Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Drones Part I

A few weeks ago in Seattle, a woman looked out her apartment window and noticed a drone hovering. As she put it, she was not fully dressed. She managed to take a picture of it before it took off.

Some people came forward and said it was theirs. They’re an architectural company that evaluates buildings, and they had even asked the relevant federal agency if it was okay to use it. These were so open about it, I believe them when they say they were not spying on anyone.

file photo
photo by Clement Bucco-Lechat

Well that’s nice. But are you really comfortable with the idea of a drone outside your window when you’re not dressed? Or when you are dressed?

More recently, tourists at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle (which is over six hundred feet tall) saw a drone circle them. Some said it hit the Space Needle, but none of the footage people took with their personal devices showed that. They pointed out to the police the hotel room the drone returned to, and they had a little talk with the guy. He won’t fly it in public again during his stay.

photo by Kevin Noone 

At a science fiction convention, I attended a session given by drone hobbyists. They had all the interest normally associated with a favorite hobby, and let’s face it—these things fly! But at the end, one of them said, “Don’t be that guy . . . or that gal. The one who ruins it for all of us by doing irresponsible things.”

So all this is an excuse to show an excerpt from my science fiction manuscript Day 10K. On a colonized planet where civilization collapsed and the colonists have only managed to work their way up to a mid-twentieth century technology, a minor character named Poni is in a bad way. Then she sees something she has no way to interpret.

She wrapped her arms about herself for warmth, then cried out when she touched one of her cuts. Wincing, she knew she couldn’t stay out here in the open greensward, but had to find cover. She headed for a couple trees, dark in the moonlight.
Poni had no way of cutting down branches for shelter. She would have to find some loose branches to cover herself after she snuggled into a big enough hollow of a tree. No food, no water. Did anyone hear my message? Her throat was dry. She would have to find some succulent shoots and suck down the contents, no matter what the taste.
She kept walking, stumbling, almost falling. More tired than she thought—the ordeal of being booted out into the night. Poni wasn’t even close when she looked up into the dark sky.
Her doom approached, in the form of a cross flying towards her.

Don’t get too upset, readers. The more advanced people controlling the drone get in an argument about how badly they’re scaring her. And here's what I mean by cross-shaped.

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