Name: Billie Diamond
Age: 39 (Human) 0.25 (Dark Netrider)
Blood Type: Distributed
Fighting Style: “The Lonely Rainstorm” Data-Approach
Destined Profession: Dark Netrider (? ? ?% certainty)
Rising Tarot: Challenge I
Falling Tarot: Change Chef
Famous Quote: (unintelligible scolding and complaining)
BILLIE DIAMOND is yelling. Billie Diamond, yelling into a telephone, is angry at the person or persons on the other end of the line. Billie Diamond is angry because the promise, of a delivery, has been broken. The replacement laminate plastic stock, .18 gauge, “Celulon Blue/Clear” color type, ordered 28 days ago, and then confirmed 25 days ago, and then re-confirmed 22, 18, 12, 6, 3, 2, 1, and 1 days ago, has not yet arrived from the plastics depot. If it does not arrive this morning, the scheduled intense permanent relamination of the employee identification badges will have to be rescheduled. Every employee has already turned in his or her badge, as they had to arrive early this morning, 7:00 AM sharp, for a mandatory team-building outing on a series of tour buses that can also turn into tour boats. Employees flew in from Europe, from the tips of every continent. No one is exempt, no one is saved, everyone would have a great time. All 15,004 employees placed their badges in the giant wicker dump bins near the main entrance, including Billie. Each contains a biometric data-system that profiles the employee. These badges cannot be replaced. These badges are unique, and incredibly expensive, and due to a design flaw, have very, very serrated edges. The wicker dump bins are incredibly heavy, and for some reason, wet. The wetness does not affect the biometric mechanics of the badges. The wetness, regardless, contributes to Billie’s anger.
A multinational corporate powerhouse does not just “run itself.” The fiction of the self-sustaining business is dire and pervasive. You need people to work the machines. You need people to wipe the grit out of the keyboards used by other people. When food arrives in the sub-Canteen 4, and it’s “submarine” sandwiches again, turkey and peanut, in spite of multiple demands to avoid that particular shape and style of sandwich, it is not the business itself, but a human representation thereof who calls the representative of the catering service and curses full-mouthed the catering representative’s mother to the dirtiest pits of the smelliest hell. It takes human touch, the velvet fingers of a bureaucrat, to relaiminate an employee identification badge. And sometimes Billie feels that she is the only person who understands this.
Compounding, the representatives of the company that makes the machine-systems that read and process the identification badges has already completed their work for the day. The new machine-systems are powerful and reliable. Hulking gleaming gateways surround every entrance to the skyscraper, including the multiple helipad entrances, the fire escapes, and the windows on every floor that an employee or interloper could reasonably be expected to try to exit (during an emergency) or enter (during an emergency). Each gateway has been fused to the structure, and presents a single slot for insertion of the identification badge. Attempts to enter without inserting a badge triggers a 110 dB alarm that cannot be turned off. Additionally, due to the robust workings of the machinery, badges with less than .15 gauge laminate stock will “jam” the intricate conveyor/extraction system for the input and return of the badge, melting the biometric machinery and melting shut the slot with inferior gauge laminate.
In 8 to 10 hours, 15,004 employees will return on 344 boat busses after a long day of team-building and site-seeing. They will smell like river, and cheap team-building pizza, and intra-departmental flirting. Women who have graduate degrees in applied mathematics will have been forced to blindfold themselves and fall backward into the arms of coworkers, to establish Trust. Men who make 90 million dollars a month will have been forced to blindfold themselves and reach their hands into bowls of cold spaghetti, to establish what Monster Brains would, if Monsters existed, feel like. But there are no Monsters on corporate get-aways, only the promise of more cheap pizza, unforthcoming vodka snuck out of dixie cups toward the backs of the busses, where the careful eyes of supervisors cannot see, where skirts ride up and pants unzip. They are gluttonous creatures, her coworkers.
And their attempts to enter the building, if their badges are not relaminated, will be noisy. And she has tried to explain this to the idiot on the other end of the phone. She has tried so hard. She screams like a hawk crying out as it dives from on high to attack prey, like a ground rodent, or a rabbit, or a plastics delivery person, tardy due to weather, or a hangover, or the imperceptible movements of a larger system. It is 9:52 in the morning. Billie screams. Billie screams. Billie, taking a breath, realizes that no one is on the other end of the line, and promptly hits redial. They will not get away so easily.