Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The dead fly for free on Southwest

Well, at least I hope Southwest Airlines will never charge the dead for flying. OK, now that I have your attention, what is this all about?
If you’ve lived all your life in Lima, OH, which I am sure is a very nice town, and never traveled, after your death you might decide to take that European vacation you always dreamed of. But in the world of Good Cop, Dead Cop, the disembodied can’t just pop out of existence in Lima and end up in Rome. They can move at roughly walking speed, but can go faster if they really, really concentrate. In fact their speed is limited only by their ability to concentrate, but you can only concentrate on “go fast, go fast” for so long until you think about something else.

And walking across the ocean is both difficult — storms and waves — and boring. So most of the disembodied would prefer to fly — on a commercial airline — which makes the “How many souls on board?” question difficult to answer. Early on, the airlines provided free AfterNet hotspots that would allow the disembodied to chat amongst themselves or access the Internet. But as the purchasing power of the dead increased, the airlines decided to start charging for AfterNet access.

But then some bean counters decided they shouldn’t let the dead fly free. So United Airlines decided to experiment with putting low power fields that would prevent the dead from entering a plane, unless they paid for a ticket, admittedly a very low cost ticket. You’ll see something like this in Chapter 14 of Good Cop, Dead Cop:

“He’s over here,” he said, motioning for her to follow. She followed him to another entrance, also a part of the large glass wall that bisected the lobby of the building. Glowing neon outlined the disembodied entrance.
“The neon doesn’t do anything,” he explained. “It just looks cool. The real deterrent is the coil that runs around the frame.”
She looked more closely and saw that a twisted band of copper wires, making an eighth of an inch bundle, was embedded in the glass that surrounded the entrance.
“That?” she asked, pointing. “Doesn’t look very thick.”
“It doesn’t take very much to stop the dead. A weak negative field prevents unauthorized visitors. You walked through the same field when you entered the Orgasmatron … the security carousel. It detects any disembodied who try to sneak in.”

Well, the experiment was a public relations fiasco and Southwest Airlines took advantage of their disembodied fly for free on Southwest campaign. Of course, they still charge the dead for AfterNet access. The dead can fly free, but you still have to pay to chat.

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