scifantasy: Me. With an owl. (Default)
scifantasy ([personal profile] scifantasy) wrote on July 7th, 2008 at 03:02 pm
Do The Job, or Royal Adviser
It's been a few months, but don't talk to me--I write based on the [livejournal.com profile] mina_de_malfois stories, and as I understand it Mina has been busy.

But "Wizard's Staff" has finished, and with it comes your look on the other side of the record:

Thankfully, Nancy and Judy seemed to be doing better in the days following
their little lovers' quarrel. I knew things were pretty well patched when
Nancy called me to ask what kind of wine Judy liked. I told her to talk to
Eva--wine is not my strong suit. But I'm getting ahead of myself, that
didn't happen for a couple of days.

In the meantime, I, finally, had been able to get back to my paying job.
The entire Council had been united on a request for a change--and despite
what you may think, this happens more often than not, not least because
the Council are pretty free with proxy votes. Besides, everybody draws a
solid demarcation between extracurricular activities and keeping
Sanguinity popular. I don't exactly know why they wanted the vampires in
SO to have the optional ability to sparkle, but when I asked Eva, she
rolled her eyes and told me I didn't want to know, this wasn't "ask me no
questions," it was just not something I'd care about. She's honest about
that kind of thing, so I let it drop.

I was running a test, taking a stroll through SO with Lillian--this was
solidly a 3D Graphics implementation; she was leading, I was trying to
notice problems--when I noticed a familiar face walking towards me.
Lillian seemed to recognize him, but then, she probably would. I gave
introductions, screen names only, and told Lillian it looked good, and she
should lock it down and schedule a deployment with the other division
heads; and it looked like this young man had something to talk to me
about, see you later. She took the hint and scrammed.

"What's that about?" he asked as she left.

"New feature implementation," I said. "Nothing's secret about this one,
though."

"Oh, is that why she had a disco ball thing going? Wait..."

I shrugged. "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably right, in this case.
This was just a normal, no-hidden-agenda request. I don't know why,
probably some reference I'm not familiar with. I'm kind of impressed you
know what a disco ball is, though."

He rolled his eyes. "They're not going to make the human characters
clumsy, are they?"

I shrugged again. "Not that I heard, but anyway, that's already doable. So
you get the reference?"

"Yeah--and if you don't," he said with a half-smirk, "count your
blessings."

"I usually do." I gestured downwards with a questioning look, but he shook
his head.

"For this one I think it would be a bad idea to be in the Tree, actually.
But a drink might be nice. Somewhere quiet."

We made our way to one of the taverns on the dockside. It was
perfect: loud and raucous, but with secluded booths. I threw up a modified
privacy screen, a customized one which would cut down the noise so we
could hear each other, and signaled for drinks. No Irish whiskey this
time, just beer.

We toasted, and drank, and I levelled him with a glance. "So what's on
your mind? You look down."

He sighed and shot me a link. I opened it up, to find a journal post from
that self-hating slasher friend of his, Warr1or. "The Cult Of The Prince,"
the title read.

"Heh. Sounds like someone's been watching Utena, badly," I said.

"Just...read it."

I did. It was actually pretty harsh on Jamie specifically. He was the
Prince in question, it seemed. Judging by the timing, and some of the
writing, that kiss auction hurt. Well, them's the breaks, aren't they?

But then I came across what had to be the part that had Jamie depressed.

"He follows idiotic, asinine fads, and yet, seems to walk free of
criticism, no one calling him on his ridiculous affectations," I
quoted to Jamie. "He grew up with every privilege, every advantage. If
rumors are to be true, he is the son of the owner of Sanguinity Online
itself. Still, ordinary, hard-pressed fans, fans who work their fingers to
the bone to scrape together the money to afford monthly fees, embrace him,
and exalt him as their paragon."

He winced. "Should I be letting it bother me?"

"What are you asking me for, here? To tell you what to think?"

He looked into his mug. "Would you be able to answer?"

"Not really," I said, and he nodded. "I could tell you how I dealt with
this issue, but I really wouldn't take my example as a model. It was a
disaster." He blinked at this confession--minor, but I don't talk about my
own history with him, so it was more than he was used to--and I pressed
on. "But whether it's true or not, and whether or not it's bothering you,
I kind of like that you're thinking about it. You've come a long way, you
know."

He brightened at this. "You think so?"

"Sure. Now, I should get going. If there's anything I can help you with,
let me know."

He nodded, and I logged off.

------

As far as I could see, things were quieter after that. The sparkly vampire
mod generated some interesting responses, mostly of the "what idiot would
want her vampire character to sparkle?" variety. That being politics, and
not technical, I felt free to ignore it completely.

As far as I could tell, the other issue at the moment, again politics, was
this fannish lawsuit. Jamie filled me in on the details, but I still
wasn't all that interested. I'd once harbored interest in going to law
school, back in college, but Judy talked me out of it. Besides, in a way,
I was fighting the good fight, just more subtly. And I donate. But since
I'd thrown myself back into computers with a will, I really didn't have to
follow the court reportage.

Still, it was enough that the day after Nancy asked for wine
recommendations, the phone call from Judy made sense. "Did you know about
Nancy's other income stream?"

"You mean half-cent transactions from Sanguinity Online accounts aren't
enough?"

"No--what?"

"Just making sure you're still thinking straight."

"Not now, Case," she said briskly. "I'm in a bit of shock. I'll recover."

"OK, so what's this about?" I asked. "Nancy, I take it."

"She came by here last night."

"With a bottle of wine," I added, as innocently as I could, and I could
feel the glare over the phone. and the blush behind it. "But if this is
some secret of Nancy's, should you be telling me?"

"Well, I have to tell someone," she said, "and you were the one I could
get her to agree to."

"Yeah, sounds about right. So?"

"You know that "Tortured Tutor" series?"

"The one with the lawsuit? What's she doing now, running book on the
verdict?"

"No...but don't suggest she start, for this or any other lawsuits. It
turns out, Nancy would be in a unique position to fix the game, this time
around."

The penny dropped. "You're not telling me..."

"That our dear pirate is the plaintiff? Yes, indeed."

I couldn't help it--I burst out laughing. I could hear Judy, sternly,
telling me that this was serious, and I should calm down, and what's so
funny, anyway, and then she gave in to the inevitable and started giggling
like I hadn't heard since we were drunken college students.

"Thanks," she said five minutes later, when both of us had stopped
reenacting the Jones Laughing Record. "I needed that."

"I'll say," I said.

"So?"

"Well, seems to me you're in the unique position of actually having some
direct influence, for once. No Xanatos Gambits necessary."

"I suppose you're right," she said. "This is almost a new experience for
me."

"Enjoy," I said, and I hung up. There was work to be done.

Not long on events, I grant, but I hope it's at least entertaining. I'll note that here, I've injected a bit of myself into both Jamie and Case, especially regarding the "privileged child" issue. It's something I've struggled with myself. I may expand on this in future parts.
 
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