[An excerpt from the personal journal of Vivian Lau]

January 17, 2039

Lately I've really been feeling like I'm never gonna learn to control of my powers as well as I want to. Even so, I spent a few hours today working on my fine control by sketching with my powers again, and I did manage to do a little bit better than the last several times.

I'm still having trouble picking up the charcoal stick without also lifting up the whole table it's on, but at least once I have it I can usually get the stick against the paper and move it without snagging the whole pad into the PK field as well. Of course, with no tactile feedback, I'm also having trouble telling how much pressure I'm using, and I still have no delicacy to my motions at all. When I try to gently move the stick to one side, it usually just sits there or maybe jerks around a bit. Then if I try a little harder, it'll suddenly it shoot wildly across the pad, leaving a big streak or ripping through the paper. Or I'll make my PK field too strong and just crush the charcoal stick to powder. GAH! It's so fregging frustrating!

But at least today I finally—FINALLY!!!—managed to produce something that looked like more than just a wild, random scribble. Not a whole lot more, mind you, but right now I'm willing to take whatever I can get. The picture in my mind was "Bald Eagle with Fish", but what I got on paper was more like "Spastic Vulture with Diarrhea". Oh well, I guess that's still better "Scribble #19". I guess.


The Sun sets over Hong Kong, turning the sky pollution red and bathing the city in a ruddy glow. In the streets, the city's inhabitants hurry about their business, late dayshifters returning home as the early nightshifters came out to play, most unaware of the way the light makes the buildings seem drenched in blood. In his converted building Isaac was similarly oblivious. Immersed in information the mundane world outside seemed a thousand miles away.

He had been diving data feeds for much of the evening, searching for the means to implement the plan that even now continued to grow and evolve in his mind. The 'advertisement' he was currently viewing was for an intelligence operative, a Korey Winters. Background searches had produced an implausibly normal seeming personal history, until a fairly abrupt change of direction had her working for some spy organisation. While the history was certainly faked, what really drew his attention was that, no matter how deep he dug, he could find out nothing further. Had he been capable of such a thing, Isaac would have grinned. Anyone good enough to cover their tracks this well would be very, useful, and as to her mission history, well that record spoke for itself.

Abruptly he prepared a message, giving the targets he wished to gain information on, an idea of future employment along similar lines, and a not insubstantial offer of payment. After a moments thought he created an account that would allow her to contact him, and sent off the message using a router that would make any attempt to trace him tedious, and ultimately futile. Leaning back in the chair, he scanned the other programs he had running, and decided to take a break; none would be finished for a good quarter of an hour.

Unplugging his jacks he became aware once more of the soft sound of sobbing coming from the bed, where the prostitute he had picked up earlier was still curled in a foetal ball. For a moment Izzaak formed its face into a compassionate grimace before Isaac's expression hardened once more. He slid from his chair and stalked towards her, he had needed something to distract him for a while anyway.

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