A manifesto for a more wondrous age.

When you live in the city for so long, you see a lot of cranes. That’s natural. Buildings come, buildings go. Just like people. One day they’re here, & the next they’ve moved on. No big deal. Because cranes are used for both construction or destruction, you can’t tell at a glance whether they signal growth or decay. Sometimes they’re both. It’s a symbol without a meaning. They stick up like monoliths or tombstones, as still as the flag on the moon, silently marking where something will start or end.

From the top of any crane in the city, you can see another. Practically from every base, too, but certainly from every top. They have to be; the tech works best with line-of-sight.

You ever notice how so many cranes are identical? There’s a reason for that too: they’re just shuffled around the city. Not that the Alderman expects people to go around counting cranes — I mean, who does? — but just as an added precaution. It doesn’t take much these days for people to assume conspiracy, & get out the red yarn & tinfoil hats.

Though, I guess that’s probably an accurate description, if you didn’t know the details. You’re not supposed to.

It started as a side-project, a test. Each city has a certain number of cranes always around. A slightly smaller number of these are always working. That’s just how business goes. Uptown one day, West side on the next, it doesn’t matter.

Story goes, some start-up guy pitched his idea in one of those closed-door meetings. He offered to build a network, a direct line, for the powerful of the city. Long had they wanted such a connection, but they couldn’t go around putting antennas & satellite dishes all over the place without raising suspicion. Why would he need to? A simple modification to the existing network of cranes would allow this sort of connection, all for little added cost.

Of course, that’s not what it was for. Sure, it did that too, but in actuality it was simply a side-project of a side-project.

No, he wasn’t building a network. He was building a computer. One that would tie into every system & resource the city had to offer. Each node in the chain added to it’s potential. Once it was fully operational, he could leverage it against the politicians, or against the city itself. To be in control of the entire city network is power like you can’t imagine.

Or maybe he’d do nothing at all, just let his strings pull from behind the scenes, never revealing the trick, a sleeping giant ready to lay waste.

Only time would tell. But for now, I simply ascended up the stairs, a man on a wire, & placed the building blocks.

Someday, the new construction would be complete.