Monthly Archives: June 2012

Excited Delirium Chapter 72: Aftershocks (Univist Church Collapse)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 72 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

“It looks like web users and a lot of independent media are taking an active role in criticizing the activities of the Univist Church, sir,” Hadlock reported to Garamond.

“I really don’t understand why this has become such a disaster, Simon, I don’t,” Garamond said, seemingly stunned by the lack of public interest and faith in his organizations.  “This was supposed to be so easy, like it was when we did this to Thailand.  Like Sri Lanka or South Africa.  Or even Chile.  The quake or shockwave comes in, destroys everything, our charities come in, clean up and then clean up.  And then our companies come in a buy everything up before people get back to normal.  It was so easy.  It was supposed to be so easy.”  He was shaking his head in disbelief, honestly thinking that this situation would be no different from the havoc they had wreaked in the past.

Hadlock had never seen Garamond so incapable before in his life.  When things didn’t go to plan, he usually just fired someone, but in this case, he had no one to blame but himself.  The last few days had added years to Garamond’s visage and definite cracks were materializing in his regularly cool demeanour.

“Sir, they’re spreading a lot of stories via online video services, blogs and other programs.  They’re spreading this information via our own servers and as we send more and more information, it’s causing more and more scrutiny of our corporate structure.   It’s a virus that’s messing up our own internal systems.”

What Simon Hadlock didn’t realize was that the file that Kite had Eddie copy to the servers of the OMNINet computers were exactly the files and tools that they would all need after the shit hit the fan to control OMNINet servers remotely.  Without any kind of support, Kite’s team had full reign over what went in, out and through the databases and storage of the drives that the OMNINet owned.  It was coming to a point where turning them off would be the only option available to a desperate senior management.

“The more information that gets spread about us, the more it hurts us in many ways.  We’ve tried to get some of our security and programming experts on it, but we’re having a tough time hanging on to personnel.  And we’re also being attacked by the public at large.  At last count, there were more than a million articles and stories about how we’ve abused our position as corporate citizens and how we were responsible for what happened in Beijing.  They’ve tied the Univists to OMNINet in more than a dozen ways and it’s going to be impossible to walk away from any liability.  They`ve posted endless stories about how we’re basically the minions of the Anti-Christ and how we’re singlehandedly responsible for the tensions that have grown between the US and China.”

“That’s because we are, you dolt.  They have somehow taken everything we’ve built as incredible plans and have destroyed it with this fucking thing called the internet.  Why can’t we just shut them down?  Pull some plugs?  Put them under?” Garamond asked insistently.

“It’s not that easy, sir.  They’ve been working from libraries and universities and other public locations posting their information.  I also have to remind you that somehow, it’s coming from our own servers.  I’ve also heard some rumours that they’ve got their own servers located on off-grid power boxes.  They can tap in to the web, but we can’t shut them down.  It’s a fucking nightmare.”

“Can’t we just call in Greyrock and fire off a few rounds to shut these roaches down?  There has to be some way that we can muscle them into quiet.  We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

“We’ve already tried, sir, but for every person or group that we slam the door on, two more crawl through the window.  As I said, it’s a fucking nightmare.”

Garamond slapped Hadlock.  “Stop saying that, you twat!  I need to get away from this bullshit before I lose everything.  Can we offer a retraction?  Pull some strings to get the web shut down or something?  This is insane!”

“Sir,” Hadlock said as he massaged his cheek, “I would if I could, but if we shut down the web, we’d be shutting down the entire telecom grid of North America.  I know a few people in the world who wouldn’t go for that.  I’ve spoken with people in DC and Brussels and they’ve told us to solve our own problems.”

“Fucking cowards!” Garamond shouted as he slammed his fists onto his desk.  The picture frames and pen holders shuddered as he continued to pound the mahogany.

“Tell me then, Simon, what are they actually playing?  What are they saying that’s bringing the work of generations of Garamonds and other families to their knees?”

“It’s what you’re saying, sir.  I’ll play it for you.”  Hadlock went to his laptop and opened his media player.  Within a few moments, the voice of Griffith Garamond came through loud and clear, with a number of images of China, the Univists, and other organizations that Garamond had controlled for the last three decades.  His voice paused as he described their plans in China and then another voice interjected:

“Many of you may not know this voice, but it is the voice of Griffith Garamond.  As you can tell by the following speech recognition patterns, one from the recording you just heard and another from the annual shareholder’s meeting for OMNINet, the voice patterns are identical.  Let’s finish the most recent speech we played for you and see what it reveals,” the voice-over said as the recording of Garamond continued.  All of the plans – the destruction of China, the use of the Univists to repair, the plan to purchase everything using OMNINet resources when prices were favourable – were revealed in a single recording.  Garamond recognized it from the meeting that they had had just a few days ago, but he was more distracted by the voice providing the narration, even as the voice pleaded with the public to boycott anything and everything related to Garamond, the OMNINet and the Univist Church.

The voice also advised people to sell shares of the OMNINet’s recent Tri-X IPO before things got really ugly.  In an instant, they understood the cause of the sell-off of their new IPO and why the price had hit rock-bottom.  Both Garamond and Hadlock showed little concern for this comment until the final suggestion was made:  “If you’ve already lost a lot of money, know this:  international security regulators are now investigating the irregular trading of Griffith Garamond and Simon Hadlock.”

“I Know that voice,” he said.  “I’ve heard it very recently and I can’t place it.”  His eyes scanned upwards while he seemed to be searching the top of his head for clues.  He was successful.

“It was that guy in the elevator!” he blurted out.  “He must have recorded our conversation somehow.

“I know,” Hadlock offered.  “I did a voice recognition on him through our systems and identified the same guy.  He claimed that he was named Carl Parkfield, but our research dug in and found a hell of a lot more information than that about him.  He’s been fucking with our companies for years and giving away important confidential information to our competitors.  Worse yet, he’s been working with our ex-VP, Edward Manchester, the guy we tried to pin everything on.  Somehow, he got lucky.  Actually, luck’s a bad word for it:  call it a ‘family matter’.  This Parkfield guy was doing research for a woman who calls herself Diana.  You might know her a little better as Mary Garamond.”

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 73

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)
Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .

 

Excited Delirium Chapter 71: Aftershocks (Get Garamond)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 71 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

It was Monday morning, four days after the quake.

The smell of bodies and burning in Beijing and surrounding areas was starting to reach a peak. Most people could barely stand up, let alone stand the stench of the reminder that crews had to work more quickly, dispose of victims and rebuild the city.

The initial phase of rescue work had passed and thousands of military officials, be they guards or generals, started to wash into the areas like a green tide at dawn, green being the colour of the Emergency staff uniforms. They swarmed buildings, one by one, and dragged the helpless and the weak into compounds and other detainment areas that offered food, heat and clothing.

China’s head was starting to re-grow, like a decapitated hydra, with hundreds of young survivors vying for the position of President and Chairman. The original intent with the planners in the West was that a young protégé of Western economic theory and practice, but what happened stunned leaders from the rest of the world.

A young woman was chosen the lead the country out of oblivion and into recovery. Her name was Liqiu Yuan-Xi . It is pronounced a little like “Like You Wan She”. Literally, her name translated loosely to something like “beautiful autumn brings Shining Peace”, but most people simply said it meant “Bringer of the New Age”.

She had worked in the President’s office for years and was brought up on Communist doctrine, but with an air of reform focused on social democracy. She believed in co-ops, worker organizations and the people of China. She didn’t believe in profits before people, had a low tolerance for corruption and a basic progressive tax system that would ensure proper income distribution.
Like thousands of other bureaucrats, she was appalled by the level of manipulation by Western companies that had started in the 1970s and represented a new wave of youth that were devoted to the implementation of democratic reforms and the institutionalization of the state.

Finally, she believed that the massive investment fund should be spent within China and that all people should profit from the excessive consumption of the West.

Yuan-Xi rose like a phoenix from the ashes, supported by the people of Beijing as she visited devastated sections of the City, greeting people, hugging them on many occasions and promising them that Beijing would come to symbolize a great resurrection.

It was Yuan-Xi who formally declared that only UN-endorsed non-profit non-religious organizations would be allowed to enter borders of China to assist with repair work. Many people with the Univist Church of Restoration, World Vision, the International Catholic League and other groups pleaded for the opportunity to help, but she relented and held strong to the position that she did not want the weak and desperate to be treated as an audience for a sales pitch for the religions of the world.

With that declaration, a flood of UN peace-keepers and organizations flooded the City within a few days and immediately turned to returning it to a level of civility.

The armada of religious charities, businesses and other organizations that had ties to manipulation of other economies, were left standing at China’s gate, palms out, but empty.

Borders were closed to all trade. Chinese officials promised they would open again soon, but for many in the West, it wasn’t soon enough.

Trade zones and almost all production came to a halt.

The flow of funds on an international scale stopped, a little too abruptly for many. Nearly $2 trillion in cash that the Chinese Investment Council held in reserve was formerly invested in various projects around the globe and now the managers had put a stop on the flow of funds, expecting that it wouldn’t be long before there received instruction to direct the funds to repairing their once great home.

The measures taken by the new government invited a series of retaliatory threats, but China had all the right cards. They had secured resource ownership and partnerships with countries like Iran, Pakistan, Russia and the rest of Asia in the previous years and no embargo could stop them from restoring their country’s pride.

If that wasn’t enough, a formal investigation was immediately launched into the cause of the quake a few days following the return of government in China. Researchers and investigators scoured the area and by August 13, it was easily proven that the Univist Church, with ties to the OMNINet, a large US multi-national corporation that never officially had operations in China, was ultimately responsible for the most destructive earthquake in human history.

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 72

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)
Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .

 

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Excited Delirium Chapter 69: Aftershocks (Surreal Repair)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 69 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

While the rest of the world clamoured at the doorstep of Beijing, the city itself was slowly and painfully coming back to life.

Leading the charge to recovery was an unlikely crew: the tens of thousands of athletes, managers, trainers and other personnel that had arrived in Beijing in the previous weeks.

A vast salvation effort began, with the Olympic Village at the centre of activities. It was relatively unharmed, along with its inhabitants, during and after the quake, mainly because it was built to much more rigorous standards as demanded by the International Olympic Committee, or IOC. When compared to other new Chinese buildings, it was like comparing Bill Gates to a beggar. They weren’t even in the same universe.

Efforts to rebuild and assist the dying were slow at first, with the vast language barrier causing the greatest source of friction between all of the people who were contributing their skills. In time, however, language was a pale obstacle to the sheer will and determination of these heroes to do what was right. They were here to compete against each other, but they were loath to shirk their responsibilities as human beings, let alone as ambassadors to the planet.
Simple tasks like communicating locations and efforts were delegated to the speediest runners and sprinters, modern day Mercurys that kept everyone informed. Until communications returned to normal, these people played one of the most important roles.

Teams were then built to reflect a balance of skills. Weight-lifters, runners, swimmers, gymnasts and others were spread out across about 1,000 recovery teams, all with the objective of crawling into tight spaces, lifting mass that no normal person could imagine, acting as guardians or running back to the base to inform organizers of major finds, be they living or dead.

These teams were also assigned the task of finding living people, encouraging them to return to main Village and to volunteer for services after they had taken care of themselves. Most of the non-Olympians were asked to either work with others to scrounge for food and water or they were asked to leave as soon as possible so as not to tax the limited resources that the city had left. It was difficult for some to accept, but with a little encouragement, they realized that if they couldn’t contribute, they shouldn’t be making demands on this small, yet brave army of humanitarians.

Managers, trainers and other professionals were assigned to a make-shift triage and emergency centre that became one massive repair operation. Within 3 days, 250,000 people were inspected, operated on, sewn up or resuscitated; most of these people saved because for the first time in a long time, Beijing was overpopulated with people who had medical expertise. It was a non-stop, full-on rush of repair that finally eased off when people either stopped showing up or reports about the mortality level came in. Or the weaker ones finally fled, once roads and transportation became an option again.

As people waited, they camped out in open areas, like the Forbidden Palace or Tiananmen Square. By the end of Monday, this make-shift city-within-a-city had more than half a million inhabitants.

By the end of Monday, the rest of the world was finally able to peer into the black swirling mist and fog that surrounded China and Beijing, as communications were finally starting to show signs of life again.

It was the CCTV, or Chinese Central Television, that was able to feed stories the people of the West, as they anxiously awaited some kind of information about their loved ones.

But they would be disappointed: the CCTV had no official direction yet from the Chinese government, so all that was made available to the world’s eyes were misty details about the quake, the current situation and how many people were affected.

Even though the media of the world had converged on Beijing to report on the Olympics, they were powerless to report on anything to their homes because of power outages, lack of satellite feed or broken communication lines.

The world would have to wait until China was able to get its house in order.

[Author’s Note: I conceived of this plot component in 2006 and wrote most of these chapters into the story of ‘Excited Delirium’ during the course of 2007. I was stunned like the rest of the world when a tragic earthquake struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, 2008. Please believe me that I do not want to ‘profit’ from the suffering that the hundreds of thousands in this quake experienced. I remind all readers that this is a work of fiction and that my goals are to speak to the symbolic reference that’s used in the numerology along with the viewpoint of one fictional cult concerning the fate of the Chinese.]

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 70

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

Creative Commons License
Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .

 

Excited Delirium Chapter 70: Aftershocks (Get Garamond)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 70 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

“I have something to tell you,” Diana said to Kite once she pulled him aside.

“Go for it. I don’t think anything can surprise me any more,” Kite responded frankly.

“I’m surprised you haven’t wondered at my connections and my desire to explore and expose the OMNINet, have you?” she queried.

“I did. For a nanosecond. Most of the people that hire me don’t want me to ask questions about who they are or what they do. They just want me to do what they ask. And they don’t want me to ask anything of them after we’ve agreed on rates.”

“Fair enough,” Diana answered thoughtfully. “But I think it’s about time that you discovered what my motive is with this.”

“OK. If you really want me to know. I mean, we’re not playing Halloween anymore. No masks. So we might as well have no lies.”

“Well, it all starts with someone that I was dating once,” she started.
Kite had to work very hard not to roll his eyes. The stories always went like this and they never changed: she’s bitter about someone with OMNINet, she hates them, she destroys the company by proxy, thereby destroying everything the company dude stands for. Sub in ‘golden fleece’ or “Troy’ for ‘company’ and the story has been repeated for the last six or seven thousand years.

“Sure. It usually does,” he tried to say as seriously as possible. He couldn’t help being a smart ass. It was a defensive play that came to him naturally to protect him from the history of verbal and more often, physical abuse he’d received as a quasi-nerd.

“Anyways, I uh … I used to date this guy who works for OMNINet today. Actually, I was made to. He was brutal and cruel and I felt had to stomach the relationship because my father wanted me to date him. I tolerated this stupidity because I was young and insecure. I was not an attractive girl when I was a teen and I felt like it was something that I should abide by.”

“Wow. Harsh.” Kite was starting to see something of himself in Diana. He was starting understand that he wasn’t alone with having a shitty youth and wasn’t the only person growing up who was surrounded by know-it-all jock bullies.
“Anyways, my father decided that his actions constituted their own version of divine intervention and he believed that our child would be the Chosen One or the second coming of the Messiah.”

“Jesus Christ!” Kite yelled out loud, not picking up on the irony of his exclamation. “Talk about delusions of grandeur!”

Diana couldn’t help but crack a grin. “I pulled you aside because I finally felt comfortable telling you this, although I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out earlier. Really: if you pulled to a distance in what’s been happening, you should have seen it coming for miles,” she offered, giving him a chance to digest what she was getting at.

“Holy shit!” He blurted out. “You’re Garamond’s daughter!” Kite concluded after a few moments pause.

“Yeah. Unfortunately. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the daughter of the most evil man on the planet. He does everything in the name of religion and takes and takes and takes. Rarely does he give, unless it translates to a good PR opportunity.”

“Man, I’ve gotta let this brew for a few minutes. I honestly had no idea. I thought you were just some pissed off employee or girlfriend of a dude who put in too much time on the desk with his hot co-worker. I had no idea you were … connected.”

“Well, OK, but let’s not dwell on it for too long,” Diana said, somewhat impatiently, realizing that they had a lot of work to do.

“But what about the dude? Who was that?”

“Take a wild guess.”

“It wasn’t Eddie was it?”

“Are you kidding? I’d get more pregnant humping a post in the winter-time that I would if I were to hook up with Manchester.”

Kite chuckled. “Yeah … you’ve got him nailed.”

“Well, technically, not,” she said, smirking back.

“OK. This could go on all night. Who’s. The. Dude?” Kite said, putting a staccato punch on each word.

“Hadlock. Simon Hadlock. He was supposed to be my husband and ‘divine intervener’. Luckily, he was far from it and we never had a child. I left him and I haven’t spoken to my father since.”

“And here I am right in the middle of a Greek tragedy,” Kite joked as he started to understand the full consequences of his employer’s wishes.

[Author’s Note: I conceived of this plot component in 2006 and wrote most of these chapters into the story of ‘Excited Delirium’ during the course of 2007. I was stunned like the rest of the world when a tragic earthquake struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, 2008. Please believe me that I do not want to ‘profit’ from the suffering that the hundreds of thousands in this quake experienced. I remind all readers that this is a work of fiction and that my goals are to speak to the symbolic reference that’s used in the numerology along with the viewpoint of one fictional cult concerning the fate of the Chinese.]

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 71

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)
Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .

 

The Solution to Quebec Student Strikes

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Last week, I mentioned that the students in Quebec should consider a completely different model for education.

I’m relieved to see that I’m not alone:  Google alumni Sebastian Thrun has decided to stick it to the educational ‘establishment’ that hurls generation after generation into insurmountable debt so that they can literally ask ‘do you want fries with that’ and create a whole new approach to learning.

He understands – primarily as a result of his experience with Google – that important credentials (eg. the Google Certified Partner program) can cost students as little as $50, make them qualified to do what they need to do with skills that are VERY MUCH in demand and leverage these talents to start new businesses, help non-profits or join the corporate ranks.

So … why aren’t students in Quebec (and everywhere else) seeing the light and challenging an antiquated model of learning that started with the ancient Greeks and continues today?

Tradition dictates that we run to stand still.  It’s time to get off the treadmill and throw the old ways on their head using new technology.

What an incredible opportunity for these people!