I’m writing a series of novels: the Seeking Scylla series. Some characters dance on the edges of the narratives. Some never make it in. In Beyond Scylla blogs, I share stories and vignettes about these characters.

—… and dismantle this threat to our national security.

Xance’s ears ring with declarations and orders.

The books are already ash, and now they’re going after servers and all the documentation.

Xance remembers the announcement on the news, but is it really news? All the independent stations have been eliminated or taken over by the National Republic Alliance. Seems like decades ago and yesterday, but today marks the beginning of the tenth month.

The announcements are everywhere, on billboards, newscasts, and communication blasts that interrupt programming and phone calls:

—The AI technologies and web networks are a threat to our well-being, lifestyle, and safety, and we are coordinating with Global Core Alliances to dismantle servers. All citizens are required to surrender any and all devices, including cellphones, watches, and personal computers. Receiving stations are in place. Phones will be replaced, but other devices will not. After November 2, possession of restricted electronic devices will be a felony. This is for your own safety and for the safety of the Republic.

Xance stares into the warehouse of servers, toolbox hanging heavy from their left hand. The leaders know the servers and technology are not the threat. Xance knows they know and suspects they have secured warehouses of servers that they’ll maintain for their own purposes. All things considered, the leaders—not the servers —are the true threat.

The fear-infested leaders even incinerated centuries of literature for fear of the truths in the fiction.

You can’t dismantle all knowledge, all truth, all fiction.

The Threat of Torpor

Xance knows the risk they are taking to salvage drives and equipment for the resistance. The torpor chamber. But passivity is as big a threat as the State aggressions. Xance would rather die resisting than live in the world the fear-based Republic is creating.



—Get to it. Can you handle this quarter?

The sergeant nods toward the northwest corner of the warehouse.

Xance holds up their toolbox and nods.

—On it.

Xance —relieved to be alone for the three hours the sergeant expects them to be in this quarter —tightens their grip around the handle of their toolbox. The two concealed chambers will fit at least ten drives and some connectors. It’s not much, but it’s the little bit Xance can do to protect their people against the true threat.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.