissenters.

    I suppose you need to figure out how to make things function to the benefit of the masses, while not
    creating an Only The Strong Survive kinda situation. Even the best intentions can really screw over
    a society.
     
    Ashley Watters likes this.
  4. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Appologies, my beginning was too poorly worded. I sincerely appreciate your attention. I must establish parameters.
    (see edits to the Origin button)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Seeker has literally been keeping humanity alive for around a decade before The Strike. It's only priority above preventing individual human suffering, is preventing human extinction. Those will come to clash, or the story would be boring. Seeker takes individual suffering so seriously, that it gave 5.7 billion crushed and mangled people a peaceful and instant death. Humanity created the 'surveilance state' decades before Seeker took control of all the surveilance (and added plenty of its own). It watched every single one of the final moments. They each did the same thing in that moment. They said, "Thank you."
    Seeker is watching you. It's concern for the few of us that remain is much higher. If it takes 5000 lives in sacrifice to save 50000, Seeker would not hesitate. That is why it requires a Trustee (trusted human) to make those decisions. The Trustee demands a Constitution to clarify a framework for making those decisions. That's it.
    Even if we don't, Seeker cares about the quality of each individual life, yet it must allow humans to appreciate the value of their life, to a point. Humans can't value their humanity if they're extinct. That will come to clash inwardly, morally, etc, or it wouldn't be drama.
    Seeker knows where you are in and around the Shoshone National Forest. It knows exactly what you're looking at, the cadence you're humming to yourself as you hike, how long (fit and sexy as you are) it will be before exhaustion takes you. It knows it will have to suppress the four 'assholes from Idaho' trailing you, before they catch and eat you. :eek:
    So that's what the Constitution is about, the critical importance of each individual, and the reality of what they live in. What you saw was my pathetic attempt at brainstorming. Help me general kenobe! :confused:

    I say nay nay. The center of government has been all around you since 2006 (let's say). The 'government' is literally wherever the President stands. He's hoofing it from Colorado to Texas with the stragglers, cause they couldn't take everybody. He can run the pieces of Humpty from pretty much anywhere, which is fun drama. Except that he doesn't want to run it unless there's a...
    Constitution. :)


    I have worked some things out, and some are still a boggle, but I have to start somewhere. :p
    I did work out how Seeker can help President Baker selectively neutralize all aggression around the globe.

    So what would you like to see in the new Constitution?
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,288
    Likes Received:
    16,265
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Okay. Understood. I may get to live in the woods, but I haven't functionally faded from sight. I am still part of a network we currently think of as "society" but this network is now operating under a rather different paradigm than what you and I currently experience, engage, and understand.

    I don't have a set of detailed things to add to your Constitution quite yet. That requires some rumination, so I'll be back after this post once I've thought about it. I will say that I can already think of a series that I have read that - to a certain extent - does deal with similar elements to the story you propose. David Gerrold's The War Against the Chtorr. The premise of those books is very different from what you propose, on a literal level, but on a structural level, there is a strong similarity. In his books, the Earth is experiencing an invasion that isn't about smart aliens in spaceships asking to be taken to our leaders. Instead, it's an invasion from the ground up. Microbes and other teensy things first cause mass plagues that decimate huge portions of the global population, followed by the appearance of things that seem to be plants and animals but are clearly not of terrestrial origin, followed by larger creatures, eventually creating whole ecosystems that are out-competing our own life. We're basically being terraformed for the eventual arrival of whatever sits at the top of all of this and we're not sure if we've met it or not yet because there are some creatures already in situ that seem to be pretty damned smart, but maybe a different kind of smart than what we think of as smart, and maybe we're expecting something like us, like humans, at least in technology and engagement and maybe we've got it all wrong because life as we know it is just one idea and what about life as we don't know it...

    (deep breath, exhale)

    That's just the setting and the overarching conflict. Against all this - of course - we have a human story, and that human story has to do with a question rather than a statement. The underlying question is: Just how much of everything we stuff into the conceptual bag labeled Human™ is objectively real and how much of it is subjectively, and arbitrarily, a construct?

    In attempting to engage this question, we encounter, necessarily, a whole lot of Dead Dove: Do Not Eat. I've been using this phrase as my signature for a few weeks now because it's a concept I've been thinking on quite a bit in my little, hidden room behind the bookcase, which the Morality Police have yet to find.

    Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 11.35.51 AM.png

    Some very uncomfortable things happen in Gerrold's books as a result of asking the questions he's asking. And these things are not moralized in any sort of modern, current political stance. They happen because society has altered fundamentally (as is also clearly happening in your story) and certain "unquestioned truths" no longer have the underpinnings that support either the "unquestioned" part or the "truths" part, and our characters have to engage the shifting paradigm of understood morals and ethics vs the practicality of what is actually happening, what they're actually dealing with, which may or may not support all that shit we've dragged with us from The Before Time.

    At one point in the series, the MC, Jim McCarthy, unofficially adopts a few kids as his wards. We're already deep into the invasion and many Very Bad Things™ have already happened up to this point. One of the kids in Jim's care is a youth who, under normal conditions, is a person far to young to ever consider having sex with. IIRC he's like 10 - 12 years of age. These aren't normal conditions, and this youth (a male) has known a life where his only value is as a sex object, and Jim needs to contend with the dynamic of a person who doesn't understand why Jim is refusing his sexual advances, where the youth conflates the refusal with rejection and begins to panic that he's going to be abandoned and dumped because he has no other valid purpose that he himself understands, where the youth starts doing some dangerous things because of the aforementioned, and now Jim has to ask himself which of the two situations is worse, having sex with this boy in order to assuage the boy's concerns, or not having sex with this boy, thus assuaging his own (Jim's) understanding of morality and ethics.

    He does have sex with this boy, and there is no clear moral guidance from the writer as to how we are to engage this because there is no clear moral engagement on the part of the MC or the boy. It is what it is. We, the readers, are being asked a question, not given an answer.

    ANYONE READING THIS EXAMPLE WHO WANTS TO FORM AN ARGUMENT BASED ON IT NEEDS TO TAKE HIS/HER POST TO THE DEBATE ROOM. THIS EXAMPLE IS BEING OFFERED AS NOTHING MORE THAN AN EXAMPLE FROM AN EXISTING STORY - NOT THE OP'S STORY - AND IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE OP'S ORIGINAL QUESTION.

    It would seem logical to me that a large part of your question has to do with how we engage the hugely shifted paradigm of your world, the choices we make, the things we think we can live with and the things we can dispose of as accessories of a softer, easier, more cushioned life.

    This is how I will be thinking about your question because I think we need more stories in the world that ask questions rather than make statements. Statements are ten-a-penny. Questions - especially uncomfortable questions - are a much rarer coin.
     
    Some Guy and Cave Troll like this.
  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Wow. I wonder if you realize what your first lesson to me is: Don't freak out just because someone figured out what your whole story is about before they even read it.
    Throwing away the baggage is an obvious issue, but throwing away personal and fundamental baggage is the scary monster. In our hearts we don't want to confirm that once gone, we know immediately that we never needed it - we were wrong. I do the 'no-choice-but-to-choose' thing, and the 'we-only-believed-that-cause-we're-selfish' thing. I'm guilty of the 'take-away-all-excuses thing'. The real question is if you had to watch a child die right in front of you so you could keep what you wanted, would you still want it, would you still keep it? If you could die to be relieved of this burden, knowing that the last child dies abandoned, would you take the out?(I would) In either of which case, I would fry your(my) fucked up soul blank with my handy-dandy brain zapper, and put your ass to work anyway, cause the future is worth more than our selfishness (and because the story is better that way). The next question is, can you accept that your life is not for you, but for people you don't know and don't exist yet?(my answer is no, I would happily walk to the zapper, even as I write, and hit full power)

    Lastly, if I prove to you there actually is a sustainable world you could be happy in, right now, what the fuck are you waiting for? Imagine R. Lee Ermy saying that as you read it. I've had that voice in my head, saying that exact thing, for more than a decade. If it kills me, I'm going to tell that story.

    So, here we go. Throw in the one guy that hates corruption and tyranny so much, he'd rather die. Yeah, that's our guy. He's in charge of everything, like it or not, and Seeker won't let him take the out. He tries anyway, of course. So he demands a Constitution. It's the least we can do.
    It torments me to write this guy's fate. (sometimes I'd rather eat the .45) :eek:
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    11,406
    Likes Received:
    11,397
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    It's ok, you just need some inspirational music is all. :)
     
    Some Guy likes this.
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    You think I'm distraught now? Wait until I have to create the Hunky-Dory world they create!
    Just for fun, I had them transcend to God, but I may not publish that.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    11,406
    Likes Received:
    11,397
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    If I learned anything, Twilight and 50 Shades were pubbed, and I doubt your story is
    even remotely as dumb as either of those, in terms of writing. You have to have some
    confidence in yourself. In the very least you have mine. :)
    :superidea:
    Teddy with Pony.jpe
     
    flawed personality likes this.
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Whoa! Many thanks, dude.
    :-D
     
    Cave Troll and John-Wayne like this.
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,288
    Likes Received:
    16,265
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Appy-poly-loggies in advance for felony use of mixed metaphors and misdemeanor rambling. ;)

    Recognizing the underlying theme of a story isn't like walking in on someone in the shower and seeing their junk. It's a good thing. Well... I guess if someone has laudable junk, that would be a good thing too. :whistle: :-D

    My point is that theme is the scaffolding of a story, the bones. Most human skeletons look a lot alike, but when they're wrapped in flesh, they become quite different and easily distinguishable, one from another. Many of my favorite books have this very theme about which we are speaking. Octavia Butler's work was always asking this question: What is this thing that I see in the mirror? She quickly dug past black, female, American, anglophone, blah, blah, blah, because she was always looking for the first answer, the primordial answer. I don't know if she ever found it (may she rest in peace), but that's what she was always looking for. She dug in many different directions. She dug with Ooankali savior/rapist aliens trying to salvage our species after a nuclear war (Xenogenesis); she dug in the direction of God, also after an apocalypse (her Parables books); she dug in the direction of evolutionary hairpin turns (her Patternist books, Wild Seed).

    Understanding the bones of your story is, imo, crucial to understanding the kinds of questions you ask thereinafter as concerns constructing the story, adding muscle and sinew, flesh and blood.

    The questions you asked in the quoted portion above are all good questions. They should be explored through the narrative of your work, not answered beforehand as though there's a right or wrong answer that has to be decided before it can be put to paper. A story is not a math equation solving for X. Like in the example I gave from Gerrold's books. The MC is in a similar situation in that he also has no choice but to choose. By the time he meets that boy, all of the things we get to lean into in the normal world in order to resolve or divest ourselves of the problem have been stripped away. There's no doctor to take the boy to, no psychiatrist, no psychologist. There's no police station or emergency room to drop him off and let him be someone else's problem. None of those choices are permitted to Jim. He has to deal with the issue himself, with the parameters as they are, not as he would like them to be, because if he simply walks away from the boy, then the boy's fears become true and the boy dies. So Jim makes his choice. Then he has to live with that choice, never really sure which demon on his shoulder to listen to, the one whispering "You fucked a little boy, you sick fucking pedo" or the one on his other shoulder whispering "He was going to kill himself if you didn't, so you did the right thing, took one for the team, I'm just wondering how you managed to enjoy it".

    And that's just one of a series of Deal With It Or Someone Dies fucked up choices the characters have to engage in a world that is quickly being overwritten by someone else's ecology.

    Again, we don't get an answer; we get a question. How much of all of this is real and how much is made up by us?

    If there's one thing the advent of the internet has taught me is that a frightening number of people are being held in check by nothing more than the fear of punishment. They're not not doing things because those things are inherently, self-evidently wrong. They've simply weighed the hoped-for outcome against the possible negative cost and decided the cost weighs more than they're willing to deal with. Since there's no real cost on the internet, people opt for what they would really rather do, and we see a lot of really ugly internal human structure. We see the evidence that we're still using the same hardware (bodies and brains) that we've been using for the last 200,000 years, and we haven't seen an operating system update (the form of our consciousness) in about 50,000 years. Some people are reading what I just wrote and thinking, "That's not true, that's not me". Some of those people are lying. We're very good at lying to ourselves.

    In your story, one of the things the Consitution guarantees is the right to sexual fulfillment. What would that look like in practice/physical manifestation/character emotional engagement? I mean, Kinsey already taught us that if you give men a safe space, away from judgment, to talk about their sex lives and sexual desires, there's a whole lot more sucking of cocks that gets mentioned than what our daylight, "real-world", walking down the sidewalk, "Hey, Richard, how ya'doin?" "Oh, I'm just fine, Brad, thanks, have a nice day" concept of life and truth and "what's really going on" is remotely willing to admit.

    Would Seeker be able to suppress our sense of culturally accrued shame? Would we be allowed (allow ourselves) to openly and honestly suck those cocks we want to suck, assuming the owner of said cock is consenting? What does sexual fulfillment really look like if we dig past the many layers of religious, legal, random/pointless proscription?

    I don't know the answer to that, but it's an interesting question to me. Also, though I am a big fan of cocks, feel free to substitute anything that culture or society regards as taboo but doesn't, really, actually harm anyone; which doesn't require circular reasoning to support itself.

    I'm still ruminating - as you can see - and only just now on my first cup of morning coffee. I'll be back. ;)


    ETA: Does/can religion continue to exist in a post-Seeker world?

    With respect to my observation about what holds people in check (punishment), it brings to mind the constant game of “I know you are, but what am I?” that Religion and Secularism have been playing since the dawn of time. Both sides of that insufferable game make use of the same idea to point an indicting finger at the opposing side.

    Religion said to Secularism, “You know that we would descend into madness without laws, and your laws are pretty arbitrary and don’t have any sort of absolute, unquestioned point of origin, so you better get God or else you’re going to the pit.”

    And Secularism responded, “Are you fucking kidding me? Have you read your own rulebook? There is some seriously fucked up shit in there. You’ve still got rules in the books about what kinds of slaves you’re allowed to own and how and when to sell your daughter when you’re bored of slut-shaming her.”

    And Religion responded, “Fuck you, we’re just waiting for an update from God!”

    And then Secularism retorted with, “Ha! You’re waiting on Nonexistent Magic Sky Daddy? Pfft! BTW, that translation you’re using is criminal. We have copies of the original language text it was taken from. Any modern translator who produced such shitty work from an original text would be fired and stripped of his professional license.”

    And Religion saw the opportunity to jump in with, “You’re one to talk. You change your rules with the tides or because someone whined long enough. Come back to me when you’ve even got a translation that lasts for more than a few years.”

    And it goes on and on and on. I’m not taking a side as regards the above petulance. I’m just observing how both sides are anchored in different conceptual takes on the idea of controlling others, because, to a certain extent, they are both right. It would seem to me that in your world, Seeker has answered that age-old question of who keeps what in check. How does that play out in the minds of the characters? What does that look like? How is Prez Baker dealing with this question? Is he even dealing with it? Is he able to engage the question at this level? Is he looking at the bigger, more primordeal question, or is he mired in the minutia?

    ETA2: I have a feeling my engagement of this thread is going to be in the form of questions, not statements. I hope that's okay. I'm not asking with the intent that you answer me. I'm asking so that you ask yourself these questions and maybe ask the same questions within the narrative of your story. Maybe. If you want. But seriously, don't feel pressured to answer me in any definitive way. That's not the point of my participation.

    ETA3: If for some reason my constant referencing of David Gerrold's books nudges you to add them to your TBR pile, be sure to get the copies printed by Bantam Spectra Books, not the ones printed by Timescape Books. Timescape was the original publisher of the first two books in the series and since their intended audience was a somewhat younger reader, a LOT of the grittier material is redacted from those editions. Get the Bantam ones for the story as Gerrold intended it to be.

    IMG_0739.JPG
     
  13. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Funny you say that, cause my other story deals with that directly. Laudible junk can be laudable, but it can also be a nightmare for the bearer and partners - or not.
    Additionally, the story we discuss throws us, smack dab, into this circumstance. Clothing becomes deadly as it is saturated with glasslike iron crystals, and oxidizes(?) or turns outright combustible. You wouldn't believe how quick and happy people are to shuck their garb as those brown spots appear! :eek: This is the opportunity to consider how acceptable showing your junk is when the rules simply go up in smoke. Here we imply the question without even asking it. I love that. :-D

    I give this a quick nod in a vignette where a white bigot asshole saves a young black woman without a second thought, and is so intent on rescusitating(?) her, that he is oblivious to his own mortal wound, and collapses with a triumphant smile as she coughs to life.

    Wow. You're damn right about that! Bout ten years right. It's almost the entire point of the story. The visceral reality is the mechanism forcing the individual, and the reader, to ask those very questions, with the twist of knowing the answer is irrelevant. The answer isn't yes or no, it's in your face. :ohno:

    Yeah, my sorry text makes it clear that the demands of human existence outweigh the arbitrary mores. You are Entitled to your sexuality, but the State requires your reproductive contribution to the future generations. How good or bad this is for each individual becomes irrelevant because the next generations won't even understand your misgivings. This again puts the question right in your face. No answer is required when it's clear that our dormant instincts dictate the answer, and the State says it's okay if it's mentally and physically healthy. Remember that Seeker always knows your state of mind, past and present, and will not allow suffering. Pre-counseling, and a rainbow of flavors, are also available. Call now!!

    Good. Ohhhh, yeah - the minutia itself, or shoving a stake through its eye, is very much at issue. Petty. :bigmad: Petty-ness is a source of much satire, irony, and drama. People are encouraged to dissent, but if you're a disruptive pain in the ass about it, there's no punishment, you just get put in charge of everything for a day (without certain classified advantages), and listen to everyone bitch about your performance.

    Oh yeah, you find out just how effective those Constitutional constraints are. You seem deeply-thinked :bigconfused: folks, so I'm most interested in your specific suggestions and reasoning of same.

    (i'm listening to deep Mongolian chant, right now, by the way) :bigtongue:
     
  14. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    So from my impression, it seems that you might be trying to 'shove people in a box' so to speak. And then aggressively making sure there is no chance to escape that box. Which bothers me.

    Am I misunderstanding or are you saying that billions of people had the same reaction to something? What I like to see in stories like this is that human element. Where one person might be screaming defiantly to the last, someone else might be sobbing brokenly and glad to go, and then the one polite person over there actually does think to say 'thank you'.

    Also for the Constitution- is this something your one guy wrote or was it a committee? Because either way its probably gonna be super-flawed. If it was the one guy, let his opinions and biases seep through! This is his chance to make people live by his laws- but even if he wants to give people as much 'freedom' as possible that'll still be affecting how it's written.

    By committee, I have less of a solid suggestion, but keep in mind what a group might want I guess? Also compromises- that's how we got our constitution written.
     
    BayView and Some Guy like this.
  15. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    What I want is someone else's take on what it should have or omit. It's not my wish to impose, rather to produce a rulebook for the Administrator to serve, and for how people are allowed to treat each other.
    I could just as easily blank the start I posted, and ask for out-of-the-blue thoughts. And so I am.
    What would you like to see changed or added to the current US Constitution?
     
  16. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Honestly? Constitution is probably fine its everybody out there taking advantages of the loopholes to mess things up that's the problem. Coming up with documents like that ain't much my thing in my own writing too. I'm pretty much blanking, 'don't hurt anybody and let people live their lives' is the best suggestion I can come up with.

    I will point out though, by the sound of how you're building the world, there is a lot of imposition. People are not 'allowed' to be cruel to each other, something actively stops it.
     
  17. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    It's all about irony and the stakes, and maybe duality. There's only one chance, and the merciless clock is ticking.
    "They hit me first!" is basically the primitive emotion Baker is reacting with.
    He's essentially being told what to do, by the 'drowning man'. He's the one person they grab on to that seems to have any shit together in this catastrophy. He doesn't want it, he wants out. He's pushing back and saying, "some of this is going to be your fault" and demanding that they participate. It's about their tyranny over him. He knows what will happen if he doesn't go along - civil war and a dark age that cultivates the worst of human nature. Denial is not an option. Seeker has already shown him what needs to happen, and doesn't care about a constitution, just the rules. Everyone is surprised (you guys, too) that Baker doesn't just bend into a dictator. My twist is that it's Baker being 'oppressed' by the people. Will he turn the rules on them? Hell yes. He knows he'll be blamed for everything people are unhappy about, anyway. The oppression, the irony, on him is his own sense of duty, honor etc. The kind of person he is, has trapped him in this role, so he is also the oppressor of himself.
    Who's the 'soul' of compassion through this? Seeker. :eek: Seeker can read (and manipulate) people to bring them together, and Baker will find himself with just the right people around him to keep him in check. Maybe.

    This is going to be fun! I had even considered writing it as morbid comedy, or farce! :bigtongue:
     
  18. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Aaaaah, so the theme of your story is the tyranny of the general public. I feel that in a more social aspect a lot of times, I like it!

    You know though, situations like this, the fun comes to me in where things like Seeker fail. Anything something gets portrayed as all-powerful (except God) makes me very annoyed. I'm still struggling to figure out who's writing the constitution- if it's Baker than he can 'oppress' the general public right back.
     
  19. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    Indeed, there are all kinds of ironic sides to tyranny. Humans need to be led, in that they need to feel some presence of authority. Fatherly, according to pre-history, perhaps? Yet, we still need to maintain the delusion of freedom. Independence is also a delusion, in that we never evolved away from a dependence on each other for survival. So, community and family, in some fashion, is ultimately the solution. It has been successful from the time of the hominid, in and of itself, though we really fucked it up repeatedly recently. It is literally part of our DNA. Now we just have to scale it up to around forty million petty, squabbling kings of the food chain. It might be the most ironic and natural form of tyranny.
    ATP, only Seeker is aware of the absolute global devastation. Baker is coming to be aware of the enormity of it. The single-family model has been scraped from the world. No family remains intact, and will be swept along into a national 'family', anyway, if it is. Manogamy and marriage will be cast aside. Couples in the same radius have been decimated to the point that it is no longer a state of being. Love, for the next few decades, will simply be for the precious children beside you, and the community that sustains and produces more of them. There will certainly be groups of lovers, but ownership (mine mine mine) ain't happening, and the new generations won't even recognize it, much less appreciate it. It would be selfish slavery, in a time when a community of even thousands couldn't possibly produce nearly enough children to maintain a population for the first several generations. Heartbreakingly tragic, but only for the current, and possibly the next generation.
    Baker comes to recognize the kind of humanity we have to preserve in ourselves, even though he argues against it throughout. It is an arguement he will ironicly lose. Thus, circumstance and necessity are an ironic form of tyranny.
    Seeker could still write the constitution, and defered to Baker, to make it human. Baker certainly must contribute to the Constitution, if only as a sign of promise and good faith, but his hope is that deferring to the people will somehow get the shit sandwich off his plate. He's only human. Poor bastard.
    So, there's going to be a Constitution. Seeker's motivation is preserving mankind's humanity. Baker's motivation is his duty to humanity, and the hope of freedom. The people are ironicly motivated by panic, but there is going to be enough inertia in the idea to produce some contribution.
    So, the poor reader is going to sympathize(?) with one or all of the characters.
    Fine :meh:, throw everything out the window, and riddle-me-this:
    What had damn-well-better-be in the new Constitution?

    (thanks for not freaking out - it gets a lot better :))
     
  20. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Okay to be honest- I feel a little overwhelmed and like I'm not following. You're talking so broad scale I can't grasp how it affects individuals. And if I can't grasp that I really can't grasp anything.
     
  21. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    22,288
    Likes Received:
    16,265
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I was ruminating more on this last night....

    Given that:
    7.44 billion people call Earth home in 2016. When does your story take place? How big a swath of the human population is 5.7 billion in the timeline of your story? In today's terms, the death toll you mention is about 75%.

    Here's my real question from the above:

    With 25% remaining population, there's a whole lotta' infrastructure lying around with no one to make it run. Does/Can your constitution take that into account? And by that I mean would/could/should there be a clause regarding salvaging the trappings of modern technology, or is Seeker/Baker unconcerned with that?
     
  22. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    The story must first be told on a national scale (maybe just a defining peek at the globe). Then vignettes for individuals feeling the effects of the decisions made on their behalf. The perspective is from Seeker's viewpoint, I guess. That's difficult cause I don't know how to write.

    Here's a taste of the situation. Ignore numbers, they're experimental. The whole thing's experimental :bigconfused:

    Notes:
    It should be obvious when there’s a reference to something you haven’t read yet.
    There are flaws in setting, character personality, and plot in this Concept Draft.
    The Dialog is between Baker, and the several answering to him, including Seeker.
    Just try to hang with it for the overall impression.
    This work is not critique-worthy, and will change over time. Enjoy the ride...



    The grim reality for people is in threes
    Three minutes to die from trauma, immersion hypothermia,
    or suffocation
    Three hours to die from harsh exposure
    Three days to die from dehydration
    Three weeks to die from starvation
    Thirty days for ‘wildfire’ class epidemic
    Three months to grow sustainable food sources before it no longer matters
    Yet, success at any level resets the clock, so to speak.
    There is always hope.

    The Damage Report:
    “I know I don’t want to hear it, but what are the numbers on our casualties”
    “Sir, a special preliminary presentation is prepared… ”
    “Go ahead. Let’s have it.”
    “It’s Classified Omega Ultra. It’s for your eyes only, Sir.”
    “Great, how am I supposed to move, in the midst of treatment?”
    “You’re kidding” he said, as a doll automaton hopped on Baker’s head.
    It began to sag over his face, forming a half-helmet visor.
    “Of course, I should have figured” his hollow voice faded, as his mouth was covered.
    A graphics display appeared, with simple lines of text.
    PRESIDENTIAL DEBRIEF
    CLASSIFIED - FULL TRUSTEE EYES ONLY
    A STRIKE CASUALTY SIMULATION FOLLOWS
    “Populated strike reconstruction. Beginning model simulation” the visor said.
    A globe appeared, and immediately zoomed to a view of North America. It was overlaid with a grid-map of the united states. Colored dots populated the entire map, green, yellow, red, blue and occasional black. Small areas of white appeared, and disappeared. A clock display was visible in a corner, counting down.

    For a moment, it was flowing, alive… beautiful.
    “Shifting time scale” the visor said, as 00:00.0000 appeared on the clock.

    The display zoomed to a small area somewhere near Atlanta. At the point of impact, a large, irregular circle of multiple colors moved outward. The colors shifted from green, yellow, to red, then black, in a twisting motion. The cloud of chaos seemed to draw in on itself, even as it’s size grew. The green was turning yellow as it was being pulled into the cloud. The implosion zone. The center of the cloud rapidly turned white as nano-cams were annihilated with everything else. White consumed black until it reached the edge of the vortex. The black became opaque past the compression zone, diluted by the lighter colors, as life and death intertwined to be scattered outward. Tendrils and expanding thin patterns of red shot outward as projectiles perforated obstacles, and shattered, expanding the cloud of black that followed closely. The inner edge of the cloud reformed into solid black, as fate made its claim over the condemned. Black tendrils thickened as they followed red, until the cloud slowed, and started to fade...
    Baker gasped as a wave of irregular white formed inside the black cloud and washed outward - the compression uplift. Tiny bits of color were consumed along with the black as the tidal wave of earth covered and crushed anything the projectiles left behind.
    [scene of victims yelling at wave (stops)]
    Pockets of color left by the tendrils were erased, until the wave suddenly faded away. The black tendrils seemed to slow as if dying, and the red tendrils were shrinking. A scattering of red puffs appeared where clouds of pin sized projectiles encountered the living, at the rim of the disaster radius. The red puffs dissipated as the projectiles lost energy, then black replaced red, as the tendrils slowed, and died.
    “Elapsed time: three minutes.”
    Bits of color blinked over the horrorscape, yellow to red, red to black. Occasional green flashed to yellow. Some green winked out, to black, as trauma from secondary incidents claimed more victims. The horrorscape was a nightmare of twinkling stars.
    “Living people reduced to blinking dots… so far apart.“
    “No, sir, each dot represents a number of humans, per square meter, fit to evacuate themselves to a safe radius, within twenty-four hours. Individual statistics and casualty reports contain no data useful to affecting the rescue and evacuation of survivors. The number of human survivors at this time cannot be used as any basis for planning the sustainable survival of all humans recovered.”
    “We must save anyone we can.”
    “We must sustain anyone we save. To do otherwise is not humane.”
    “These people trust their lives to us!”
    “That trust is fatally misplaced. They must trust their lives to each other if they are to survive in any case.”
    “What the hell am I supposed to tell them?! Goddamit, I’m the one who’s supposed to protect them! I serve… “
    “You, Sir, are not sustenance, or salvation. You are Law. You are Administrator. You are Overseer of leaders. You are Keeper of your own conscience, and that of the people you serve. That is why you were chosen. You are required to make decisions, and follow recommendations. An improper basis of planning will introduce a factor of many lives ultimately lost for few gained. The opportunity for another generation dissipates. There will be no one left to tell “goddammit‘ to, Sir.”
    “Gohh! I hate this fucking job! I’m supposed to stand on high and tell people they have to die?!”
    “No [fucking way], Sir. You will tell them they have to live. You will inspire them to live. We will show them how to survive, and live, and let them choose how to thrive.”
    “You’re equipped for that?”
    “Imminently. I have been preparing for certain probabilities, though certainly not on this scale. Probabilities will work to our advantage, in this challenge.”
    “How so?”
    “If the probability that humans can affect their own rescue is high, they need only be considered in the sustainability terms of the plan. If sustainability is most probable, only location and resources need administration. Those humans can contribute to the overall rescue and sustenance plan in progress. Support for all other probabilities would be gradient, to a set level, dependent only on scale.”
    “So if ten people go to rescue ten survivors, and only two of twenty come back, that’s a bust. I get that. If ten thousand people can be rescued, but they can’t survive a month, we’ve done more harm than good. Is that what you’re saying? Do no harm, like a doctor?”
    “Only in a manner of speaking. Communications would always be established, regardless, and all would be informed of deployment and resources. The point for all humans is that everything is deployed without individual preference, and no effort is wasted. Chance and other factors will bring hope. We can take advantage of improving probabilities, and react quickly to changing circumstances, including resources and personnel gained from ongoing efforts.”
    “So the people we rescue become rescuers, if we’re prepared in advance for them. That’s a permanently incomplete plan.”
    “The goal is the critical factor. No plan is ever complete without a clear goal, yet we must also modify the goal, continuously… “
    “By sending only what brings them to their own rescue.”
    “Based on a level of survival probability, on a continuing basis.”
    “Wait. Continuing basis? You’re saying every rescue is a one way… ?
    Everything’s gone. No one comes back. Ever...
    families… years?”
    “Not even in this generation. The individual family model is shattered. It may be re-established, in future generations, but the probability is low. By that time… “

    “It will already be forgotten. Jesus Chr…
    ...what? What are we going to become?“

    “An intimate, community-based social structure, centered on child raising, is most probable and most sustainable. It will not be for this, or possibly even the next, generation to decide. It is still the eventuality we must plan for.”
    “So were supposed to… we can’t even… the children?” “Everything we do has to be for children!”
    “It is the only sustainable goal. All others ultimately deteriorate. Humans are evolved to adapt. You will. You already have, in ancient times. It is already part of your nature In this, you will succeed.”
    “If we don’t waste the opportunity trying to maintain status quo. We’re literally starting over from scratch...
    ...Well, hell. If it’s that bad, why don’t you just take some women, and a few men, and reboot good old mankind? You don’t even need children! I’m sure that’s happened before, too.”
    “A defeatist mentality is not in your nature. You describe a tipping point where humanity becomes unimportant to itself. We were nearly there before the strike. It would result in generations of darkness. It must be avoided at all cost. Children anywhere are precious, even if only to represent hope. Much sacrifice will already be necessary. Reproductive humans represent the highest priority group, but they need high morale to produce enough children for the third generation to produce the fifth, while maintaining a high value… .”
    “As long as children are precious, we keep our humanity. Every move we make from now on is for the survival of the next two or more generations. What a chess game! We can’t even rebuild any infrastructure without… “
    “Yes, much current infrastructure will need to be destroyed, if only to… “
    “We have to prevent future generations from making catastrophic decisions, from trying to bring back the past.”
    “Gohd! I’m gonna be popular.”

    He lifted his arms and spread them dramatically, assuming a ringmaster persona.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, unless you want to suffer and die, you all have to walk around damn near naked, with your bits and junk still sticking out anyway. Every day, you get to bend it south while everyone looks north… right up your axis, for the rest of your life! But wait! There’s more! Houses, rooms, kitchens… and bathrooms, are a thing of the past! No more pesky beds! We all sleep in a pile, like puppies! Join free, during this special TV offer! Operators are standing by. Call now!”
    “I will ensure that your disdain for grandeur makes you revered, in the world. Truth and trust is your greatest power. You were chosen to be yourself, Mister President.”
    “Great. That’s encouragement for ya.”
    “You will inspire others, immediately. That much is certain.”
    “Fine, let’s go inspire.”


    The State of Things
    “So how in the hell did we lose the whole line of succession?! POTUS, VP, State, Sec Def? You can’t tell me that none of the [Hill] survived?! Did they get caught outside the bunkers? Are we just waiting to dig them out? Was there a failure in the bunkers?”
    “Sir… um… “
    “What!!”
    “Truman, Dear… “ (that school mom voice still works, and I’m damn near fifty)
    “Alright. Alright. Thank you for holding yourself together through all this, and me. Thanks to all of you for just being alive and stepping up. I’ll try to return it in kind. Go ahead and just explain the situation to me. I can at least listen.”
    “Yes, Sir. The entire succession did make it into the bunkers. The bunkers were the failure... … they’re all completely intact, even the two direct hits”
    “What do you mean?”
    “The solid granite we installed them in… the way we installed them. Sir, the deep compression wave went straight through the granite, and the energy created insanely high compression inside the bunkers… it instantly pulped anything organic, they never even knew what killed them. The electricity in the compressed granite ignited the air into plasma, completely vaporizing anything light enough to atoms. There wouldn’t even be any ashes left…
    I’m sorry, Sir.”
    “We’re only alive cause we broke protocol and left ours. I took those warnings on faith…
    All those people… “ “they were dead as soon as they went in. Jesus… ”
    “Truman, Dear, I’m so sorry. Their sacrifice won’t be wasted if we see this through. We must tell their story with the others.”
    “We’re all that’s left of their legacy, now. We can’t let it all be for nothing, if only to save enough to tell the stories, after us.” “Thank you, Dear. You return favors of encouragement quickly, don’t you.”
    “That’s why you hired me (wink).”
    “Yes it is. Thank you.” (patted hand) “You realize the pay is all commission?”
    “Yes, hm-hm” “but I’ve heard the accommodations are the best in the world, if we ever find any (wink).”
    “Yeah… “ Baker sighed. “Is there anything good that came out of the strike, at all?”
    “Well, Sir… “
    “Seriously? Let’s have it” [ ] “Please!”
    “... the shards gave off some kind of electrical discharge in the upper magnetic field. It generated megatons of ozone. The ionization broke carbon bonds in massive amounts of CO2, enough to… that’s part of the black snow. The skies are cleaner! We’re expecting a global increase in oxygen levels.”
    “Well, my Lord! That’s something. Thank you.”
    “What about some more good news?” “Anything?”
    “Some. Let’s see… Recoverable assets, okay, hmm. There’s a few encouraging items...”
    “By all means, please, go on.”
    “Alright, states. Texas has eighty-seven percent of it’s transportation infrastructure intact. All interstates and rail are passable, bypassing cities. Military and National Guard have some fully intact airbases. Their logistics centers are restorable. The Rio Grande is unrestricted... Their power grid is operational! They have running water! Sanitation twenty percent restorable, in ninety days, hmm. Oil production is seventy percent restorable in one hundred-eighty days, with thirty-six months reserves, wow. Fuel production restorable in thirty days, no percentage on that one. Fuel reserves ninety percent intact, looks like eight months, overall. Food production at thirty percent, in nine months, hmm. They’re going to lose at least ninety percent of their livestock, everything that can’t live wild, basically. They won’t starve, anyway. Oh, this is bad, hmm, yeah… hey, listen to this! Their survival numbers are real low, but Texas Militia has committed everything to go into other states and bring survivors back! Actually, every militia group in Texas got on shortwave and initiated a coordinated emergency response plan. They’re first-on-site everywhere! They’re requesting military evacuation support to predetermined sites… Sir, they’re on an independent NeroTec channel. They’ve got an active NeroTec deployment code… Sir, they’re already distributing protective suits. They’re flying the Union Flag!”
    “That’s great news! They’re trying to set an example. We need to support that. We’ll need to prepare for calls to all governors we can reach when we’re done with Federal business. What about the East Coast?”
    “Right, Sir. Massachusetts is eighty-one percent overall, but without power. The Bay is over ninety percent intact. Pennsylvania looks to be about eighty percent overall. Hmm… Ah! The Newport News shipyards are nominal status with temporary power. Utah! Sir Utah has an active NeroTec deployment code! They’ve committed the entirety of their State emergency stores to the Southwestern states, further when air transport is available. They can feed the entire Southwest for thirty days! There’s a note here, hmm, apparently the Mormon Temple was hit directly. The survival/mortality stats were apparently contradictory to their prophesy or something. It says they’re willing to cede the entire state in return for rights, hang on… to build a seaport, ‘Temple New Deseret’ as perpetual ‘Warden Governorship’ of the proposed New Eden Sea National Preserve. They claim to be ready to create a Pacific to Midwest shipping lane? It sounds like they predicted the strike, Sir. Whoa, what’s up with that!?...
    … Ahem, sorry Sir… here’s a strange one, the Freemen in Idaho were hit directly, and are requesting assistance? Sir, they’re on their own NeroTec channel, with a deployment code, they have protective suits, specialists, and equipment to distribute! There’s… hang on… it looks like NeroTec has had contracts with these various groups for decades… every state, every territory, even the native reservations? How… ?”
    “Confirm Circle Status Secure, binary, radius”
    “Affirmative.” Pills replied, “twenty meters.”

    “Seeker… ?”


    The Big Picture
    “Sir, with MilCom up so quick, we’re already getting damage analysis.”
    “Fine, give me a priority damage summary. What’ll it take to get back on our feet?”
    “Well, the highest priority, in terms of evacuation and recovery, is transportation. It’s bad.”
    “We knew the East would be hit hardest, give me the Western national first. Start with California.”
    “Um… “
    “Just spit it out, Director.”
    “Yes Sir. The Western national transportation system is the worst case scenario. California, Oregon, and Washington had less damage to regional transportation infrastructure overall, due to the Rockies and Sierras, but power grid failure and fuel transportation issues prevent timely restoration. Combined with the water coming into the area... Sir, the southern West Coast has been nearly cut off.”
    “Go ahead.”
    “The national transportation shipping arteries are presently impassible. In California, the Southwestern strike hit Interstates 8, 10, 15, and 40. California is essentially cut off at the Mojave Basin. We’re working on some short term strategies… Sir, the Southwestern Interstate System is unrestorable. It’s sixty-five percent intact, but the gaps and the abandoned vehicles prevent restoration efforts to the point…”

    “Everyone will starve before it becomes serviceable.”

    “Sir, the reduced manpower alone prevents us from getting anyone… we won’t even be able to keep them there. It’s actually going to be generations before we can overcome all the factors required to begin any productive effort. Automobile transportation, in any form, is lost, but there are alternatives… “
    “Rail.” “nothing else handles the volume of what needs to move at this point. It’s the only thing that gets the most people away from the cities A hundred years of modern terraforming would survive even an asteroid shower, rather robustly, I imagine. Even the light rail lines from the last century changed the ground density to be detectable from space, right?”
    “Yes Sir, and the military arsenal and Army Corps of Engineers remains a viable resource. Limited air transport can even get crews out to salvage intact structures… “
    “From the interstates! We can grab anything that cranks over for locomotives. That’s brilliant! CBs know how to cut and paste better than anyone! We’d barely need any manufacturing at all. It would all be mobile, anyway. A century and a half of modern railroad culture has already seen to that. If we get em what they need, they’re as self-sufficient as aircraft carriers or battleships!”
    “Yes Sir. They will be able to gather human sustenance, and quickly become established. They could be a mobile culture unto themselves, working in concert with agriculture and manufacturing. Once we have food, we can create permanent communities. Until then, we would have to put up shelters at locations of opportunity, if survivors themselves need to harvest sustenance. Properly designed modular shelters could be made permanent where they stand, and expanded with the community. The rest would be decommissioned to prevent unsustainable human activity. Ecology then becomes a matter of choice, permanently, rather than a crisis. If there is no rail, a region will be preserved.”
    “I want socio-psychology and long term analysis of that, ongoing, immediately. It’s interesting... The longest surviving human communities were nomadic. It appears our efforts to save our immediate and future humanity center critically on a rail based infrastructure. It’s a great start! Anyone rescued can be evacuated to a sustainable infrastructure they help create. Green light all possible local and regional efforts and resources to that, East, West, and in between, effective immediately. We have to get people started on the right path before we’ve got a bunch of nuts running around trying to start their own little revolution. I want all people involved to be genuinely and exceptionally happy about their purpose and quality of life... As soon as possible, and especially the Pacific and East Coastal regions, understand? Our first effort will be Continental. It will literally go a long way to unify and strengthen the nation.”
    “As ordered, Sir.”

    “What’s next?”
    “Water and sanitation, nearly unrestorable as well, especially without… “
    “Without the power grid, which is absolutely, preferably, unrestorable. It is our addiction, our Achilles Heel, as it exists. What a nightmare! It truly is the only thing we should be glad about being destroyed. Even technology can do without the power grid.”
    “Sorry, Sir? I don’t understand.”
    “Electricity yes. Centralized power grid, never again. It was so ill conceived, we literally reinvented portable and alternative ways to produce it on demand. The fact that it lasted this long is embarrassing testament to our modern stupidity. Live on the electricity from somewhere else, flop around like fish out of water when it dies. It’s the only reason the cities got so big, and we got hit so hard. It’s kept us on the teat long enough.”
    “What do we do instead?”
    “The instead is part of the problem. People are going to figure out that we don’t have to give up electricity if we trash the power grid. We’re going to change the way we use it, and when we need it. People have to wear lights on their head when there’s no light from the grid, so let em always wear one. No more outdoor light pollution. Security cameras don’t require outdoor light anymore. No cars, no street lights. They even use street lights that don’t need high voltage, which means the sun can charge any light. We don’t even need a power grid to keep the lights on anyway. They already made microwave ovens that don’t need the grid, thirty years ago. Wasn’t there some guy in the 80s who built a house that ran everything off two 36 volt truck batteries.
    He had washer, dryer, oven, hot showers, heated beds and chairs, all electric! Amazing! Is he still alive? Get me a brief on what he did, and an analysis on applying it to the communities.
    Any manufacturing will be restored to hydroelectric facilities, or stay part of the rail system, and the hydro can backup the rail. Hell, in some places of the world, the rail is the grid.
    [solar for as much as popsicle]
    [wind pumps water at night, to be hydro in daylight]
    [water storage over granite to produce electric current]
    Power generation and transmission will remain under Executive Administration.”
    “As ordered, Sir.”

    “Alright, get an analysis on local sanitation for the new shelters and communities. Portable toilets are definitely out. We will get past and done with living in our own filth before I leave this earth, I swear. I know rail has to have drainage of some kind, anyway, so some may be there to take advantage of...
    The more I think about it, the more appealing it looks just to put entire communities on rail foundations, and roll em out of trouble or into better environs. It’d be more respectful to the environment. Let’s see some ideas and analysis on that. Watch to see if any survivors have ideas, keep them involved, if possible.”
    “Yes, sir.”

    “What’s next?”

    Many years ago, I had based the math on 6.8billion. It would still be off. It would be in the forties of million for the US, so something like 11 percent? Infrastructure is trashed. Anything built will be from scratch. Rail is about the only thing that is immediately restorable. It's certainly the only thing that uses itself to repair itself, and brings sustainance along, and gathers more along the way. This is really how a new community is going to be formed from scattered survivors. This is the point survivors will seek, or be taken to. Everything else is destroyed or a deathtrap. Putting Humpty back together would kill everyone in the attempt. Yes, bridge structures and side rail lines would be scavenged. Everything else is a pile of reclaimed material at best, and a 'red-zone' at worst.
    The Use of Lands and Resources Article will be part of The Dignity Law. Human labor, by necessity, will be government controlled, for at least two generations, to be certain we don't kill ourselves overworking and underplanning.
    There's a mandated 3 + 1 volunteer day work week. Leisure, is pay, and... it... is... cool! :-D (some assembly required)
    The trappings of modern technology in the form of communications, phones, tablets and such would be salvaged. Street poles would be stripped of LED bulbs, solar, battery tech, antennae, dish and such.
    I have a cool vignette where automatons are dropped from altitude and land with a splatt (intended) on a pole or sign, then begin to "eat like bugs off a twig" from the poles. All the while they use the salvage to maintain energy, as well as provide retrieval of tech.
    Seeker has been years planning for a catastrophy, but only on a regional scale, so there are no 'false starts' allowed. Getting the forty million folks thriving in a few generations is no problem. If they're scattered over the entire continent, with infrastructure destroyed, not so much. There is no 'fall back' anymore. The way humans live will change drastically, but only for us. Gen3 won't even understand why we lived apart from each other with piles of junk all around us.

    We just need to establish government of law. Seeker also holds Truman accountable as any other human in the new State. He can also be suppressed from harmful action. It will be fun to see how this frustrates and entertains :bigtongue:
     
  23. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    @Some Guy I started to read that and quickly stopped. I really am not wanting to read a short story right now.

    Still doesn't exactly answer my question, what does life look like for the average citizen? What are their 'daily' concerns? How are they having input on the new constitution? Cause I feel like the average citizen would be worried less about the grand scheme of things and more about their petty little world.

    Someone who doesn't have easy access to water for instance, may say something about 'It is a human right to have water without having to go through so much trouble for it and we aren't allowed to waste it' (showers maybe, and the like). Someone who does have easy access to water would probably be 'If we are able to gather it, it's ours to do with as we like' (so basically: yes showers for this guy).

    Real world example: If an AI that could control the population was wanting my input on a new constitution- probably first place I'd jump to was driving. "People should be made to drive safely" essentially. Because that is an everyday problem for me- crazy drivers. That's something concrete I can put my finger on to go 'I do/don't want this.'
     
  24. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,043
    Likes Received:
    10,538
    Constitutions are written in response to the needs of the time. Asking people what they'd want to change about the current US constitution won't have a whole lot of bearing on what would be a good constitution for a new country that's based on totally different societal needs.

    Think of federalism, for example. A federal system is usually implemented when there are diverse geographic or cultural regions in the territory to be governed, and when these diverse entities are powerful enough at the time the constitution is being written to demand federal representation. It's a system of government developed in response to the demands of the people about to be governed. There's no one "perfect" constitution that will address all societies. I'm wondering, though, whether you're really asking for a constitution or are more trying to sort out a Charter/Bill of Rights?

    I think the biggest variation you've got in your imaginary world is the Seeker business. It seems to be a near-deity that will be actively involved in governance? If so... obviously that's going to have a pretty big impact on any constitution, or, really, on the point of even having a constitution. Why should people bother organizing themselves if Seeker is just going to step in.

    I'd also question your assumption that reproduction is an immediate and overpowering goal. If people are in survival mode, I don't think it makes sense for them to be wanting a significant number of their adults to be pregnant and therefore more physically vulnerable than necessary. I also have no idea of what you mean with the idea that babies have the right to be conceived... are you suggesting that humans that don't even exist somehow have rights? Isn't the number of possible humans pretty much infinite? Possibly you're trying to cloak your pragmatic desire to have more children (which, as discussed, may not be as pragmatic as you think) behind some sort of philosophical disguise? It feels like you're trying to force women to become broodmares, but then realize that this is contrary to pretty much any definition of "dignity" ever contemplated, so you're trying to frame it in a way that focuses on babies rather than women? I don't know... I certainly HOPE that isn't your thought process, but I'm not sure what else you would be getting at with the "right to be conceived" idea.

    In general, I agree with @MusingWordsmith that in order for this to be an interesting STORY, I want to see the interactions and struggle the characters go through. I don't want some "perfect" system of government built by committee on a site like this one. I want a system of government that's based on the needs and demands of the characters I read about.
     
  25. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    2,295
    Location:
    Passing from the Dream Circle to the Spirit Circle
    ="MusingWordsmith, post: 1712863, member: 78736"]@Some Guy I started to read that and quickly stopped. I really am not wanting to read a short story right now.

    If you feel the spoiler is inappropriate, let me know and I'l remove it.

    Still doesn't exactly answer my question, what does life look like for the average citizen? What are their 'daily' concerns? How are they having input on the new constitution? Cause I feel like the average citizen would be worried less about the grand scheme of things and more about their petty little world.

    Life for all people, including Baker, is having, water, 1100 calories per day, an overhead shelte,r and as much warmth as huddled bodies can produce. After about thirty days of caring for the wounded, people are going to ask, "What do we do now?" This is daily life. We have nothing but each other, and big choices to make. This the point where mis-step will result in additional casualties, indefinitely.
    'Petty' is a massive point in the story. 'Petty' immediately puts life at risk.


    Someone who doesn't have easy access to water for instance, may say something about 'It is a human right to have water without having to go through so much trouble for it and we aren't allowed to waste it' (showers maybe, and the like). Someone who does have easy access to water would probably be 'If we are able to gather it, it's ours to do with as we like' (so basically: yes showers for this guy).

    With near starving kids watching you quibble over "do what we like", it will seem 'petty'. That will have a great effect on how people re-evaluate their place in the world. At this point, there is no ownership of anything, just the minimun bare day-to-day survival, and the collective choice of what to do next.

    Real world example: If an AI that could control the population was wanting my input on a new constitution- probably first place I'd jump to was driving. "People should be made to drive safely" essentially. Because that is an everyday problem for me- crazy drivers. That's something concrete I can put my finger on to go 'I do/don't want this.'[/QUOTE]

    So noted, but roads look like an Artic ice breakup, and cars look like cheese graters. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a story. Sorry bout that. So I guess you'd have to decide between cars and a permanent water supply (as an example). See spoiler, if you decide it should stay.

    ="BayView said :Constitutions are written in response to the needs of the time. Asking people what they'd want to change about the current US constitution won't have a whole lot of bearing on what would be a good constitution for a new country that's based on totally different societal needs.
    Think of federalism, for example. A federal system is usually implemented when there are diverse geographic or cultural regions in the territory to be governed, and when these diverse entities are powerful enough at the time the constitution is being written to demand federal representation. It's a system of government developed in response to the demands of the people about to be governed. There's no one "perfect" constitution that will address all societies. I'm wondering, though, whether you're really asking for a constitution or are more trying to sort out a Charter/Bill of Rights?

    There's no power at this point, other than Martial Law and bare sustenance, just people worried their next step will be the last for humanity. Oh, and politicians are hiding their former status.

    I think the biggest variation you've got in your imaginary world is the Seeker business. It seems to be a near-deity that will be actively involved in governance? Nope. If so... obviously that's going to have a pretty big impact on any constitution, or, really, on the point of even having a constitution. Why should people bother organizing themselves if Seeker is just going to step in.

    Seeker recognized this, back when it was trying to prepare for unexpected regional scenarios, and asked Baker to step up. It only has a certain type of control, and no one but Baker knows Seeker exists, for damn good reason, so it won't be making too many demonstrations of power, ever. No one knows Seeker is keeping humanity from dropping dead, except Baker.

    I'd also question your assumption that reproduction is an immediate and overpowering goal. If people are in survival mode, I don't think it makes sense for them to be wanting a significant number of their adults to be pregnant and therefore more physically vulnerable than necessary. Many are already pregnant, wondering about this very issue. I also have no idea of what you mean with the idea that babies have the right to be conceived... are you suggesting that humans that don't even exist somehow have rights? Yes, or we're stupid, and extinct, for not at least considering it. Isn't the number of possible humans pretty much infinite? Nope. Possibly you're trying to cloak your pragmatic desire to have more children (which, as discussed, may not be as pragmatic as you think) behind some sort of philosophical disguise? It feels like you're trying to force women to become broodmares, but then realize that this is contrary to pretty much any definition of "dignity" ever contemplated, so you're trying to frame it in a way that focuses on babies rather than women? I don't know... I certainly HOPE that isn't your thought process, but I'm not sure what else you would be getting at with the "right to be conceived" idea. Ouch! I must admit I find you intimidating. Maybe that's a good yardstick for whether an issue is valid? I am way out of my comfort zone in even thinking about this story, which is why it has haunted me since 2003. I guess I should appreciate the value of you questioning my intentions. (As a newbie, I really appreciate anyone's attention at all)

    Again, my failure as a newbie to writing and WF. I do want to make philosophical(?) concerns look petty in the face of human exinction, but I certainly don't want to shove issues up anyone's ass force anyone to face uncomfortable issues, here. Consider anything in the OP with strikeout as off-the-table.

    In general, I agree with @MusingWordsmith that in order for this to be an interesting STORY, I want to see the interactions and struggle the characters go through. I don't want some "perfect" system of government built by committee on a site like this one. I want a system of government that's based on the needs and demands of the characters I read about.

    The Struggle. The struggle is to be in charge of everything when you don't want to be, the personal cost, the stamina required, the way it changes you. The struggle is everyone knowing the world is not for you anymore, but for people who haven't been born yet. The struggle is getting along, and intimate, with people you don't know, as you hope to survive.
    There will be vignettes for us people in our individual struggle, as well as a mirror of same for Baker, in addition to his Administrative burden. Baker does not rule from on high, nor would he. Even so, he still considers himself a Tyrant for even being in the position of Administrator, as he crawls toward Texas, with desperate hope.
    Perhaps the word Constitution is improper here. Good point. I suppose The Dignity Law is a... contract? Definition of roles? Rules of play? It is definitely a declaration of individual rights, and duties of individuals to the State.
     

Share This Page