- Foreword: Writing Rochester's Futures
- "Interesting Times"
- "Culinary Capital, 2034"
- "Night Bells"
- "Hollow Lives"
- "The Naked Girl"
- "Time Enough for Love"
- "Day of the Bicentennial"
- "One City at a Time"
- "Want Not"
- "The Costs of Survival"
- "Getting Wet"
- "Top 10 Headlines, Rochester, NY, 2034"
- "North Star Pipeline"
- "The 2034 Lilac Festival"
- "Scotch and Sizzlenuts on the Resolute Bay"
- "Fads (or Why Jerry Loathes the Aliens)" [FULL TEXT, AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY]
"North Star Pipeline"
The cameras picked them up when they broke the plane of the plot line. Alarms quietly buzzed inside my head. Only two cars, not a serious raid. Harassment. The old summer cottage lay well back, up a curving gravel driveway from the county road, giving me time to react.
I met them at the door. Four departments’ worth of uniforms and badges: county Sheriff’s Department, state Fugitive Detection Unit, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and international Border Security Agency. Inter-agency cooperation. My tax dollars at work.
The front door retreated as we sniffed around each others’ tags like unfriendly dogs. “Seneca Parker?” I nodded, said “yes” for the record. The DHS agent beamed his warrant into my guidescreen, which sent out an urgent message to my lawyer, to the ACLU, and to a collection of blogs and vlogs for live coverage. I had cameras everywhere, pinpoint lenses built into the walls and around the doors and windows like wallpaper border in a New England cottage. Their warrant gave them no license to turn them off. They wanted the raid to go out. Harassment with a warning. Don’t try it. Don’t even think about it.
The warrant activated my chip, sending them all the information they could legally detect. FDU had a screen on which she intently studied my movements and patterns for the past week, the legal limit in these searches. She tried to hack lower and deeper, pinging my defenses, but nothing went out that shouldn’t have.
About a minute passed in silence. The final OKs were beamed to all our receivers, I stood still for an iris scan, and affixed my thumbprint to the warrant.
“Come in,” I said. “I made lemonade and iced tea. Unsweetened, but I have some local beet sugar crystals for the super-tasters with a sweet tooth.”
“Organic?” BSA asked. His name display read Aleš Šatan. I would have laughed but I was a fan of the hockey player as a kid.
I gave him a look. So did Homeland Security. He changed expression, got very serious. “We have a list of questions we’d like to ask you.”
“Have they been vetted by my attorney?”
“We don’t have to do that any more,” DHS said. His voice had a smile of triumph he carefully kept off his face.
“Let’s go to the kitchen. We’ll be out of the way there,” I said.
“Lead me to it.”
The other three lugged briefcases into the parlor and like medieval wizards went through their unlocking rituals. A variety of scanner/detectors from different firms emerged. Three sets of congressional investigations had blasted the wasted billions from using incompatible vendors and bug-laden software.
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