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Government in Exile: Part 1, Miracle Fiber

They cut Cleary his orders on a sheet of Tyvek® the size of a postage stamp. Tyvek is manufactured by the Dupont corporation, an artificial fiber-based fabric that is typically used to wrap new homes as a vapor barrier. It's slick to the touch, with a milky, matted appearance. Tyvek was what Cleary's father had called a low-osmotic transmission material, during his weekly phone call home. His father had spent over an hour discussing the various industrial applications of the material. His father was designing a portable grade-school made entirely out of Tyvek. It would solve the school shortage, and was completely recyclable. The design was a giant self-inflating tent with self-inflating furniture. It was hard living in the shadow of the Old Man.

Cleary's orders had been typed up by special typewriter that melted character-shaped holes in the Tyvek sheeting. Tyvek, for its many virtues, was not flame-retardant. The typewriter was heated to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit by an oxy-acetylene torch and then used while wearing insulated gloves. He was familiar with its operation because in his job at the Consulate he was the guy that heated it with the torch. He had a knack for it.

The type produced was very small. The way you read it was to shine a flashlight through the back of it and read the projected letters off the wall. Or you could scan it with a flatbed scanner and then blow up the image with Photoshop. Cleary has sold his computer to the tamale stand down the street for a card that granted him all-you-could-eat status at every tamale stand and taco truck on the planet for the next 2 months. It seemed like a good deal at the time.

The first paragraph of the orders stated that he was meet up with the First Cavalry for an airmobile insertion into the delta, then proceed by River Patrol Boat up the Nung River. He was to gather what intelligence was available along the way, locate the Colonel and terminate his command with extreme prejudice.

The second paragraph stated that the first paragraph’s order was a mistake. The typist apologized, explaining that it was an old set of orders that had been left on her copystand, but that with holes being burned in the paper, there was no way to erase the previous paragraph, and she was operating under explicit instructions to use the exact sheet of Tyvek she had been issued, as part of a new overhead control program that was underway at the Consulate.

The third paragraph stated that he had been fired from his job at the Consulate.

The fourth paragraph stated that he was to acquire transportation, and head east, across the mountains, the desert, the plains, the rivers, and more mountains. On the banks of an ancient river, there was a university. He was to contact a man there, and receive shipment of 3 newly designed portable grade schools. He was then to return with the schools.

He was to exercise caution, as anti-literacy elements sought to halt the shipment at all costs. He was to fund the expedition by selling off the personal computer that had been issued to him by the Consulate.

He was going to need to steal a car, then trade tamales for gasoline.

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