Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Little Reading...

From 2006, Spook Country by William Gibson....


Bigend's smile opened again. It reminded her of the lights in another train when trains pass at night, going in opposite directions. Then it closed. It was like she entered a tunnel. "go on." He sipped his piso, which looked a lot like Nyquil.

"And it's not DJ-ing," she said, "or making mash-ups, or whatever else he does publically. Its whatever makes him mark the floor of that factory according to the GPS grid. He won't sleep in the same square twice. whatever makes him confident he's important is also what's making him crazy."

"And that might be?"

She thought of the wireframe cargo container, how chombo had so abruptly tried to yank the helmet off her head, almost pulling her over. She hesitated.

"Pirates." he said.

"Pirates!"

"The Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Small fast boats, preying on large cargo vessels. They operate from lagoons, coves, islets. The Malay Penninsula, Java, Borneo, sumatra..."

She looked from Bigend to the crowd around them, feeling like she'd fallen into someone else's pitch meeting. A ghostly studio log line, left to hover near the bar's massively timbered, corrugated ceiling, had fallen on her, the first likely victim to sit at this table. a pirate movie. "Arr," she said, meeting his gaze again and downing the last of her gin-tonic, "matey."


"Real pirates," Hubertus Bigend said, unsmiling. "Most of them, anyway."

"Most?"

"Some of them were part of a covert CIA maritime program." He put his empty plastic glass down as though it were something he was considering bidding on at Sotheby's. he framed it with his fingers, a director considering a shot. "Stopping suspect cargo vessels to search for weapons of mass destruction." He looked up at her, unsmiling.

"Irony-free?"

He nodded, a tiny movement, very precise.

Thus perhaps did diamond factors nod in Antwerp, she thought. "This isn't bullshit, Mr. Bigend?"

"It's as expensively quasi-functional as i can afford it to be. Material like this tends to squirm a bit, as you can well imagine. One rather deep irony, I suppose, is this program, which had apparently been fairly effective, fell victim to blowback from your domestic political struggles here. Prior to certain revelations, though, and to the name of a cover company being made public, CIA teams, disguised as pirates, accompanied real pirates boarding merchant vessels suspected of smuggling weapons of mass destruction. Using radiation detectors, and other things, they inspected cargo holds and containers, while the real pirates took whatever more mundane cargo they chose to acquire. This was the payoff for the pirates, that they could have their pick of cargo, provided the teams were given a first look at all of the holds and containers."

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