Evidence Presented to the Senate Committee Investigating Illegal Arrivals from years 2087 – 2101: Selected Excerpts
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW: PIA LONGMAN (CIVILIAN, 2016)
PL: She is standing in front of me drenched in sweat and she says “I am only the first. Others are coming. Thousands.” It’s very late at night – maybe two A.M. Usually I would’ve already been asleep. I almost was. I’m sitting on my bed… doing what? Nothing, I’m doing nothing, I’m just sitting, which I do sometimes before bed, collecting my thoughts. I blink, and she’s there. This figure, crumpling from some effort as soon as she appears. She heaves in huge breaths. I am perfectly still, as if she were a snake. Some survival instinct kicking in, no idea why I don’t scream. I don’t make a sound. I’m silent. In those few seconds, I’m completely still, but my heart is beating so loud in my ears I’m worried she’ll hear. Maybe she does, or maybe she just recovers. She raises her head and our eyes lock. This moment I can’t describe for you, I couldn’t. Piercing. Piercing. And, ahhh… yes. And then she sort of jumps a bit, but she recovers pretty quickly once she has a chance to take me in, see I’m… well, look at me. Anyway and so she looks around at my room. It’s a small bedroom, a fibro extension out the back of the house. The walls are busy with photos and blu-tacked mementos, but she seems to be looking past those things, surveying the ceiling, doorframes, the structure of the room itself She sighs, swears under her breath. “It’s too small,” she says. She doesn’t have to tell me. But the rent’s cheap and the location’s not. I think about defending these things to her for a second, but then it doesn’t seem like a priority in the… umm, well, the circumstances. So that’s how I am – mouth agape, searching for something else to say – when she says it; says those words. “I am only the first. Others are coming. Thousands.”
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: EXHIBIT F
Exhibit F is described for the record as a collection of pendant necklaces of the type now commonly known as Personal Transportation Devices (PTDs or, colloquially, “peeties”). The collection of these PTDs numbers some 6,422, collected in domestic raids and voluntary amnesty collections around the nation. The chains are of a relatively uniform length, hanging around the wearer’s solar plexus, and constructed of a kind of dull black metal. The pendants themselves vary widely in description, with no seeming uniformity to their shape, size etc. Some are raw-cut gemstones, others are trinkets: a bunny rabbit, a soccer ball, etc. One quality that has been observed in all pendants is that they all look old, worn, faded etc. The only features identifying the pendants as PTDs are the two touch-points – black circles of approximately 3mm diameter – embedded somewhere in each pendant’s surface. Pressure must be applied to these two touch-points simultaneously in order to activate the devices. The devices are pre-programmed to provide passage back and forth between two fixed points in time. Travel back and forth is unlimited, but a device cannot be reprogrammed to visit any other points in time.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW: MALI TAFFOUR (ILLEGAL ARRIVAL, 2091)
MT: Uhhhmm, Mali Taffour, illegal arrival from year twenty-ninety-one. Age, nineteen. Travelled alone. Hiyo to you all. Umm, so the first bit I want to speak you, it’s this: I’m not thinking it’ll work. That’s the first thing, pre any else you ask. I’m thinking ninety per cent chance I’m dead. Ninety per cent, hear that. If I speak nothing else, I tell that – no one know for sure you do this time travelling and survive. Why I’m speaking this – so you hear me when I tell you: time travel was the best option we gonna have, there in my year where I’m from. Time travel, probably it kills you, we’re thinking. But the world, what’s happening in twenty-ninety-one, you’re dead. One hundred per cent no question. Or maybe like ninety nine percent but, point being, you know. Time travel, we never heard back from anyone who done it, and it meant to work both ways, so we think either it gets you there and it breaks, or it don’t get you there zip. But when I got here I know straight direct why we never heard back a peep from anyone. Right here it’s paradise. What you’ve got here, year of twenty-sixteen. My gods. You can just go outside, whenever, wherever. No ID cards, no nothing. The water! The taps, just stuck right in the middle of a house, like most people I met here got about three of them, and you change the temperature and everything. This is the heaven we’re being promised back in twenty-ninety-one. Nah but here’s something. I’m born twenty-seventy-two. Life expectancy before everything went fucked, people living past one-hundred-and-fifty, which I don’t think is standard practice for here, right? So what I’m speaking now – I might get around to twenty-ninety-one a second time. I don’t know how that’ll even work, in terms of like the shape of reality or what, but fuck if I watch it all go shit-shape a second time. I won’t.
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: EXHIBIT H
Exhibit H is described for the record as a computer printed map with hand-drawn shading to indicate refuges in the inner- and outer-western suburbs of Melbourne. This committee has heard evidence to the effect that individual citizens and households have been taking refugees from the future into their homes. The map is a stapled booklet, 38 pages long, with all households willing to take in refugees shaded in green. On the inside of the book’s front cover is the following handwritten inscription:
Welcome to 2016. There are good people here, but we face rising hostility from the wider community. The houses shaded in green in this booklet are known to be friendly. Double and triple check that you have the right house before you knock on the door. If you can, please return this book to an arrival point once you’ve used it – we need to keep sharing the information. Feel free to make changes to the book if you learn any new information.
The information in this booklet is highly sensitive. Those who help us do so against the law and at their own peril. We must honour this bravery. Therefore, IN THE EVENT OF A RAID: BURN, TEAR OR EAT THIS BOOKLET.
You’ve made it this far. Courage.
The handwriting of this inscription has been matched to that of Kaha Bradley.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW: JU SUN (ILLEGAL ARRIVAL/ENGINEER-CONSPIRATOR, 2089)
JS: … I was working as engineer for transport team. We have bases set round the globe but mine set up Singapore City. How it works: first up I don’t know really how we get people coming. Mostly I would say we speak our family, friends, it’s always someone what someone else knows. That’s sense, right, we help our own. I would help anyone, I mean, but you don’t know who is trust. So however we’re get people to be come to us. Next it’s how we send them here, that’s my bit. You’ve saw the peeties. How it works: we gotta find objects from twenty-sixteen, or wherever it is we’re travelling. So maybe that’s the hardest bit really – we go antiques stores, we go online shop, sometimes it’s fake and then we spent five thousand coin on a vintage style Pikachu toy from say twenty-eighty, you know. So we use the carbon dating and all, you see this in my written report?
LL: Do we have the report?
LL: Has the committee received Doctor Sun’s written report?
FB: Yes, ahh… yes. The report titled “Personal Transportation Devices: Method and Accompanying Research Regarding Personal Time Travel for Emergency Refuge”?
JS: Yes, that’s it.
LL: I recommend that the last three words be dropped from the title of your report, Doctor Sun.
JS: The report is tabled, surely it’s too late for–
LL: I strongly recommend that the words “for Emergency Refuge” be dropped from the title of your report, Doctor Sun.
FB: Mr Lang, can you state your case briefly as to why you find this necessary?
LL: I can state my case very briefly, Ms Barrett – it is a misleading, untrue and unnecessary addendum to the title. We are yet to see any evidence of the circumstances from which Dr Sun and her kind are purportedly fleeing. At this stage, it is entirely reasonable to see this mass transport as a large and unwelcome influx of tourists.
JS: Mr Lang, you have seen the videos of–FB: Request tabled, Mr Lang. Dr Sun, we ask you to proceed with your testimony.
LL: Dr Sun, proceed.
Noted for the record: Dr Sun remains silent for near on a minute.
LL: Let Dr Sun’s silence be recorded as being in contempt of this committee and its investigations. Dr Sun will be taken into custody, awaiting trial for this contempt.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW: KAHA BRADLEY (ILLEGAL ARRIVAL, 2087)
KB: Painful? No… Uncomfortable… but no, it’s more than discomfort. It feels… alarming. You seem to fall into yourself, in this slow way that you don’t sense happening, but suddenly you’re gasping for air, like you haven’t taken air in how long… in all that time you lose track of it – of time. Some of us spoken around the fifty-year mark is where you go insane. We call it mid-life crisis, ha ha. You’ve been contracting and expanding for fifty years and gasping for air and not sleeping and you just kind of lose it. Which ironically makes the rest of the time fly by – in colours and horrific shapes, but it does fly – and then-
LL: Ms Bradley, I’ll have to ask you to take a few steps back, and dispense with the poetry if you would. You talk about the “fifty-year” mark. Please explain the meaning of this.
KB: Like when it’s been going for fifty years.
LL: When what has been going?
KB: The travelling.
LL: When the travelling has been going for fifty… Perhaps I’m missing something here.
KB: Because it happens in real time.
LL: I’m sorry?
KB: Shit, no one spoke that yet? It’s all in real time. I came back since twenty eighty-seven, that’s seventy-one years. It doesn’t age you, but it takes that long. And wherever it is you’re sitting when you start, that’s your view for the whole time. When you think about it it’s kinda mental that it takes people fifty years to crack. You sleep and wake, you got a nutrition pack plugged into you, so none of that stuff worries you. But it ain’t good.
LL: Let it be noted that this committee holds significant doubts about the veracity of this testimony. It is recommended that a significant number of other illegal arrivals be called upon to verify this statement. At present, it is dismissed as manipulative sentimentality, designed to appeal to the empathy of the committee, but the claim defies all reason or believability.
EXCERPT FROM INTERVIEW: HARRIET MY (CIVILIAN, 2016)
HM: They just kept arriving.
LL: How many in total.
HM: At the height of it, I was hosting twenty-five new arrivals.
LL: In what kind of residence?
HM: A two-bedroom townhouse.
LL: Did you at any point attempt to close your home to these people.
HM: Repeatedly. I only ever agreed to take on two of them, and only for a night, and this was before I knew what they were. They put me in their directory, and suddenly I was flooded. They wouldn’t leave.
LL: Please describe for the committee the damages you have sustained.
HM: My house is ruined. Appliances are broken, doors are off their hinges. Which is to say nothing of the cleaning. By the end I was hiding behind some ply board in the living room, right near the door. I went out for work, and I bought foods that didn’t need cooking or preparing, or I ate out if I wanted a hot meal. I crept in and slept on a pile of cushions by the door, and then crept out again.
LL: And how long did this go on?
HM: Six months.
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: EXHIBIT L
Exhibit L is described for the record as a 3D printer. This 3D printer is significantly more advanced than anything we have in 2016, and yet it is also small and portable – fitting into a case similar to that of a sewing machine, or a large briefcase. The machine’s log has been scanned, revealing that the machine has been used to print various survival items (food, bottles of water, portable sewerage and desalination devices), as well as a number of objects that we have yet to name or understand.
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: EXHIBIT M
Exhibit M is described for the record as a device resembling a hard-drive, containing moving images and sound recordings. The device was seized in a raid of the temporary lodgings of Kaha Bradley. A log of each individual file and its contents is contained below (appendix M.i). In summary, the images would appear to be from the year 2087. Depicted are the streets of Melbourne, but not as we would recognise them. The scenes are extremely graphic in nature, containing images of wide-spread destruction, human suffering, and partial or complete human remains in disturbing volumes. It is suggested by Mr Lang that these documents be regarded as fabricated, on the grounds that we have seen a high level of technical sophistication from other future artefacts, and the fabrication of such documents is considered by this committee as more feasible than the realities they purport to depict. Upon the presentation of these videos to the committee, Mr Lang requested that the record reflect the disgust of this committee at the level of emotional manipulation of which Ms Bradley and other illegal arrivals from the future have proven themselves capable.
Image: Tyler Barnes
Georgia was raised to believe that it’s impolite to talk too much about oneself… but then again, she was never all that polite. And she doesn’t think it’s overstepping any kind of social boundary to tell you a little about her practice as a writer and maker of live and interactive art. Last year, her work was programmed in the Digital Writers Festival, Apocalypse Theatre’s ASYLUM, and Metanoia Theatre’s Live Works Program. She has received an Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship, an Australia Council ArtStart grant, and a whole lot of good luck. If you’d like to stay up to date, check out her website.