Started the New Job today.
New Job means meeting New People. Meeting New People means remembering New Names. And I am terrible at it. Today, I sat at a table with a half-dozen strangers to discuss a Big Thing. There was also a Pseudo-Person - one on a tele screen. He was in Australia, and was video conferring. As I'd met him once before, he was therefore also a Pseudo Stranger.
I drew a little map of the table, with the New People's names written clearly where they sat. So the conversation included such lines as "Thanks, uh, um, did I write down Ed or Bruce? Oh, no: you're Ed or is it Ned... so that makes you Phil. So thanks,Ph-... what? Bill? Bill. OK. Bill. Yes. Um. What was I saying?"
Never mind. Good day, much New Stuff, new ways to find the loo, new ways to get stuck in elevators, new ideas to be had / found / bluffed at. And no time at all to put in any thought of my Blog.
I also have a new phone, but am sending it back. It is even more horribler than the bloody awful Nokia I had at the Library. It's a Ssony Ericssson Walkman, and I think it was designed by a strange Cornish demon. In a couple of days I expect to exchange it for a iPhone: will this be an improvement?
Listening To: Schubert. Good for the heart.
Reading: Same as last time.
More Paper Heroes.
This design feature was to have disastrous consequences later.
The men were taken to a remote area some thirty klicks south of Auckland, and received instructions from their I-See connections on the use of their weapons. Blunt and Whistler were delighted to be relieved of the need to reload after each shot fired: all they needed do now was slam the butt of the weapon into the appropriate socket in their pack, and it would be reloaded with twenty rounds and LoP within half a second.
The firing range they were to use had been made especially for their use: for the first time in hundreds of years a warning flag was flown to indicate that a live-firing exercise was under way.
Cienwyn and Paulus drove the men to the range early on a warm spring morning. A great deal of work had gone into the development if the site: there was a regular thousand-metre range, with pop-up targets scattered along the length. A city-scape had been built, to enable the Sleepers to rehearse fighting in an urban environment: the block-sized area looked as much like San Francisco’s dilapidated mean streets as possible. A third area consisted of a series of long, low barracks-type buildings, a four-storey high building, and a complex of office and administration buildings. A peculiar looking arrangement stood inside a triple-fenced perimeter.
Paulus explained. “Gentlemen? That establishment there is as close as we can come to your target. We have broken a large number of our conventions and laws to actively spy on ’Merika. And this is, we believe, the weapon that the ‘Merikans are using to damage our cities, and citizens. There are barracks capable, we believe, of housing at least two hundred people each. Whether they are soldiers, like yourself, or the people who run the establishment, we don’t know. We do know that there are guard towers – seven, as you can see – and they will possibly be armed by sophisticated automatic weapons. Although how sophisticated we don't know. The taller building houses the laboratories, and there are four admin-type buildings. Inside this triple ring of fencing, of which the middle one is almost certainly electrified, is the weapon itself. It is guarded by soldiers and dogs.”
At the word “dogs”, Grey’s Puma gave a low growl, which was picked up on by the other cats.