Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Goetia," Symbolism, pt. 5, 419 words

Asmoday's resembled a set of crosses tagged together at their bases in a symmetrical pattern, while the woman's lamen brought to Sean's mind a set of empty candelabra resting in a deep basin. Neither projected names; it was occasionally advantageous to let someone know nothing more than that you were one of the Goetia, not which one.

“Agares, this is...” Asmoday paused for a fraction of a second, so quick that most would have missed it, weighing how to introduce the woman. “Sitri the Prince, Master of 60 Legions, and one of the up-and-comers in StarGen Aerospace. She shall likely be looking down on the rest of us from a very great height within the next few years.”

“Ah. Um. Nice to meet you,” Sean said, offering her PAN a digital handshake. She took it, though only after a brief but noticeable hesitation as if a germaphobe confronted with an actual hand. Their computers exchanged basic contact information, and she nodded with a muttered acknowledgment.

Adeline Valentine. Well, that certainly sounded familiar, though Sean couldn't connect the name and face in his memory. He spun off a search process to dig out details on the name and StarGen, though wondered how famous a tech or middle manager at an aerospace company could be, no matter how bright she was.

“I understand you've got some business to attend while you're here,” Asmoday asked, addressing Sitri. “Take Agares with you, it's surprising how invaluable a native guide and go-fer can be. But I will expect him back in good condition.”

Sitri nodded. “Where do you suggest I start my inquiries?”

Asmoday was already turning back to his work, fingers flying through air. Distractedly, he said, “Try Doctor Halloran. She's the chair of the CS department and heads up the AI research project. If you can get anything out of her, pass it on to Purson.”

“Will do,” Sitri said before walking away, Sean apparently forgotten. He trotted after her, turning a quick glance to Asmoday, but the older man was wrapped up in his own little digital world, fingers dancing.

That he still used a pseudo-physical interface suggested Asmoday was either vastly behind on the technology curve by choice or circumstance – which Sean severely doubted – or, more likely, he already overwhelmed the other inputs with constant use and needed yet another. Asmoday casually shuffled an order of magnitude more data than most any other human could handle with dedication and focus.

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