Keeping It Real Chapter 3

So I have to wonder how humans managed to create massively advanced technology in this. Especially considering that everyone lost all the records of 2015 and then the names of major cities. They must have forgotten history too because they just decided to give everything a new name along with the planet.

‘Huh, that’s weird.’ ‘What?’ ‘I can’t remember what this thing is.’ ‘What thing?’ ‘This thing I’m standing on.’ ‘You mean dirt?’ ‘No, this big thing that we’re all on right now.’ ‘You mean the front lawn.’ ‘No, the thing that’s flying around the sun while rotating.’ ‘Oh, that’s called a planet.’ ‘Yeah, but didn’t it have a name?’ ‘Uh. Douchetopia?’

Since last chapter, Lila is apparently bothered by Zal. But instead of having to deal with emotions she puts her thoughts into “temporary storage in her AI memory system”.  Then she goes around meeting people and comparing them to files she has in her mind. Lila says that data ran through her mind like water.

So is she supposed to be a machine, Robson? Because why would the data need to flow through her brain? Why wouldn’t the computer portions just run the data separately and then come back with a positive or negative? I’d think you wouldn’t want the data processing to get in the way of the operator’s brain lest they be distracted by an installation of updates or a sudden reboot in the middle of a fight.

And I think someone needs to sit Robson down and explain what AI actually is. Because if these people have genuine AI, then they really don’t need cyborgs like Lila. I’m assuming that Robson means Lila has a sort of automated intelligence, rather than artificial, that carries on with mundane tasks.

Let’s see, Lila meets the back up singers who are all fairies. They’re nice except the won’t stop begging her to listen. They come from two different fairy nations which are named after minerals for some reason and one of them is done in a fairy equivalent of Goth, so says Robson. She talks to Lila and speaks like she learned English from a cheerleader in the ‘90s. Oh yes, and the fairies are attractive.

Then Lila mentions that the fairies’ wings aren’t visible on earth and they interfere with Lila’s systems. Which, again, makes me wonder why they picked her for bodyguard duty. It seems kind of stupid to have a cyborg, whose circuitry is vulnerable to magic, guard a magical being surrounded by more of the same. Maybe Otopian security are the same kind of people that’d put a dog in charge of guarding a plate of bacon.

Lila then meets the bassist, Luke, who’s been charged with Alchemical possession though he seems to be a human. Apparently it’s illegal to try and transmute lead into gold or search for the philosopher’s stone in Otopia. The “girl DJ” of the band doesn’t get a name. I can only assume this is because she’s a dirty human without any special powers or cyborg implants.

And shame on you, Robson. Calling her a “girl DJ” is just clumsy writing. It would be simpler to refer to the DJ and then use ‘she said’ for her speech. That would clarify her job and her gender without being pointed about it.

The bassist asks if Lila is going everywhere with them and Zal says yes. He also says that she doesn’t like rock or elves. Then the “girl DJ” asks what Lila does like.

‘Violence,’ Lila said sweetly in her best Swiss-finishing-school voice. She withdrew her hand from Luke’s hold. He winked at her.

What the hell is a Swiss-finishing-school voice? Does that mean she sounds like she stepped of the set of Heidi? Whatever it is, it makes Zal laugh. I laughed because that sounds exactly like someone trying to be intimidating but they really don’t know how it works.

Then someone asks why Lila doesn’t like elves and if she’s a racist. I kind of thought that Zal’s comment was just a lame joke but it seems his band mates have spent the last couple of hours smacking each other with concrete. Lila says she likes elves just fine and rock music then Jelly tells them to get to work and they start on making a cover of Ace of Spades.

While that’s going on, Lila starts talking about the letters Zal’s gotten. Some are threats, some are crazy but then he got a magical threat which has piqued their interest. We’re told that it’s impossible to have traceless magic but they haven’t been able to locate the sender just yet.

Then, for what seems like no reason, Lila decides to wander around. This causes her to locate a bug which she swats using her cybernetic flyswatter. Then she realizes it’s a listening device and scans it. She listens to the transmission it’s sending out, stores that for later processing and decides to leave it where it is. Then she puts everything back so no one will know the bug was found. Wasn’t that exciting folks? She found a bug and left it alone. The story is really clipping along now.

Lila wishes she could trace it down but she can’t get too far from Zal. Gee, if only the agency Lila worked for had people who could do grunt work like run traces, background checks or make phone calls. Apparently the Otopian intelligence community is staffed by Lila, an old janitor armed with a broom handle and an aging pug.

Back in the recording booth, Lila watches the band dicking around. Zal says something to her through the soundproof glass which she can hear by tuning her ears and because she can read lips. He says ‘nice pants’ in elvish which must be because she tore them while looking around for the bug. Clearly he’s mocking her for straying from his side rather than just sitting around and staring at his uniquely punchable face.

Jelly tells everyone else their performance was crap but Zal’s was perfect and that he can go after the next take. Of course that’s not hard to do when a faithful cover is mostly just shouting and trying not to imitate Lemmy, lest all the Pitchfork editors mock you. And what the hell is the CEO of the company doing running the recording booth anyway? That’s like Spielberg running the ticket counter at the premier of Warhorse. You can see how the two are connected but that’s really not their job.

Jelly tells Lila not to get involved with Zal because a lot of people do and it never goes well. Lila gets angry and complains that it’s still standard practice to warn the new girl off and tell the bodyguard her that she doesn’t count. Which is the opposite of what I got out of Jelly’s speech. He basically told her she needs to remain professional and to make sure Zal doesn’t vanish on a bender. You know, the things a bodyguard might have to do for real and Lila resents it because it’s her job as part of her cover.

Apparently Jelly lied about Zal being able to go as they’re still there for an hour. Lila spends that time researching genealogical records trying to figure out where Zal’s from. The only records they have show he came through a gateway six months before forming the band and he doesn’t say. She then needlessly tells us that he speaks Otopian well but all elves do because they’re just so much better and shinier than us stupid humans who’ve just figured out that dirt isn’t a suitable filling in pie. Other than Zal wanting to be a rock star, there’s nothing unusual about him.

Lila then mentions that’s just stereotyping and that she doesn’t like elves because of what happened to her two years ago. Whoa, a mysterious back story that will prove to be relevant. At least Robson hasn’t spoiled it yet so I can pretend it was something cool. Lila says the other elves must think Zal is slumming with the humans because they’re a bunch of racists. They don’t associate with the fairies or with the demons. Supposedly because of mixing magics which sounds like code for racial impurities.

Which is actually kind of a relief. Sure, Robson’s elves are still too perfect and obnoxious and I want them all to eat lead for breakfast but at least she’s acknowledging it in universe. That’s a big step though I’m starting to think it’s just so Robson can show us how special Zal is too.

My guess if proved quickly when they all go to diner. Luke flirts with Lila, they talk about the magical threats and then Lila sees Zal eat a rare steak. Apparently all elves are vegetarians and would rather die than eat flesh. Lila is so shocked she has to run off to the bathroom where she runs into one of the fairies who is babbling.

Lila starts whining again about how she’s not the same person. Her face doesn’t look right after they rebuilt her, she doesn’t feel quite a part of her AI self and blah blah blah. Oh, and her hair grew back scarlet in some places and auburn in others because of the magic that “stained” her though they washed most of it out. Magic has gone from being like electricity to a sort of grass stain/radiation.

Then the fairy tells Lila that Zal really likes her, can’t she tell? Lila says no and the fairy says that he’s always looking at her. The fairy says that Zal usually doesn’t like people of “non-magical extraction”—i.e. muggles—which Lila says makes Zal a racist. The fairy says not to worry that they’re all friends. Lila agrees because fairies can’t stand the idea of being excluded. Now who’s being racist, Lila? Then they head back to the table. Yeah, that’s how I close my chapter, with the characters vacating a bathroom.

This entry was posted in Quantum Gravity, Recap, Spork and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Keeping It Real Chapter 3

  1. chocolatesamus says:

    Hey, the Otopian intelligence community NEEDS an aging pug, to bark and fart at any sign of danger! (Or food, or company, or the TV, or random noises…)

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