Part 0.1: "Prologue: Opportunity kicks butt"

19 Aug 1993 13:40:01 GMT

Article: 1657 of alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo Newsgroups: alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo From: (Jason Magnus) Subject: Silk and Steel 0.1 Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1993 13:40:01 GMT Lines: 528   Silk and Steel, Part 0.1: "Prologue: Opportunity kicks butt" Copyright August 1993 by Jay B. Brandt, all rights reserved   -------------------------------------------------------------- It was a cool, windy day when the chartered maglev shuttle carrying the Sony-VidTech team arrived at the regional sports arena. A banner over the entry to the domed stadium, tinged red with the approaching sunset, snapped and billowed in the breeze. Kimberly Lyons read the banner aloud to herself. "2069 Chiba Regional Inter-Corporate Martial Arts Competition - June 21-22."   She paused and brushed her brown shoulder-length curls out of her face. "Well, I made it this far. Now to see how well I can do against some -serious- competitors". She collected her duffel bag and joined the fifteen other female team members as they were escorted directly into the ladies dorms adjoining the complex. Across the meticulously clean courtyard, the male members of the team were getting off of a second shuttle and being similarly herded.   In the dormitory lobby, their escort explained the rules. "Each of you has been assigned a room in a quad with a single roommate. Three other rooms in your quad will share the lounge and bathroom facilities. All eight of you will be from the same corporation, for security reasons. However, your quad may be adjacent to one occupied by competitors from a rival corporation, so bear that fact in mind. You will eat and work out with employees from other corps, but any exchanges of information or gifts is strictly prohibited. That goes for the staff as well. You will each be issued a keycard. They are waterproof and provided with a neck cord. Keep them with you at all times. You are only permitted to remove them while in the competition ring. Your keycards are your room key, ID badge, and meal pass. They will guide you to your room, or anywhere else you are permitted to go within the complex. Just key in the desired destination. Your assigned room will already be keyed in when you get your card. The cards also provide access to the computer in your room and to data terminals located throughout the complex. The computer system is programmed with your event schedules and a guide to the complex. The console can also provide a secure Matrix link back to your respective offices, if there are projects you need to finish work on or continue to supervise. Lights out is at 2100, no exceptions. You must be in your room at that time, or you will be disqualified from competition. Breakfast is at 0600 sharp, in the dining hall. Don't be late." She called out pairs of names. After a while she called out "Shishi-San. Moritani-San." Kimberly and her assigned roommate stepped forward. The escort gave each of them a key-card. "You are in 11D. Yellow hall." She pointed the way and called out the next pair.   As they walked down the designated hallway, the edges of their keycards lit up to indicate the turns they were supposed to take. Kimberly looked over her roommate, sizing her up. Moritani-San was older by at least eight years. Kimberly guessed her age at maybe 28 or 30. Like all the team members, she was in superb shape. Her eyes were natural looking at first glance, but had gold metallic irises. So the other woman was cyberneticly enhanced. Kimberly shivered and wondered how far the other woman had gone.   Without thinking about it, Kimberly reached back to touch the Cyberlink interface on the back of her own head, at the base of her skull and hidden under her hair. Like most of the arcology children who showed technical promise, the Cyberdeck interface had been surgically implanted on her thirteenth birthday. It was assumed that the child's accelerated progress in school, and their eventual work for the corp, would more than pay for the investment. Since all of the adults in the arcology worked for Sony-VidTech, and since over 95 percent of the arcology's children would end up working for the same corp as their parents, it was a pretty safe bet. When she started her apprenticeship three years later, they had added an in-head cellular phone and a cellular modem, so she could work even more efficiently. Those were the only modifications she had allowed so far. They were just the normal stuff expected of a successful executive or engineer, no different than being issued a computer, a phone and a pager for your office. But that was as far as she was willing to go. She just couldn't see herself giving up perfectly functional organs or limbs for mechanical replacements, no matter how good they were. She liked her body the way it was.   Moritani-San noticed Kimberly's gaze and spoke first. "I am Moritani Misako, of Interface Technologies Group. Please, just call me Misako. What division are you with, Shishi-San? What styles of martial arts are you trained in?"   "I am honored Misako-san. I am Shishi Kimiko, of the Simsense Studio Technologies Labs. Like yourself, I follow the Western tradition, and only use my family name in formal or business situations. I go by Kimiko, or Kimberly when speaking English. Let's see, I started studying martial arts when I was eleven, and I'll be twenty-one this September. I earned my black belt in Kung-fu three years ago, and earned my black belt in Ninjutsu last week. I'll be competing in the traditional and weapons classes, um, unenhanced."   She paused as they rounded a corner. "Gee, ITG's a pretty flash group to be with. Aren't they the ones doing all the cutting-edge work with cyberware to organic interfaces? That'd be so exciting. What's it like in ITG? Do you ever get to go anyplace interesting? Or do they keep you tucked away in the arcology like a precious jewel? I've heard your name in the corp newsflash. Didn't you just win two new patents?   Misako shook her head somewhat sadly. "Oh, I hardly ever get out. It's been three years since I left confines of the arcology. ITG's a fascinating place to work, but security's so tight I can hardly breathe without getting corporate approval. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy for the opportunity to make such a big contribution to the advancement of my discipline. But it wears upon me, sometimes, not being free to travel. They were reluctant even to allow me to come here to compete this weekend. But I scored so well in the qualifying tournaments that they couldn't refuse my application." She smiled. "It was three patents that I won, but the third got very little publicity, because of security concerns. I'm afraid that's all I can say about it yet."   Kimberly looked again at Misako's eyes, then looked away again self-consciously.   Misako smiled at Kimiko. "I see you noticed my eyes. Don't worry, I'm not sensitive about people noticing them. In fact, I'm rather proud of them. I'll be competing in the enhanced division, of course. I do hope you won't let that come between us. I promise I won't take my eyes out while in our room, or do anything else that unenhanced folks often find distrubing." She grinned and stuck her tongue out at Kimberly. "I wouldn't have the right tools or environmental controls to do it well anyway, as most of my enhancements are internal. If I need work, I'll go to the team surgeons and let them do it. Several years ago I agreed to let ITG implant in me some of the newest cyberware that we were working on. I've been tinkering with my enhancements ever since. It was a risk, but one I've been willing to take. After all, I designed a good-sized portion of the new cyberware interfaces myself. That's why I did so well in the tournaments so far. The modifications I developed recently have made my reflexes much faster than normal, even for an enhanced person."   Misako looked around somewhat nervously. "Ah, but I drone on like an old woman. I have probably already said more than is wise, when out of my office and with someone I hardly know. My supervisors would be most displeased if they heard of this. You will be discreet about it, I trust? Lets talk about you, instead. Your pardon, but I've never heard 'Shishi' used as a family name before. That word means 'Lion'. Is it an adopted name? Your Japanese is so fluent you must surely have lived here most if not all of your life. But your beautiful hair, blue European eyes, and your skin tone speak of a recent Western heritage. Did your family come from the West? Have you ever traveled?"   Kimberly said "Shishi is my parents family name, Lyons, translated as close as they could to Japanese. My parents emigrated to Chiba from North America well before my sister or I were born. My registered name as a citizen is Kimberly Lyons, but in Japanese I'm Kimiko. I haven't traveled much, but I'd like to. Let's see. I've been to Mount Fuji once with my family, when I was really little, and I've gone on a few supervised shopping trips to the Ginza district with other women from my division. That's about it." Kimberly sighed and said "Aside from that, I guess I'm as much of an arcology rat as you are. But if I serve out the next two years of my apprenticeship and make the top 10 percent on the next series of exams, I might get posted to a field production crew, recording, editing and producing simstims and vidchips all over the world. That's what I really want," she said wistfully, "to be free to travel the world."   Misako's eyes lit up, and she said "Oh yes! That would be so much fun. Seeing the world, meeting new people, maybe even famous celebrities. I envy you, Kimiko-San. Your parents and your sister, they also work at Sony VidTech, -neh-?"   Kimberly's reply was interrupted by a sharp but not unpleasant beep that sounded from their key-cards, indicating that they had arrived at their quad. A short hallway with two doors on each side led to their bedroom. Kimberly noticed that there was a well-armed woman posted just a few meters further down the main hallway. The guard had shoulder length, platinum blonde hair, worn it a tight braid. Kimberly wondered if the guard was there because of Misako, or if she was just standard security. She hadn't been wearing any particular uniform, but from her weapons and no-nonsense stance, she was clearly on duty. They went into their room. Inside, two computer workstations flanked the door, then two small beds with drawers underneath, then two closets flanked another door that must lead to the common area for their quad. Kimberly tossed her duffel on the bed and extracted a small, black polycarbon 'keepsakes' box from the bag. The box was not large. Just 20 by 25 by 3 centimeters or so thick. She looked at it a moment quietly, then sat down on her bed facing Misako and replied to her question.   "Well, no. Not all of them at least. My parents work for the corp. They're both production engineers in the Chiba factory. They've been with Sony-VidTech almost long enough now to retire. They wanted my sister to work for the corp too. They even got her an apprenticeship in the factory as an engineer trainee. But Valarie didn't want that. She wanted to be a simstim star. We both did But she was really good at acting. She showed real promise in the school plays that she was in. Mom and Dad never understood that Valarie might want her -own- life. She ran away from home about 16 years ago, when she was 18, and my parents never forgave her. They were appalled that she wouldn't jump at becoming a clone of themselves. She became 'an embarrassment' to themselves and to the Corp, and they disowned her. Just like that. I was furious at them, but I was only six at the time. There was nothing I could do." Kimberly's voice was well controlled, but there was fire in her eyes. She clearly was still quite angry about the incident.   "It sounds like you liked her a lot. Most sisters aren't that close, when there's so many years between them. What happened?" Misako looked genuinely concerned.   "Valarie was really special. She took care of me when I was little. Mom and Dad were always having to work late. I didn't even know, until much later when I joined the corp myself, that the second corporate wars had been going on at that time. I guess my parents may have been heavily involved. I don't know. All I remember is that they were never there for me when I needed them, and Valarie always was. Here, let me show you something". Kimberly put the keepsakes box on her lap. "Valarie gave me this for my sixth birthday, just a few months before she left."   She placed her right thumb on a depression in one corner of the lid. The scanner read her thumbprint and the latch opened with a soft 'click'. Inside was an old Simsense deck and a number of vidchips. "The deck and the three oldest vidchips were part of the gift. The rest came later." She selected a vidchip and slotted it in the main computer console on her side of the room. "Lets see, Val would have been 15 when she recorded this, and I would have been not quite four. This is pretty typical. My parents were always trying to out-do their Japanese co-workers. Even after over 20 years in Japan with the same corp, they were still trying to impress their Japanese superiors. They insisted that both of us girls learn Japanese -and- English. We were even given Japanese names. Mine, Kimiko, means 'Beautiful Girl'. It was at least sorta close to my registered name. Valarie's was Sakuko, meaning 'Cherry Blossom Girl'." She made a disgusted face. " We never liked the name Sakuko, and couldn't understand why they wanted to call Valarie that. I guess they were just trying hard to be very Japanese." Kimberly reached out and started the program and she and Misako watched quietly as the scene from her childhood unfolded.   The scene opened with a simple text screen that labeled the chip.   **[August 4, 2052 - Chiba city, SVT Arcology ]** **[Sunday picnic at rooftop gardens ]**   The view on the screen was somewhat awkward. The compensating electronics in the camera had ensured that the image was steady and well focused. But it was still tilted at a slight angle and poorly centered. Typical of a kids' attempt at recording.   Young Kimberly was sitting in a swing. Her parents were both seated at a nearby picnic table, both jacked-in and working on Cyberdecks. Kimberly looked at her mother, and called out in English "Mama push?"   "Can you say that in Japanese -Kimiko-chan-?" called her mother.   Kimberly ventured -Oka-chan wa...osu ka-?   "Very good dear. -Sakuko-chan-, put down that recorder and play with your sister." Kimberly's mother hadn't even looked up from her 'deck.   The scene tilted worse, as Valarie apparently wedged the recorder in the limbs of a tree. An attractive young girl with blue eyes and straight blonde hair entered the scene from near the recorder and went to play with Kim. The two girls obviously were having fun together, but neither of them could get their parents to set aside their work to play with them. They tried several more times, and gave up.   Kimberly stopped the vidchip and ejected it. "I have a couple more just like it. Valarie showing up for parents day at my kindergarten, 'cause my parents couldn't be there. A birthday party where Mom was three hours late, and Dad never even showed. Valarie was closer to me than anyone else in the whole wide world." Kimberly was close to tears. She sniffled a bit and rummaged in her bag for a handkerchief.   Misako got up and sat beside her. "Did you ever find out what happened to her?   Kimberly dried her eyes and blew her nose. When she recovered her composure, she continued. "Well, as far as Mom and Dad were concerned, Valarie was dead. They even filed a death certificate. With corp approval, I'd bet. They tried to intercept all my mail after that, to cut me off from her. But Valarie managed to stay in touch with me anyway. Mom and Dad would have had a fit if they knew about it."   Kimberly gave Misako a half-hearted smile. "Valarie sent me letters on vidchip. At first she sent them to a girlfriend of hers, who sneaked them to me at my school. Valarie's boyfriend knew some people with connections in the Seattle viddie market, and that got her started. She changed her name to Cheri Howe, and made a new life for herself there. Once she got settled, she set up a secret trust fund for me. She also set up a life insurance policy with me as the sole beneficiary. The money for my trust fund and the vidchip letters she sent to me after that went through a series of indirect deposits, sealed courier drops or blind accounts, 'to protect her investments' and to maintain our privacy. As far as anyone who knew her as Cherri Howe was concerned, she was an orphan and an only child, who was wisely investing her earnings."   "She got some good vidchip roles, then some simstim bit parts, and eventually got a set of eyes like yours, so she could take leading roles in simstims. She told me that there was something she could do to make her eye color anything she wanted, and that she could even make them look like real eyes." She looked at Misako guiltily. "Uh, but I guess you already knew about that, huh?"   So she did get to become an actress?" asked Misako. "How wonderful! As I said, I'm not sensitive about my eyes. Yes, good cyber-eyes can change color." Misako blinked her eyes, and they changed from metallic golden irises to a natural looking blue, which looked rather out of place in her ethnic Japanese face. She blinked again and they were a very natural dark brown. Then with another blink, they changed back to gold. "See? She must have had a very good contract or a very rich patron, to afford them back then though. But do go on, what happened next."   "Well, later she used her training as an actress to assume the identity of a 'long lost aunt' that mother had lost track of. One of mother's second or third cousins or something. She had my parents so well fooled that they kept inviting her to visit Chiba. She always politely declined, claiming her ill health wouldn't permit it. Her first couple of vidphone calls even had me fooled, until one of her smuggled vidchip letters let me in on the secret. In those calls, she looked like she was older than mom, and her eyes were brown."   "Eventually she told them she had never had any children of her own, and that she had taken a liking to me. That allowed her to send me money and other gifts, without having to hide them from our parents. She told them she had set up a trust fund for me and named me as her heir in her will, so I could eventually get to those funds without them being suspicious. At age eight, I was already being groomed for a corp job as an Artificial Intelligence programmer. To get into the AI field, you had to start early. Of course, I wanted to be a simstim starlet like Cherri. But I didn't realize at the time that a getting a leading role in a simstim would mean giving up my own eyes for ones like yours. No offense, but I couldn't bear to do that. I was really upset when I learned that Cherri had done so. She had such pretty eyes. Anyway, she convinced me that the real money in simstim was in being a tech/producer, using custom AI software to enhance and edit the raw simstim cuts, and you couldn't do that without damned good skills as a Decker. So in both her private letters to me and her public vidphone calls as my Aunt, she encouraged me to really do well in school and to accept a corp job. So I threw myself into my classes with a will, and soon rose to the top 10% of my class. And now I'm serving my apprenticeship in that field, and doing pretty well."   "Sounds like she did quite well for herself, and quite well by you also. What is she doing now? Was she a big success? What kind of shows is she doing? I don't watch many vids or stims, but maybe I've seen her."   "Oh, I doubt you ever heard of her shows. Her vidchips and simstims never got very wide distribution here in Japan. The only one I recall making it to a theater in Chiba was 'The Lonely Streets'. She played a tough lady private eye in that one. I liked it, but the critics panned it. They called it a grade B production, and said it was corny and unoriginal. Audiences stayed away in droves, and it only stayed in the theater one week. It had been her first leading role in a simstim though, and it looked like her career was really taking off. But even in North America, her films were only popular for a short time. I have a complete set of those vidchips and simstims, which she sent to me."   "Then thirteen years ago it all fell apart. My sister ran into the less beautiful side of a simstim career. Before that, Cherri had always worked the 'dry dreams' market, strictly non-pornographic material. But then the bastard that was her agent somehow talked Cherri into crossing over into 'wet-dreams'. Cherri wouldn't send me any of those stims, since I was only nine. She started writing far less often too, but she told me a little bit about it. The first few roles Cherri had in porn-stim apparently weren't all that bad, and the money was better. She was able to increase the deposits she was making to my trust fund. I finally got my hands on one of Cherri's porn-stims three years ago, after I turned 18. I wasn't shocked. I mean, it was no worse than some of the sex-parties the other kids in the arcology and I used to go to once we hit our mid-teens. But I still can't understand how Cherri had ever been convinced that doing porno would help her simstim career."   "She ... she died about ten years ago, on February 16th, 2059. There was no investigation. A year after Cherri went into wet dreams, a few of the local shock-news programs made a poorly substantiated claim that Cherri Howe had been raped to death, but dropped the story for juicier news after a few hours. Eventually I was notified that my 'Aunt' had died. There were no details, just a death certificate stating something vague about a 'work-related injury' and a half million nuYen settlement from her life insurance, which went straight into my trust fund. I think the reporters on that viddie program just might have been right. I don't believe for a minute that my sister's death was an accident. But at the time, I couldn't prove anything. I was only ten years old, and no one would listen to me. I felt very alone for a long time."   Both women were silent for a while, then Misako spoke up again. "I, I don't know what to say. 'I'm sorry' seems so inadequate." She hugged Kimberly gently. As she did so, she spoke into Kimberly's ear in a barely audible whisper. "The room is almost certainly bugged. Don't speak. Just hug me closer if the answer is yes. If you could do something, even now, about your sister's death, even if it meant breaking your contract and leaving the corp, would you do it?"   Kimberly hugged Misako tightly to her, then let go. "Thank you Misako-San. I appreciate your concern and comfort. It just gets to me occasionally when I talk about it, y'know? I'll be all right now. Really. It's been a long time, after all."   Misako stood up "Yes. We must put past pain behind us and go on with our lives. We have our jobs to do, and our careers to consider. We can't dwell on the past if we are to give our all to our employer, as we should." Misako looked at her watch. "We have an hour before dinner. I want to go to the gym and work out with the other enhanced competitors. I'll see you at dinner?"   "Oh yes. I think I'll take a short nap first. I was up late last night, getting my work done in advance to make the time to attend. I can use the rest. See you later." Kimberly moved her duffel to one side, latched her keepsakes box, and laid down.   Misako left the quad and hurried to the gym. The woman guarding their room followed her, even to the point of going through the women's locker room while Misako changed her clothes. No doubt about it, thought Misako, this one's been assigned to me.   In the gym, there were ten or fifteen martial artists from several corps working out and sparring with each other. Guards were positioned around the perimeter of the room, and hers took up a similar position, watching her closely.   Misako went over to the enhanced arena, where a bearded Caucasian man with a short braided queue was taking on all comers in a 'friendly' game of 'king of the mat'. His uniform indicated that he was on the VT Research corporate team. The competition was freestyle, and the competitors offered a variety of enhancements, each giving them a different edge. Some, like the bearded man, were blazingly fast, almost as fast as Misako herself. Others were stronger than average. A few had built-in weaponry, such as retractable blades concealed in their arms. Each challenger had to declare in advance what weapons, if any, they would use. The defender would then select an appropriate defensive weapon if his opponent was armed. Each match was usually one-on-one, but occasionally teams of two or three challengers would be accepted.   One of the most unusual enhanced competitors was in the arena now. The challenger was a man from a security firm, whose hand incorporated a type of capture net. He pointed his arm at the bearded man, and the tips of his fingers shot forward several feet, trailing wires, which entangled his opponent's tri-staff. But the man countered by pulling the staff towards himself hard, throwing his opponent off balance, and then executing a forward diving roll, coming out of the roll with an upward thrusting punch to the other man's solar plexus. The man with the trick hand dropped like he was poleaxed.   The next challenge was from a three person team from VidComm Pacific, no weapons. They tried surrounding him, and he allowed them to do so. But when they attacked, he always seemed to be able to dodge at just the right moment, or was somehow able to execute a blind punch or kick to effectively strike an attacker that was sneaking up on him. He still won handily.   Misako was up next. She introduced herself and her challenge. "Moritani Misako, Sony-VidTech. No weapons, grappling techniques only. Winner is best of three falls, pinning opponent to the mat for at least four seconds per pin."   "So ka?" he replied. "Karl Schwartz, Virtually There Research labs. You will be my last challenger, either way. It's almost dinner time. A moment please. I won't need my observer remotes for this, though they are handy when taking on multiple opponents." He glanced at the corners of the combat arena, and the 10cm diameter black ball on top of each post raised up on spidery legs and climbed down each pole, to scuttle around the ring and climb into what was apparently his satchel, over by the benches for the competitors. There was some grumbling from the three person team he had just defeated. He laughed at them. "Visual remotes aren't cheating. They never touched you, and they have no weapons. It's in my competitors data as a registered enhancement. It's not -my- fault you didn't read the data sheet before making your challenge." The three person team left, while some of the other competitors joked about them being 'beaten by spiders'.   Misako laughed. "No wonder you always knew where your opponents were. With that many eyes, perhaps I should call you Argus."   Karl nodded and looked serious "Indeed. Perhaps you should. Shall we?" He took a stance and their bout began. He won, but Misako lasted all three rounds, getting him pinned neatly in the second round. During each pin, they whispered quietly and quickly to each other.   When they left the ring, Kimberly was waiting by the door to the locker rooms. "Wow, you really -are- fast. Hey, who was that cute guy you were wrestling with, huh? I wouldn't mind wrestling a bit with him myself." She grinned and watched as he walked into the men's showers.   Misako looked as if she was ready to say something, but then her expression changed and she dropped her eyes. "Oh, he's just another competitor. I can't recall his name. You won't be facing him this weekend, anyway. He's enhanced, like myself. Come on, we'll be late for dinner. Meet me in the main hallway." Misako almost ran into the showers, and Kimberly went around to wait. A moment later, Misako's guard followed Misako like a faithful puppy dog.   The rest of the day was uneventful, and they both called it a day early.   The first full day of the competition went well. Kimberly was still in the running, though she had lost one match fairly late in the day. When she wasn't competing, she watched Misako's rounds or tried to see the cute guy with the beard. Misako was going undefeated, but the bearded man was nowhere to be seen. She asked about him on one of the afternoon breaks. "Hey, what happened to your wrestling partner, eh? He get disqualified or something?"   Misako shook her head. "I know nothing about him. Look, forget about him, OK? There's plenty of other cute guys here, and most of them are closer to your age. Hey, how about that blond guy over there on the VidComm Pacific team? Now he's a real catch, neh?"   "Oh, I don't really care that much Misako-San. I was just trying to tease you. Besides, I don't like blond men. The one's I've met are all too self-centered. Hey, speaking of blondes, what happened to your watchdog? She give it up finally?"   "Oh she's around. But at least she's not following me into the bathrooms any more. One of the other women made a crack about her being a lesbian fan who had the hots for me. Ms watchdog blushed beautifully and went back outside. She's still keeping an eye on me though. Look over in the stands. There, to the right of post AA32. See that glint of light? That's her there, watching me with binoculars." Misako waved in that direction and smiled. "They hate it when I do that." she said with a grin.   Kimberly peered up at the stands. "You can see her well enough from here to tell who she is? I can just barely make out the big letters on the post you pointed to. That's at least 400 yards away! I can't believe those eyes of yours. I'm done for the day, how 'bout you?"   Misako shook her head. "I still have two more matches scheduled, and then I want to do some research. I'll probably be pretty late tonight. You go on ahead to dinner without me, and I'll see you tonight."   Misako watched Kimberly go, and said quietly to herself. "Good-bye friend Kimiko. I wish I'd had more time to get to know you."   After Misako finished her last match for the day, she collected a pair of towels from a nondescript old man by the contestants bench. There was a smallish, warm lump wrapped in the second one. It moved slightly. She thanked him quietly, without commenting on the squirming object in the rolled up towel, and tucked it under her arm with exaggerated care as she walked toward the showers. -------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- Text, all characters (especially Argus and Shadowcat), and the Virtually There chain of simstim/VR clubs, all Copyright August 1993 by Jay B. Brandt, all rights reserved. Please use them only with my permission.   Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are requested. Please send them to me via e-mail at <> --------------------------------------------------------------   Jason Magnus

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