Issue #77 – Date Night

This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series The Descendants Vol 7: The New World

Date Night (Part 1)

Alexis chewed on her lip as she worked through the her usual routine of email writing and answering that took the place of grading papers for her role of Power Control and Creativity instructor at the Liedecker Institute. Instead of seeing whether a student was retaining the information she was teaching, she had to evaluate varied measures of progress for each student and make arrangements accordingly.

Jada Devos’s next session required her to make special arrangements with the National Arboretum in DC. She’d finally gotten the green light from Method Rocket Laboratories to use one of their burn chambers to test how Maya Blumberg could get her fire. A deal was in the works with the Brüte Force Gym to let students like Jacob Richmond and Rose Abernathy use their equipment to work out. The one of the special hard rooms designed to allow the students to cut loose with their powers had all of its sensors blown out, so the contractor was going to have to go back to formula on their EM shielding.

Then there were all the communiques with the parents. Did their child have control yet? When would they have control? Why didn’t they have control? How could they ‘power proof’ their house? Would their other kids manifest? Did whatever the Descendants do that week have anything to do with the school?

The newest one was about whether or not any of the other students were actually robots. Alexis didn’t know if that was just about the whole ‘Adamantine’ thing in New York, or if Betty Sinclair’s nasty rumors about Alice Tatopoulos were spreading beyond the Institute’s walls.

And as always, there was Eddie Argent, the young man whose ‘luck’ power was so esoteric and fickle that his weekly powers class had devolved into a study hall while Alexis pondered over how to safely test it.

She loved her job; she really did. That didn’t mean that sometimes it wasn’t a lot of work. Few of the other teachers or staff member had to coordinate anything approaching what she handled on a daily basis and none of them patrolled the city as a superheroine three nights out of the week.

Luckily (to a certain value of lucky), the student who had their powers session right before lunch that day had taken a day of classes sick, giving her time to get caught up as well as do a bit more vetting for hiring on another powers teacher to serve the growing student body.

She was in the middle of reading the dossier of a former co-worker from the Academy, Cree DuMorné. Academy teachers already technically had government vetting, but then so had he Academy. Two people Alexis knew from her time there had already turned up in Laurel’s periodic sweeps of the payrolls of known Project Tome front businesses.

Cree, however was looking promising, having spent the past year in Columbia working as a trainer for one of the psionics fighting leagues that were so popular there. That might have been the opposite of promising to her if Laurel hadn’t assured her that the fights were ‘real, but scripted and choreographed’ like pro wrestling in America.

A knock at her office door tore Alexis’s attention from the dossier. As a rule, her door was always open unless she was with a student to encourage them to come in and talk with her if need be. It being near the lunch hour, she expected one of them. Instead, she looked up into the smiling face of her fiance.

“Ian.” She said, doing a double take, her own smile starting to spread across her face. “I thought you were at work.”

‘At work’ was their euphemism for Ian’s current day job of getting the Life Savers, Inc headquarters online and operational. The place was starting to come together now; from the humorously dubbed crime computer, to a forensics lab and an arrival/departure room that would eventually be filled with mirrors to establish a mirror gate network, as well as slightly more personal areas like a magic lab for Lisa, Warrick’s smithy and Laurel’s new workshop. Ian had also put together his own workshop to set about tinkering with powered armor once more.

“I was.” He said, sauntering into the room with both hand behind his back. “But I have some heavy-duty software installation that I can manage from my palmtop, so I figured I could knock off an hour to come see you.” From behind him, her produced a picnic basket, “And bring you lunch.”

An even fonder expression replaced Alexis’s pleasantly surprised one. “Aww, you’re so sweet.”

Ian returned the look. “You’re worth it. Now,” He came over to set the basket on the desk, “I know you tend to take working lunches, so I got us something quick so we can have lunch together and you can still get things done.”

“Actually, I’m about ten minutes from done for this week.” said Alexis, “So you can have me for the hour.”

“Watch your wording, because you’re tempting me.” Ian leaned over her desk, bringing their faces dangerously close.

Alexis closed the distance, then surpassed it, bringing her mouth right up next to his ear and breathily whispered, “If I wasn’t worried about one of the kids barging in, it wouldn’t be just tempting.” She pulled back, pausing to kiss him once on the jaw before giving him a peck on the lips and withdrawing entirely. “But do you have plans for tonight?”

Ian cleared his throat and straightened up. “Plans for tomorrow night, actually.”

She raised an eyebrow at that.

“Hey, don’t look so surprised. I’m learning to get organized.” He gave her a haughty look. “And that is how I got us reservations of Bleu Bleu Chef at eight, which is perfect timing, because the VIP lounge at Club Deja opens at nine and I got us an in.”

Both eyebrows were raised now. “The new place that just opened? The one Sonja Remington is part owner of?”

“Knowing her songwriter helps.” Ian shrugged. “I now owe Lisa two favors.”

“Two?”

Ian sat down finally, making a show of adjusting his button down shirt and sport coat. “As you know, Bleu Bleu is pretty us scale. I don’t think those club clothes you were so excited about before are going to fly in there. So I arranged for Lisa to work a little of her ‘magic’,” he used air quotes in a wholly incorrect manner, “to set us up with some quick changes of clothes.”

“Nothing like abuse of special talents for completely mundane tasks. Are you sure you don’t want the teaching position I’m trying to fill?”

“I’ve got the wrong degree to be an educator.” he pointed out.

Alexis laughed lightly. “No worries; I love you anyway. And I love you plans. Are you sure you want to do the club though? You didn’t seem to be very comfortable the…” she searched for the proper way to frame her point, “…last time we went to a club.”

“I wasn’t really giving it a chance; there were other things on our minds, after all. But I’m willing to give it another shot. Like I said though: you’re worth it. Plus, I’ve also got something a little more my speed on tap for later this year—Laurel managed to shmooze Liedecker into a pair of tickets to the Mayor’s Red Ball on Valentine’s.”

Alexis leaned forward with a coy smile. “Oh my. We really have been busy recently haven’t we?”

“Yeah, well.” Ian opened the top of the basket and began to remove the containers and wrapped sandwiches within. “We’ve been so busy with so much this last year—so much that we haven’t even set a date yet. Getting more romantic? That’s my New Year’s Resolution.”

He placed a sandwich and two containers in front of her and two in front of him. “Here we all, m’lady: a BLT on toast for you: light mayo, shredded lettuce; and an Italian on sourdough with spicy mustard for me. We’ve also got potato salad from Gordon’s Deli, and for dessert, banana crème yogurt from that place all the kids here go to—Midnight?”

“Midnight Black.” Alexis supplied, picking up her BLT. “And you’re spoiling me. Expect some payback.”

“I’m not going to argue with that.” he grinned, taking out a thermos of iced tea (being in a school building, it wasn’t as if he could bring alcohol) and offering a mock toast with it. “To a wonderful date night.”

***

Eleven hours earlier.

The diner was open all night. It said so right in the name: Roxxy’s All-Nite Diner.

Poor spelling aside, it was at least true to its name and a few locals always took advantage of it. Some of them were so familiar with the staff of the tiny eatery that they were taking part in the send-off celebration for one of their own.

Brenda McMillan had won the lottery. Fifty-eight million dollars, lump sum after taxes.

It was a lot of money and none too soon, seeing as she was a month from her wedding day and now one hell of a honeymoon.

She wasn’t forgetting her friends either. Already, she was looking into what she could do to help get the night cook, Moses’s, family out of the Dominican and into America so they could all be together, and move her best friend and workmate, Jessica, out of her tiny apartment. After five years working the night shift, they weren’t just co-workers, they were like family—more so than the one she’d been born into.

So Moses baked her a cake and Darla, the elder stateswoman of Roxxy’s waitstaff, had gotten a bottle of wine. The music was turned up and everyone was telling stories. For the regulars, Brenda was picking up their meal for the night and every night the next week.

Not everyone there was a regular, however. And not all of them were celebrating.

One particular newcomer had taken up residence in a far corner booth with his laptop and ordered a steady flow of coffee. Tall and plain, the only remarkable thing about him was his mode of dress. An old, faded gray suit that probably started life black, a white poet’s shirt with a spill of lace down the front like a fictional pirate’s and dress shoes that were slightly newer than the suit.

He parked himself in the booth and faded into the background, absorbed in whatever he was working on. The only time anyone noticed him was during his frequent trips to the bathroom. Moses whispered a joke to Jessica about the man either having a tiny bladder or a huge drug problem.

On any other night, one of them would have called the police, but tonight there were more important things to tend to than some junkie poet getting stoned in the toilet.

At midnight, they cut the cake. No one noticed the man with the laptop toss a few dollars on his table and slip out, his route taking him past Jessica as she put slices of the dark chocolate confection on paper plates. By the time they started eating, he was almost completely forgotten.

“I think,” said Moses, beaming at the others’ enjoyment of the cake he baked special for Brenda’s last day, “It’s time we hear a speech. I know you got something to say, Jessica—you always do.”

Jessica blushed. Every the chatterbox, she did, in fact, have a little speech prepared. Swallowing the bite of rich chocolatey goodness in her mouth, she moved to the middle of the diner so everyone could hear. “Well Brenda, I know we’re always gonna be friends, but…” She stopped to swallow. It felt like the cake had gone down wrong and got stuck in her throat.

“…but it still feels.” She swallowed again. The lump in her throat wasn’t going down. Another swallow and she knew it was getting worse—and that it wasn’t because she’d swallowed the cake wrong. Her hand went to her throat and she tried to force a breath into her lungs.

“Jess?” Brenda looked to her friend, worried. “Jess?” The only reply was a strangled gasp as her best friend worked to breathe. Her eyes flew to Moses. “Are there nuts in the cake?”

“What?”

“Nut. In the cake. Jess is allergic to nuts.” Brenda leapt from her seat and ran over to Jess.

Moses shook his head, watching the scene unfold in horror. “’course not. I know she’s allergic.”

“Maybe something got in on accident.” Brenda said. She steered Jess to a seat while going through her pockets. “Jess, where’s your epi-pen?”

Unable to speak, Jess reached for the front of her apron pocket, but failed to find the shot of epinephrine she always kept on her.

“There’s a couple in the first aid kit, I’ll get ’em.” Darla said, dashing for the office, which was down the same halls as the bathrooms.

***

A block away, the ‘poet’ tossed three epinephrine shots into the garbage and turned retrieved a palmtop from the inside of his now-black and new suit. He aimed the camera at the diner and narrated as indistinct figures rushed to and fro in the windows.

“Congratulations on the lotto win, Brenda McMillan.” He said with a voice dripping contempt. “What a nice story it made in the Scribe: waitress, working her way through school and trying to pay for her wedding hits the Pick Seven and plans to use it to help her friends who helped her through the loss of her parents. Touching. Really.”

The last part was said with a bored tone, as if the whole thing were playing out on a screen before him.

“That hack Romero who wrote it up even used the words ‘heart-warming’. He said it was proof that good things happen to good people.”

His voice turned steely. “Bull. Shit.”

Touching a dial on his cufflink, he triggered a hologram generator concealed in his collar. A theater mask with a blank expression was mapped over his facial features and tinted a sickly green. Once it was in place, he turned switched the cameras in the palmtop from the forward-facing view, to one facing him. “You are an aberration. A stain on the natural order. That damn ray of hope Romero drew flaring off of you is a stream of urine in the face of reality.”

He slowly tilted his head as if discovering the camera for the first time. “Luckily, I’m here. I… correct things. I make the things that happen more realistic. And even though I am the agent through which this change flows, I want you to know one thing about all of this:”

Staring straight at the camera, he intoned with all the seriousness he could put into his speech, “This is happening because of you. If you had acted like a human and just quit and abandoned your urchin friends or your worthless fiance, none of this would have been necessary.

“Just remember that every time you spend your money, every time Kaande Moses looks at his family: your best friend died because you just had to go against the way things ought to be. I didn’t do this randomly; I’m here because of you. I’m here in Mayfield because of you. Really, everything that happens next is all your fault.”

Abruptly he turned off the camera, leaving just the mic recording. Somewhere, an ambulance’s sirens cut the chill of the night as it raced toward the diner. “Joykiller, out.”

Deactivating the hologram, Joykiller turned and strode away from the scene of his crime, grimly satisfied that in his worldview, all was right. He never even noticed a flash of gold in the darkness overhead, or the figure in red and white being carried aloft, following the ambulance’s path.

Series Navigation<< Issue #76 – Silicon Soul, Adamantine WillIssue #78 – Delved Too Deep (Une Mascarade Brisée Part 1) >>

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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57 Comments

  1. The one of the special
    *Then one or
    *And one

    so had he Academy
    *so had the Academy

    you plans
    *your plans

    Oh wow Joykiller? Such a horrible, depressing tool. There’s too much hope in the world? I hate him already.

    • I’m quite happy to see he earned this kind of reaction within 4 hours of his debut. 🙂

      Seriously, he is awful.

      • From his monologue, he sounds like a cynic determined to prove that the world works as he believes, or something. Although I do find myself wondering if the melodrama could be a cover for either: 1) A personal gripe against the woman in question or 2) Jealousy over her financial good fortune. Maybe there’s some plan that he intends to end with him getting a slice of the cash? Hmm.

        Also, he’s a jerk and I hope he fails to escape his comeuppance.

        • So many things I want to say and so many spoilers I would reveal.

          Next update is going to come with a commentary because Joykiller is part of a new batch of villains I cooked up and I put a lot of thought behind each.

  2. Well, he certainly lives up to his name…

  3. Action typowatch six:

    the her usual routine 
    ->her usual routine

    The one of the special hard rooms
    ->The special hard room OR One of the special hard rooms
    (Depending on what you meant)

    the Descendants do that week
    “do”->”did”

    other teachers or staff member 
    “staff member”->”staff members”

    the student who had their powers session right before lunch that day had taken a day of classes sick,
    This is kind of awkward; maybe just “had taken a sick day” or something?

    Cree, however was looking promising,
    Need comma after “however”

     psionics fighting leagues
    Probably “psionics”->”psionic”

    As a rule, her door was always open unless she was with a student to encourage them to come in and talk with her if need be.
    Awkward sentence. Maybe: “As a rule, she maintained an open door policy for students to encourage them to come talk to her if need be, unless she had a specific appointment.”

    with both hand behind 
    “hand”->”hands”

    reservations of Bleu Bleu Chef 
    “of”->”for” OR “at”

    Bleu Bleu is pretty us scale
    “us scale”->”upscale”

    Once it was in place, he turned switched the cameras in the palmtop from the forward-facing view, to one facing him.
    Remove either “turned” or “switched”, “cameras” seems like it should probably be singular.

  4. Cue the dramatic high note and freeze to a group shot of everyone looking shocked and terrified. Slow fade to black and roll credits in silence. Can’t play the usual merry tune on a shock reveal like that.

  5. The promised commentary:

    I’ve wanted to create some more recurring non-Big Bad villains for the series and Joykiller is the first of those. Obviously, his concept is sort of an anti-Joker. Despite the direction his first plotline goes, his eventual intended nemesis is going to have very little to do this time. His portion of the plot is all set-up to give him his hate-on for her.

    I actually had to rewrite the litany of his crimes here because one of them involved engineering a bus accident that killed members of a high school football team on its way to the finals of its Cinderella season, but in the middle of putting that to paper, there was an actual bus accident that killed underprivileged teens being taken to visit a college. Too soon and too close, so I backed off that one.

    This guy though… I love most of my villains on some level, but I HATE this guy. It’s something about how he really doesn’t even have a genuine motivation. He thinks he’s serving ‘reality’, but he’s really just a bastard who can’t accept that good things sometimes happen to good people.

    And then in 79, we’ll have Glitter, who I may or may not have created to wash the taste of this pantload of a man out of my mouth.

  6. Action Typowatch 6:

    Warrick said from a control console
    “said”->”asked”

    Don’t even know how
    Missing “I”

    He frankly, couldn’t blame her. 
    Either add comma after “He” or delete comma after “frankly”

    to financial damage to charities
    “to”->”to cause” ?

    like they one I showed you
    “they”->”the”

    but more than one copycat so far
    Missing verb. Maybe “has produced”?

    he’s in out weight class.
    “out”->”our”

    Also a note for “Joykiller”; that’s not a word, and you’re a jerk. The secret word and grammar police are coming for you.

  7. An ode to Joykiller:

    Joykiller, Joykiller,
    Play, game, and toy killer
    Sucking the fun out of a life well-lived
    For number one you look out, others you shiv

    Joykiller, Joykiller
    Daughter, friend, and boy killer
    Is there anything beneath you?
    Any depth that you won’t sink to?
    You hurt them loved ones through
    And target those who do
    Good deeds for others
    You’ve never discovered
    That your view’s all hollow
    Now sickos will follow
    The carnage you leave in your wake
    I hope you’re stopped cold, for everyone’s sake

    Joykiller, Joykiller,
    Cat, dog, and Koi-killer?
    Let’s be honest, you’ve slaughtered pets
    And probably done worse to them, how sick did you get?
    You’re one nasty piece of work
    Though I confess you don’t shirk
    You don’t rest on your laurels
    Adminis’tring poisons oral
    Instead you are seeking
    New victims who’re peaking
    In your quest to bring them low
    How far will you go?

    Joykiller, Joykiller,
    You’re a jerk who doesn’t deserve a good rhyme scheme.
    So there.

    • ‘Koi-killer?’ made me laugh for so very, very long.

      • I can just imagine him poisoning someone’s fish for no good reason. Possibly because they’re pretty, or bringing joy to them, or something. Heck, I could see this guy running around hunting down endangered species. His mandate is pretty broad.

        It is kind of fun to force a rhyme scheme sometimes, though.

  8. “she’s has been coming o
    She’s been

    the laughter her was holding
    he

    pushing you buttons
    your

    on top to her head
    of her

    ‘antennae’ if hair
    of

    can life with
    live

    That okay with you.
    you?

    on equal terms amounted
    terms,

    leading at team
    a

    You helped use against
    us

    I’ve be the best
    I’d

    enormity of she he’d just
    of what she’d

    Well we’re born
    Well,

    Callie too a seat
    took

    and it’s pretty easy
    but it’s?

    to noticed that
    notice

    really want to be
    wants

    a laugh in cause
    caused

  9. There ought to be a space in ‘per se’. It’s kind of noticeable to me since ‘perse’ is Finnish for arse.

    As to ISP and OSP acronyms, it’s Internet Service Provider and Online Service Provider, of course. It’s a matching set even.

    • Huh. The spellcheck on Open Office said that was right. Apparently it wanted me to say ass a lot.

      As to the acronyms, nicely done, especially since I now notice that they’ve been playing online all issue. Speaking of which, yes, they have their own accounts on various websites. all their screen names and passwords are metal puns in l337.

      • Have we ever seen the twins talk to someone other than Warrick? It’s not like they haven’t amply demonstrated they understand English and know how to write.

        • We haven’t mostly because I haven’t decided on a voice for them. I’m never quite sure how smart they ought to be.

          • I thought about this for a moment, and ended up with Isp sounding like Bugs Bunny and Osp sounding like James Earl Jones. Now I can’t seem to shake the idea of them sounding like that.

            In retrospect I should not have thought about it.

          • ‘In retrospect I should note have thought about it.’

            Welcome to my world! Want some more: The implications of Tink possibly getting pregnant while having the nanites, knowing how they work.

  10. Okay, I’m gonna be that guy and ask… why is Warrick the best person to tell Callie? Also, I hate the cut off for this. I guess it makes sense because he’d have to explain the books and magic and all that and that’s stuff we already know, but I wanted to see more of the scene.

    Also also, in this sentance: “You do take our position as the city’s protectors more than anyone.” was the word seriously supposed to be in between the “more” and the “than?”

    • That’s a perfectly valid question. In my opinion, he’s the best for this situation because 1) he’s a peer to Callie unlike Laurel, who would normally be the best for this, 2) he’s the most enthusiastic about the team and likely would present the team’s history in the best light while still being honest, and 3) he isn’t Kareem, which is important because she knows Ephemeral is a mentalist and might think she’s being manipulated.

      I probably should have had that conversation on-screen, but there would have been other things in it that couldn’t be shown. I got a little ‘closed mystery’-happy with this because I’m hiding some stuff on purpose for the reveal.

      Also, this is the last big Warrick story for a while, so I’m trying to give him as many awesome points as possible (78 is Laurel, 79 is Kareem, 80 is Ian and Alexis).

      Funny that you should mention the ending. I cut about a page of Callie’s wrong guesses because it was getting monotonous and there was so much for her to react to, it threatened ot make this thing a two-parter. This is prime fodder for a Lost Tales… chapter for the next 5th Wednesday. You’ll see Wednesday and when 78 hits why I couldn’t do it THIS Wednesday.

  11. On the bright side, Callie really doesn’t seem like the sort of person to get all bent out of shape over the past secrecy; she’s more the type who will be flattered to be let in on the secret now. It’s probably also nice for her to get some positive reinforcement from one of the original Descendants as she’s joining up. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how she interacts with all of the team members both in-costume and out in the wake of this revelation. Should be fun.

  12. his best ‘completely innocent smile
    innocent’

    a styrofoam contained
    container

    that started the push
    to push

    • Am I the only person who’s lost the previous/next buttons?

      • It should be below my little author box thing.

        • I see a button to go back to Tome: On the Green at the bottom left of the entire page, but nothing else. Not sure what exactly Kazorh meant, though.

          • I meant that I don’t see any buttons to navigate from chapter to chapter.

            And the only thing I see between the comments and the author box is “Posted by Vaal at 12:01 am”

          • Huh. I’ll look into it. Is it like that for every page or just the new ones?

          • Every one.

            Though, as Curious George mentions, there are links at the very bottom of the page, but those are in order of publication on the website, so you also get Rune Breaker, SIMaS, etc.

          • Speaking of SIMaS, you might want to add it to the Other Stories page.

          • And change the Wednesday schedule on the home page to show Malady Place. Preferably after putting SIMaS in the Other Stories page, because as far as I know the home page has the only link to SIMaS.

            (Triple post for the win! Look at me not thinking about whether or not I have other stuff to say before clicking on Submit!)

          • Okay, I see the problem now: the ‘story’ category is taking precedence over ‘Uncollected’. I do not know how to fix, that, but the Chapter box should be back by the end of the week.

            SiMaS and Malady Place stuff should be fixed first thing when I get up tomorrow.

  13. Still not seeing the Chapter box.

    just minutes after she’d just finished getting
    twice the just is a bit much

    let hm enter.”
    him
    enter.

    was his brothers
    brother’s

    to putt he flowers
    put the

    not only allude capture
    elude

    kick Joykiller’s ask
    ass

    who laughed It
    laughed.

    edged with spike.
    …spike? Not sure what you’re going for.

    up and running”
    running?”

    distance away from hm
    him

    doubted they understand
    understood

    with powers rule those
    ruled

    or spiritually suffered
    spiritually,

    set up on the atrium
    in

    reading someone using
    reading of

    *groan* The cliffhanger, man, the cliffhanger…

  14. You. Are. Too. FAST.

    Chapter box was created at 1:05am EST :p

  15. I think deduced is the right word rather than deducted where it came up

    Now it was Alloy who laughed It was edged with spike.
    Should be, IMO,
    Now it was Alloy who laughed. It was edged with spite.

    Otherwise Kazorh got all the typos I spotted and then some.

    Waiting for Alloy’s plan to make first contact with the enemy …

  16. I find this chapter to be just a bit frustrating. It’s all about underlining how everybody’s having plans that aren’t being disclosed to the audience.

    • If we saw all the plans we’d just know that they wouldn’t work.

    • Sorry about that. Hopefully it’s one of those things that’s only bad because you have to wait a week for the payoff and it’s not just… bad.

  17. shadowmaster13

    petty serious
    should be “pretty serious” I hope.

  18. but he deducted Ephemeral to be a mentalist.
    had deduced

    showtime.” he tapped
    He

    He isn’t the kind enemy that’s
    kind of enemy (maybe? It could be “a kind enemy” depending on what you’re going for)

    make the world a better damn place.
    Needs a closing quote mark.

    Oh and the “psychic chaff emitter” is both a clever concept and a very cool phrase. And being in Joykiller’s head is really creepy and oddly compelling.

    • It almost didn’t make the story because I was just going to have a blocker. Then it just hit me that if you can receive a signal, you can record and play it back.

  19. The chapter in which we learn absolutely nothing. (But we do get an interesting insight into the Joykiller.)

  20. Minor correction: Oh way, I know you did because Codex texted me.
    My guess is that this was supposed to be oh wait, but it could b something else. Or it could be right as-is.
    Also, I knew there was something off with Warrick cursing in front of kids. And the plan? Absolutely brilliant. Sometimes, Alloy is just the bomb diggety.

  21. Just… one… thing… A hypercog using the same keys for everything? Oh come on, even normal people aren’t supposed to do that and at least we mere humans have the excuse of having trouble remembering! A hypercog basically has no excuse for not using one-time pads for everything.

    Yeah okay acceptable breaks and artistic license and what the drama calls for and all that, I just hate computer stuff in fiction.

    • Maybe I used the wrong word, but I’m talking about his encryption scheme, not his passwords. Basically, he has a homebrew encryption that can’t be cracked unless you knew how he was hashing it. It’s also possible that’s also bad security, but I figured Joy Killer is the kind of guy who is arrogant enough to keep using his own software, assuming it was uncrackable.

      • Mmkay well yeah that sort of hubris does seem to fit the character. It’s also generally a bad idea, the first (and last) thing they teach about creating one’s own encryption schemes is “don’t”. It’ll never be good enough.
        Which is what happened here. Fancy that.

        • ‘But I’m a genius!’

          On of the things I love about writing Laurel is that she knows the ‘genius’ doens’t mean ‘omniscient’ or ‘infallible’. Even if her friends think it does.

  22. shadowmaster13

    thinks he’s done
    –> things

    Can I just say this was the perfect ending, not just out-thinking the arrogant SOB, but also showing him all the good his actions caused, perfect.

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