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2.4 Ada in Turmoil 

2.4.1 Ada Vexes Herself

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

4 May 1987

Ada settled herself in the comfortable and brightly lit dining room, activated her computer in secure vtext mode and started dictating a memo to self.

"Well here I am in the lucky last of the observation bases that the Cat assigned me to Restaurant Le Gardon Frit, an entrapment place set up to catch well-heeled users, especially Americans, and supposedly a good spot to pick up what's going on in the sleazy nether-world of Substance consumption slash addiction.

"Le Gardon Frit--the name sounds familiar but I don't recall ever being here. From outside it looks an awfully grungy place but where I'm sitting here in this little underground dining room, Espace Brillat-Savarin it's called after the 19th C pre-Pro substance-porn writer. It's really very chic in the art deco style, mirror walls and all that, and a view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of certain ruminant mammals that were pre-Pro a major food source for humans--cattle, they're called, cows and steers and heifers and the like (I've been checking Wikipedia on that)--contentedly eating  grass in a sunlit field. Of course the windows are actually HV dioramas....

"Well, as I said in previous memos the outlook for the crack-down on primary suppliers of the most dangerous substances like meat, milk, cheese, eggs etc--meat in the present instance--doesn't look good. The outlook for the War as a whole doesn't look good. Gaea-awful actually. This morning for instance--hang on, here's the waiter with today's lunch specials.

"Well it wasn't the waiter, it was the chef. Short--guess I should say impressively short--but dimensionally disadvantaged horizontally. Overall effect roly poly, you might say. Not a guy to get me hot--he's no Alenby--but he's ingratiating as a pigletlet, and kind of persuasive in a low-key way. Name's Picpoul, but everyone calls him Le Cèpe. Talked me into trying substances, and of course I resisted, but when he mentioned the substance Alenby was talking about that time--forget exactly when, so much going on at the time--but anyway, I was totally captivated. Sirloin steak à point , I think it's called in English.... Anyway, I said to Le Cèpe, 'okay, just this once.' Just this one time, for background experience. As I see it, it's bending the rules for a greater good--know the enemy, sort of thing. I think I'm entitled to bend a rule here and there since I'm sacrificing my personal health and safety in support of the War. Gaea knows I've made plenty of sacrifices lately....

"Like this morning, for instance. Except for slight variations in the details--I put the details in the official record, I'm meticulous about that--it was the same old thing, same old same old over and over. So boring, yet so worrying. So why am I vexing all this stuff to myself? To get the big picture, maybe. Get things straight in my mind. Or just to stay sane....

"Anyway, this morning I rendez-voused with the Green Fedora detachment assigned to the rural area on my list, and here as elsewhere, found troops' morale sagging owing to resistance and non-compliance of the indigenous peasant population--polite and friendly to your face but laughing behind your back sort of thing, and always ready to make an odd euro by helping the substance queen-pins keep out of our sights. The peasants' behavior is quite annoying and of course it is against the law, so our troops are right to round up the worst offenders and hand them over to the civil authorities.

"But I don't blame the country folk. Keeping animals as a source of food is a deeply ingrained if filthy tradition, and as they practice it--frugally is the word that comes to mind, or sustainably--it doesn't do a whole lot of harm except to their own health. They recycle most of the animal wastes as fertilizer using farm-scale düungermischmaschines, and though the part that isn't recycled--mainly methane issuing from the mouths of ruminants--may well contribute to global climate change, at the present rate the effects are not likely to show up any time soon. The immediate problems arise when outsiders come in and set up substance factories to pander to users' perverse appetites. 

"We're seeing signs of that sort of thing all the time. Today, for instance. The Green Fedoras led me to a cattle fattening slash slaughter site they had located from observation of vulture activity. Site abandoned a while back, apparently--as usual perps a couple beats ahead of the troops, got tipped off in plenty of time. Nothing much left of the site except the usual stench of rotting carcasses and entrails, blood soaked into the soil, maggots, sizable lagoon of fecal matter etc. Roofed animal confinement area cleverly camouflaged, hard to spot until you are right on it, practically. Inside, half to one meter deep semi-liquid fecal-soil mix, evidence of animals tightly crowded together in holding pens. Centralized layout and procedures like grain instead of pasture feeding appear designed to maximize unit profit.

"Tests of ground water at several points showed the usual contaminations--growth hormone residues, salmonella, E coli O157:H7. That strain of E coli is the one you get in the guts of ruminants when you feed them on grain instead of letting them graze on grass. Salmonella is the bug you get when you use massive antibiotics to keep sick animals alive until ready for slaughter.... Ah, here's Le Cèpe with my lunch."

***

"Well, the steak was...interesting. Magnificent, appetizing cooking aroma--that's what Brillat-Savarin must have had in mind when he went on about osmazôme, 'the preeminently sapid part of meat,' as he called it. Brown and crusty on the outside, and okay tasting I guess. But the inside was a let-down. Not really bright red like Alenby said, but kind of pale pink with a grayish cast. Salty, kind of mushy texture. Smelled a little bit like that yucky lagoon. And greasy. I wiped off whatever grease got on my face but I didn't wipe it off my lips because I saw in the mirror it makes my lips shine and show up red--the same color as the inside of the steak Alenby must have had in mind--red and shiny and really, really sexy. Hey, I'm kind of up, maybe I should calm down a notch. Must be the excess-protein rush that meatics go on and on about. At any rate I feel like a million bucks.

"That reminds me--about those U C-notes I lifted from Alenby's wallet, I've been putting off telling Sotheby's what to do with the proceeds. One meg for my commission, and the rest in Alenby's account sounds about right, it'll leave him with around, oh, 3.4 megs after taxes. Hang on, I'll do it now. Back in a sec....

"Well, now that's settled, I feel better. But there's still something bugging me, can't exactly but my finger on it. Guess I'll just have to let it marinate in my right hemisphere. Gotta go now, they are bringing in dessert--Riz Impératrice, made with white rice--that's rice with all the nutrients refined out--plus an awful lot of cream. Cream by the way is the fat component of milk, but it looks and tastes harmless enough, like pureed banana. If you didn't know already you'd never guess the stuff was made from something that was mechanically sucked out of an animal's body--probably a sick animal, too. Still, the idea of actually eating it takes a bit of getting used to.

Wish I could get rid of that lagoon smell. Some stinky molecules must have lodged in my nasal passages. Note to self: be like the others, wear a gas mask at the next site.

The million bucks feeling has worn off for some reason. I feel sort, I don't know, sort of heavy. Think I'd better go and lie down now, take a nap. Bye now!" 

2.5.2 Ada Vexes Herself Again

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

About 12:30 pm a Week Later.

"Whew! What a morning out there prowling around with the Green Fedoras! We came upon this huge barn sort of thing, no windows and the stench was something out of this universe. An abandoned avian-substance factory, tech-support told us. But exactly what substance she couldn't tell from the outside. Chicken, or maybe wide-breast turkey in preparation for the upcoming American users' feast day known as 'Thanksgiving.' Perps gone, way ahead of us as usual. But to make sure, the colonel gave the order to put on gas masks and head lamps and go in for a look around, 'reconnoiter' was the word she used. So we stove in a door and in we went.

"Couldn't see much for a start cause it was dark and the air was thick with dust which someone said was okay, just an stable aerosol of feathers, fecal matter and hormone residues. But when we turned our lamps to the ultraviolet snooper-scope mode we made out a lot of medical waste, syringes and stuff, scattered about in the muck on the floor. Plus heaps of dead birds with maggots crawling over them. I said dead birds but actually a few were still alive, fluttering painfully, making a despairing effort to get away. One of them flopped on its back, stone dead, and using the true-color app I saw it had blue feet--pattes bleues. So this was a bird of the esteemed breed that Alenby was talking about....

"Good Gaea! I've just remembered, today is the day Le Cèpe planned to serve roast chicken. Well, I'll order roast something else, like root vegetables...."

2.5.3 Ada Vexes Herself One More Time.

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

At lunch awaiting the plat de résistance, 1:30 pm Thursday 12 November 1987

"Well, now it's gelled. I know what was bugging me, and that's a blessing. But it's not pretty. It's about Willa 't Hellenbach of NewYorkTimes.com.

"The long-awaited shakeup in the Times has finally happened, and and now that the print edition has tanked Willa has more clout than ever. She's going to leverage the popularity of her HV interview show into near total control of the editorial page, so look out all you cloudy thinkers out there! It's going to be a new NewYorkTimes.com now, with laser-like focus on accuracy and clarity. It's gonna be reason and science, like in the days of Edith Bolling. And logic, impeccable logic.

"That sounds good, I guess. But not good for me. 'Cause I'm one of the cloudy thinkers. What flows in my veins is sizzling hot blood, not ice water. What controls my actions is intuition and sentiment--love and lust et cetera, not logic. My aim in life is to live it to the max. To squeeze all the juice out of life and then fold."

Anyway the point is, it looks like  I am not up to a one-on-one with that chilly zombie Willa 't Hellenbach. Actually I'm not even up to an interview with cute Danny Goodpenny from CapitalNews-HV. When he asked me why we have to have a War on Substances, I didn't know. Still don't. 'To have something for the Czarina to be in charge of' doesn't cut it.

"What I'm getting at here is that for me, getting probed by Willa t'Hellenbach would be so totally unspeakably embarrassing, like getting caught lounging poolside in a swim suit! That would be of little no account, except that my having a face-off with Willa is definitely in the cards--and soon!

"She's in France right now, on an unpublicized tour to bring her up to speed on 'matters of  interest,' meaning the conduct of the War. The thing about Willa, the really scary thing is she really wants to find out what's going on. She'll probe and probe and nose about until she gets the truth. And the truth is, the War is a fiasco. The Cat is already in full obfuscation mode. When it's time for her to come clean, she's going to fade into the background and put me up front to answer Willa's questions. There's no way I can get out of it. With her PROFATPOL goons blocking every exit, the Cat is holding me a virtual prisoner. Already she's set up a meeting right here in Le Gardon Frit, with a press conference to follow, and that's going to happen the day after Thanksgiving. THAT'S THE THURSDAY AFTER NEXT! I mean THE FRACKING FRIDAY AFTER NEXT! I can't think straight! All I know is I can't face it--got to get outta here! 

"Wait, here's Le Cèpe with the plat de résistance...today it's côtelettes d'agneau grillées with noisette potatoes--mmm-mm good. Le Cèpe has been ever so much nicer to me since I gave him my 2CV plugin. Sometimes I wonder if I really want to escape after all...."

 

2.4 Ada Strikes Ozmazome (2.5 Ada in turmoil)

2.4.1 Ada vexes self

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

4 May 1987

Ada settled herself in the comfortable and brightly lit dining room, activated her computer in secure vtext mode and started dictating a memo to self.

"Well here I am in the lucky last of the observation bases that the Cat assigned me to Restaurant Le Gardon Frit, an entrapment place set up to catch well-heeled users, especially Americans, and supposedly a good spot to pick up what's going on in the sleazy nether-world of Substance consumption slash addiction.

"Le Gardon Frit--the name sounds familiar but I don't recall ever being here. From outside it looks an awfully grungy place but where I'm sitting here in this little underground dining room, Espace Brillat-Savarin it's called after the 19th C pre-Pro substance-porn writer. It's really very chic in the art deco style, mirror walls and all that, and a view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of certain ruminant mammals that were pre-Pro a major food source for humans--cattle, they're called, cows and steers and heifers and the like (I've been checking Wikipedia on that)--contentedly eating  grass in a sunlit field. Of course the windows are actually HV dioramas....

"Well, as I said in previous memos the outlook for the crack-down on primary suppliers of the most dangerous substances like meat, milk, cheese, eggs etc--meat in the present instance--doesn't look good. The outlook for the War as a whole doesn't look good. Gaea-awful actually. This morning for instance--hang on, here's the waiter with today's lunch specials.

"Well it wasn't the waiter, it was the chef. Short--guess I should say impressively short--but dimensionally disadvantaged horizontally. Overall effect roly poly, you might say. Not a guy to get me hot--he's no Alenby--but he's ingratiating as a pigletlet, and kind of persuasive in a low-key way. Name's Picpoul, but everyone calls him Le Cèpe. Talked me into trying substances, and of course I resisted, but when he mentioned the substance Alenby was talking about that time--forget exactly when, so much going on at the time--but anyway, I was totally captivated. Sirloin steak à point , I think it's called in English.... Anyway, I said to Le Cèpe, 'okay, just this once.' Just this one time, for background experience. As I see it, it's bending the rules for a greater good--know the enemy, sort of thing. I think I'm entitled to bend a rule here and there since I'm sacrificing my personal health and safety in support of the War. Gaea knows I've made plenty of sacrifices lately....

"Like this morning, for instance. Except for slight variations in the details--I put the details in the official record, I'm meticulous about that--it was the same old thing, same old same old over and over. So boring, yet so worrying. So why am I vexing all this stuff to myself? To get the big picture, maybe. Get things straight in my mind. Or just to stay sane....

"Anyway, this morning I rendez-voused with the Green Fedora detachment assigned to the rural area on my list, and here as elsewhere, found troops' morale sagging owing to resistance and non-compliance of the indigenous peasant population--polite and friendly to your face but laughing behind your back sort of thing, and always ready to make an odd euro by helping the substance queen-pins keep out of our sights. The peasants' behavior is quite annoying and of course it is against the law, so our troops are right to round up the worst offenders and hand them over to the civil authorities.

"But I don't blame the country folk. Keeping animals as a source of food is a deeply ingrained if filthy tradition, and as they practice it--frugally is the word that comes to mind, or sustainably--it doesn't do a whole lot of harm except to their own health. They recycle most of the animal wastes as fertilizer using farm-scale düungermischmaschines, and though the part that isn't recycled--mainly methane issuing from the mouths of ruminants--may well contribute to global climate change, at the present rate the effects are not likely to show up any time soon. The immediate problems arise when outsiders come in and set up substance factories to pander to users' perverse appetites. 

"We're seeing signs of that sort of thing all the time. Today, for instance. The Green Fedoras led me to a cattle fattening slash slaughter site they had located from observation of vulture activity. Site abandoned a while back, apparently--as usual perps a couple beats ahead of the troops, got tipped off in plenty of time. Nothing much left of the site except the usual stench of rotting carcasses and entrails, blood soaked into the soil, maggots, sizable lagoon of fecal matter etc. Roofed animal confinement area cleverly camouflaged, hard to spot until you are right on it, practically. Inside, half to one meter deep semi-liquid fecal-soil mix, evidence of animals tightly crowded together in holding pens. Centralized layout and procedures like grain instead of pasture feeding appear designed to maximize unit profit.

"Tests of ground water at several points showed the usual contaminations--growth hormone residues, salmonella, E coli O157:H7. That strain of E coli is the one you get in the guts of ruminants when you feed them on grain instead of letting them graze on grass. Salmonella is the bug you get when you use massive antibiotics to keep sick animals alive until ready for slaughter.... Ah, here's Le Cèpe with my lunch."

***

"Well, the steak was...interesting. Magnificent, appetizing cooking aroma--that's what Brillat-Savarin must have had in mind when he went on about osmazôme, 'the preeminently sapid part of meat,' as he called it. Brown and crusty on the outside, and okay tasting I guess. But the inside was a let-down. Not really bright red like Alenby said, but kind of pale pink with a grayish cast. Salty, kind of mushy texture. Smelled a little bit like that yucky lagoon. And greasy. I wiped off whatever grease got on my face but I didn't wipe it off my lips because I saw in the mirror it makes my lips shine and show up red--the same color as the inside of the steak Alenby must have had in mind--red and shiny and really, really sexy. Hey, I'm kind of up, maybe I should calm down a notch. Must be the excess-protein rush that meatics go on and on about. At any rate I feel like a million bucks.

"That reminds me--about those U C-notes I lifted from Alenby's wallet, I've been putting off telling Sotheby's what to do with the proceeds. One meg for my commission, and the rest in Alenby's account sounds about right, it'll leave him with around, oh, 3.4 megs after taxes. Hang on, I'll do it now. Back in a sec....

"Well, now that's settled, I feel better. But there's still something bugging me, can't exactly but my finger on it. Guess I'll just have to let it marinate in my right hemisphere. Gotta go now, they are bringing in dessert--Riz Impératrice, made with white rice--that's rice with all the nutrients refined out--plus an awful lot of cream. Cream by the way is the fat component of milk, but it looks and tastes harmless enough, like pureed banana. If you didn't know already you'd never guess the stuff was made from something that was mechanically sucked out of an animal's body--probably a sick animal, too. Still, the idea of actually eating it takes a bit of getting used to.

Wish I could get rid of that lagoon smell. Some stinky molecules must have lodged in my nasal passages. Note to self: be like the others, wear a gas mask at the next site.

The million bucks feeling has worn off for some reason. I feel sort, I don't know, sort of heavy. Think I'd better go and lie down now, take a nap. Bye now!" 

2.5.2 Ada Vexes Herself Again

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

About 12:30 pm a Week Later.

"Whew! What a morning out there prowling around with the Green Fedoras! We came upon this huge barn sort of thing, no windows and the stench was something out of this universe. An abandoned avian-substance factory, tech-support told us. But exactly what substance she couldn't tell from the outside. Chicken, or maybe wide-breast turkey in preparation for the upcoming American users' feast day known as 'Thanksgiving.' Perps gone, way ahead of us as usual. But to make sure, the colonel gave the order to put on gas masks and head lamps and go in for a look around, 'reconnoiter' was the word she used. So we stove in a door and in we went.

"Couldn't see much for a start cause it was dark and the air was thick with dust which someone said was okay, just an stable aerosol of feathers, fecal matter and hormone residues. But when we turned our lamps to the ultraviolet snooper-scope mode we made out a lot of medical waste, syringes and stuff, scattered about in the muck on the floor. Plus heaps of dead birds with maggots crawling over them. I said dead birds but actually a few were still alive, fluttering painfully, making a despairing effort to get away. One of them flopped on its back, stone dead, and using the true-color app I saw it had blue feet--pattes bleues. So this was a bird of the esteemed breed that Alenby was talking about....

"Good Gaea! I've just remembered, today is the day Le Cèpe planned to serve roast chicken. Well, I'll order roast something else, like root vegetables...."

2.5.3 Ada Vexes Herself One More Time.

Le Coin Brillat-Savarin, Restaurant Le Gardon Frit

At lunch awaiting the plat de résistance, 1:30 pm Thursday 12 November 1987

"Well, now it's gelled. I know what was bugging me, and that's a blessing. But it's not pretty. It's about Willa 't Hellenbach of NewYorkTimes.com.

"The long-awaited shakeup in the Times has finally happened, and and now that the print edition has tanked Willa has more clout than ever. She's going to leverage the popularity of her HV interview show into near total control of the editorial page, so look out all you cloudy thinkers out there! It's going to be a new NewYorkTimes.com now, with laser-like focus on accuracy and clarity. It's gonna be reason and science, like in the days of Edith Bolling. And logic, impeccable logic.

"That sounds good, I guess. But not good for me. 'Cause I'm one of the cloudy thinkers. What flows in my veins is sizzling hot blood, not ice water. What controls my actions is intuition and sentiment--love and lust et cetera, not logic. My aim in life is to live it to the max. To squeeze all the juice out of life and then fold."

Anyway the point is, it looks like  I am not up to a one-on-one with that chilly zombie Willa 't Hellenbach. Actually I'm not even up to an interview with cute Danny Goodpenny from CapitalNews-HV. When he asked me why we have to have a War on Substances, I didn't know. Still don't. 'To have something for the Czarina to be in charge of' doesn't cut it.

"What I'm getting at here is that for me, getting probed by Willa t'Hellenbach would be so totally unspeakably embarrassing, like getting caught lounging poolside in a swim suit! That would be of little no account, except that my having a face-off with Willa is definitely in the cards--and soon!

"She's in France right now, on an unpublicized tour to bring her up to speed on 'matters of  interest,' meaning the conduct of the War. The thing about Willa, the really scary thing is she really wants to find out what's going on. She'll probe and probe and nose about until she gets the truth. And the truth is, the War is a fiasco. The Cat is already in full obfuscation mode. When it's time for her to come clean, she's going to fade into the background and put me up front to answer Willa's questions. There's no way I can get out of it. With her PROFATPOL goons blocking every exit, the Cat is holding me a virtual prisoner. Already she's set up a meeting right here in Le Gardon Frit, with a press conference to follow, and that's going to happen the day after Thanksgiving. THAT'S THE THURSDAY AFTER NEXT! I mean THE FRACKING FRIDAY AFTER NEXT! I can't think straight! All I know is I can't face it--got to get outta here! 

"Wait, here's Le Cèpe with the plat de résistance...today it's côtelettes d'agneau grillées with noisette potatoes--mmm-mm good. Le Cèpe has been ever so much nicer to me since I gave him my 2CV plugin. Sometimes I wonder if I really want to escape after all...."

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