Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I took yesterday off so that I could relax a bit. It definitely helped; I met and talked with my parents for a couple of hours, and I did some errands. I bought a ridiculously expensive chess set, too; partly as a comfort, I think. And the store was going out of business, so it was less ridiculously expensive than it otherwise would have been.

Which reminds me: I’ve replaced my dying Handspring Visor and my old celphone with a new Handspring Treo 600. Yes, it was expensive, but it does everything I want it to do, and it consolidates my Palm device with my celphone in a nice package.

I’m happy with it.

VR story will be posted later today, when I get a chance to type it up.

Thomas pulled up a menu and pointed at the item on the bottom. It was a shortcut he’d made earlier, to a special program he’d bought from a spiky-haired seventeen-year-old, then extensively modified. He cycled through its potential avatars and found a plain cube, which he immediately chose, then placed the object into the middle of the room.

He pulled three cameras away from their positions and pointed them out the door, looking down the hallway. Empty. He couldn’t be too careful about this. He took a breath, then touched the cube.

Flickering beams of light shot out from the cube in all directions, some existing for only a fraction of a second. A few turned bright green and stayed, locked on their targets. Thomas waited. More beams flickered out, some locking on. Thomas began to get antsy, even though it had only been a few seconds. He now counted seven green beams. Eight. A few seconds later, a ninth and a tenth locked on, then they all disappeared and the cube itself glowed green. Thomas waited for another moment.

Then he cursed himself. He hadn’t checked a single security access point since he got here. He pulled up a blue window, touched it to acivate it, and began typing on the virtual keyboard that immediately appeared below it. A few moments later, he retrieved basic status from the security system. No alarms were active, at least. He pulled up a menu and pulled out of it a small, multi-tentacled, blue Cthulu head, and pulled one of the tentacles onto the window. This was a common VR tool; as soon as it touched the status commands on the window, it copied that behavior, scanning continuously.

An alarm blared, pulsing the Star Trek “red alert” sound into Thomas’ ears. He swore. Someone was querying him. THe sysadmin was clearly on duty, and must have noticed Thomas’ entry into the security access point. Thomas immediately grabbed Cthulu and waved at it, canceling its behavior. It disappeared.

A window appeared nearby, asking him how to respond to the query and counting down eight seconds before sending an automatic response. He thought furiously for a moment, then paused the countdown and composed a quick, plain-vanilla response, then sent it. The alarm stopped.

Thomas began to dance.

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