Initiating access procedures...
kitten   August 25, 2002

Tonight, she was crouched in the shadows behind large rolls of wrapped black plastic leaning against a wall. In thirty seconds, if her timing was right - it always was - her target would be walking home from his office. Her muscles tensed as she checked her grip on tonight's weapon - a cheap Chinese knockoff of a Walther, disposable and light and utterly deadly.

Twenty seconds. Her breathing slowed as she relaxed into her State, the odd clarity and precision that seemed to guide her, almost without her conciousness being involved, into performing these tasks with the smooth precision necessary to carry them out.

Ten seconds. And she could hear the vague footsteps of Italian leathered shoes on the pavement, approaching, and the swishing of fine silk of the pantlegs of his suit.

And there he was, casual and confident, strong jaw, dark suit, moving past her field of vision behind those rolls of plastic. He was followed by a younger looking man, taller but of a slighter build with a messy crop of straw-colored hair, carrying a metallic case in his right hand.

Her dossier had said nothing about an apprentice. But this did not concern her. She would adapt, as she always did, and this was nothing more than a minor alteration in her premeditated course of action.

Adaptation was yet another reason her skills were so highly sought.

She ticked off ten after they had walked past, and then stepped out into the cool November night, moved in behind them, carefully avoiding the most obvious areas of light cast by gaslamps along the street, instinctively seeking shadow.

Closer now and closer still.

The safety on her weapon was off. The safety on her guns were always off. She didn't like using the safety; she felt it gave one a false sense of security. If a gun was loaded, it was not safe, and should be treated as though it might fire at any time, for any reason. There was no such thing as a 'safe' loaded gun to her.

And if a gun was loaded and in her hand, it was anything but safe for the one selected for her.

She moved in, close enough to almost make out the verticle herringbone pattern on the younger man's jacket, her footfalls muffled by sound-dampening aerorubber in her boot soles. The younger man, though, he was not her target, and he would live.

She raised the gun and held it at arm's length, the sight picture containing only the back of the man's head. Absolute clarity and absence of thought. Only her State dictated her actions now.

She felt detached from what she saw herself doing, as she always did during these tasks. She watched her finger tighten round the trigger, watched the back of the man's head come off as his lifeless body crumpled into the sidewalk, his face like a trainwreck. She saw the apprentice whirl around--

--and he saw no more than a brief glimpse of a dark lithe figure disappearing around a corner. The young man dropped his case, abandoned the body of his teacher and gave chase, hurtling down the sidewalk, back the way he had come, and turned into the alleyway he had seen the figure vanish into.

She was gone.

It wasn't possible, but she had gotten away somehow - from a narrow brick-sided alleyway cordoned off by a high chainlink fence topped with razorwire. He snapped a penlight off his belt and checked the only hiding places he could see, behind some rolls of gritty plastic neocrete leaning against a wall, and around a refuse container. Nothing.

The sound of a fire escape retracting caught his attention and he looked up, just in time to see the sillouetted figure of his teacher's assassin skim over the raingutter and onto the rooftop.

The apprentice, despite his teacher's - his friend's - death, managed a grim smile. The problem with escaping to a rooftop was the limited number of places to continue, and from here, the killer could only go across to the adjoining building, in which case the apprentice would see, or down back to the ground. Foolish.

In a matte black holster strapped to the apprentice's thigh, there was a .22 calibre modified to project an unorthodox payload: six small cylinders of a heavy-grade sedative. Like tiny hypodermic syringes they would inject their contents on impact, neutralizing the largest adversary in under a second, but leaving him intact, to be interrogated - or disposed of. It is this gun the apprentice drew; he snapped the first cylinder into the chamber, and circled around to the other side of the building. If the killer was intelligent, he or she would linger on the roof for some time before coming down. The apprentice could afford to wait.

The night was clarifyingly cold.

...

She awoke in a daze and her gun was gone, her vision blurring what little there was to see in the somber and darkened room. Her body felt heavy on the cool temperfoam, and she could hear the humming of machinery, muted as though in another room.

She swung her legs over the edge of the foam and tried to stand, realizing what a mistake this was as her temples protested by pulsing in pain, so she sat, her head between her knees, breathing in through her nose, out through her mouth, trying to calm herself.

Where the hell was she?

It looked like a compound of some kind, completely foreign to her, yet naggingly familiar in some respects. The room she was in had a high and vaulted ceiling which seemed much more cavernous than it was, by virtue of the subtle breeze produced by an overhead fan she could barely discern. The walls had a faint oily sheen; she reached out two fingers to touch the bulkhead closest to her, smooth and cool to the touch, and felt a subtle vibration thrilling through, as though the entire compoud were in motion. A ship, then.

How did she get on a ship? And who brought her here, and why?

There was a sound like a doorbolt being thrown back by a solenoid, and a door that she hadn't previously seen was opened, dim blue light pouring into the room and glaring off the walls. A figure appeared in the hatchway and stood there, backlit by the ambient light from the corridor, his features indiscernable.

He remained there a moment, as though confirming her presence and lack of threat, and then entered the room. Overhead lights sputtered and flickered to life, casting a dull white glow that hurt her eyes and made her squint. The figure approached her, tall and with a great deal of dignity about him. His demeanor, his posture, his eyes - everything about him thus far suggested a sort of all-pervasive calmness borne of knowing who was in control of the situation, yet completely without malice or malevolence. His face was slightly worn with age, yet somehow this only added to his presence, and his short white hair was brushed vaguely backwards across his scalp, as though he had better things to do than give too much attention to his hairstyle.

"Welcome," he said, a rich authoritative tenor. He took another small step towards her, and offered his hand to assist her in standing. Her eyes turned to meet his, and she extended her hand to grasp his, struggling to her feet. It did not escape her notice, even in these conditions, that his hand was adorned with a single ring of simple platinum, upon which the insignia of the Asps was engraved.

The static in her head was fading fast and she was feeling stronger by the minute, able now to stand unassisted; the pain in her temples was gone as well. She gave the room - her cell? - another brief glance, her head swinging round and her short red hair cutting an arc across her shoulders. Aside from the temperfoam mattress and blanket, there was not much to see.

"Or should I say," the man continued, "welcome back."

Her head snapped back to face him, level with him now, azure eyes smoldering, her expression betraying exactly what she thought of this sort of welcome.

"Who the fuck are you?" she snarled.

Driven by the power that is burning in our hearts.
kitten   August 17, 2002

Work has been proceeding in order to bring to perfection the crudely conceived idea of a machine that would not only supply inverse reactive current to unilateral phase detractors but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing Cardinal grammeters. Such a device is the Turbo Encabulator.

The original machine had a base plate of pre-fabulated amulite surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two sperving bearing were co-linear with the pentrametric fan. The main winding was of the normal Lotus-O-Delta type, placed in patedermic semi-blode slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a non-reversible tremic pipe to the differential girdle spring at the upper end of the grammeter.

41 manestically spaced grouting brushes were arranged to feed into the rotorslip stream a mixture of high S value phenolbitatol benzene and 5% ruminative tetra tyliodol hexamine. Both these liquids have a specific pericosity given by:

P = 2.5 Cn 6.5

where n is the diethetical retribute of temperature phase disposition, and C is Colomondole's annular grilliage constant. Initially, n was measured with the aid of a metapolar diffractive pilfrommeter, but to date nothing has been found to equal the transcendental hopper dactascope.

Undoubtedly , the Turbo Encabulator has reached a high level of technical development. It has been successfully used to operate Nofer Trunions. In addition, whenever a bardensen scorn motion is required, it may be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocating dangle arm to reduce sinusoidal depleneration.

You hold me close and whisper, love is forever.
kitten   August 15, 2002

It's been a while since we've updated. I cannot speak for Bryan - I believe he is going through his usual harbtantrum and refusing to update for a while. So be it. As for myself, I've merely been a lazy bitch and let's face it - my writing is crap.

Bryan had the courtesy (read: he forgot) to leave behind his webcam, so I took it to work yesterday and today - likely tomorrow as well - and have been running live broadcasts. The crowds WATCH as kitten sits on his ass! They GASP when kitten yells at salesrats! They LAUGH as kitten tries to deal with technical issues!
Thrills, chills, and spine-tingling excitement! You'll pay for the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!

Here's a few choice snapshots.

Slacking off.
Attempting to be productive and failing.
Jesus is with me.
Sleeping while Captain takes off every 'zig'
kitten is pathetic.

For your listening displeasure, I also took the liberty of creating a movie teaser for mirrorshades: The Motion Picture. You can listen to it here, though there's enough inside jokes contained in these 42 seconds that the outsider would well be wary.

Share and enjoy.

Someone's gotta answer the phone
kitten   August 1, 2002

Someone's gotta answer the phone around here, and since the only other person is my boss (the president), and it wouldn't do for the president of the company to answer the phone, the task gets relegated to me. Unfortunately.

Salespeople and telemarketers, I am now convinced, are on about the same rung of evolutionary advancement as jellyfish, slugs, and Christians.

They all work from one of three or four basic scripts, and it's always so predictable. Their tactics are:

  • Ask to speak to "The person in charge of [printing supplies / office furniture / telephone / whatever]". This is the most basic approach, and as soon as I hear "person in charge of" I hang up.
  • They will try to get a name of someone, anyone, who works at your company. Often they do this by following up the "person in charge of" with, "..and who would that be?" If they already know the name of someone at the company (via newsletters, or more often, purchasing lists of such names from other telemarketers), they ask for that person.
    Their plan is to ask to speak with, say, Robert Smith. They don't actually want to talk to Robert Smith, but when he gets the call, the telemarketer plays it off like, "Oh, I was trying to reach someone in your purchasing department, I must have gotten transfered wrong." Poor Robert Smith, not knowing or caring what this is about, dutifully transfers this idiot to Purchasing, where they can harrass whoever picks up the phone to buy ink cartridges.
  • They try to get information about your company by laying down a little speech about how they are from [some company] and they are "updating their records", whatever that means, and could you please tell them how many employees you have, the name of the president and CEO, your address, your phone number, how much money the company makes, etc. Right.

    Anyway, I get about ten or more of these idiots a day. If it's obviously a salescall I hang up. I sometimes play with them, but usually I don't feel like dealing with their idiocy.

    Sometimes it's hard to tell immediately. If they're calling for my boss.. is this a legitimate call, or did they just happen to get his name from somewhere? Simple interrogation will suffice:

    "May I speak to Mister Boss?"
    "May I ask who's calling?"
    "...Brenda."
    Strike one. No legitimate caller introduces themselves by first name only unless they're personal friends.
    "Okay, Brenda, may I ask what this is in regards to?"
    "Is he in the office today?"

    Yeah. Sidestepping my direct question earns you a hangup. Please insert another quarter.

    I'm just trying to give you a feel of the sort of stupidity I have to deal with around here, because today I had a series of incredibly vicious salesrats.

    Guy calls up and says he's from "the customer service department". This is also a common ploy; in large companies, I guess the idea is that whoever is answering the phone will think that this caller must work here somewhere, and let them have whatever they want. Doesn't work here.

    ME: "This is kitten."
    MORON: "Hi, this is Bob from the customer service department."
    ME: "..yes?"
    MORON: "..."
    ME: "..can I help you?"
    MORON: "I'm with Sharp."
    ME: "Okay?"
    MORON: "Who is in charge of calling?"
    ME: "Er, of calling who, sir?"
    MORON: "Of calling for copier supplies for your Sharp copier."
    ME: click!

    Jesus Christ. We don't even have a Sharp copier. Phone rings again, and it's the same guy:
    ME: "This is kitten."
    MORON: "..."
    ME: "..."
    MORON: "CHEESE BALL."
    ME: "Yeah, that was clever." click!

    Idiot. Guy calls back:
    ME: "This is kitten."
    MORON: "Hi, this is Bob from the customer service depart-- shit, I got the same asshole again, didn't I?"
    ME: "Woah woah woah. Asshole?"
    MORON: "Yeah, you're hanging up on me."
    ME: "Buddy, you're calling me, refusing to identify yourself, trying to sell shit I don't need, don't want, didn't ask for, for equipment I don't even HAVE. You're the asshole, dipshit." click!

    Few minutes later I get a call on an obscure line that no legitimate caller would use, but I answer it anyway, and it's another "person in charge of" call, so of course I hang up. The woman calls back and demands to know "Why did you hang up in my face like that?" So I explain that I hang up when I can tell it's just a salescall, and I have better things to do with my time than listen to a salespitch for a second-rate product that we're not going to buy anyway. She informs me that I'm a moron and hangs up. Guess she showed me!