Friday, December 18, 2009

The White Ages Dr. 1.0

The White Ages

Draft 1

In the latter years of the 23rd century, the executive congress finally ratified the Information Conservation Act of 2210 amidst the protests of the press people and other info-activists.

The Act, enforced by the invention of the sensory cortex implant, started the so-called "Information Martial Law".

In a study conducted a few years before the bill's ratification, it was learned that an average person consumes roughly 36 GB of data daily. These may come from any source, a picture, a TV Show, a song played on the radio, a book. The government, wanting to regulate the data being 'consumed' by each person, mandated each citizen to have sensory cortex implants (aka. The Mindway). The primary function of Mindway is to monitor how much information a person is receiving at each instance of time. Its secondary function, and more sinister, is to shutdown the sensory perception of a person when a particular data limit has been reached.

In the year 2190, a Mindway prototype which only attaches to the aural perception was forcefully deployed to all the citizens of New Mexico City even without proper testing. It wasn't expected that on the first 2 hours, the limit will be passed already. Thus the aural perceptions of all citizens were shutdown. That day would be known all over the continent as the "Silent Hour".

The technology would be perfected just a few months later. In a short span, the Mindway's creators have intertwined the implant with the DNA of the individual ensuring absolutely no tampering or removal of the device. Soon, all citizens became implanted with Mindway. The people's lives were changed drastically after that. But they were able to cope up efficiently.

With this new lifestyle, the citizens have minimized their dependence to information. Newspapers became adjunct and replaced with leaflets containing thoroughly condensed daily news. Television shows were revamped completely. They would now only include 1 to 2 minute shows in their programming. Likewise, the music industry was rebuilt from scratch and embraced the MIDI technology wholeheartedly as the main medium for the songs.

These handicaps brought about another step in the evolution of human society. Disgruntled people began to specialize. They realized that since every sensory perception receives data every time, they could maximize the information received by each sense by blocking the reception of others.

Thus arose the Seers -- people who blocked all senses except their eyes; the Feelers -- people who focused on their sense of touch; the Listeners, the Sniffers and the Gluttons. These people would have much wider knowledge and information on their specialized senses and were treated as elders and sources of knowledge.

Still, there are those who overcome the barriers with other means. The Overclockers are a group of people who find ways of overcoming the data limit through technological, biological or psychological techniques. One faction uses a technique called Hardwiring to embed a similar implant in their cortex which diverts the data sent to Mindway thus decreasing the data that it measured.

Another faction uses Filtering, where they alter sense organs biologically and genetically to filter unnecessary data or noise. They would perhaps modify their ears to filter the static sound of a humming computer or a rotating fan. Or the eyes may filter pixels smaller than 1 millimeter in width etc.

Yet another faction are those who optimize their minds to pass the limit. The “Plotters” trained themselves to perceive only fragments of data. They would then reconstruct the whole data packet from these bits and pieces. This means only a small fragment of information will be measured by the Mindway and yet they would get a lot of useful knowledge from it.

[End of Draft 1]


Average person consumes 34GB of data daily

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Emperor

Major Arcana - (IV) The Emperor

The Emperor rides on his armored steed, escorted by his loyal knights. He enters the fortress with an air of authority. All his spearmen, archers and swordsmen bow down low on his arrival. He alights from his horse and strides to the fortress tower. He wears his kingly robes and walks out into the balcony.

Below the tower, a multitude of people assembled. There were peasants, blacksmiths and potters. There were scribes, artisans and nobles. There were women children and beggars. Everyone was cheering in unison.

"Hail the emperor! Hail the emperor!"

It was the Emperor's two hundred and fiftieth expedition and his two hundred and fiftieth victory. At long last they have defeated all the other kingdoms, tribes and barbaric clans in the continent. Finally, he can truly be called an emperor.

Yet, the Emperor knows that he should not rest a bit, for his command is not yet carved in stone. He knows that even a weak brick in the foundation can make the entire tower crumble. But right now, it is the Emperor's responsibility to make his constituents believe that the empire is solid, he should not show any sign of weakness to his people or it may just lead to a bloody civil war which he fears the most. So he addresses his people and gives an inspiring speech of unity, healing and rebuilding.

The Emperor finishes his speech with a sincere plea-- a plea to work together and move forward amidst the obvious destruction caused by his long campaigns. And the people understands and everyone applauds.

"Hail the emperor! Hail the emperor!"

This is the culminating moment of the empire's campaign. This is the empire at its finest moment. But even so, this is the empire at its weakest, for a single blunder would easily crash all that was started. The Emperor's knights know this by fact and by heart, so they guard him with their lives and they become very vigilant to any threat.

The knights have anticipated every scenario. In case of rebellion, they have installed Anti-riot Soldiers. In case of treachery, they have established a Special Paladin Ensemble. In case of assassination, they have set-up an Elite Archery Knights.

But what they did not expect and probably would never understand is an attack from a time-traveler.

The time-traveler materialized in the tower exactly opposite where the Emperor is standing. It was a very well guarded tower, with only one entrance and dozens of knights guarding it. But the time traveler did not walk through it. So when the knights saw the time traveler the guards were both surprised, for the traveler's appearance from thin air, and afraid for the Emperor’s life.

So, they all rushed into the tower and climbed the steep stairs which would have been impassable for anyone unauthorized. The knights climbed as fast as they could, before the traveler does anything which may harm the empire. When the knights arrived at the tower balcony they saw the time traveler still in the scene. But in a blinding flash of light, he disappeared into thin air just like how he appeared a few moments ago.

Below the tower, the knights saw the people moving in a chaotic manner. In the emperor's tower, the unthinkable has happened, The Emperor has been assassinated.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Empress

Major Arcana - (III) The Empress

The artist named Empress came into spotlight when she told her story of living during the Japanese occupancy of the Philippine islands.

It was the year 1955 and the Japanese are in full control of the countries' army, government, the media and religious groups. The end of World War 2 is still yet to be seen and the destructive effects of the war were still being felt globally.

Yet in this small corner of the world, in the border of the Pacific theater, war is unheard of. The Japanese came to the country in talks of financial, military and infrastructure aid. And the citizens accepted them open-heartedly.

Elsewhere, battles were being fought by foot soldiers, tanks and fighter planes. But here, the frontlines are composed of entertainers--singers, artists, magicians and theater performers. Their torch bearer is the actor named Yusuke.

Yusuke is a dramatic superstar in Japan. He usually portrays the role of an underdog who rises through the ranks and becomes the hero. He rose into stardom because of his work ethic of not being choosy with the role he plays.

In their latest production, Yusuke takes the role of a man living in the garbage dump of Payatas. Typical of any dramatic film, he needs a leading lady. But no Japanese actress wants to take the part of a leading lady who lives in dirty garbage dumps, eats nothing but rats and wears smelly ragged clothes.

So, for the first time, they auditioned the role to the locals.

Empress was born into a high profile family living in the comfort of a mansion in the Forbes Park. Although they are rich, they were confined to work 8 hours a day in a factory in Makati because of Japanese rules and regulations. At that time, no local is allowed to have high profile positions like in the government and media.

When the Japanese announced that they will hire a local woman who lives in the dumps to be Yusuke's leading lady, Empress saw an opportunity. Without telling anyone, Empress left her job, her family and her comfortable mansion to live in the Payatas dumps.

Empress found some abandoned shack in the dumps and started to settle there. She dressed herself in dirty clothing and ate all the disgusting food she could think of although her stomach is grumbling in protest. She began to ask money from pedestrians. She lived like that for a few weeks.

At last, one fine morning, the casting crew arrived at the dump for the audition. Many women fell in line for the audition but the casting crew still didn’t find the right one.
"Too small!"
"Too dark!"
"Too ugly!"
"Too...uhmm... smelly!"

When it was Empress chance to audition, she gave her all and did her best to emote. But she too was rejected by the casting crew.

"You might be a good actress, but you are too beautiful!" And the crew left without picking their actress.

With their comments, Empress had an idea. With a broken piece of glass, she cut her long, black hair until it became an uneven mass of hair and bald spots. She took a burning charcoal and burned parts of her face. Then she took a pair of pliers and plucked her two front teeth.

A few weeks later, the casting caravan came again. Flocks of women arrived again to audition but the crew didn't picked one.

When it was Empress chance to audition, she gave her all and did her best to emote. When the crew saw her, they were awestruck.

"We found our star!" The crew shouted in celebration. Even Yusuke, who was always inside their van, came out to look at her.

So they packed up, brought Empress with them and proceeded to the studio to start shooting.

When they arrived at the studio, which is located inside the Japanese headquarters, Empress saw Japanese soldiers hurrying back and forth.

Yusuke and the casting crew went to the main office to check what is happening. Empress was left in the van waiting.

After a few hours, the casting director went to see Empress.

"We were told the war is over. We will now return to Japan. Get out of the van please. You're too smelly!"

30 years later, some Filipino reporters went to the Payatas to document the state of the poor people after Japanese withdrawal from the country.

They learned of the woman named Empress and her tragic story.

The reporters decided to make another documentary to focus on her struggles. She is now on spotlight.

The story of Empress will air on Monday from 12:00 to 12:15 in the evening.

Yes, a 15-minute spotlight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The High Priestess

Major Arcana - (II) The High Priestess

I will never forget the day I first saw her. She was sitting on a golden throne inside a glass enclosed chamber. Around her, bouquets of blood red roses and yellow tulips adorn the silken curtains.

I watch her from my wet, dark and damp position in my deserted tower. I admire her from a safe distance. Her face lights up like the sun among the stars. Her eyes sparkle like twin comets. Her long hair flows like a million shooting stars. Her lips adorn her face like Saturn's rings.

She was wearing a white robe with blue embroider sashes on her shoulders. She has a crown with topaz, diamonds, emerald and many other gems.

I can't take my eyes off her face. I know she can't see me, and I'm sure she don't know I even exist. I like it that way. I just want her like this. And for a lowly blacksmith, I'm content that I can see her face as long as I want.

I pulled the trigger. Then I called HQ.

"HQ, this is the Blacksmith. The High Priestess is dead. I repeat, the High Priestess is dead.

It was the last day I saw her.

.... (+) ....

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Magician

Major Arcana - (I) The Magician

He showed the audience his empty right hand. He showed them a red rose bouquet on his left hand. He waved his right hand in the air. And Voila!!!

A young girl screamed at the back section of the audience area. Blood covered her hands and sprayed all over her face. The girl was crying.

A dead woman lie still on the seat beside her. Blood was still flowing from the woman's neck down to her torso. Her head rolled down from her shoulders. She was decapitated.

The audience went into paranoia. Some ran outside the door screaming while some knelt on the floor crying. A gentleman approached the young girl to help; an old woman went closer to check the mutilated corpse.

The security guards went inside to check the ruckus. They were telling everyone to calm down and walk outside slowly but no one can hear them.

In the heat of the commotion, The Magician walked off the stage and proceeded to the backroom. He put his hand on his pocket and pulled out a necklace; a heart-shaped pendant attached to a metallic chain with a red tinge like droplets of blood.

Then he removed his portable UltraStrong Localized Electromagnet Deluxe3000(TM) from his right arm.


Monday, February 2, 2009

The Fool

Major Arcana - (0) The Fool

He was known as The Fool. He is the product of a confidential government project known as the Project Direct-2D-Point.

He holds secret information that has wide implications in the global intelligence network. And he always answers direct to the point.

The following transcript was provided by an NIA clerk under no pressure whatsoever. For your eyes only.

Transcript Date: 12/13/2095

Interrogation 1
Subject Name: "The Fool"
Priority: Top
Session started: 8:09 am

What is your name?
The Fool.

Are you a citizen of the State Union?

Are you an INT Agent?

What is your intention for coming here?

Do you have the Info?

Where is it?

Session Ended.

Interrogation 2
Subject Name: "The Fool"
Priority: Top
Session started: 11:24 am

What is your name?
The Fool

Are you a citizen of the State Union?

Are you an INT Agent?

Do you know the password?

What is the password?
I dont know.

(Inventory item leased: Electromagnetic inducer
Condition: Good)

Do you know the password?

What is the password?
I dont know.


Do you know the password?

What is the password?
I... dont know.


Do you know the password?

What is the password?
I... dont... know.


Do you know the password?

What is the password?
I... d-dont... know.

Session Ended.
(Inventory Item Returned: Electromagnetic Inducer
Condition: Damaged, Electric Overload)