7.31.2019

Where in the What? And Rainbows, too?!

It has been what...wait. That’s not right. Has it really been three months? Three months since I’ve dusted off the keys and put something up here? Holy cow. Three months since I had it in my head that I had something important to say that I was sure that everyone would want to read.

There has been so much that has happened since my last blog post that to try to cram it all in here would not be good. For either of us, if I’m being honest.

So, let’s pretend that I’ve taken notes on some of those amazing things and that some point in the near future, I will be sitting back down at this blog to share some of those incredible experiences with you. Everyone loves a good game of pretend. It will be delightful.

Speaking of pretend, some of you may know from your visits here that I am a writer and author. I currently have two books available on Amazon. And here’s the truly exciting bit—I have a third book on the way. I have targeted the release date as 10/01. I picked the date largely to avoid giving my beta readers and editor a heart attack, but also I really liked the whole binary aspect of it. That makes more sense as you read the book, I think. Which, I hope you all will.

The book is called “The Treachery of Rainbows” and it’s been a long time coming my friends. I completed the first draft for this book as part of the 2016 NaNoWriMo and it was my first real book. The first book that was all mine from start to finish. It was not part of an assignment or anything like that. An idea popped into my brain bucket and away we went.

The process taught me many things about myself as a writer. Writing this book was one of the key pieces of thinking I actually was a writer (some days I still wonder, to be truthful).

I have to admit, I’m nervous, y’all. This is my third book, true. At it’s heart, though, it’s the first book. And sure, the rewrites and revisions happened after the other two, so I have grown as a writer. But I’m still nowhere close to the 10,000 hours that is generally considered to be the magic number to achieve Mastery of a given skill.

The book is currently with a few trusted Alpha/Beta readers and also with the editor. I might have gone out of order on the steps one is supposed to do to bring a book into the world. Although, let’s face it-I was never going to be doing things the ‘normal’ way. I never really have. I don’t see any reason to start now.

It’s also the longest book I’ve written. I’m honestly pretty excited about it. But I’m going to shut up and get out of the way of my own words.

Here is the first chapter of The Treachery of Rainbows.  Please keep in mind that things may change between here and the time it’s published. Please enjoy!

Chapter 1 - Shane
Shane sat on the park bench. At least that’s what it was technically called. Far from being a park, the area was in one of the sanctioned atriums in the city. Unlike the other atriums, this one was built in the heart of the Ministry complex. Shane felt a peach within the solace of this place when he came here. He was alone on most days. Very few of the other Narrators knew about the atrium and normal citizens wouldn’t have access to this sector, even if they were aware of it. Shane was sure none did. Any location search pulled up zero check ins. He was breaking the law by not checking in. However, his position of Narrator afforded him some privileges in regards to the legal system in this sector.
Shane often felt out of sorts with the everyday life. This park with its absence of obvious technology felt more comfortable to him. He remembered his parents talking about the days when comms were called phones and were big clunky boxes and bound by cords to a fixed location and cameras were their own device. And even as they became smaller, they still were a tool. Not something that was vital to survival. Such a notion would make the citizens of this time physically ill. It wasn’t their fault;  most born into this life. The NC’s--Nanocites were administered in the womb. It had proven safer to keep the fetus healthy until a decision was reached by the HR division as to whether that child would be able to contribute to the corporate structure or not. 
Shane was born on the cusp of this great technical blitzkrieg. The nanotech had not yet been introduced in the rural area where his parents spent their sunset years. When a couple reached a certain age, childbirth was considered risky. There was an age beyond that where attempting to carry a child to term was illegal. Shane’s parents were well past that age when they decided to bring him into the world. Shane’s mother would not be deterred. She believed in something bigger than corporate law. She was of a rare breed who believed that the human race was better than the technology it embraced.  Shane made it to his first birthday without tech. That’s when the personnel sweep discovered the unregistered child and Shane became part of the system, registered as a human resource for the corporation nearest to his parents’ home. It was also the year Shane became an orphan. 
A familiar buzz came from the left breast pocket of Shane’s crimson tunic. He waited until it was humming at a fever pitch before pulling the device out and holding it to his ear.
“Dammit Madio, what took you so long? Why didn’t you engage aural nanos?”  The voice on the other end of the call was noticeably annoyed.
“I didn’t want to.” Shane’s reply was calm and unnerved his conversant.
“Where are you?”
“On break.” Shane knew that Central wanted to know where he was, not what he was doing. A smile crossed his face, but ever so slightly. Even the Atrium had surveillance cameras and if they ever did manage to work out where he took his breaks, that minor act of insubordination would most assuredly put him up for retirement from the Ministry and back in the workforce with the rest of the normal citizens. And if that happened, he wouldn’t be of any use to anyone. A quick glance at his  TIF-N confirmed that the privacy net was still on. Even while engaged in communications with Central, they would be unable to ping him. 
“Break’s over. We have a NOD.  Sector 17.”
The smile faded quickly. NOD’s were nothing to smile at. They were the most severe of the adjustments that Shane had to deal with. Each NOD, Naturally Occuring Distraction, could serve to take the citizenry away from their tech. And citizens off of their tech were dangerous.
“What is it, sir?” Shane’s tone was all business, any sarcasm gone. As he was talking, he was looking at the sandwich in his bag, knowing lunch was going to have to wait until he learned more about the NOD he had to deal with. He folded the flap on the bag closed and headed to the door. He stopped short when he heard the next words. 
“A rainbow.”
Shane stopped. A chill crawled up his spine. 
“Sir?”
“You heard me, Madio. A rainbow. At least 4 confirmed sightings. And Enviro Control is at least 15 minutes away from a natural solution.”
“Fifteen minutes is too long. We’ll lose a dozen more citizens by that time. I’ll be there in 2.” And then Shand ran.
“Good luck Agent Madio.”
“Thank you sir.”
Shane hit the main hallway in close to a sprint as he headed toward the pod bay. Others in the hallway knew that if a crimson tunic was sprinting toward the pods, it was nothing good and they made way for Shane. 
The personal comm unit went offline as the transport pod opened. 
“Sector 17. Level Nine Clearance. Authorization Utah-zero-nine.”
“Authorization confirmed.Welcome Agent Madio. Standby for transport.”
Shane pulled the visor over his eyes just as the first sparkle of the particle beams danced on the grid inside the transport pod. Narrators always wore their visors. Shane was the odd man out. He chose to look at the world through his own inferior human eyes every chance he could.  
A ball of light filled the pod. When the light was gone, so was Agent Shane Madio.

The streets were mostly quiet when a faint blue light sparked and filled the pod. When the light faded, Agent Shane Madio was standing in the pod. 
“Sector 17 Destination Reached Successfully, Agent Madio.”
Out of habit, Shane mumbled, “Thank you.”  The AI of the transport pods was not programmed for pleasantries, but just once Shane wanted to hear a nice robotic “you’re welcome.”
Stepping out of the pod, he assessed the situation. Most of the citizens were on the way to or from a corporate post. That’s when Shane spotted them.  What had been originally reported as four had grown to nine. 
Nine citizens had stepped off of the people mover, an act in itself that caused a slight commotion as bodies shifted and exited the moving track. The official designation on his reports would classify these 9 citizens as interlopers. Thankfully the rest of the citizens on the people mover and others in the plaza were following the augmented reality stream coming through their visors. None the wiser.
“I fucking hate rainbows, “ Shane muttered, heading toward the lopers.  Reaching for his comm panel, he started through the standard program, initiating the standard NOD protocol. All of the lopers were in the system. He quickly commandeered their feeds. All location posting, all tagging, and uploading of images was scrambled. The standard status of ‘Heading in to the office’ or some variant thereof was all that their immediate circle would see. 
He then engaged the containment net so that no other passersby would be able to tag or reach the lopers on the off chance they were recognized. 
To a person, Shane saw that they had all lifted their visors and were staring off in the distance, over Shane’s left shoulder. 
He pulled a piece of historical contraband from his bag. A vintage pair of 1985 Ray Ban Wayfarers. And taking off his visor, he put them on before turning to see it.
The rainbow.
Of all of the NODs that Shane and the other Narrators faced, the rainbow was one of the most intense. He had to admit, they were beautiful. There was something about the intensity and beauty that the population responded to.
Rainbows offer a glimpse into the mystery of a natural order most have forgotten. They come into being at the point where a sunny day and a rainy day meet. They easily distract the populous. 
The thing that truly makes the rainbow a threat to the corporations is that the visor cannot filter them out. Almost all of the other NODs can be filtered in the feed, the optics adjusting automatically to reduce citizen exposure. Despite their best efforts, rainbows are one of the few NODs that cannot be filtered. Because of the rods and cones in the human eye and how color is perceived, the visors have to allow those prismatic reactions to come through. Corporations found if someone pays attention long enough, they will realize that they are actually looking at a real rainbow and not an image on their Feed. It was a treacherous loop and corporations relied on the Narrators to keep things in check.
Narrators are infused with nano technology that in the presence of a rainbow will alter how the rods and cones of the eye function, portraying the rainbow much how a dog might see it, in shades of black and grey.  
Shane preferred to use the Ray Bans to accomplish the same feat. He had the nano tech. He just chose to keep it programmed to engage only if his life was in danger. 
It wasn’t. At least not yet. If any more citizens stopped to look at this rainbow, it could be. And fast.
He had reached the crowd of lopers by this time.  Reaching down to his wrist controller, he entered a series of keystrokes.  He stood waiting for the reaction. Looking at the visorless group, he saw a strange look pass over each of their faces.  It was a look of confusion and then severe discomfort. They all doubled over. No one in the area paid attention to the fact that it was happening in unison. And those experiencing the discomfort were in no shape to notice anyone other than themselves. 
Shane stepped up to the group. “Citizens, please put your visors back in place. The sickness will pass once your visors are safely back in position and your connection has been re-established.”
As they put the visors on, Shane could see them shaking off what had hit them. Feeling better most realized they were no longer on the People Mover and got back in position to continue on their way to the office. Looking at the status bar on his comm panel, he could see the connections syncing.
Once Shane was sure they were all back on the Feed, he released the dampening field, flooding their feed with what they had missed for the last 3 minutes. Within seconds, they would be so caught up in the feed, they would think the rainbow was a passing memory or a meme they saw on a friend’s feed. 
Surveying the area, Shane found a hastily scribbled note, obviously left by one of the lopers and dropped when the NTCC wave kicked in.
“Rainbows exist.” Shane put his visor back on and looked again at the paper. It was blank.
“Not today they don’t,” he said and dropped the scrap in his satchel as he headed back to the transport pod.
Before stepping in, he saw the clouds roll in seconds before the first rain fell.
“I don’t know why they always bring the rain to the sunny side.”
The blue light filled the pod. 
When it was gone, so was Shane.




And there it is. Hopefully it was enough to get you interested in reading the rest of it in October. Have an awesomesauce day my friends!

Peace!
-Todd






























Where in the What? And Rainbows, too?!

It has been what...wait. That’s not right. Has it really been three months? Three months since I’ve dusted off the keys and put something up...