Archive for April, 2011

Archive for April, 2011

Dystoparx — Part 11

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“That’s just not going to happen,” someone from the lobbyist group is speaking with Bill. He doesn’t know who.

“I thought we had an understanding.” More politics. First the FBI shut him out, then the Japanese became too afraid to continue working with him… now this.

“The lobby has decided it is no longer within our best interests to start this work north of the border.” At least that’s a reason. It’s more than he had expected to get.

“It’s the FBI, isn’t it? They’ve got you on their side!” His contacts at the FBI weren’t even taking his calls anymore. Who knows what they were working on? Not Bill.

“I have no further comments for you.” Whoever the lobby has him on with, it isn’t someone with authority.

He hears a click on the line, aaaaaand they’ve hung up on him.

The lobby court case is over, so maybe they’re unhappy with how that went. They got Bradley to settle. He gave them money and then went away. They’d accepted his offer, though, so why would they be upset about it now?

Bill heads out for a meeting with his superiors. He set this up the moment the FBI fallout happened. He didn’t plan on telling them everything, but he hoped to get some sort of concession out of them. If the data couldn’t be used to get any big fish, maybe they could go back to the way things were before the data stream. Catch the small criminals so that you’re at least doing *something*. With the data streams they could catch more weirdos faster. That’s where they should have started all along.

He’s entering a boardroom of some kind. He’s been here before, of course. There aren’t many people in the room. There don’t need to be. Bill takes a seat. His boss, his boss’ boss, and their assistants. Enough authority to get what he wants done. If he’s careful.

“You wanted to speak with us?” Bill can’t even tell who said it. Someone. It doesn’t really matter who.


“Then speak.” Was that someone else or the same person as had spoken first?

“As you know, my department has had some recent dealings with the FBI. An information sharing, if you will. The current policies require we go after only the biggest weirdos. That’s not something that stays within our borders.” Is he being formal enough? Maybe not.

“We knew about it, yes.” Now Bill is just creeped out. He’s had meetings with these guys before. Is he going crazy, or is something strange going on? Maybe he’s just not paying enough attention to them. They’re seated across the table from each other and he is at the end. Maybe he just can’t see their faces well enough.

“The FBI have, as of recently, terminated the relationship. They took all the data and work they could from us, used it to nab a jerk, and then cut loose.”

“That’s unfortunate.” “What are you going to do now?”

Ok, he heard two different voices that time. He really should get more sleep. After. After this. No more politics after this. Not today.

“I’d like permission to change my department’s goals. We thought maybe we could change the war on child porn,” Bill says this as though he had agreed with it, “but even with this much data that’s just not easy. What we *can* do is nail every,” Bill pauses, he may not need to be formal, but profanity is not going to help him, “We can nail every small time guy that shows up. Lots of them. Fast.”

“Is that all?”

Bill isn’t sure how well this is going, but he’s made his argument, so, “Yes.”

“We will consider it and get back to you.”

16:01 <nicnus> jjdavis: Sorry to hear that.

16:02 <acklas> Yeah, man, it sucks.

16:04 <jjdavis> Thanks, guys. I haven’t seen her in a week. I tried calling once, but that doesn’t seem the right way to go just now.

16:05 <nicnus> Yeah.

16:05 <acklas> yeah

16:06 <jjdavis> Ok, you guys can go. You don’t need to handle me like I’m a normal. Just because I’m going through a breakup.

16:07 <acklas> I assume you still have no idea what was really upsetting her?

16:07 <nicnus> It obviously wasn’t just that you explained the presidential election system to her.

16:08 <acklas> Yeah. I mean, that might have come off as condescending…

16:08 <nicnus> Were you “Well, actually”-ing? Still, a nitpick can’t be enough.

16:10 <jjdavis> I’ve thought about that. Do you think it could be that I nitpick too often and she just got fed up?

16:11 <nicnus> Had she ever complained about it before?

16:11 <acklas> Normals hate pedantry, but that can’t be the only factor. Did she ever mention it?

16:12 <jjdavis> Maybe sometimes. Not more than most normals.

16:12 <acklas> how mad was she

16:12 <acklas> ?

16:13 <jjdavis> Very mad. Throwing stuff crying mad.

16:14 <nicnus> Then it can’t just be pedantry. That wouldn’t get any stable person *that* mad.

16:14 <acklas> nicnus: agree.

16:15 <jjdavis> Then what?

16:17 <acklas> Not sure.

16:17 <nicnus> You chose to be in a relationship with a normal. You may never know. The more important thing is how to fix things.

16:18 <acklas> I wouldn’t take that

16:18 <jjdavis> But I want to know!

16:19 <nicnus> Sure, even *I* want to know. That doesn’t mean you get to. Price of this sort thing.

16:20 <jjdavis> … then what

16:21 <nicnus> I’m no expert, but I think if she wants to reconcile she will initiate

16:22 <acklas> Sounds right, but I would continue showing interest. Let her know you’re desperate, but not in words

16:22 <jjdavis> desperate?

16:22 <acklas> Whatever you want to call it, she will call it desperate.

16:23 <nicnus> Go with desperate.

** jjdavis is away: telephone

16:25 <acklas> Maybe that’s her.

16:26 <nicnus> Maybe, but it’s a bit early.

16:26 <acklas> Says the chronically single man

16:27 <nicnus> Doesn’t mean I can’t know things.

16:29 <acklas> You heard about Bradley?

16:30 <nicnus> That he settled? Yeah. Where did he come up with that kind of money? My brother is paying much less off over a long time.

16:31 <acklas> Maybe his family is rich.

16:32 <nicnus> nothing indicated that

** acklas shrugs

Acklas enjoys his job less these days. His division is nearing a product launch and that means more pressure from middle managers. Not that the project is behind by much. There are no more problems than usual. Middle management just likes to feel like they’re doing something useful. Pressuring the team to work faster seems useful to them.

Acklas knows there are several serious security holes in the product. He has brought them up with more than one of the “VP” types running around by his desk, but no one seems to care. He even sent an email to higher-level management. The reply basically said “We can fix stuff after launch”.

Why does he work here again?

16:06 <jjdavis> Ok, you guys can go. You don’t need to handle me like I’m a normal. Just because I’m going through a breakup.

Thinking about jjdavis’ problem seems far more productive than putting in time on a shoddy product with security holes no one wants fixed. The company would ship the product as it was now if today was launch day. It runs. It would sell.

Tomorrow is the general staff meeting. What a waste of time. The higher-level management comes down to outline what the development teams will be working on for the coming months. It all changes six times by the end of the first month anyway. Mandatory attendance.

Acklas needs to look for a job.

16:14 <acklas> nicnus: agree.

Acklas is thinking about Jack’s problem. A bit. This sort of emotional turmoil just gets in the way of productivity. Acklas had a significant other once. Not. Worth. The. Trouble.

Even though they’re in full think-this-out mode, Acklas is not about to just tell jjdavis that he should get over himself. That takes time. For everyone.

16:25 <acklas> Maybe that’s her.

Acklas hopes it isn’t. Jack is not going to do a good job on the phone with his ex right now. Is it right to call her ex? She probably considers herself such. Maybe.

m0rty: RT @bunny22 My puppy is so cute!

fakepm: For my next trick, I shall outlaw privacy!

acklas: RT @doctorow Canadian parliament tables bill to handle police use of data streams …

Nicnus is deep-diving on a technical problem. A client has identified a bug in their encryption product that causes it to run very slow under some conditions, causing the client’s entire Internet connection to freeze up. He hasn’t been able to reproduce the problem yet.

His thoughts are interrupted by an IM from jjdavis. Hadn’t he turned off IM notifications? Normally he does when… Oh. Jack’s girlfriend left. Really left. Ouch.

16:01 <nicnus> jjdavis: Sorry to hear that.

Nicnus stretches and cranks the volume dial on his desk. All his audio is handled digitally, but he installed a manual volume dial at some point because he loves the tactile feedback it gives him. He hits some keys to switch from the bouncy, happy music that had been on to something with a bit more kick.

His system selects some Bon Jovi and shows that it will soon be following that up with other good classic rock. Perfect.

16:11 <acklas> Normals hate pedantry, but that can’t be the only factor. Did she ever mention it?

Nicnus plods around his home slowly. He hasn’t moved from his desk in hours. The music is loud enough that it envelops him wherever he walks. Yogurt? Yes. He wants to eat Yogurt. Fridge open. Yogurt out. Bowl? No bowl. Spoon? Sure. Soon he’s easing back into his desk chair. He reads over the conversation with Acklas and Jack and then taps out a response with his left hand, the right one being engaged in conveying yogurt to his mouth.

16:14 <nicnus> Then it can’t just be pedantry. That wouldn’t get any stable person *that* mad.

He savours his yogurt. So Jack’s girl finally dumped him. It was bound to happen. They might fix this, but more likely not. Either way Jack will get over it. Maybe if they stay separated Jack can finally get out of that country. Unless he meets someone else. Yikes.

16:23 <nicnus> Go with desperate.

Do women actually respond to desperate? Who knows. Seems as reasonable as anything else to say. Really, with something like this, Jack is just shooting in the dark. Nicnus is giving advice, but really he’s not got much more information. He’s just in a better frame of mind to say the sort of things that Jack might say were their roles reversed.

Maybe Jack’s Other just got tired of being with a geek. Geeks and normals primarily coexist by pretending the other is “out there”, don’t they? Maybe.

Crap. He’s out of yogurt.