It's the end of the month again; quota time. Across the city, the region, and the wider Fed, everyone is making sure their accounts are in order; whether they are actually so or not. To that end you can bet every little jumped-up jobsworth in a hi-viz jacket will be out to ensure they have duly detected their tally of offences; whether those misdemeanours are real or imagined. This isn't a good time to be driving any sort of vehicle, to ride a bike, or be walking alone: Better to take your chances with the rest of the herd on public transport for a couple of days in the hope the dayglo turds decide to pick on anyone else in the crowd but you.
You'd think by now they'd be aware target driven policing does more harm than good, and only gets peoples' backs up. It just seems to be such an utter waste of everyones' time, effort, and resources; especially since the same officious tossers responsible for this bureaucracy in a moment of serendipitous incompetence arranged the partial expiry of TransCred just at the right time to enable most people to evade the worst of it by using their soon to expire allowances on public transport. Was that mere coincidence? Or did an empathic spirit trying to subvert the system from within contrive it that way?
Someone usually gets done for some minor infraction, but the chances are as long as you are streetwise and lucky, or know enough of the law and your dwindling body of rights to make them veer away and pick an easier looking target it won't be you. If it is, you just have to put it down as an unfortunate case of chance taxation.
That was a couple of days ago, but just when you thought it was safe to get back in the saddle they're at it again. Perhaps the great bureaucratic hive mind is starting to evolve some spontaneity? That would be a bad sign because as long as they are predictable the lower rungs on the ladder of the extended police 'family' are relatively harmless. The City Police can't be bothered with cycling matters; it's the Community Police busybodies who delight in making cyclists' lives a misery; because they can, and they have an incentive to do so.
I'm alerted to this latest development by a blurt from CycloSolidarity; a cycle commuter dark net community, warning of a couple of ComPig checkpoints, though I am puzzled about their timing; I thought the Community Police; aka Compies, ComPigs, Comps, Pols or Goons would've realised that they'd missed their cut off date. Perhaps they feel that they have to make an early start on next months' quota. Or they've just postponed their deadline.
Even the Compies have enough nouce to realise they're being dicked, so they soon give up on the fixed stops at the few points of entry to Portsea Island and go mobile; that's when the fun begins. A public-spirited frazzler sets to work remotely sabotaging their saucer drone and forces it to land, then comes the call for a mass ride-through.
I've always had a bit of a rebellious streak. Dad says I got it from Mum - God rest her - who spent some time living an 'alternative' lifestyle before she met Dad and settled down. Wherever it came from, I can't resist an opportunity to tweak the noses of the Pols. So I saddle up, flick in, and follow the blurts set on audio to the approximate rendezvous area. You need to have confidence in your blurters, but these have a good rep, so I'm reasonably sure that it isn't a set-up.
The best laid Goon runs don't look out of the ordinary to those not in the know; few would recognise them for what they are until they begin, and as yet the surveillance grid isn't smart enough to recognise the signs, especially when it is being frazzled. To a casual observer, or your average Comp checkpoint, nothing appears amiss. Then, guided by the supposedly uncrackable anonymous microblurt voice in your ear and a bit of local knowledge you set the trap; drawing together into a critical mass too large for Them to cope with before riding through.
Suddenly I hear "ALL RIDERS! STICKY WICKET! STARBURST! STARBURST!" Shit! Something has gone wrong; the Goons have either got some motorised support, or some of them have been tagged as half-decent riders. Maybe they've cracked the feed or targeted the blurters? Whatever the cause, it's time to scatter far, fast and wide.
I consider riding away from the main routes, locking the bike somewhere out of the way, and catching a bus to the city centre, but that's risking it. I decide I've a better chance of keeping my bike mine by staying on it and continuing to ride in just as anyone else would do. Those who want to can have an online debrief later, but whatever the outcome and the lessons learned those blurters have taken a big hit to their reputation; I hope no-one got caught as a result of their failed run.
My earpiece is full of advice to take it easy and lie low if possible, to make your return journeys at different times using different routes, or to park your ride, merge with the crowd on public transport this evening, and pick up your bike tomorrow. Above all else, whatever you do, don't look plugged in! They'll always use the wearing of earphones as evidence of Cycling Without Due Care and Attention, one of their favourite catch-alls... Bugger! It had the makings of a good run.
I wouldn't put it past the ComPigs to go on a parking patrol in an act of spite, ticketing anything they can find; tax, insurance, or annual inspection tag violations, or they'll be giving cycling licences and helmet fitting extra scrutiny when they pull their random stops. If all else fails there are always the old ways and means, such as insufficient rear tyre tread, or lack of all the required area of reflective clothing or day running lights for bike and rider. Which reminds me; I'll need to buy a new tyre soon. Hopefully there'll be some really new ones available, rather than me having to put up with one of those shoddy remakes again.
Doing my best to be inconspicuous I slow down and blend in. It takes a while for my thudding heart and flushed face to return to normal. I make it into Media House without further problems, park the bike, and set my very illegal dark tag that I keep handy for just such an eventuality to transmit a proxy registration if queried by a long range RFID scanner for a while, just in case one of the little fuckers decides to try a random beam sweep. Yes I'm old enough to know better, but I really despise those cunts who would impose themselves so harshly on their fellow citizens; even their next door neighbours or co-workers, just so they can earn some extra privilege points. I hope that they skulk back to their ordinary assignments empty-handed and realising they're just going to have to live as the rest of us have to with only the standard ration of life's little luxuries. Or they'll have to do as we do and buy some top-up cred to make up any shortfall.