Thankfully I'm getting a chance to do a bit more world-building in this chapter -- which, really, is one of my favourite parts about this whole thing, trying to figure out how this world works now.
I mean, really, what would happen if the United States woke up tomorrow morning to find out that the internet, for the entire country, had been switched off -- that bank accounts, and what money they had saved still existed... but was no longer accessible. Or that, for some, their entire livelihood simply no longer existed?
Not to mention all the information, once readily available, that you just no longer have access to.
What would that world look like? How long would it take for it to crumple in upon itself?
And what would that world look like 2 years later?
That's what I've been up to over these last few weeks, trying to imagine this world and how my characters have managed to survive within it.
Things are getting tough for them now, and it's going to get worse quite soon... but for now, here in Chapter 12, they finally get a bit of a chance to breathe.
I hope you enjoy it!
*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 12 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week. Warning: there will be mild spoilers and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind as you read on.
Episode #3 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 11-15) will be available on Sunday, August 29th for 99 cents CAD.
You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
Marco cuts the engine, leaving them floating in the soft blue-green of San Francisco Bay, waves lapping against the side of their small boat as the sun rises overhead. Jess fast forwards through the raw footage on her camera and together they watch the tiny screen as the the police and paramedics mill around in the hotel lobby.
"Damn, that seems so long ago." He muses as the camera turns its attention to the paramedics and the victims. Marco watches as the sun climbs up over the Golden Gate bridge, "Oh! I just realized: Today's pay day."
Jess frowns at the thought. "Well, shit."
"Tell me about it -- they probably emptied my room the moment they announced I was a wanted man."
"Knowing them? I'd say 5 minutes before." She chuckles.
Marco sighs, watching as a young bellhop's broken arm is set into a splint at triple-time. "I had my eye on this huge watermelon that they put on the ration list -- the bastards wanted like 8 tickets for it -- but I was thinking hell, how long's it been since I had a freaking watermelon? So I saved up my leftovers for 3 fucking weeks -- even skimped on my beverage rations… just so I could buy that sucker today."
He pulls out his wallet, holding the folded and ornate government tickets in his hand, running a finger across the punch-raised 'Employee Number' and his 'Priority 3' clearance.
"Fuck me. I swear I dreamed about that stupid thing." Marco shakes his head, shifting in his seat, feeling the warmth of the sun beating down on him. "You see anything yet?"
Jess shakes her head as an interview with square-jawed cop sails past.
A shrill ring reverberates from Jess's jean pocket, causing both of them to jump. She leans to the side, fishing out the phone, checking the number before clicking a button and silencing the phone. It vibrates in her hand.
"Who's that?" Marco leans forward, trying to get a look.
"You don't want to know." She puts the phone back in her pocket as Marco's eyes widen.
"It's Aang, isn't it?" His mind already at work deconstructing the meaning of it. "You called him from your phone earlier… so he's got your number. And now he's calling 'cause he wants to know why he can't reach his people?! Oh shit." his voice gains speed and power as the momentary blip of fear in her face confirms everything. "Oh shit. Oh shit."
She shakes her head, "Calm down, kid. For now, we're golden. He doesn't know where we are and there's no way for him to get to us."
Marco blinks, trying to push the thought out of his head as soon as it rises.
"That's not necessarily true."
"Every phone… okay, pretty much every phone made after 2010's got some sort of GPS function built right into it. If he had the access codes to a satellite, he could, theoretically, ping--"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! I thought all that shit went down with the Switch?"
"Yeah, sure, most if it did. If it's net-based -- if it's something like what Google used to do then yeah, it would've, that's why most of us can't access the GPS functions on our phones. But not if you've got a dish, a direction to point it in and the codes to get access."
"That's a whole lot of if's."
"Yeah, well, I'm a whole lot of scared."