Archive for regulations

Meaty Plants

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by javedbabar

As Lucerne’s Building Control Officer, Shama’s remit was residential, commercial and industrial building. He was not responsible for agricultural building. Bona fide farmers could build whatever they wanted to provided it served a purpose.

He did however have a watching brief. So when he wasn’t busy he would drive around, looking, to keep his new empire in check. This was his second week in the job, and he wanted to stay on top of things.

At first he thought it was a trick of the light. Bright fragments shone around the valley at dawn, illuminating bluffs and gleaming across forests. The sun was catching something large – what was it?  The source seemed to be away from the road – where was it?

More driving around indicated that it was likely the Old Percy Farm. He’d heard that the old fella had passed it on to his son, who had returned from Africa to live here. He’d also heard that the son was sci-fi author Balthazar O. Percy, one of whose books Shama had read in his teens. He recalled it being very strange, barely comprehensible stuff.

There was a gate and buzzer, newly installed. He was about to press the button when the gate opened itself. Was it an automatic gate? Then he saw the discreet camera built into the gate post. Somebody had let him in.

Shama followed the driveway, winding around a slough, and through a patch of forest. Why people built their homes so far from the road, he had no idea. What a waste of time and energy every time you went to town. Anyway, that was their choice, to hide.

A shaven-headed man stood on the road ahead of him, clapping. He increased his speed of clapping as Shama approached, and then moved and stood to the side.

Shama pulled up beside him. “Hello, I’m Shama, the new BCO. I’m familiarizing myself with the area. I hope you don’t mid me paying you a visit.”

The man was wearing grey overalls, and seemed like a prisoner or factory worker. “Not at all. Welcome to the ranch. I am the owner, Balthazar O. Percy. Would you like to look around?”

Shama spotted a vast greenhouse on the edge of a far field. At first glance he’d say the greenhouse covered an acre. It could be even more than that.

“Ah! I see the greenhouse has caught your eye. Let’s start with that. This is my personal project. I’ve wanted to do it for years. Now that Dad has passed the farm over to me, I am…”

Shama saw something moving inside. It didn’t seem like a person.

“… trying some new ideas. This valley has plenty of nutrients which could provide the ideal human diet, if only humans could absorb them. Animal production is very wasteful, they eat more then they produce. Plants are somewhat fickle, one flood or frost and they’re gone. I’m developing a new green food source, meaty plants.”

Shama could swear that one of the plants was looking at him.

“If the valley floods, they’ll swim. If it’s frosty, they’ll huddle. If there’s a fire, they’ll escape. They are independent and will ultimately create their own ecosystems. When nuclear war comes – we all know it is inevitable – they may even outlive us, and begin a new evolution stream, but right now they are fragile and need protection. That’s what the green house is for.”

Shama thought, I wonder how soon before we’ll need protection from them?

Future Church

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama had performed casual labour over the years, but was not a trained builder, never mind a member of the International Code Council. He was totally unqualified for the job of Building Control Officer. The situation in Lucerne was dire though; they needed a BCO immediately, and he was offered the job without him asking.

The previous BCO had disappeared, and so had his diary. Shama had no idea of his schedule. The best thing was to just sit and wait. At ten past ten a call came through on the main switchboard. “Good morning!” said a cheery male voice. “I’ve been trying to get hold of a BCO for a month now, but without success. I hear you’ve taken the position. How’s your day looking?”

Shama said, “Erm, I have some windows available.” He had heard project managers use this term on site. Windows. It seemed appropriate for construction projects.

“That’s great! You guys are usually so busy that we wait for weeks. There must be a dip in the building trade. My name’s Simon. What time shall I come over?”

Shama didn’t want him to come over. There was a huge stack of papers, a wall of manuals, a pile of lego bricks, and a playground of executive toys in his office. They gave the impression that he sat around amusing himself and rarely bothered with work. It would be better to meet the applicant at his place. It would provide a better idea of the project too. Shama said, “I’ll come to you at two.”

“You’re coming here? Really? Uh-oh! What have I done? You guys never come here otherwise…”

“That’s not the case,” said Shama, fiddling with lego bricks on his desk. He built a red squat structure. He also set chrome balls swinging to knock it down. “It makes more sense for me to see what you’re doing there. I will understand the big picture. Drawings and forms are only indications. I’d rather see what is going on.”

“That’s a healthy attitude you’ve got there, son.”

Shama wondered how the man knew his age. He must have a young voice. The man gave him the address and told him to “keep his eyes peeled” for the driveway, which was “your usual two tire tracks in the bush”.

Shama drove twenty kilometres out of town in the BCO’s truck – a silver Nissan Frontier. It was too clean and shiny for a work truck. Did the previous guy ever do any work? Shama found the driveway and drove right in.

In the centre of a cleared half-acre was a strange metal structure. It was like a small space ship that had landed there, with a blast radius around it. Had the guy burnt out the clearing? Maybe the structure had been dropped in by helicopter.

An alien appeared. It turned out to be Simon, wearing green overalls and goggles. He said, “It was already here when I bought the land. I want to extend it. It reminds me of a small chapel and I want to build a three-storey tower next to it, so it looks like a futuristic church – you know one of those English medieval ones, but in metal.”

This was unconventional, thought Shama, but imagine the sweeping views from the tower, and echoing river sounds in the chapel. Most seekers find solace alone. This would be a great spot. You could aspire to the heavens, then be baptized in the river, and walk within the Garden of Eden. Imagine how much professional people would pay to rent this. A thousand a week? It could kick-start spiritual tourism in the area.

He said to Simon, “Okay, go ahead.”