The rain was expected, but not to such an extent.
On the first recorded incident, the start of the shower was greeted with contented smiles. The moisture cooled the air, and brought out the lushness of the plants. But the rain intensified into the evening, and disappointment spread. The weather station received numerous complaints. Needless to say, they apologised for the inconvenience and promised to investigate the matter with the utmost urgency.
Those on duty were interviewed, and tech experts poured over code. Meteorologists looked to possible unanticipated fluctuations in conditions. But nothing adequately explained the anomaly. Reports were filed, and the weather returned to its programmed patterns.
The next incident occurred three months later, when the weather was due to be unseasonably warm and sunny. Many businesses had organised extended lunch breaks as a kindly gesture towards their employees. The day began as expected, with the sun warming the Dome from early morning. Many people opted to don lighter clothing than was usual for that month.
But as the morning progressed a hazy film of cloud developed. Initially this was only enough to filter the sun’s rays, but as the hour for eating approached the cloud thickened and the temperature dropped. Many residents without jackets started to express their annoyance. Some of the plans for al-fresco dining were abandoned, but many continued, those in charge trusting that the weather would return to its arranged pattern.
However, this was not to be. The cloud cover built, and soon even those who wore jackets complained of the conditions.
When the first flakes of snow fell on the amazed and shocked populace, the weather station readied itself for more calls of complaint. They initiated an investigation immediately, promising that their experts would work extended hours to uncover the cause.
This didn’t quell the anger of the residents, and many called for a total overhaul of the weather system. How were they expected to plan their lives if they could not trust the word of those who controlled the very atmosphere in which they worked? How were those involved in horticulture expected to do the best for their plants? How were civic planners supposed to organise large-scale events? How were people expected to prepare without accurate information?
Again, the investigations uncovered no cause.
The third incident occurred one month later, almost to the day. The weather was due to be pleasant for the time of year, with a strong easterly breeze, exactly as the organisers of that day’s regatta had ordered.
The regatta was into its second hour when the breeze intensified. Initially, those taking part expressed satisfaction, and although some of the less experienced sailors grew nervous, old hands relished the chance to demonstrate their considerable skills. Speeds increased, and there were some tense, exciting moments as boats tilted perilously closer to the water.
The force of the wind grew. Many craft capsized, and the safety vessels struggled to cope, with meditechs in constant demand. The event was brought to an early close as residents beat a panicked retreat from the wild weather.
Again there were complaints, and the weather system investigated. In truth, these investigations had never ceased, and now they started to yield results. Eventually, a lone individual was identified as the cause of all three disturbances. Of course, his name will remain private, but Authority did release some information across the public network.
The man was a senior operator, and had worked diligently for ten years. There were no indications of unacceptable thought patterns, and although he was not overly social he was highly regarded by his colleagues.
But he had been working in private, and had developed skills that enabled him to circumvent the weather system fail-safes and implement his own instructions.
In interviews he expressed a fondness for meteorology that bordered on obsession, becoming increasingly animated as he talked of wild, unpredictable nature. He rejected the arguments that such unpredictability was disruptive. Instead, he saw this chaos as a positive force, and was proud of his actions. He believed he was doing something pure and good. Those who focused on fleeting inconveniences missed the longer view.
He talked of the work of horticulturists, nurturing specific varieties of plants. This might be viewed as progressive, but there were now, he said, far fewer varieties than existed a century ago. Before the Dome, and before the weather system, nature had always found a way to overcome difficulties, and new species developed constantly. Now, with so much control over the environment, only those species that were beneficial to residents were allowed to flourish. With control, nature was being limited.
He then extended his arguments to include people. The Dome’s residents knew exactly what to expect, and were only capable of making the most superficial of decisions. They had grown lazy and weak. They were a shadow of what they had once been, when brave individuals had created the first Dome and fought for what they believed in. And that was what he was working towards. Yes, there would be casualties, even fatalities, but it would help mankind grow. It would help mankind become strong again.
The records indicate that he spoke for many hours, becoming increasingly deranged, before Authority decided to separate him from society. But they do not report the final words he spoke as he was taken into Correction. He was still proud, and he smiled as he gave a summary of his position, a phrase that has since wormed its way into the public conscience. He spoke eight words that have become a rallying call for all who despair at seeing how pathetic we have become, and believe that the comfort we now have is the greatest threat we have ever faced.
Those who experience no chaos experience no life.
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