precision mechanics

2

Two:Cookies/Treats. Strawberry shortcake!! The Japanese holiday cake of choice, so I hear! Only the best for Zenya’s favourite student. He is spoiled.

Zenyatta doesn’t need to eat, but he likes to make food for other people–there were plenty of organic students and travelers at Shambali. Omnics are generally pretty good at baking, thanks to their mechanical precision.

Bonus: 

Vimes knelt down by Dorfl. The broken clay skull looked as empty as yesterday’s breakfast egg. But there was still a pinpoint of light in each eye socket.
“Usssss,” hissed Dorfl, so faintly that Vimes wasn’t sure he’d heard it.
A finger scratched on the floor.
“Is it trying to write something?” said Angua.
Vimes pulled out his notebook, eased it under Dorfl’s hand, and gently pushed a pencil into the golem’s fingers. They watched the hand as it wrote – a little jerkily but still with the mechanical precision of a golem – eight words.
Then it stopped. The pencil rolled away. The lights in Dorfl’s eyes dwindled and went out.
“Good grief,” breathed Angua. “They don’t need words in their heads…”
“We can rebuild him,” said Carrot hoarsely. “We have the pottery.”
Vimes stared at the words, and then at what remained of Dorfl.
“Mister Vimes?” said Carrot.
“Do it,” said Vimes.
Carrot blinked.
“Right now,” Vimes said. He looked back at the scrawl in his book.

WORDS IN THE HEART CAN NOT BE TAKEN.

“And when you rebuild him,” he said, “when you rebuild him… give him a voice.”

– Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

“Usssss,” hissed Dorfl, so faintly that Vimes wasn’t sure he’d heard it. A finger scratched on the floor.

“Is it trying to write something?” said Angua.

Vimes pulled out his notebook, eased it under Dorfl’s hand, and gently pushed a pencil into the golem’s fingers. They watched the hand as it wrote— a little jerkily but still with the mechanical precision of a golem— eight words. Then it stopped. The pencil rolled away. The lights in Dorfl’s eyes dwindled and went out.

“Good grief,” breathed Angua. “They don’t need words in their heads…”

“We can rebuild him,” said Carrot hoarsely. “We have the pottery.”

Vimes stared at the words, and then at what remained of Dorfl.

“Mister Vimes?” said Carrot.

“Do it,” said Vimes.

Carrot blinked.

“Right now,” Vimes said. He looked back at the scrawl in his book.

WORDS IN THE HEART CAN NOT BE TAKEN.

“And when you rebuild him,” he said, “when you rebuild him… give him a voice. Understand?

— 

Feet of Clay

this never fails to make me cry

I should not tell you of Berenice, the unjust city, which crowns with triglyphs, abaci, metopes the gears of its meat-grinding machines (the men assigned to polishing, when they raise their chins over the balustrades and contemplate the atria, stairways, porticos, feel even more imprisoned and short of stature). Instead, I should tell you of the hidden Berenice, the city of the just, handling makeshift materials in the shadowy rooms behind the shops and beneath the stairs, linking a network of wires and pipes and pulleys and pistons and counterweights that infiltrates like a climbing plant among the great cogged wheels (when they jam, a subdued ticking gives warning that a new precision mechanism is governing the city). Instead of describing to you the perfumed pools of the baths where the unjust of Berenice recline and weave their intrigues with rotund eloquence and observe with a proprietary eye the rotund flesh of the bathing odalisques, I should say to you how the just, always cautious to evade the spying sycophants and the Janizaries’ mass arrests, recognize one another by their way of speaking, especially their pronunciation of commas and parentheses; from their habits which remain austere and innocent, avoiding complicated and nervous moods; from their sober but tasty cuisine, which evokes an ancient golden age: rice and celery soup, boiled beans, fried squash flowers.

From these data it is possible to deduce an image of the future Berenice, which will bring you closer to knowing the truth than any other information about the city as it is seen today. You must nevertheless bear in mind what I am about to say to you: in the seed of the city of the just, a malignant seed is hidden, in its turn: the certainty and pride of being in the right—and of being more just than many others who call themselves more just than the just. This seed ferments in bitterness, rivalry, resentment; and the natural desire of revenge on the unjust is colored by a yearning to be in their place and to act as they do. Another unjust city, though different from the first, is digging out its space within the double sheath of the unjust and just Berenices.

Having said this, I do not wish your eyes to catch a distorted image, so I must draw your attention to an intrinsic quality of this unjust city germinating secretly inside the secret just city: and this is the possible awakening—as if in an excited opening of windows—of a later love for justice, not yet subjected to rules, capable of reassembling a city still more just than it was before it became the vessel of injustice. But if you peer deeper into this new germ of justice you can discern a tiny spot that is spreading like the mounting tendency to impose what is just through what is unjust, and perhaps this is the germ of an immense metropolis…

From my words you will have reached the conclusion that the real Berenice is a temporal succession of different cities, alternately just and unjust. But what I wanted to warn you about is something else: all the future Berenices are already present in this instant, wrapped one within the other, confined, crammed, inextricable.

— 

Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

Read this on the plane today, and it seemed relevant to the current discussions around Social Justice that have been populating my tumblr feed of the past few days.

Civilized

Agent Sauveterre only wished this was the strangest, most frightening moment of his career. Unfortunately, while it certainly made an informal list, it wasn’t quite at the top. Besides, he did his job, and he did it well; not an ounce of trepidation was betrayed in face or body as he killed the sacrificial sheep and stepped back from the glowing circle laid out with mechanical precision across the floor. Black smoke gathered above the guttering blue-flamed candles, pooling in the center of the circle, swirling up into the air…

Sauveterre wiped the blood from the knife and stowed it safely away on the low table at his side.

WHO DARES SUMMON ALCOR THE DREAMBENDER?”

“Welcome, Alcor. On behalf of my employers, I thank you for answering our call,” Sauveterre replied in perfect English, his hands clasped before him in a non-threatening pose, nevermind the fact that he could reach any weapon on his person in under a second if necessary. “We have much to discuss. May I offer you a seat?”

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