Wake | Chapter 45 of 56 - Part: 1 of 2

Author: Robert J. Sawyer | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 7569 Views | Add a Review

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thirty-nine

 

 

Caitlin headed back down to the basement. Kuroda was there, hunched over in his chair. “The eyePod just crashed,” she said, as she reached the bottom step.

“Crashed?” repeated Kuroda, turning his head around. He was seated at the long worktable, working on the computer. “What do you mean?”

“I got a static-electric shock from a piece of metal, and the eyePod just shut off.”

He said something that she guessed was a Japanese swearword, then: “Is it okay? I mean, are you seeing now?”

“Yes, yes, I’m seeing fine now, but when I first turned the unit back on, something unusual happened. It booted up in websight mode.”

“It’s supposed to come up in duplex. That way, even if it’s too damaged to do anything else, we could have still re-flashed its software over the Wi-Fi connection.”

You might tell a girl! she thought. “That wasn’t what was unusual.” She paused, wondering exactly what she wanted to reveal. “Um, I know you’re recording the datastream my eyePod puts out.”

“Yes, that’s right. So I can run studies on how the data is being encoded.”

“Is there any way that the data flow could get reversed, so that the stuff my eyePod is sending to Tokyo might get reflected back here?”

“Why? What did you see?”

Caitlin frowned. Something very strange was going on, and she didn’t want to give Kuroda more reason to think that there was anything that might be of proprietary interest in her websight. “I’m… not sure. But could that happen? Could your server accidentally feed the data back to me?”

Kuroda seemed to consider this. “No, I don’t think so.” And then, more decisively: “No. I was there when the technician set up the Jagster feed you’re getting. He did it by actually attaching a fiber-optic networking cable to a different server on campus; there’s nowhere that the wiring for the feed from your eyePod crosses the feed to your eyePod. You simply couldn’t get a reverse flow.”

Caitlin thought silently for a time, but Kuroda seemed to feel someone should say something, so: “Miss Caitlin, what did you see?”

“I’m… not sure. It was probably nothing, anyway.”

“Well, let me look at the eyePod—check out the hardware, make sure nothing was damaged. And I’ll look over the data we collected from it. I suspect everything is fine, but let’s be certain…”

They did just that, and all seemed to be okay. When they were done, Caitlin felt her watch—maybe someone would give her a normal one for her birthday, which was coming up on Saturday. “I should go practice my reading,” she said.

“Have fun.”

She didn’t smile. “I can barely contain myself.”

 

LiveJournal: The Calculass Zone
Title: Eh? Bee! See…
Date: Wednesday 3 October, 16:59 EST
Mood: Frustrated
Location: H-O-M-E
Music: Prince, “Planet Earth”

 

Okay, so it’s back to this blerking kids’ literacy program. Geez, I should get this. Why is it so hard? It took everything I had to write on the blackboard at the Perimeter Institute, but I’ve already forgotten the shapes of half the letters. I should be able to master this—after all, I am made out of awesome!

Well, better get to it. I’m going to warm up with a flashcard review of the alphabet, and then—yes, it’s time to push ahead—I’m going to move on to whole words. I snuck a peek at that part of the website: it shows a picture, provides the word for it, and I’m to respond by typing the same word back. Given that I don’t know what a lot of things look like, it might actually be fun—but somehow I doubt, despite the popularity of the term in email, that P is going to be for “penis”…

 

Caitlin posted her LJ entry, then sat and looked with her one good eye at the comforting simplicity of the blank blue bedroom wall. She knew she was procrastinating, but she hated feeling stupid and trying to read printed text was making her feel just that. She hadn’t opened a book since The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, and she felt the need to prove to herself that she was still a proficient reader. She turned, faced the computer, opened up an electronic copy of her all-time favorite, Helen Keller’s 1903 memoir The Story of My Life, and scrolled to a random passage. She then closed her eyes and let her finger glide along her Braille display, feeling the words flow effortlessly into her consciousness:

 

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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