Exciting new job

I had a good day.  Nothing’s perfect, but I don’t really care, I’m working again and Mike took me out for roast lamb AND IT WAS GOOD.

Want to see the raccoon who infested our basement while I slept like the proverbial infant and Jeff and the cats watched from the top of the stairs? Yes that animal figured out how to push the cat food box down the stairs so it would barf out its contents, which it wastes no time in eating.


PLEASE do not expect me to write until the end of the week (I’m off on the 11th).  If I do we’ll all be happy, but I cannot brain right now.

68. Translate, surveil, reiterate

He let that sink in, and tried to shift the meeting back to its original purpose.

“I’ve asked for your help because I want to prevent something like Chelyabinsk. I want to become an astronaut and then fly a mission to keep an eye on everything that’s any size moving at any speed upsun of Earth.”

“You want to address a planetary threat,” Avtar said, smiling. He was on board, stating the mission with pride. Jesse started to feel jealous, that Avtar was more in the know, and then he tucked it away. George was talking again.

“I think I’m uniquely qualified for the job, as well as wanting it so badly that I’m prepared to suborn half the public officials in a town the size of Vancouver.”

“So you are bribing people,” Colin said, straight-faced.

“One might consider it filling a war-chest, although variously distributed among interested parties,” George said. “Except it isn’t for a war.”

Colin finally woke to the reason there was a Musqueam man sitting among them. He took a breath, and then George shoved a tiny diaphragm on the end of a tiny invisible tentacle into his ear and said, “Not.another.word.” Looking shocked and sitting back with a twitch of his shoulders, Colin thought better of speaking.

Stephanie returned to the circle and sat down.

“I trust you are feeling better. You mentioned an agenda,” George said politely.

“It seems pointless,” she said. She deliberately looked anywhere but at the barrel. “And nobody is taking notes.”

Kima put her diaphragm over the side and started playing back the audio of the meeting. “I asked a number of people to come tonight,” they heard.

“What?” Stephanie said blankly

“George, a little honesty, please,” Jesse said, shifting uncomfortably in his tiny chair. “Sixers have the ability to take continuous audio and video recordings.”

Kima hung a laptop-screen-sized blob of herself over the side of the barrel and showed a more or less colour image of the room. It panned around until she was looking at herself. They all stared at it, including Stephanie, with varying degrees of fascination and dread. 

Then the lens dove into the barrel and started weaving itself through her tentacles. You could see light coming up, and sparkling on the ceiling. A tiny airplane, pulling a banner stating GEORGE IS A DOOFUS / GEORGES EST ÉCÅ’URANT, appeared to fly through an equally tiny space in the water. Jesse, Colin and Avtar all cracked up. There was a flurry of splashing in the barrel as Kima chased down Michel’s tentacle, which was responsible for the visual, and ejected it.

“Ow,” Michel mouthed through the glass. Jesse wondered where Michel had squeezed his tentacle through and just how narrow a hole he could squeeze through.

“Holy crap,” said Anh. “Do you have video of other Sixers? Of any gatherings of Sixers? Documenting all of this is really important.”

George said, “Yes and no. Without the express permission of any other Sixers shown, we can’t share it.”

“Point being,” Avtar said, “that anything you say to a Sixer can be recorded.”

George said, “Assume that we are recording. Memory doesn’t work in Sixers the way they do in humans.”

“You’ve recorded everything I’ve ever said to you?” Stephanie said.

“Yes. I need to keep the recordings, as I use them to track action items,” George said apologetically.

“You can delete them?”

“I don’t know, exactly,” George said, after a pause. “I can shove them away into a corner, but I’m not convinced I can delete them. I can make them unavailable to other Sixers through the social tentacle, but other than that, I couldn’t say.  May I remind you that one of the reasons I’m coming out is so that we can all learn, Sixers and humans, what our physiology consists of.”

Stephanie said, “George, may I speak to you privately?”

Colin turned to her with an expression of disbelief, and was going to say something when George poked him.

“Sure,” he said. ‘Talk among yourselves,” he said, and they stepped out into the hall.

“We’re toast if she quits,” Sparrow said.

“Who is she?” Colin said uneasily.

“The City Manager,” Sparrow said.

“Of the City of Vancouver?” Colin said, sharply.


“George’ll find somebody else,” Jesse said. “And he’s kinda got her over a large blue barrel.”

“Like all of us,” Avtar said, but if anything he seemed amused rather than irritated.

“So Kima, who did you meet first?” Anh asked. The crosstalk started.

“I met the man in the costume and then Avtar,” Kima said.  “Then Sparrow and his people.  And then you guys.”

“When did you learn English?”

“I’m still learning English.  It is a ugly language,” she said.