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Pandemia 2020


Political fiction novel based on The Plague by Albert Camus

Horror / Mystery
Stephen Mudd
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Pandemia 2020 by Stephen Mudd

Political fiction novel based on The Plague by Albert Camus:

Chapter 1.

The events that are the subject of this book took place in Warsaw in 2020. At first glance, it was not a place where such interesting events could take place, because in common opinion the city is nothing more than the capital of a European province. Admittedly, the city itself is ugly. It takes time to distinguish this post-colonial-looking city from many other cities abandoned by the colonial powers. For example, how to imagine a city with its back to the river, without a coastal promenade, without a river port, with hectoliters of faeces out into the river, a place waiting to be discovered, where you can hear the constant hum of cars racing back and forth at great speed? The current development of the city can only be understood by looking at the stories of Hong Kong, Delhi, Lagos, Kinshasa or Abidzan after the retreat of the colonial power.

One of the most famous ways to get to know the city is to see how the city is living in a crisis. In our small city, with a population not exceeding 3 million, the crisis with its outpost - powerty and misery - is obscured by the thought of development, with the same passion with which one breathes uncertain air in the covid hospital. So here nearly 3 million inhabitants and twice as many new immigrants who fled to Warsaw from the local epidemic peaks are working hard to make the city rich. They are particularly interested in new forms of industrial production - smart manufacturing, and, as they say, primarily the transformation of Warsaw - with the participation of Berlin and Vienna, the only two capitals of industrialized countries that have retained their manufacturing potential in the last decade - into the European living laboratory of global manufacturing hub. Secret talks regarding the takeover of a part of the world factory from China are entering a decisive phase, as evidenced by a series of turbulences on the Berlin-Warsaw-Vienna axis.

Of course, they also enjoy simple pleasures; they are born and they die. But, not everything is as it was before the pandemic; young people keep their simple pleasures to themselves, as if they are afraid that the participation of people who have already passed their teens will make them no longer deserving of these entertainment ... The same thing 20-year-olds think about 30-year-olds, etc. Everyone has their place on Saturday evenings and Sundays, trying to charge their batteries for hard work during the week in their own group.

On weekend evenings, when they go out with a mask on their face, they meet at a specific time in the same place where they have a bench or something that looks like a bench, they walk the same paths or go to home concerts. Despite the age segregation, the tastes of the younger ones are the same as the older ones, the bad habits of the older ones to vulgar and iconoclastic theater performances, which they watch with flushed faces on their smartphones, limit the young to listening to vulgar and iconoclastic music and the same videoblogs on their smartphones. No one, except the last righteouses, goes to the concerts like “Still in Warsaw” by John Porter ... https://www.facebook.com/100000138087178/videos/3306984439316126/

Undoubtedly, it can be said that profanity is something specific to the city itself at the time, and that ultimately all our contemporaries are like that. The word get the f... out can be heard just as often on the street, as in the theater, at a concert or at the university. I think it’s different in nurseries ... Although who knows... I must admit that today there is nothing more natural than throwing f... from very morning to very evening, and spend the rest of the time playing online, watching online and chatting on the net.

This is probably a characteristic feature of the core Europe at the times. Streets in Madrid are full of protesters against the lockdown rules, in Paris they are protesting against economic system, in Berlin they are protesting because they do not want to be treated as satisfied with what they have now, and in Warsaw they are protesting because they can. As a result, in Europe a favorable environment for the spread of a pandemia has been created... When it ends, everyone asks ... When new economic forces become mature, the proponents of conspiracy theories in Warsaw answer... You can clearly see the fishbone diagram on the map of the protests in Europe. The strongest f.. flow on the streets of the head of the fish, the voice fades further away in the different bones ...

It will undoubtedly be said that this f... are not something specific to the city itself, and it is the feature of all our contemporaries. Undoubtedly, nothing is more natural today than people working hard from morning to night and then preferring to spend the rest of the day roaming the streets with f... shouted out to ...

But there are cities and countries where people become suspicious the next time.

On the morning of April 16, Waldemar (“Voldemort”, sic!) left - as usual at 6.00 am. - his apartment on the 130th floor of the apartment building located on the bank of the Vistula River and - which was not usually the case - saw the covid train crossing the bridge over the river. The inscription “covid train” was proudly displayed on the side of the train. Waldemar mechanically made his way through the bushes to the river in search of a non-existent promenade. But when he got out of the mud on the river bank and threw away disposable rubber boots, which were a sales hit in Warsaw at the time, he thought that this train was not what it should be. What is “a covid train”...

Actually, it wasn’t the covid train he was thinking about. This inscription on the side of the train turned him back to the subject that has been in his head since the early morning. His wife, who had been annoyed covid situation, was supposed to take a lunch train with him today. Warsaw is a specific city in terms of the city transport. Several metro lines are underground, but a few ones are above the ground. This introduced an impulse for the urban business to organize lunch train trips around the city at the time of the pandemic. Metro cars equipped in the sense of the best hotel restaurants offered wealthy Varsovians relaxing rides. Each compartment on the train served as a luxury box in the restaurant.

- I feel very good, she said in the morning when he asked her - before leaving - how she was doing. In the light of the bedside lamp, her face has always been as the face of a youth, despite the signs of the passing time. Perhaps it is because of the ontology he has built about her over many years of being together, where positive entities dominate the structure of the ontology. Waldemar absolutely built all his ontologies based on positive signals. But will it survive the covid-time probe? He did not know it yet and did even not know if he would need this answer for anything.

- If you can sleep, sleep, Waldemar said. The taxi will arrive at eleven o’clock and I’ll take you on the lunch train.

The same morning, when Waldemar saw a covid train, at the Warsaw airport twinned to Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea, the first covid plane has landed.

Still standing on the banks of the Vistula river and contemplating the view of the city, Waldemar fired his personal web-based information retrieval engine to obtain any information on a covid train. The mind map returned as a result of the voice input query indicated an interesting concept. Warsaw decided to build modular hospitals from ready-made modules, similar to the principle on which modular hotels are built. Hospitals were built in the middle of nowhere, however with the access to the railroad, or in the vicinity of airports. Covid trains and covid planes equipped as ambulances, but also equipped with social facilities for medical staff and patients, and the same vaccination equipment - were to transport the seriously ill patients to these hospitals. It was impossible not to compare this idea to isolatoria - places of seclusion in the times of the Black Death. Here, however, the goal was different - not to isolate, but to concentrate on helping the infected through the creation of optimal conditions to work for the best specialists in the domain. But is that just the point ... These new economic forces, that have not become mature yet, have a different hypothesis. For years, there have been an urgent need for studies on phenotype-phenotype relationships, using study “designs including comprehensive phenotype measures and controlling for genetic background and environmental factors, which enable detection of co-expression of abnormal phenotypes in the same individuals”, “however because of difficulties to meet these conditions due to ethical and experimental constraints” the studies were suspended (quotations from the Nature, albeit transformed into political fiction...). Covid trains, covid planes, and covid hospitals are supposed to be - according to these fake news disseminated by the unknown forces - living labs in Warsaw for performing these experiments. Of course, no one believes these hypotheses, but the seed has been sown ...

The word living lab was making a stunning career in the city. No one at MIT who came up with the idea of creating a living lab for student projects would have suspected so many possibilities of its use in a pandemic.

Waldemar decided to start his lunch train in the suburbs, where those who want to live in the countryside and yet in the city live. He liked to come here. Panasonic, which plays a key role in creating the “Future Living Berlin” smart residential project in the Adlershof district of the German capital, and whose flagship smart city project is “Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town”, close to the Japanese capital Tokyo, has decided to create a similar project in Warsaw.

The idea was very simple. Regardless of the architectural styles of city centers around the world, Panasonic wants to create a framework for the unified miniature city centers in the suburbs. As a result, employees of multinational corporations who live mainly in the suburbs of large cities in luxury housing estates would feel at home everywhere, because a city center in the suburbs would look the same in Tokyo, Berlin or Warsaw.

Waldemar was interested in the idea of globalization. These miniature cities scattered around the metropolis were the perfect place to implement projects in areas of interest at the time. And at the time, the most pressing problems of globalization are those of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by UN. The pandemic has changed little here. Living in these miniature cities marks their residents as privileged in the domain. “The world’s going to hell, but here we have some master plan”, they used to say...

Waldemar came earlier. He wanted to talk to someone on the golf course before exchanging comments with his wife about the covid trains, and covid planes during the lunch train. He did not want to be ignorant at the domain and the information on the Internet was ambiguous. Although the restaurant on the golf course was closed, regular visitors could order a drink and move around.

He ordered a glass of mead (he preferred mead over other long drinks, both because of its flavor and its taste), then went looking for someone who might know. For these miniature cities, the golf course was like a central park. Everyone comes here while having a moment of rest. Moreover, it was a place that never sleeps.

Corporate employees today have different, more demanding requirements. Generations Y and Z were brought up and raised in the information noise, they were accompanied by new technologies almost all their lives, and social media became their main entertainment. Panasonic took care of this when designing their cities. Waldemar, holding a glass with his favorite mead in one hand and putting on his magic glasses - as Panasonic affectionately called them - with his other hand was already scanning the area - with the camera built into the glasses - in search of a suitable interlocutor. The camera was obviously connected to the internet and identified individuals based on the analysis of the camera image and major social media searches. He did not want to talk to someone who - if you ask him a question: “did you fact checks before reposting it” ... replies: “I don’t need to. It agrees with my preconceived views and biases so it must be true”. A few months ago Waldemar saw the movie “The Social Dilemma”. An impressive film. After this film, Waldemar erased his fb account. Others, however, not..

Waldemar knew - from a publication in the Nature magazine (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79310-1) - that “out of over a million photos, AI correctly identified as many as 72 percent of people’s political views. This is more than human analysis (55%) and more than a random selection (50%)“. In 2017, Michal Kosinski - the author of this publication in the Nature - together with his colleague Dr. Yilun Wang presented research proving that the algorithm can effectively determine someone’s sexual orientation with an accuracy of 91%. for men and 83 for women from just five photos. Although the report on the results of the study caused a lot of controversy, and many scientists considered it even “nonsense”, Waldemar hoped that there was something probable about this nonsense and just put the Panasonic glasses on ...

Panasonic has created a special research and development department that deals with following global trends and predicting which products will best suit corporate employees. On this basis, it designs its products, which are then tested in miniature cities such as this in Warsaw.

Waldemar quickly found the author of an interesting idea ...Panasonic’s magic glasses told him that he came from Pakistan to implement here the idea of building national hospices for coal mines and coal-fired power plants. According to him, this maintenance of production in coal mines - against the trend in Europe - has to be associated with transforming them into living laboratories of new cleaner coal mining technologies ... Europe, of course, has the privilege of dealing with “clean sources of energy”: photovoltaic, wind and of course nuclear ... But for the rest of the world someone creates and sells new - possible cleaner mining technologies..

Duki in Pakistan and Silesia in Poland started work on the creation of three ideas: hospices of mining technologies in active hard coal mines in both regions, a joint digital twin of these hospices in Warsaw, and a joint mining equipment factory in Islamabad...

- Hi. My name is Voldemort and yes, I know who you’re ... Waldemar pointed at the glasses and smiled, but his eyesight remained dry and unreadable. Waldemar liked to introduce himself as Voldemort. English words always made him laugh, and he liked to put himself in a good mood with such fools ...

- Yes, me too... Rizwan pointed at his glasses, the same ...

They started talking in their respective languages ... There was no problem with understanding each other, because the smart Panasonic city regulars were also equipped with a translation kit...

- “What’s in politics, sir? The Chinese hold on tight”! Waldemar asked everyone about China.

- “Oh, I’m fed up with Chinese all day long”. China has recently introduced an industrial grid across the whole country that goes beyond its standard understanding. Traditionally, grid refers to an electricity grid. In computer science, the concept of grid means creating a connection between the computing resources of computer centers to create a virtual supercomputer whose computing resources exceed the computing capacity of each computer center separately, and which makes available and shares computing resources of all computing centers in the grid. Thus, it is possible to remotely perform calculations in computer centers in different parts of the grid. When using a grid, the user does not need to have specialized knowledge and know the complicated procedures of grid management systems. The grid itself decides which computing resources will be needed for a given task and which resources will be available the fastest.

In China, production processes are the resources of the industrial grid. Intelligent power and digital networks make it possible to use these resources to create integrated production processes of enterprises forming a virtual organization - the Chinese factory of the future.

China’s intelligent industrial grid is geographically dispersed, heterogeneous in terms of production and processes resources - owned and managed by various enterprises - dynamic in terms of time-varying availability, connected by a heterogeneous power grid. The features of an intelligent industrial grid in China do not differ from the features of an IT grid system, namely: the autonomy of production resources in terms of local control over resources and local resource access policies, in other words: resources are not managed centrally. Intelligent Grid focused in China on the point of view of the company that outsources the task of the business process.

The main assumption of a smart industrial grid in China is to separate the tasks of the business process into individual threads. The enterprise using the grid system does not need to know where the production resources are taken from, in which enterprise integrated in the grid its tasks will be performed and which parts of the business infrastructure are involved in its implementation.

Grid technologies in the power industry have already allowed in China to create powerful virtual power plants from a huge number of interconnected, heterogeneous micro-power plants, and now in production they have allowed the creation of Chinese enterprises that can compete with large American corporations.

Rizwan finished his somewhat lengthy arguments and looked at Waldemar for understanding of his reasoning.

- You don’t like Chinese do you?

Waldemar was so surprised by the length of this flow of speech, that he had to take a long sip of his drink... This offensive question gave him a moment to reflect on the answer.

The domain was very interesting. The Germans carried out a small-scale project in the domain in Kaiserslautern. The Chinese did the same on a large scale throughout the whole China. And in Warsaw, just the same project is being carried out between Warsaw and Lodz. Lodz was once the largest manufacturing center Waldemar had ever seen. 1500 factories in the very center of the city. And 300 of them stands proudly to this day, like the Moorish or European medieval castles towering over the area. Waldemar liked to come to Lodz for pork knuckle and pork loin, enter one of the numerous castles and feel the industrial atmosphere...

Lodz is basically a suburb of Warsaw now... Half an hour’s drive ... and

Lodz airport attracts mainly private business flights from Scandinavia, the Persian Gulf, Tunisia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Iran, South Korea, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, etc. In recent years, Warsaw has welcomed more immigrants than Germany and Italy together. Many of them settled in Lodz. This was essential for the development of international business contacts in the city.

Restaurants in Lodz always have a lot of people from all over the world ... A variety of business ideas were born on restaurant napkins there... The most recent one concerns the revitalization of city centers. The problem is the reluctance to live in this area due to problems with parking private cars near the house. Warsaw was proposed the solution in the domain.

The new cars produced in Silesia have been equipped with an autonomous car mechanism, which allows the car to be delivered to a specific place on request. And Warsaw has allocated a number of neglected areas to car parks throughout the city, thanks to which they have gained a new lease of life. Thanks to this you can come to your apartment in the city center like to your castle, get out in front of the door, and a groom / autonomous car will take your car to the stable / parking placement ... It’s amazing to live in Warsaw these days... The streets at any time of the day are full of cars that move safely through the streets without drivers...

- Not at all, answered Rizwan. I have been to China many times. It is amazing how China stands out from the rest. I like Chinese, and I like to go to China from time to time for a while...

- Yes... Have you ever seen covid trains or covid planes in China?

- Yes, I have. It is natural in China now...

- Do you know any details about them? I wonder if there are any similarities to the same concept from Warsaw.

Waldemar would love to talk more about the politics, but the time of meeting with his wife was approaching ... And he knew still a little about covid trains...

- Well, in China it is a military technology. Covid hospitals are a modern form of combat support hospitals. They are very mobile. They can be placed anywhere and moved to other places. They are very different sizes. They are modular in nature, so you can set up one module or a multi-module large hospital, depending on your needs. Mainly military doctors work in these hospitals. And for them it’s kind of a living laboratory. Trains and covid planes are also military in China. What is inside I don’t know. They’re definitely equipped like covid ambulances, but what else ... who knows ...

- It is interesting... I saw a covid train today, in the morning...

Waldemar saw the taxi came, so he quickly said good bye ...

The station was not far away. They got there in a minute. Lunch train was already waiting. The town of Panasonic had the privilege of starting its course from this very place. Waldemar could not understand why a large investor received such insignificant privileges in the city.

They sat down in an empty car.

- I do not understand. Wife started.

- Two dead, one in forty-eight hours and one in three days. They were both in their twenties. This last day of his life had all the signs of convalescence.

The whole city talked about it. Everyone thought covid was only dangerous to seniors.

- Yes. The first shot was missed... After the first shot, someone had to correct the position of the covid rifle...

- I don’t think you’re serious. You keep repeating fake news.

- Yes, I am sorry ... I say silly things sometimes. Truth is a boredom without meaning. Only a lie makes sense ... This is the motto you know who ... Sometimes, unconsciously I repeat these innocent foolishness.

- But you know - now when you are leaving the house, it is like coming out of the trenches to storm the enemy positions...

- So, we are the covid soldiers, but who are the covid generals responsible for the first shot of the covid rifle, and as you said - the correction of the position of the rifle...

The chat bot began to speak discreetly from the screen in the compartment pane. Waiter service was virtual. He offered today’s dish of the day - beef in beer. Waldemar rarely ate meat. At home, they preferred vegetarian cuisine. However, they did not immediately refuse, and for a moment talked about the beef. How it is prepared. Where is the recipe from. What beer is added to the beef.... The virtual waiter explained everything patiently. From time to time tangled little jokes appeared in his statements. They liked chatting with a chat bot, and with relief they changed the subject of the conversation.

The train began to move.

to be continued ... if there is any interest in ...

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