Le blog d'Archiloque

Impressions of Detail 2

On Cohost Impressions of Detail posts a daily prompt.

The first batch is here.

But when you do that one particular thing, your reflection in the mirror breaks up into fuzz and jagged shapes, only swimming back to coherency when you stop.

– What is this? I thought this bug was linked to the technology used in the previous version, it should not happen with the new serie.
– You’re right in theory, but some vocals users are really attached to the bug, so we had to painstakingly emulate it in the new version, it’s enabled by default to please them, but you can disable it from the advanced settings screen.

The murder weapon was a coffee-table art book title The End, consisting of glossy photographs of staged bloodstains.

– Lemme look in the book, I’m sure we’ll find this particular pattern somewhere!
– … No, wait
– It could even be on the last page, with only blank pages after it!
– Stop right now with your Mulder bullshit and read the report!
– I’m reading!
– And you don’t notice anything?
– Ehmmm, the victim has been bashed to death with the book and died of internal trauma, no visible blood.

– So now that we are finally here I want to know: why the teeth?
– It’s because of an ancient tradition related to…
– I’ve read the changelog for the court application, the teeth are only here since the v3.0 released ten years ago, I didn’t see a single tooth in the V2 screenshots.
– It’s because of a clerical error, the company in charge of developing the v3.0 bought a very expensive teeth asset package, and making everything teeth-related was the best way we found to justify the spending to the auditors.

Twelve newly-unearthed megaliths of local stone, buried since antiquity, describing the perimeter of a perfect square.

At least most of the work were done by drones, so it wasn’t so unpleasant if you could handle the dust. But you still wonder who is paying to restore these ancients macro LCD screens: what kind of message would you want to show on a monitor with 100 meters wide pixels.

The things that fire takes, and the things it capriciously leaves behind.

A way was needed to cleanse the tar pit of cursed things people continually see on the internet.

The repeated bad takes slowly decayed in the human psyche, poisoning the well that irrigates the next generation of ideas.

Scholars started to notice all the odd metaphors creeping in the discourses' water pipes.

Fire was the answer: its elemental nature was very potent against the brittle memes. For months, the web smelt like cold smoke.

Then, new things started to grow from under the ashes, things that the fire forgot, or didn’t dare to touch.

A single tree, growing where it should not, its shade welcome but its fruits unfamiliar.

Near the final boss spawning point, and just after the place where the game end credits roll, a tree is growing.

Adventurers often take a break leaning against its trunk, and take the opportunity to empty all the potions and drop all the scrolls that they hoarded during their play.

This unusual fertilizer has strange effects on the tree.

The branches look normal, and there are no voices to be heard in the sounds of the wind in its leaves, it’s not that kind of tree.

But the fruits, the fruits are strange. They have several colors, shapes and textures.

Some of them have potent magic properties, often several of them.

But nobody could figure out how to deduce the properties from a fruit’s features, so if you brew a potion with them, it’s impossible to know what it does without drinking it.

A really strong unpredictable magic source, tempting but useless for most people.

Tricksters, on the other hand, tricksters love it.

The mystifying part of the magic trick was not the one where the man vanished from inside the box, but the later part where it reopened with three of him inside.

When the show is over, you politely ask the magician to make the two new ones disappear. They answer it was not possible: the machine can only be used to clone, not to unclone.

Fuck, what will you do with three husbands?

Then you turn back to the magician and ask them to clone yourself, it wouldn’t really fix the problem but on the other hand thinking about all the possible mischiefs makes you grin.

An exquisite clockwork bird, singing its piping song every day; but who’s been winding it, all these years?

The clockwork bird was a part of the cognitohazard early warning system: the monitoring team was in charge of its maintenance and improvement.

Once the General Cooperation Agreement was signed and all this mess stopped, some of the facilities were preserved to be used to teach history and as a tourism attraction.

Engineering and history undergrads were tasked with the upkeep.

Since the sublimation, this place is under the control of the Dolls Covent, we trust them to care for it until it stops making sense.

A dense, crawling spiral of handwritten text swirls inward across the floor, like the black, thirsty hole of a drain that sucked down the scribbler’s mind.

Another C-suite messed with the enterprise wiki because of quarterly delusion of grandeur, and here you are: spelunking the virtual recycle bin for some financial data for the compliance department.

The search engine was broken again, so the only solution was to skim the content yourself.

“Making the wiki interface looking personal is good for engagement and makes people more eager to write and update content.”

How a House of Leaves visual theme was good for engagement, who even decided to create it?

A machine of no clear purpose but sinister mien, thundering endlessly behind a clean façade.

– What does this machine do?
– As they say “the purpose of a system is what it does”.
– But what…
– “The system itself does not do what it says it is doing.”
– Why don’t you…
– “The total behavior of large systems cannot be predicted.”
– Are you just…
– “In complex systems, malfunction and even total nonfunction may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.”
– So it’s broken, and you don’t know what it’s supposed to do?
– Correct

A startling, running figure, shedding flowers as they hurtle through a library from which noise and rush have been successfully banished for generations.

The developer remembered that one of their long neglected pet projects contained some code they could use for their new darling, if they could find them.

Browsing their old projects set the developer in a strange mood: all these energy sparkles that turned to nothing.

They could burn the thing down and be done with it, but keeping them in storage gave the developer a specific kind of closure.

Everything that will be necessary, neatly packed: rope, ink, matches.

Since the last great war between departments, heists were the only way to change a user’s personal information: you had to break into the vault, find their record, and carefully edit it.

An operation is planned for the next yearly OKR review, if they can convince the purchasing division to sign off for a barrel of gunpowder.

A cult, diminished; one last fervent believer, praying to the dark.

An ex-member, who moved to another clan a few years ago, slowly approached and sat near the fireplace.

– I wondered what happened to you, you’re still welcome if you want to join.
– No thanks, I still hope that things could change, they could decide to do the right thing.
– I’m impressed by your determination, it has always been your forte, but it has been so long.
– If I leave, nobody will dare ask for accessibility. I’m here for them.

At random, the stone pillars emit a noise horrifyingly like a human scream.

Like cats only meowing to human because they discovered it’s the best way to communicate with us, stone pillars…

Knives. Herbs. Careful step-by-step preparation. Chef or assassin; it’s really only feasible to be one at a time.

On the other hand, the chef to assassin vocational retraining program recently created by the assassin guild is a resounding success, or at least if you frequent the right kind of people.

Among chefs lots of people are hard-working and detail-oriented, but hate the flashy part of the job: more and more elaborate new recipes, focus on foreign gear and on the right way to cut an onion.

And they won’t complain about the late work hours.

Meanwhile, being an assassin is a much more down to earth occupation: nobody will mock you because of the knife you use, well because they risk being stabbed, but also because the only valid criteria for the trade is if the contract is fulfilled and if you didn’t to a mess.

Clothing in symbolic colours, defiantly chosen.

– A bright red outfit is an unexpected choice.
– Thank you.
– And this text printed on the shirt “Not Only Will This Kill You, It Will Hurt The Whole Time Your’re Dying”, I’ve never see one like this.
– It’s custom-made, you can order them from the internet.
– Are you sure it’s appropriate?
– I’m following the old adage: “The best defense is a good offense”.
– Are you sure it will work in this case?
– I’m the one defending my psychology PhD, trust me on this.

A sample of children’s drawings — family, house, dog — each also depicting… The Creature.

In the small town’s human ecology the Creature more or less replaces the spot taken by house cats elsewhere.

They are fluffy, and love to hunt rodents and insects.

It is unclear if the creature is single or plural: several instances of them have been noticed at the same time, but their number varies, and they seem to share their knowledge.

Some households still have cats and the cats don’t seem to care: there is no direct competition between the two. It’s just that most families are not interested in housing cats since the creature is already here.

They don’t seem to multiply or to expand beyond the town’s population center.

People joke about the creature being an ancient evil hiding in plain sight in a remote location, but the evilness has never been observed, or at least nothing different from a standard cat, and the city is not really isolated but just a lazy suburb.

Necromancy worked in strange new ways on things that were never literally alive.

– Why did you want to use a necromancy ritual on “the Felidae family”?
– I’m on a “two-subject degree program” and my topics are taxonomy and necromancy, so I’m looking for interesting ways to combine the two for my degree.
– I know two-subject programs and interdisciplinarity are all the rage, but I didn’t know they are a license that allows you to break basic best practices.
– I know it’s not recommended, but when I tried to ask my point of contact they answered that they were too busy, or would only help if some grant money were available. I was so frustrated and wanted some practical experience. By the way do you know nobody ever tried to go necro-taxo before?
– And maybe there is a reason for it, you seem to have followed the rules concerning the unproved tests, we’ll try with the default banishing process, maybe it will work.
– Do you really need to do this, couldn’t I keep it? It seems so fluffy 🥺.
– I guess you’ll need to make some mistakes to actually learn, well I’ll need a waiver from your advisor, wait no: from both of your advisors, and a budget code for the weekly inspections.
– Thank you so much, I’ll try to convince them, maybe bringing Mittens with me would help.
– Unless Mittens decide to devour their soul?
– Unless Mittens decide to devour their soul.

The Small Green God has nine precepts for its followers, but the one that attracts most outside attention is “Never Talk To Cops”.

People love drama, and the splits and merges of the various groups of followers of the SGG is an endless source of it.

If you follow a god that has precepts, and you want them to be applied by other followers, does it make you a cop? So what happens when one of those precepts is to never talk to a cop?

Some of the groups created elaborate rituals to isolate or to cleanse the precepts enforcers so they are free from any copitude, with masks, hoods, or oily anointments.

Others invented what is now called the neomodern approach: double bind is the best to trauma and/or enlightenment, commonly shortened to TA/OE.

They claim that the more contradicting rules you follow, the more chances you have to reach enlightenment (and/or accumulate trauma).

Most of them are, of course, working in software development.

An enormous snake, stiffly winding a long-accustomed route; scales of laquered brass, stained-glass eyes, and some kind of motive fire, burning within.

With each mobile operating system generation, the process to submit applications to the vendors' stores has become more and more … we’ll say elaborate.

The mechanical giant snake was impressive at first: you have to summon it by slowly reciting the release notes, and then it embarks on its mysterious journey, unless of course it becomes stuck in the desert zone because of a certificate problem.

Rebooting the release snake is kind of unpleasant, unless you are into ovoviviparity, but even if you are, wearing the protective gear and having to follow the cleaning process was tedious, once the novelty has worn off.

The worst part of it is that nobody could be sure that the next version would not be worse.