Tom Doyle: While Ireland, Page 3

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Tom Doyle: The Wizard of Macatawa

While Ireland Holds These Graves–Tom Doyle–Page Three

 

Over the last year, after Anna and Dev’s summons to UNI, the changes in Ireland sped up. The Irish literary greats turned to writing aggressive speeches and manifestos. Nationalist PRs appeared and delivered the speeches. Up close, these thin and sometimes nutty PRs didn’t socialize well, but they could sway huge crowds with the rousing words of their literary brethren.

The Irish revolution hinged on the paradoxes of the age. First, the global nano/info prosperity meant that even a single city could decide to go it alone. Fusion and solar power, a cornucopia machine, and enough information flow to satisfy the watchful paranoids at UNI were all that were required. Second, with all information directly accessible through head chips, anyone could arbitrarily choose his or her language and culture. Irish could emerge from being a largely unspoken language of the schoolroom to become the living primary language of the nation.

So the revolution made its pitch: let’s leave UNI and this global homogenizer and again become really Irish, a particular people living in one place, speaking the Irish language, educated in the culture of the past, and producing a new culture for the future. All were invited, Irish ancestry or no. Global information flow would be narrowed. Entry to Ireland would be limited to those committing to remain for at least a year, which allowed for scholars, but not tourists.

This idea caught fire with the future-shocked citizens of the late twenty-first century. When UNI and the world corporations tried to reimpose global authority, a few AIs dissented and joined the demand for a referendum.

Anna asked Dev how he felt about the Referendum. Brilliantly thick until the end, he said, “It’s bad for business. But we could use a vacation. Just us, without our artificial friends. Someplace warm would be nice.”

Without saying goodbye, Anna left America and Dev. UNI accused her of helping the PRs design their nationalist siblings. Anna and Lingua spoke at monster-sized rallies in Ireland, announcing publically that they had joined the revolution. Lingua appeared as a raven, and called itself the Morrigan, the Irish goddess of sovereignty and slaughter.

Dev was gobsmacked. He had understood that he and Anna were a bit knackered and stressed with work, but he had assumed that their love continued despite the troubles. He took to drink, but slow self-destruction in modern times was surprisingly difficult and unromantic.

Officially to preserve the generation-long world peace, UNI allowed Ireland to hold the Referendum and, once it passed, let Ireland leave the global community. Then, seeing that Dev had an appropriate lack of interest in self-preservation, UNI sent him his papers and nudged him on his way.

 

Raven

 

That night, avoiding some heavy transformation along the other routes into the city, Dev and Joyce drove into Dublin from the north along Finglas Road. As they passed the iron gate of GlasnevinCemetery, a dark corvine form shimmered overhead. Joyce shuddered. “The feckin’ Morrigan. Death, death, death, and more death.”

Dev kept his head low, though that wouldn’t do any good if the Morrigan chose to notice him. The AI that Dev had known as Lingua had been polite and pleasant to work with, but that had all been for show.

As Dev and Joyce approached the river Liffey, Dublin was slowly melting all around them, modern architectural travesties failing under the nanos’ acidic assault. The people loved the dissolution, and the owners didn’t squawk much, having negotiated a favorable restitution. Other nanos gave gray eighteenth-century houses a new shine. But the places Dev knew best all seemed to be gone.

Eventually they came to a roadblock barring their way to the UNI compound in the imposing old Custom House. Behind them, two plainclothes revolutionaries with paper notepads recorded their imminent passage from friendly ground. After fifteen minutes of apologetically holding assault rifles in his face, three UNI marines let Dev and his “AI-related object” drive through. Cut off from the frenetic transformation of the city, the UNI compound was under a polite state of siege. The city nanobots waited hungrily for their chance to restore the building to its full imperial glory.

Inside the Custom House, Dev and Joyce ran a further gauntlet of scanners, chaotic packing, and courteous delay until they reached the office of the chief Dublin UNI representative, Thomas Kenny. Kenny appeared to be midway through a sleepless week. His reluctant handshake and his English accent by way of Trinity gave Dev an instant dislike for this south-of-the-Liffey poser.

Dev wasn’t feeling very popular himself. Kenny’s smile had less warmth than the most primitive PR’s. “You have some nerve, Martin, showing up here. Returning to the scene of the crime?”

Joyce responded for Dev. “I wish to request asylum.”

Kenny stared at Joyce as if he were a barking dog. “If you don’t mind, I would prefer to speak to Mr. Martin in private.”

Joyce raised his stick, and Dev slapped it down. “It’s okay, Jim. I’ll get you out, I swear. Find someplace comfortable to connect and see if you can get us a room and some drink.”

Joyce left without even a glance from Kenny. The rep poured Dev a whiskey, and then poured one for himself. “Charming. But at the next stage he could be a liability.”

“Did you get him?”

“We’ve got him.”

“And me?”

“And you.”

Dev downed his drink in one. “Then all debts will be paid.”

 

From original Illustration for While Ireland

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