Darian, The Pirates, and The Drought

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: Set your story during a drought.... view prompt

6 comments

Drama Science Fiction Speculative

They were water pirates according to all governments on Earth. Darian knew that maybe they were outlaws but he still felt it right to steal back something that belonged to them the people.

He knew there was reward on their heads. The Drought had now lasted two decades. The consequences for Darian could be steep. Still Darian did not take any of this law stuff seriously, he knew how to find water and deliver it to his clients. He valued and loved his clients.

His clients started out local from the small town and region surrounding the farm he once owned. As his fame or infamy depending on which group or spokesperson you heard from grew he began branching out.

First just in his local state then country and finally Darian waskind of was an endemic water hero but of course he was no longer known as Darian. He had a group name now.

His group hid in the shadows and was known only as The Pirates. Few people knew anymore who or where or even how the The Pirates communicated.

It took a lot of currency as Darian called it to keep the water region supervisors mouths shut and occasionally a little violence here and there judiciously placed of course. Just enough fear to create irrational cooperation as he called it.

Darian had been the head pirate of for a while but he still remembered how it all began. Darian’s favorite summer memory was the Water and Chute park.

He and a band of friends would visit the park daily especially as the temps climbed above 90 and often 100 degrees for several weeks. He used a waterproof video camera to catch all the action. He kept all those videos of the band in a safe.

His merry band all had summer season passes and would play tag and hide and seek in the multi-acre park. He remembered his best friend Joe and him one day just decided to steal some cotton candy for the whole gang and he video taped that also. He intuited that these somehow were important days about the future of life for him and his band.

He had grown up with Climate Change fears all his life. He visualized himself as RobinHood when he he did a taking on the cotton candy. He felt the water park corporation would not miss it. This was his first taste of being an outlaw. It was outrageous fun. His whole crew devoured the candy. He liked remembering these seemingly innocent times.

Of course the Water and Chute had closed down long ago. Only the ultra-ultra rich could afford and were allowed small swimming pools let alone a multi-acre park using mega-gallons of water.

Water had always meant a lot to Darian. He remembered growing up on the farm and moving the pipes everyday by hand. Growing almonds and alfalfa and moving the pipes in early morning without gloves. But in the late afternoon the heat had beat down in the fields, he wore thick gloves and worked up a sweat.

His dad did not have the money to replace the connecting pipes, so everything was done by hand. Each 30 foot length of connecting pipe was carefully picked up and reconnected. There were dozens of pipes in each line.

After the connecting pipes were moved from one lane to another in the field he would walk over to water control box and push the green start button.

Then in the middle of a massive heat wave he would run back sweating to the pipes. He needed to make sure the water pressure had not dislodged an improperly set up pipe, especially the plug pipes at the ends of the pipelines.

If the pipes after being under pressure would burst from their connections he then had to run back to the utility box and shut off the water by pushing the large red reset button. Then he would reset the pipes and repeat. He rarely got it wrong.

Then the water restrictions began and the water sheriffs began to come, as he called the inspectors. Even though the well was on their property if any water was wasted due to improperly placed pipes a fine could be placed on their property.

Eventually drones flew over their property and AI watched to make sure no so-called water violations happened on their farm. At first the fines just increased slightly but eventually as The Drought progressed down the decade criminal penalties matched with a ferocity of criminal proceedings.

A person could be found guilty of water wastage no matter what your intentions had been. A felony is a felony the inspectors grinned. As the The Drought became worse the penalties increased. Even the death penalty became possible for a water violator.

Another fond memory of Darian’s was growing up with a personal shower was a personal shower. But now you had to show your government ID just to take a shower.

The water inspectors, which were always of the same sex, made sure you left the shower after your timer went off. Pictures were taken as you showered and placed in The Database. This enforced the one shower limit per week in the public showers. The Database shared its info with law enforcement both local and federal and Earth because The Drought affected the entire planet.

Finally Darian sadly but also fondly remembered how he became a water pirate after his dad was forced to sell the farm. He narrowly avoided having his dad placed in prison for overusages as the farm owner. The government took over the farm and gave his family a meager amount of money for the taking. Many other farmers faced similar circumstances.

Darian still hung out with the band from his water park days and all those days of thieving rituals in the water park had not been done in vain. He and Joe his second lieutenant began talking to his old buds and they all banded together. They developed brilliant plans on how to steal back the water. That was how they saw it.

They found lots of clients, little guys at first. Mom and pop restaurants that needed the water to keep on cooking and even to just wash their dishes. At first they found bribing the water guards worked. Small bribes could go a long way to them looking the other way.

Those were the days when no one was arrested for such small stealings. They made sure they never visited the same Oasis ,as water tanks were called, more than once a month. They traveled throughout the state searching for the best Oases to pilfer small but significant amounts of water. But these were the early days of The Drought.

For the first time ever this report documents The Pirates first caper:

The Happy Place delivered hundreds of meals everyday. Up until The Drought they never had to worry about water. Sure they had pay more for water as rivers, lakes and resovoirs dried up but they always had enough water.

Now multi day closings occurred because all water was cutoff. One of their early ideas was to ask patrons to bring their own clean dishes(BYOCD) so they would not have to wash them. But eventually water dried up for commercial use unless you were considered ‘essential’.

Darian and Joe one day showed up The Happy Place and Dale told them they could not properly wash the vegetables today because they had used up their weekly allotment of water. That was when Darian had as he called it the stratagem. He would supply Dale with water for a certain sum of money. Dale resisted at first because he was a law abiding citizen. But as the water dried up more he finally asked Darian to bring the water.

Darian planned the next part of the stratagem. Darian knew some of the local farmers that had become Oases guards and knew that they complained constantly about not getting paid well enough. He knew they also hated the government regulations and felt sorry for other businesses that were not ‘essential’ going out of business.

Darian offered to grease their paws with money and in turn they began filling his water canteens. Darian also knew so some technologist friends of his that knew how to jimmy the inventory system because they had built it and had put in some back doors for maintenance.

Will that was Darian’s first caper and that is how Darian became a water pirate. Many of these first clients eventually joined Darian’s band of water thieves to help others in their situation.

It is a real riot those early days of The Pirate gang and next week maybe we tell our readers more. Note that Darian, Joe, Dale and other names used in this report are not real names.

August 26, 2022 22:35

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6 comments

Graham Kinross
00:23 Sep 08, 2022

Being outlaws when the laws are unjust isn’t so bad. When there are droughts all over the world and big companies are buying up water rights, this doesn’t sound as unrealistic as it should.

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Glenn Holt
03:23 Sep 12, 2022

Yes, although it seems right that outlaws might exist when civilization is falling apart in certain places does not remove the duty to make a country based on reasonable laws. What we want is to whet peoples appetites to want to fix our problems before they get worse and base it on logical compassionate laws.

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Graham Kinross
04:22 Sep 12, 2022

Usually people elect politicians who play on their short term problems and divisions to keep the politicians in office as problems deteriorate.

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Glenn Holt
03:49 Sep 15, 2022

That seems often true. It is often difficult to work on long term problems in our own lives and our common civic life. It is hard to allow us to find that balance between the short and long term, so that we are not constantly in an emergency mode. Maintenance is important but so is the better place. It is a rare leader that sets up great edifices that survive several generations and that are flexible enough to allow for change as the circumstances change.

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Theresa Tiller
22:12 Aug 31, 2022

Very creative use of the prompt, and the story is, overall, quite compelling. The ending felt rushed to me — is there a way you could make it clear that the narrator is telling the story of the Water Pirates? Make it clear that the story being told is only one of many escapades. There are a few areas where words randomly repeat — could be a copy/paste issue — and there are places where a few commas to separate different ideas might be helpful. Overall, a nice piece.

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Glenn Holt
03:19 Sep 12, 2022

You are correct that this was a rushed ending. I appreciate very much your encouraging words and good criticism.

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