12 Slugs

Spin balance cover picture



 Randall arrives at Susan’s

and gives her a long embrace


 I love you



 Out with-it paperboy

What did you do wrong?






 What are you feeding me tonight?




To make up for everything





 What are slugs?

I hate slugs!



 They’re not bad with salt

Have you ever had them?





 You’re not feeding me slugs!



 How do you know

You don't like them

If you’ve never tried them?



 I don’t need to know

I don’t want to know


 What I want to know

Is where did you go?

And what did you do?


 Out with it!



 (Randall gestures shh silently

with his finger

shows her the airline tickets)


 Just out of town overnight

Research for work


 I had help

Someone from the funeral



 The veil?



 She told me to tell you

About the trip


 And that your life was in danger



 My life is in danger?


 We’ll see about that



 She lost Warbel and Phepps

And nothing could stop it


 She said I couldn’t protect you

And I needed to tell you



 Who’s Phepps?



 Her friend


 There’s another thing


 She might be them

I don’t know for sure



 You think she’s them?


 And you went with her?



 I didn’t think so at the time


 She knew Warbel



 You’re quite the cheery guy


 And for this

You’re feeding me slugs?


 Hmmm, I see


 I don’t want slugs Randall

I want steak


 Expensive steak



 Steak works for me



 And I need to talk to the veil






 I Can’t?



 We can’t call

Unless it’s an emergency



 Oh it’s an emergency paperboy

You can bet on that



 Ok then

You can talk to the veil!


 But you need to use this phone



 That’s a very good answer

And I want a very good dinner



 Of course



 Not slugs!



 Not slugs


 You can call on the way


 She said to call her L



 Seems you’ve gotten cozy

Haven’t you?


 Special phone to talk?

 Is it a direct line to Russia?







Hello is this L?


 This is Susan



 Susan yes

I expected your call


 You’ve got a good man there

A bit annoying sad to say

He never shuts up about you


 He told you I was helping him?



 Yes, he said I was in danger?



 You are


 Please allow me to clarify


 We’re all in danger

Me for trying to help

You for loving him


 And everyone else

Because they're in the wrong place

At the wrong time



 Who’s doing this?



 Knowing that

Isn’t part of the rules


 Look Susan

Your guy is safe with me


 I’m not interested in him

And he’s completely into you


 You’re both lucky


 I’m helping him

(she pauses to collect)

Because I’ve lost my people


 This fight comes to you

You don’t have to look for it


 I’m sorry for saying this

But it’s not good



 Thank you L



 Take care of yourself Susan


 Be careful

I mean that






She’s not ‘them’


 You rat!


 She’s completely charming and nice


 I feel drawn to her myself

And I don’t even want to be


 Don’t tell me you weren’t Randall!



 I’m drawn to you Susan


 All that charm?


 Yes she seems perfect

Too perfect


 And that’s how she would seem

If she were them



 She’s helping you!



 Maybe, maybe not

I don’t know



 Shut up!

She’s not them



 That’s how they do

You know?


 But it’s not you it’s them



 You need help Randall

Serious help


 She’s not them!



 How did I get on the wrong side

Of this argument?




Now we're arguing over her?



 No dear



 That’s right paperboy

Good answer


 Now let’s go

She’s not them



 (Randall was relieved

the conversation had gone well

in spite of his apprehension


 How did that happen?)




Well that’s just rude!


 MIT/Massachusetts Institute

of Technology

Tech Development department

(Daniel’s lab)




 Did you locate your other drive?



 Two drives as requested Danny

Still have an open bay?



 Of course

Let’s get you in and taken care of


 Drive number one and now two

And here we go, buckle up

For drive number three


 It takes a little while


 Like some coffee?






 Once your drives are complete

I can copy them to a static drive

Or burn them to compact disk for you


 That way you’ll have a working disk



 Thanks Danny




It sounds like your drives are done



 Thanks Mark


 Wow that was faster than expected


 Shall we see what we’ve got L?

Or will you have to kill me after?



 Sure D



 And that was an answer

To which question?



 Let’s see




Well that’s just rude!




Uh-oh's not good Danny


 What’s rude?

What’s uh-oh?



 We got nothing Lydia

The drive ate itself



 Ate itself?



 Hold on


 Yup, it’s gone


 After the first fifteen sectors

We’ve got nothing


 Drive one is still in tack, it’s good

Drive three ends at sector fifteen


 And drive two

Mirrors drive one from fifteen on


 Matching drives produce zeroes

It sucks L



 English Daniel?



 We’ve been bombed


 Hit by a Worm or Trojan?



 English, please?



 I need to trap the first fifteen sectors

And scan them for a virus



One of the drives was defective

Or wrong to begin with


 Ok here’s what happened L


 Sectors are hard drive sections

Data groupings


 It’s like a stack of pancakes


 The stack is partitioned, bordered

By concentric rings called cylinders

And sections which are like pie slices


 The first fifteen sectors

Of drives one and two were read

To create drive three


 That worked ok at first


 And then something changed

That caused drives one and three

To write drive two


 And three was blank


 So drive two was re-written

As a copy of drive one


 The question remains

Whether It was inadvertent?

Or nefarious?


 Was drive two bad to begin with?


 Was it a coding error?


 Or just maybe someone

Didn’t want the data to be recovered


 Either way it’s my fault Lydia

I should have imaged the drives first


 It would have taken longer

But we’d have more answers



 It’s not your fault D

You hurried for me


 Who’d have thought

We had to make copies?


 We don’t even know

What’s on the stupid drives


 It just happened



 I don’t know what happened L


 But I’ll find out if I can

It’ll take some time though


 I’ll Image the first drive

Scrub the data on it


 If there’s an answer we’ll find it



We’re dead in the water

Without the second drive



 What about the third drive D?


 You said there were three



 Do you have it?

Or know where it is?





 But I have an idea where to look



 That drive puts us back in the game



 Good Danny


 You try to find out what happened

And I’ll try to find the other drive



 That works L

Check back in a few days?




Atmospheric, Oceanic

And Planetary Physics


 Oxford University - Science Area

International phone call


 Physics lab, Collin



 Collin it’s Lydia



 L my God!


 How are you?



 I heard about Allen

I’m sorry Collin


 I should have called sooner



 We read the news L

You just lost Jonathan

Terrible thing


 No one expected you to call



 Collin I need your help


 Before Jonathan went away

He was working on something


 He asked Allen and I to help


 We split up the data


 Allen took some

And now he’s gone


 I’m afraid Collin

And I don’t know where he left it


 Did he share anything with you

Before he died?


 Did he act in a peculiar way

Or say anything about me?



 Sorry L


 Police said

It was a mugging gone wrong

With a gun like it's New York



 Never made it to his car

I read


 Died in the rain poor chap


 He was classic Allen on the day

Nerdy old-fashioned Allen


 Pounding away at his diary

On that outdated monstrosity

He called a computer


 Allen said it was tragic

The loss of Jonathan that way


 Of course he was concerned for you

We all were


 We all are


 But we thought

Give it some time

And you’d come ‘round


 And here you are


 So what is it L?




 What’s left of his things?


 Files and computer equipment

Are they gone?



 Protocol L

It all gets imaged and scrubbed


 But the truth is

It’s all still in his office


 Out of respect I imagine


 But more than that

It’s so old

No one wanted any of it


 So we planned to trap the files

And scrap the lot






 Soon I imagine


 No one’s got an agenda just yet

Rather ghoulish to consider


 His secure work is still in the lab


 Don’t suppose your data

Could be there?



 I don’t know Collin, maybe


 I need to have a look

And a go through his office things


 Would that be ok?



 Sure L

You’ve got the clearance


 Given events

We can assume the need


 How soon can you arrive?



 Bless you Collin and thank you!


 Monday morning?


 I’ll have a friend with me


 Given all that’s happened

I don’t like to travel alone



 That’s fine L


 But you know the rules

Your friend

Won’t be allowed in the lab



 Understood Collin

I'll have you there


 And besides

When we go to the lab

He can stay in Allen’s office


 He'll be fine



 Right then Monday it is


 It’s good to hear your voice L

It’ll be lovely to see you