Friday, April 16, 2021

2. The Wabbit and What the Spider Knew

They met with Duetta at the Cathedral of St. John. The Wabbit had an arrangement with the Cathedral and no-one was around - just a few pilgrims to see the Shroud of Turin. But Duetta was hard to ignore. Lapinette had forgotten how huge the spider was. She jumped in the air and all her fur stood on end. Skratch was first to greet Duetta and he stepped forward with all the courage he could muster. "Greetings Marshall Duetta Spyder. What brings your illustrious presence to our humble church?" Duetta rattled her legs. "Less of the feline flannel, Skratch. This is an important mission." Now the Wabbit hopped forward and saluted. "Marshall." Duetta replied with a squiggly salute. "Commander, a matter of common interest has come our way." There was an intake of breath that everyone could hear. Then she began. "As you know our view of the universe is different from yours." The Wabbit waved his paw in a squiggly motion. "For six months south constantly, for six north the sun goeth." Lapinette chimed in. "Ordaining the days and nights, like a cunning spider." Duetta laughed. "You have it in a walnut. The universe is a matrix of geo-celestial rhythms. But something has happened to upset the rhythm." Skratch wasn't going to be left out. "Bark is not smooth and lightning does not travel in a straight line." Duetta looked at him and her eyes bored through his skull. "But it's becoming so. Imperceptible yet inescapable." Lapinette looked at the Wabbit and the Wabbit looked back. "We have to check. I'll get Wabsworth on it right away." Duetta rattled as she bowed. "Your android is a wise one and no mistake." The Wabbit grinned. "Don't tell him, we'll never hear the end of it."

[I'm indebted to Harriet Witt for the idea. Here's the link to her article.]

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

1. The Wabbit has a Chance Meeting

The Wabbit hopped down Via Nizza and was thinking as he tended to do. His brain buzzed with opportunity and he couldn't quite put corners on it. There was so much he could achieve and so little time. He giggled. That was when Skratch the Cat caught up with him. "Hello Wabbit, you look happy." Skratch's meaow was rather suspicious because, in his experience, it was seldom that the Wabbit's demeanour was so relaxed. The Wabbit looked up. "Hello Skratch, I was just thinking of all the wonderful things we can do." Skratch took a step back. "Name one!" The Wabbit became quite rigid. He found he couldn't recollect a single one. He played for time. "It's so nice to be walking in the sun, along Via Nizza." "It's always sunny," said Skratch. "it's summer in Torino and Via Nizza is..." He paused, "Via Nizza is variable." The Wabbit's smile continued. Skratch was alarmed. "Wabbit, have you taken a mind altering drug?" The Wabbit was appalled. "Certainly not." He had a moment's hesitation. "Where could I get them?" Skratch sighed in relief. The Wabbit seemed to be returning to normal, so they both continued to hop down the road. "Do you think we have enough weaponry?" mused the Wabbit. "Plenty," said Skratch, "are we expecting trouble?" The Wabbit dug his paws in his fur. "It's been too quiet for my liking." His ears pricked up as he heard a whispering of gossamer threads. "Now that sounds like Duetta." Skratch threshed his tail. "When Duetta arrives, it usually means trouble on the way..."

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at the designated Caffè just off Via Roma. Wabsworth was in fine fettle and had brought a bottle of prosecco. Lapinette looked with amusement. "It's frozen, Wabsworth," she giggled. "Ah yes," said Wabsworth, "I tried my new wine chilling routine, and it went a bit far." The Wabbit laughed and laughed. "We can try blowing on it, speed up the defrost." Wabsworth merely chortled. "We can wait - or order a new one." He held up a paw. "While you're doing that," said Skratch the Cat, "I'll try and explain what kind of adventure that was." His tail thrashed against the back of a chair. "Computeracy as I call it, deals with stories concerning computers, where computers really stand in for toys." The Wabbit leaned forward. "Like puppets?" Lapinette leaned forward too. "Perhaps more like a motif of folkloric transformation?" Skratch purred gently. "That's about it. I haven't forgotten the codes and algorithms though. They stand in for the deception involved in children's games - like hide and seek." Wabsworth took the opportunity to speak. "That's a cultural embeddedness, refracted through our daily interactions with computers and passwords." The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "No longer a commodified object, but a jolly thing with a personality." "Or a devil," said Lapinette. "Or a child!" said Wabsworth. Being an android he had something of a handle on that. "How's that wine going Wabsworth?" asked Lapinette. "It appears to be lightly chilled now," said Wabsworth. "Let's order four glasses!" grinned the "Wabbit.

Friday, April 09, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Meaning of Life

The Wabbit's viewing theatre was formerly in Via Nizza but when it went up for sale, he bought it and moved it, brick by brick. The Department paid. It had become a talking point and as such, could hardly be refused. The Wabbit made one change. It now boasted a state-of-the-art digital cinema projector. Wabsworth scanned the old copy of Byte magazine and using the flash drive, projected the selected page. When they enlarged the page, there it was. Hidden amongst the pixels was a single word. The Wabbit shook his head like a donkey. "'Sign' is hardly a very good password." Lapinette laughed. "It doesn't have to be. It's repeated several times on each page in different formats." Wabsworth cleared his throat. "Any attempt to get closer will bring catastrophic catastrophe." The flash drive laughed. "I told you so." The Wabbit looked stern. "You said it would explain the meaning of life." "That is the meaning of life," replied the drive, "it's as close as you get. Il n'y a pas de hors-texte, so the meaning of life can only be what's left." Lapinette grinned. "Skratch the Cat should be here." "I'll give him his own preview," scowled the Wabbit. Lapinette asked flash drive to keep the old copy of Byte magazine safe - in case anyone unsuitable found it. "What should we call you, we can't keep calling you flash drive." The USB detached from the digital cinema unit. "Jack," he said. "Why Jack?" asked the Wabbit - although he had a clue what he was going to say. "Jumping Jack," came the reply. "He's a gas gas gas." added Wabsworth.

[ Il n'y a pas de hors-texte. From Derrida. "There is nothing outside the text."    Pixel image by by Gerd Altmann at Pixabay]

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Dismal Old Office

The scene changed dramatically. They were in a very old office with very old things. Everything was seedy, tarnished and neglected. Lapinette looked around with distaste. "I hardly believe Byte magazine lived in such seedy surroundings." The Wabbit jumped on an old drawer and started to rifle through a cabinet. "I don't care. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?" He jumped up and down so hard, the filing cabinet threatened to topple. There wasn't much there at all. Just an empty bottle and an old aspirin. Wabsworth jumped on the other cabinet and made a methodical survey. He finished all the drawers and waved, "Not in here." The flash drive merely sat and waited. He could remember he put it somewhere but not exactly. It was in a magazine in the dingy room, that he knew. Lapinette let out a loud shout. "Must be this one." The cover depicted burglars and she thought that was appropriate to the day. "I remember now!" said the drive, "that's the one!" The Wabbit was getting tetchy. "I want to know now. I want to know the meaning of everything." Wabsworth was philosophical. "If we knew that, we'd know the location of the password." Lapinette leafed through the ancient copy of Byte magazine and then back again. "There's talk of algorithms here." Wabsworth looked at the flash drive and said, "There's debate about who invented you - and when." The flash drive gave a hollow laugh. "I'm here aren't I?" They all turned as Lapinette yelled. "Got it!" "The answer to the meaning of life?" asked the Wabbit. "No," said Lapinette, "the encrypted password. I'll tell you all about the meaning of life - later."

[Original background picture by Tama 66 at Pixabay]

Monday, April 05, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Encryption Set-up

They followed the flash drive until the basement. That was where it all happened. A keyboard appeared beneath their feet and a metal honeycomb slammed down, cutting it in half. A USB slot with a blue glow shone from the centre as the flash drive moved to dock. They lost their footing as they were pulled close to the slot in the honeycomb. "What's happening, Wabsworth?" The Wabbit was closest and didn't like it. Lapinette followed him, pulled by an enormous force that twisted her arms and legs. Wabsworth let himself go - but he was listening as a stream of characters passed in front of him. He memorised everything. "I think it's best to let go Commander." "We've hardly any choice," said the Wabbit. The Wabbit noticed the drive had nearly docked and he wasn't surprised when it was the wrong way up. It reversed and this time docking was successful.  He smiled. "Maybe that's the password to the meaning of life?" speculated Lapinette. Her frock flattened against the honeycombs. "I wouldn't be surprised," muttered the Wabbit. They were flat against the hexagon, just like on the wall of death. "Honeycomb over here!" shouted Lapinette to the Wabbit as she blew him a kiss. But the Wabbit was in no mood for jokes. He shouted to the flash drive. But the drive had more important business and it made a faint sound as it completed data transfer. "Do you remember Byte magazine," yelled Wabsworth. The Wabbit signified that he did. "Didn't that come with a bottle of vodka?" Wabsworth grinned. "That's where the password is now." 

[Honeycomb by Pete Limford at Pixabay]

Friday, April 02, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Flash Drive

The leap seemed to span centuries. The key changed materials and with it, its colour.  Now it hung in the air above them. They looked up and couldn't help raising their arms as if in supplication. The key spoke solemnly. "I am the key to end all keys. No key shall go before me." The Wabbit recovered enough to see that it was a computer drive and he said so. "You're a flash drive!" The floating flash drive continued. "I contain the password to the meaning of life." Lapinette swiftly grasped all this. "So what is your password?" she said. "The password is 'password'," said the drive. It laughed long and hard. Wabsworth knew there was rather more to it than that. "And that gets you ... where?" The flash drive performed a swirling revolution and his USB connection sparkled in the light. "That gets you to a series of honey-encrypted algorithmic blocks." Wabsworth knew only too well where that led. "What if you get it wrong?" The Wabbit interrupted. "It blows you to kingdom come?" The flash drive sneered a bit. "Nothing so crude." Lapinette stepped forward. "I know. You have to get it wrong to get it right?" "Maybe, maybe not," said the flash drive, "but if you find me a computer I can plug into, you might find out." Lapinette was intrigued. "Lead the way." The flash drive turned and made it way downstairs. The Wabbit nudged Lapinette. "Do you have a lot of time?" Lapinette looked over her shoulder. "It takes three years to get it in the right way up?"