Camp 9872

Wednesday, March 5th 2014

Max was born in Camp 9872 in 2072. He was 15. It wasn't a "camp" so much as a small town.

Max lay in his bed. He stared at the ceiling. He felt tired, but he couldn't sleep.

He thought about leaving sometimes. There were no fences. Just a red line surrounding the camp. But he'd never crossed it.

Sometimes the line shifted, when robots built new buildings for newcomers. Sometimes the line moved back, when they dismantled old buildings.

The red line wasn't painted on the dirt, though. The buzzbees added it.

Most people used buzzbees. They were tiny. They tricked your senses into feeling textures, sensations, seeing things. Things such as the red line.

You got a buzzbee when you were born. You could remove it any time. But without one, the drones wouldn't deliver stuff to you. And you couldn't pick stuff up from the warehouses.

Some people dumped their buzzbees. They called themselves organics. Most people kept them. They were the augies, meaning augmented. Life without a buzzbee was dull. The orgs didn't see any of the colourful wildlife, the beautiful trees, or whatever it was your buzzbee created for you. They saw a parched land and a town of drab, uniform buildings.

Most people used the translators in the buzzbees to communciate. The organics didn't use translators so no-one talked to them. And why would you? The organicss didn't look interesting or do anything exciting.

But Max would remove his buzzbee sometimes. There were some gardens the organics were growing, and some old fashioned things they had created.

It was boring.

But something intrigued him about it. Its drabness contained a certain calm.

And as he lay there he took his buzzbee off. He tried to sleep. But he felt disconnected. Slow. He wanted to see something new. But the world was so constant. So unchanging. So uninteresting. His brain kept wanting to connect again. But something was stopping him attaching his buzzbee.

He got up. It was dark. Max's buzzbee usually enhanced his vision at night. Without it was pitch black. He stumbled to the door. Outside it was moonlit. Everybody was indoors playing games, chatting over comms, etc.

All he could hear was the soft hum of the water condensers.

He walked to where he remembered the red line was and stepped over.

Postapocalypse Middle Class Angst

Tuesday, March 4th 2014

As we drove we saw some stragglers. One old lady limped down the road. I felt a pang of guilt. We saw a guy breaking into a car. Further on, another guy was walking through his front yard with an axe. We passed the supermarket. Broken windows. Rubbish. Abandoned cars. There were boxes and rubbish everywhere. There were dogs looking for scraps.

As we drove past the intersection that led to the freeway, there were more abandoned cars. I weaved through them. But there were too many to get by.

"Fuck," I said, pulling the car up.

My wife looked at me. She looked back at the kids.

"I'll take a look"," I said. "Lock the doors".

I walked up the road. Past the truck that obscured the view. The road sloped upward. There was a freeway overpass just ahead.

I saw a body slumped against a retaining wall. There was a dried blood patch nearby. I slowed down. I paused to listen. I moved closer.

She was dead. I felt my stomach churn.

I walked up the onramp. A few abandoned cars littered the freeway as it curved out of sight.

I made my way back.

"See anything?" asked Katie, my wife.

"We can't get out this way," I said.

I started driving to the next on ramp.

As we approached, I could see figures. The sun was behind them, so it was hard to make out any details. But they seemed to have guns. They seemed like military.

They raised their rifles. They paused for a moment. Then began moving towards us. Then they started running.

There was a crack. At first I didn't know what it was. Then another. They were firing! Jesus!

I started reversing at speed. More shots. There was a metallic noise. The car took a bullet.

I didn't have time to think, I just drove as fast as I could.

My mind was racing.

I looked in the mirror. There was no-one behind us. My wife had tears in her eyes.

The kids were lying on the back seat, terrified.

The collapse of civilisation was so damn inconvenient.


Monday, March 3rd 2014

The great city consisted of giant domes, spires, parapets, walkways, pyramids and rhombi. The rhombi were the largest buildings in the city - they reached into the clouds. The sun glinted off the silver-grey buildings and it all looked very space opera and impressive.

Except for the fucking rhombi. They just looked awkward.

It was generally agreed the rhombi were a bad idea. But no-one could work out how to reprogram the robots that kept building them … so they kept being built.

Down below lay the undercity.

The streets were permanently in the half-dark; overshadowed by giant foundations. Steam emerged from the atmosphere processors, shrouding the everything in mist. You couldn't see for more than a couple of metres. There was the constant, numbing hum of energy transmitters. And, at regular intervals, the soft pitter-patter of tiny pellets of semi-processed waste falling from the overcity.

Every street stank of chemicals, rotting blob veg and sweat. Rubbish was strewn everywhere, broken old robots limped from alleyway to alleyway recycling stuff to keep their energy systems running. "What is blob veg?" you ask. I'd rather not explain. But lets just say some scientists invented a cheap supervegetable that was a mixture of a cabbage and synthimeat.

Max D walked up to a droid.

The droid wore a top hat and sat at a small card table under an umbrella.

"Ah," it said in a sonorous, theatrical voice. "Max." It was a voice optimised for negotiation with humans. All the robots used it. It made every robot sound like a mixture of a newsreader, a lothario and a vaguely Eastern European porn star who was about to cough but never did.


Saturday, March 1st 2014


Msucial Martian

Friday, February 28th 2014



Thursday, February 27th 2014


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