Here is my e-lit!
Just explore the prezi to find the pieces of the story.
EDIT: I messed up posting the link at first, but it should be fixed now!
Here is my e-lit!
Just explore the prezi to find the pieces of the story.
EDIT: I messed up posting the link at first, but it should be fixed now!
Kat Averell: Director/ Rock Sugarman
Angela Wei: Editor/ Jacque Christophe de Renard
Megan Beveridge: Writer/ Bernadette de Renard
She had a favorite room in the public stem closest to her apartment. It was narrow, but the walls were covered with cloth and the dash was all lit in red, and the kick they gave you there always went down gentle as a lamb. It had a soothing, homey feel, the kind she might arrange if she had a room of her own.
All a girl needed in life, or so they said: a room of one’s own.
But Rexa didn’t have that sort of credit, and the room in the close-by stem was for pleasure, not business. For business she kept on the move, and on that last day she chose a stem downtown, riverside, that had larger rooms but more stark and gray décor. As Rexa set up her deck, she reflected that she liked the extra space, but the place had no romance; it lacked imagination.
A lack of imagination, in Rexa’s opinion, was the world’s greatest malaise.
Once she was plugged in, deck to dash and sensors to skin –and she needed to go full-body for this job—she sat waiting to be greenlit and checked over her programs one last time. Silver, green, and red, the reasons she called this job “Christmas” in her head, all fit neatly into the top of her deck (never the dash ports; her deck had its own mask for public plug-ins). She had to touch them each before she was satisfied, and brushed her fingertips lightly over a blue cartridge resting half in her deck’s side port. At last the light came on the dash blinking once—she sat back in her chair. Twice—she closed her eyes and breathed deep. Three times—there was a faint buzzing sound, and the grid rose up around her.
For this job, she needed live bait. Her mark met her at the edge of an actualization of the stacks, here arranged as rooftops, towers separated by long and shadowy drops. He wore a knight done up head-to-toe in black lacquered armor; she wore an impossibly large tabby cat, not an anthro but the actual animal scaled up, with the mouth animation outfitted for speech movements. It looked exactly as disconcerting as she had hoped.
“Hello sir,” she said, mouth stretching in the too-wide smile the animation mod allowed. “Are you ready to begin your journey?” The cat came with a naturally arch, crisp voice that begged for a little theater.
“Don’t speak unless you have to,” the knight said quickly. “Lead the way.” The deep, gravelly voice he put on evened out any tremor in his tone, but Rexa had already hacked his vitals. His heart rate was through the roof, and she smiled even wider at him just to watch the feedback from his eyes twitching.
“As you wish,” she said, and took off.
The silver cartridge laid out their path, shifting the stacks beneath their feet. They tunneled under all the appropriate channels without a hitch, allowing her to keep one idle eye on her mark’s feed. The knight was in reality seventeen, and considerably less muscular than the skin he wore on the grid. He reminded Rexa fondly of her first job, back when she was in school: the destruction of Eurolink’s biggest game server. They never fully got it running again, which was a point of pride for her, but she had since realized the job had been a waste of her time. Taking toys from children no longer interested her.
The kid she led through the stacks, however, wasn’t looking to play games. She didn’t know why he wanted access to local police records—to erase some youthful misdeed, if she had to guess—but she had no intention of leading him there. He stuck close, clueless, sensing only that everything in this corner of the grid smelled official.
“Are we there yet?” he whispered, the knight’s voice brought down to a rasp.
“Just about!” Rexa said, and in some suburban stem just north of the city, a gaunt young man flinched at her volume.
The silver came to a close and the green came online, walking them in place while the shunt loaded. They stood before—or, to the knight, seemed to approach—one of the world’s most brutal security systems, but the knight had no way of knowing that. Rexa could tell that he scarcely dared to breathe as it was, intimidated by the mere sight of the set of soaring crystalline green towers with pulsing blue forcefields between them, stretching as far as the eye could see.
The green interrupted Rexa’s amusement to inform her that the shunt had successfully loaded. She turned abruptly and gave the knight the most ghastly, glorious grin the cat could muster, calling as the shunt took them:
“Many thanks for the escort, dear sir.”
And they say chivalry is dead, Rexa thought. The knight began to scream as the grid seemed to drop into the darkness around them.
The shunt dropped them well inside the barrier, and expelled the knight from her mask immediately. The vector she used for him had been unusual, a fragment of a horrorsim that involved waking up during open heart surgery (she’d be lying if she said that wasn’t a bit of her own humor coming through). His chainmail hand was still pawing at his breastplate when they came to take him, dozens upon dozens of white-lights. No mere nanny programs or scan-and-sears, but government grade anti-cyberterrorism drones that flickered with a every security measure code there was in existence, glowing and indistinct. They attached themselves all over the knight and tore the armor from him, leaving his raw data construct, a crackling green, faceless humanoid. They took his voice when they took his armor, but Rexa could almost hear the shrill, staccato beat of his heart feed as the white-lights lifted his spiky, sparking body up into a tower for processing. The green fixed a rider on the nearest white-light and she rose with them, silent as a ghost. From the boy’s raw data construct there were periodic bursts of physio input, which she figured to be him screaming somewhere in his stem room
Rexa thought the whole spectacle pretty, and terribly funny.
An admin had to take the boy for processing, and at its appearance Rexa triggered the red. Quicker than she could blink the red copied the admin’s clearance and used its protocols to meet the next highest admin, and then copied that program’s clearance, and so on until the red could find no higher clearance in the construct. When it returned to her, she wrapped it around herself like a cloak and ascended from the top of the security tower, straight to the highest-clearance operation room in the entire system of the federal government of the United States.
She had the satellites.
She had the nukes.
She had the world.
The construct for these keys to the world was a wide, smooth white chamber. The systems appeared before as glowing blue holograms, open, asking, waiting patiently to do as she willed. The red delivered her the CIA’s pathways into Russia, China, France, Germany, the U.K., and every single other system worth caring about. Then it sent scramblers down every channel and pathway below the chamber, and the security systems were shot up and shut down. Even if somebody knew she was up here, there was no one now on Earth with the clearance to get in. She had all the time in the world (the world that now lay at her feet).
Rexa sighed, allowing the cat’s tail to flick restlessly. This particular job lacked the subtlety and freshness of her last venture. She’d gone after shipping routes and grocery stores—this job would not exhibit the same quirky satisfaction of seeing her local supermarket baffled by 25 large shipments of duck meat, suffering the same mis-orders as countless others around the continent. Still, for sheer magnitude of challenge, this entry couldn’t be beat.
But the question remained as to just what she would do now that she was up here. Her original plan had been to carefully re-knit all communication routes to the wrong destinations, but the idea suddenly seemed drab. She trolled the security feeds of government stems while she waited for a notion with more flair to strike her. Every office was in chaos and on every screen her signature sneered out at the people thrown into a blind panic. This time, however, she’d made a little adjustment to the image. Where her little exercises were normally signed with the image of a jester kissing a king’s hand, bearing the words “LONG LIVE THE KING,” there was now the image of the jester in the king’s throne with her feet propped upon his back, reading “LONG LIVE THE QUEEN.”
Rexa surveyed her new domain, ticking off all the major systems now under her control…and realized she was not alone.
“Now this isn’t the sort of activity a young lady should be enjoying,” came a voice directly into her head–someone not only with a comm line, but in the chamber itself with her. Somewhere, in a drab stem room by the river, her heart may have skipped a beat.
“Inspector!” she said cheerfully, turning the cat’s head a perfect 180 degrees and letting its smile show as many teeth as possible. “Have you come to see the show?”
“I think I’ve seen enough, Jester,” he said, “although I must admit you’ve impressed me. This time he took the form of s slim young man with a close-trimmed beard and glasses, with the affectedly fashionable garb of a university student. He was looking younger than he usually preferred. Rexa wondered if looking that way made him feel fresh for the chase, and then wondered if feeling fresh was something her inspector was even capable of.
“I’ve got you figured out, you know,” she said, letting the cat lounge back as though at ease. Her rabbit program had started the moment she registered police presence, but it would take time for the emergency shunt to find a randomized location to spirit her away to. Until then, she had to keep him talking.
“Do tell,” he said. He made no move to apprehend her, which made her uneasy.
“You’re AI,” Rexa said, and the cat’s tongue–too long–flicked out to lick its lips. “The best they’ve got, because they’d need it for me, but a bot all the same. It’s how you figured me out so quick, and why you’re so stuffy all the time.”
“I’m heartbroken to think you find me boring,” he said. She began to grow nervous. The rabbit wasn’t built for worming its way out of something this secure. The program lagged on and on, and Rexa knew she was running out of time.
“Things like you don’t have a heart,” she shot back.
“People say the same thing about you, little girl,” he said. Something about that gave her pause. She stood and faced him fully, the cat’s hackles rising despite herself.
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair,” he amended, raising one slim hand. “You’re hardly little, aren’t you? Twenty years old already, and about 5’5″ besides. That’s fairly average.”
Technically, she could not feel cold on the grid, or start to sweat, or go pale, but she felt it all the same. She felt her stomach drop right out through her shoes.
“You have my vitals!” she shrieked. That was it, she was over. They had her completely. “You hacked my freaking vitals!” Somewhere downtown her left arm jerked, slamming the blue cartridge into her deck until it clicked. The chamber exploded into bits of light and sound and static, cracked wide open, and the rabbit whisked her away.
The kick came like a brick to the face. She was jerking out of her chair and tearing off her cords before she had fully regained her sight or sense of balance. She slammed her deck shut and jammed it in her bag, the blue cartridge still smoking in its port. Her heart was pounding, her hands were shaking, and she tasted copper on her tongue. Both her nose and her lip, where she had bitten it, were bleeding. With her gear packed and no police yet breaking down the door Rexa forced herself to take a minute and look less like she had just dynamited her way out of a government construct.
By the time she left the room she had wiped off almost all the blood, but she still trembled and smelled like burnt plastic. There was nobody in the hallway to see her, police or otherwise. She began to feel hope as she took the stairs down to the lobby: had she really escaped? Had she blown the inspector to bits for good? If so, she’d miss his constant hounding. In Rexa’s opinion, if everything came easily, then nothing was ever fun.
Rexa made it all the way to the last row of chairs in the lobby of the stem. There in the last chair before the revolving doors sat a woman of about forty in a blue pantsuit, with shoulder-length blonde hair. As Rexa approached the woman stood and looked down at her with clear blue eyes, and she knew.
“You’re not a man,” she sighed, defeated.
“And you’re not a demon cat or a fool,” the inspector replied. “Although the latter is debatable. You know we’d only got the vitals data off the mask, not the stem? We’d only placed you within the city. If you hadn’t tripped your physio reaching for the blast pack, well…” She spread her hands and shrugged. “Who knows?”
“Am I going to jail now?” Rexa asked, dropping her bag. She refused to cry in front of this woman.
“God, I hope so. Which reminds me: hands on your head. Lorexa Baisemain, you are under arrest for cyberterrorism, fraud, illegal software configuration, theft, treason…”
Fair Hill Nature Center was had always seemed a world apart; when you crossed the road bordering my warren-like, wooded neighborhood and then ducked the brush that lined the other side, like ducking coats in the wardrobe, and emerged into vibrant, open space. From that entrance out of the brush you stood along a well-trod dirt path that wound through an enormous field that rose and fell gently. Going left on the path sent you into woods filled with switchbacks and a trail that snaked up and down a series of hills. The one time my friends and I attempted it while out running, we emerged from the other side of the woods at a fork in the road uncertain which trail to take and chose the center, which turned out not to be an actual trail at all but a deer path. We ended up running through the woods on the narrow side of a cliff, breathlessly tripping over roots, none of us daring to stop.
But going right on that first was the course I was far more familiar with. I loved it best in fall, when running after school would set the light just right against the trees, the leaves ablaze with their new colors. I loved it too when a storm threatened and the sky crowded in gray and close, making details sharper, more cinematic. The trail cut a swath through long grasses, and at the end of the field cut through a brief patch of woods, the path becoming steep and gravelly. On the other side of the woods the path skirted around the bottom of another field before coming to a small creek that you have to hop rocks to cross. After another stretch of woods, another field, and then woods, there was a big uphill path through a final field before you reached a bridge over the road that bisected the nature center. That was usually the point at which we turned back and went home.
The entire area was always teeming with life: birds calling, tadpoles sitting in pools beside the trails, and, if we ran close enough to dusk, deer grazing and foxes slipping through the trees. Looking at Fair Hill through Google Earth, however, was an absolutely lifeless experience. The land was nearly flat, the colors muted, and all the rich detail was pressed out of the environment. The place I love so much for its uniqueness looks exactly the same as any old stretch of fields from Google Earth. I traveled the entire length of my usual path, but there wasn’t much to see. Even the bird’s-eye view lacked detail, although I was pleased that I could make out the trail itself.
For this week’s blog post I decided to study the morality of one of my favorite games, Kingdom Hearts. It is a classic good-vs.-evil game by Square Enix that involves Square Enix and Disney characters in a vast multiverse, and focuses on friendship.
This is a game for explorers (with multiple worlds and hidden areas) and achievers. Even though there are no actual social components with other human players, the game does promote social behavior and morality.
I created a visualization of the text of the first four acts of Homestuck, an online multimedia webcomic about four kids who must play a very unusual game to preserve reality itself. The four kids–John, Rose, Dave, and Jade–appear prominently in the Wordle, but far larger are their chatroom handles (EB, TT, TG, GG), because all dialogue takes place as online chats, or pesterlogs (a word that is decently sized in the graphic as well), and those handles preface every line of dialogue. While John’s name is the largest of the kids’ names, because he is the main focus of the story and is thus mentioned most in narration, Dave’s handle (TG) is clearly the largest word in the graphic, indicating that he talks the most out of the whole cast.
The rest of the Wordle indicates that the story is mostly dialogue with the predominance of conversational words such as “like” and “yeah.” The graphic hints at the subject of time travel, a main focus in the story, with the words “future,” “now,” and “time.” Other words related to important plot points–”house,” “package,” and “card.” However, the Wordle does not suggest any overall themes or subjects for the work. This is probably the result of the story being almost entirely dialogue, and thus subject more to the characters’ patterns of speech than a single narrative pattern emphasizing clear themes. Also, the text I entered was only the first four acts (there are six in all, with three intermissions).
The only new feature for this visualization tool that I could think to ask for would be perhaps some way of seeing how different words are connected, like clicking on a word and showing which words often show up near it. This might outline thematic connections more clearly, and help focus on meaningful words without having to delete the extraneous ones (which distorts the graphic).
Although the photo is indicated to merely consist of the participants, some friends, holding a coconut and posing like the Breakfast Club, viewing the photo like that would be seeing it as you want to see it: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. The picture is the chronicle of an incredible journey of self-discovery, transcending the boundaries of social hierarchy and preconceived notions. The subjects in the picture have spent the few hours prior to the photo dodging authority, forging new friendships, and growing as people. They obtained an illicit coconut that served as the symbolic vessel for all their innate potential, their desires for the future, and the expectations the adult world had placed upon them. The picture captures a ragtag bunch of misfits at the very prime of youth, on the edge of unknown adulthood, the precarious days of exploration, bravado, and confusion. In the end, despite their differences, they found out that each of them was a sorority girl, a computer engineer, a short person, a juice lover, a bus driver, and an awkward director of photoshoots. Does that answer your question as to what this item is really about?
This item might seem like an artistically altered image of Alexander McQueen on the front of a book, but the image is actually a photograph of the world’s first cyborg, a Mr. Paisley Donovan, so named because he was in fact a clone of the late Alexander McQueen developed in the late 2170s from preserved genetic material and the scientist involved was keenly aware of Mr. McQueen’s tempestuous relationship with the paisley pattern and wished to make an ironic statement. Mr. Donovan was in a car accident in his early thirties that resulted in injuries so severe that he became a second major medical technology breakthrough: a living cyborg. Numerous surgeries resulted in facial reconstruction, neural repair, cardiothoracic reconstruction, and gastrointestinal augmentations of cybernetic nature. Mr. Donovan was offered more natural-looking facial prosthetics but rejected them in favor of the more radical metallic look in honor of the aesthetic sensibilities of his genetic “father.”
WUSA (CBS) September 11, 2001, 9:00 AM
The footage opens with the news station playing video of the first tower burning from several angles, and they keep showing this throughout the broadcast. They’re still not ruling out the possibility that the crash was an accident—the newscaster is asking someone who is phoning in if the area usually has small planes flying around, and the man on the phone agrees that sometimes there are planes. Other than that, the man knows nothing. They put another lady on—it’s clear now they just have regular people calling in to report what they’re seeing. These people have no real info. In the middle of the lady’s description the second plane hits; in the seconds leading up to this you could see the plane flying in the background, but the actual impact is just under the frame. There is an audible shout from someone somewhere in the news station, and the lady on the phone, shocked, reports that the second tower has been hit and declares that there was no way the strike could have been an accident. The newscaster asks why she thinks that and when the lady becomes agitated insisting the crash was deliberate, he seems to realize that he should not go down that road without more information, and asks her to report more on the situation from the ground. Then he seems uncertain whether it was the second tower that was hit or if the first was hit again, and the news station rewinds the tape and watches it from a different angle to confirm that the second tower was hit. He asks again about the condition of the towers, and the lady repeats herself. Then they show the rewound footage again to see if they can spot the plane.
WUSA (CBS) September 17, 2001, 9:00 AM
This broadcast presents a more polished and calm demeanor, immediately focusing on New York Stock Exchange in the aftermath and then the current information on the attacks in bullet points; the newscasters do refer to them as terrorist attacks and relay that President Bush identified Osama Bin Laden as the prime suspect. They report the casualties from NYC and the Pentagon, and that stores are selling out of American flags. They then switch to footage of New York from the ground, reporting on road and business conditions, mentioning again the NYSE and the effort put into preparing it for trading again. They then discuss the Reagan National Airport’s closing and the limited schedules of other airports before showing a display of patriotism from a Dallas airport.
Overall the September 17th broadcast was far more organized and informative that the September 11th one, as well as more visually varied; it showed the newscasters, bulleted slides, and different shots from New York rather than one continuous video stream. Notably, the 17th showed no footage of the towers at all. The overall tone of the 11th was one of confusion and shock while the 17th conveyed solidarity and determination to continue with daily life. While the 11th had no set narrative of pattern to the information it relayed, the information on the seventeenth followed a logical set of topics in which each subject led to the next.
NHK (Tokyo, Japan) September 11, 2001 9:00 AM EDT (10:00-10:10pm JST)
The Japanese station announces the strike and then goes to live footage of the towers as captured from a helicopter, while the newscasters speak to a correspondent on the phone in voice-over. The broadcast is similar to those in America but the footage is much closer to the tower, so much so that viewers can see into the hole made by the plane. When the second plane hits, the camera is positioned such that the first tower is blocking the view of the second, and the plane is visible in frame for a second before the explosion. Occasionally, part of the helicopter obscures the footage. The newscasters seem concerned and the broadcast is similar to the American one.
NHK (Tokyo, Japan) September 17, 2001 9:00 AM EDT (10:00-10:10pm JST)
After a brief introduction the broadcast switches to a newscaster at a desk in front of a greenscreen that shows the White House. Then a different broadcaster speaks in front of a greenscreen of a street in New York. The broadcast then focuses on the Federal Reserve. The rest of the broadcast then focuses on Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban.
While the first Japanese broadcast was very similar to the American one at the same time, the second broadcast was very different in its focus. The Japanese broadcast was more concerned with the economic and political global ramifications of the attack than the effect on day-to-day American life. The narrative presented in the September 17th Japanese broadcast was one that would have more relevance to the Japanese people.
Katharine “Kat” Paige Averell was born on May 26, 1993 in Newark , DE to John and Tamara Averell. She moved to Elkton, MD at the age of two and spent the remainder of her childhood there. She attended Elkton High School and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Maryland, College Park. She enjoys literature, yoga, and well-written TV shows.
Added Digital Objects:
I created a narrative from the sandbox PC game Minecraft.
The Great Library of Goodhearth, the 3rd Moon of autumn, 1312
It has been near a fortnight since the night terrors have destroyed the Snow Golem watching over the fields. I journey today to New Piedmont to ask of the wizard new materials to build another. I’ve made blank books to trade, for there’s no one in any settlement that binds as fine a book as can be found in our library. The townspeople bid me not to go; they say that the Iron Golem that patrols the town is protection enough, and that the overland journey is too long. When I put forth that I might use the portals, there was a great murmur of shock and mistrust amongst them. Truthfully, we have thought of destroying our portal, as there have been whispers from other settlements of creatures from the Nether crossing into our world, which hath horrors enough for anyone. I argued that I had seen no creatures in the Nether for nigh on a moon, and in the end they saw I had the right of it. We needed another Golem to protect the fields, and with the portals I could complete a full day’s journey in under an hour.
Our portal was built in a large, empty house near the end of our southernmost street, directly across from the church. Some have worried their close quarters might constitute sacrilege; still others feel it might help ward the demons away. As I prepared to make my crossing today I prayed for the latter. The portal house has a high ceiling and an empty floor, and although our meager township is placed amidst the wilderness I know of no place more lonely or ominous for miles around. Gods would be my only company now, and it would be better if they looked kindly on me.
After a quick trek through the hot, rocky landscape of the Nether I emerged at last in New Piedmont. The town has a way of seeming both smaller and much larger than Goodhearth, and as soon as I was there I was anxious to be home again. First, however, I had to make my way to the Custom House, a large building filled with ledgers and chests of goods from the half-dozen settlements that must travel here to trade for necessities. The old Custom Officer who lodges there is cantankerous, but his dog has a sweet disposition, a brother to one of my own hounds at home. He was slow in finding the materials I need, and for a brief minute I feared that he would make me to climb the mountain and ask the wizard himself for the Golem. The fear proved unfounded, and in a few minutes I traded my goods and was sent on my way. As I made my way back to the portal I wondered at the fact that I only ever traveled here to trade; need we be shackled to New Piedmont’s high prices? I recalled then the words of a man from the Desert Forge I met here once: “Cold custom is the only kind you’ll ever get from New Piedmont!”