LeBreton Flats - A town hall was held yesterday where a number of local residents vented their frustration at late night disturbances in their area. "I've had enough of this." One resident confides, "I'm on a 36 hour workday. I come home and all I want to do is get a solid four hours of sleep before heading out to work again. But as soon as I close my eyes, it's like World War IV out there!"
The ordeal he recounts to me is known as "highbeaming" where neighborhood Terminators replace their ocular units with shop-altered custom models made to greatly amplify their power. The result disturbance spread by Terminators spinning their head repeatedly in full circles while blaring sirens. Units often gather in groups and highbeam together in circles, creating hot-spots of noise complaints. Another man approaches me, so sleep deprived that he can't control the volume of his own voice, "I haven't slept in so long." he says, voice swinging to extremes, "I don't even know if I'm here... or if I'm somewhere else!"
"It's like World War IV out there!"
Prior to the meeting, residents circulated a petition calling for the ban of autonomous-machine after market modifications, considered most detrimental to the community. That did not sit well with Terminator units we spoke to in the area where the petition was circulated. "It's my body chassis." one says, "No one can tell me what I can and can not put on my chassis. Highbeaming is how I express myself as an individual. It's what makes me, me. And not just a number." unit TN-377700982564 says, "When I highbeam, bots be saying 'Oh! There goes unit TN-377700982564.'"
That perspective seems to have been lost at the town hall, where no Terminators are present, only an above capacity room of angry residents. Tempers are so high, that the seething rage of participants of palpable as they impatiently, but politely, wait in the line to the microphone. Exacerbated, they talk at city councilors at slightly louder voice then they would normally use and then cut off their answer by repeating the question. Residents haven't been this upset since Bluesfest.
"I don't know if I'm here... or if I'm somewhere else!", he can't remember his name.
"What do you plan to do about this problem?" Lauren Hasblatt, a 12 year resident asks. "There's technically nothing in the bylaws that prevents this activity. Officially those are their eyes." community manager Mark Marmel explained, "We neither want to offend those residents wishing to express themselves through highbeaming, nor do we want to be seen as being insensitive to the needs of our residents. So we will hold as many town halls as necessary to discuss this, until everybody forgets about the issue." This was not good enough for Hasblatt, "What do you plan to do about this problem?" she asked, in a slightly above normal voice.
This seemed to put an end to meeting, "Mam, I going to have to ask you to lower the volume of your voice from slightly above normal to the socially acceptable level of slightly below mumbling. Besides we're above capacity for this room. I'm going to have ask everyone to leave." councilor Marmel said, trying to get a hold of the crowd. "You're kicking us out because we're above capacity, but you're not doing anything about bots shining a fusion reactor into our eyes?" Someone screams in an outburst. "It's against the fire code!" Marmel yells back before ushering people to the door. But if nothing else, highbeaming has shone a bright light on the discord in this particular community.