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 A Gift Horse [Isaac]

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Ira Brideston

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Join date : 2011-06-13

PostSubject: A Gift Horse [Isaac]   Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:43 pm



Ira Brideston shifted his weight hastily from one foot to the next. Impatiently, he watched a wall-mounted hand scanner go through the motions of mapping the lines on his palm. Needs optimising. Like a fortune teller of old, observing the palm of a wayward and weary traveller, the LCD display considered and cross-referenced at a pace that was agonising to the young man in more than one way. His left hand was clamped to the side of his jaw, and once again, his weight shifted from foot to foot in much the same way as a small child waiting for a bathroom to become vacant. Patience was not Ira's strong suit, and contraptions that made him wait, when he wanted to be off doing something else, usually wound up disassembled some hours later, then put back together in the early hours of the morning. Invariably, afterwards, they ran faster, more efficiently, and were completely forgotten five minutes later.

He was stood outside of the office of his older brother, Isaac Brideston, and as usual, his emotional state was written unmistakably on his face. This time it appeared to be unhappiness with a delicate side of pain. The hand scanner trundled along, seeming to take an eternity to process the command and the recorded map of his right hand. Ira jumped up and down once or twice on the spot and then lunged for the door handle the moment the light went green.
"Isaaaaaaaac." The budding mad scientist's tone was bordering childish, ineffably whiny. "Uh hurtmuh toof!" The unhappy words were muffled and mumbled by the lack of movement of his mouth, and the hand still clamped to the side of his jaw. The look on his face suggested that he was distraught by this situation, and one push might cause his eyes to start watering. He looked for all the world like someone had kicked him and insulted his mother at the same time. Of course, it wasn't anyone else's fault.

Time jump. Fifteen minutes into the past, or perhaps now. or perhaps in the future. Time can't be linear... Fifteen minutes before he let himself into Isaac Brideston's office and continued to shift his weight anxiously from foot to foot, Ira had been in his usual location. His darkened office, upstairs. It had no windows, and the majority of the light that illuminated the gloomy little cube of space came from a bank of many, many computer monitors, all hooked up to various machines that whirred away quietly under the desk. The place always looked as if an unfortunate robot had exploded inside of it, consistently littered with bits of computer and shreds of paper with numbers and letters hastily scrawled on them in a hand that made the writing look like foreign gibberish. And to most people, it would have been foreign gibberish either way. A bowl of cheese crackers sat at the young, dark-eyed Brideston's elbow as his fingers moved furiously over the keyboards, inputting numbers, letters, foreign gibberish. Notepad windows and code editors took up each computer monitor, casting garish, Linux-grey light into a face that was pale enough to suggest that his body just assumed this was natural sunlight. Clearing a spot to adjust the various keyboards and switch their spaces, he shoved a pile of computer pieces to the side, upending the vessel and its cheesy burden amidst the clean but cluttered disaster. Ira went back to compiling, typing, comparing. When he got like this, he was almost impossible to get through to. he could go for minutes at a time, being talked to, and not hear a word of it. One track minded. 'Focused. That's what his file said. He tended to agree, and at least today he was feeding himself. Not looking, he reached a hand out into the murky depths of his peripheral vision, and gathered up a small handful of crackers from the desk top to put into his mouth....

"Muh toof!" He did another unhappy little dance of weight shifting, and whined a sound of discomfort under his breath, staring at Isaac expectantly. Make the pain stop now... "Uh fink uh broke it. Aaaaaoooow." Ira didn't have friends. He never really had. Ira had family. He had Isaac, his brother, and occasionally their mother when she was not away with their father on business, out in Phan Rang or Kivirograd, or wherever it was they'd gone that week. Isaac, a whole seven years older, had practically raised Ira, in a way, and he was what Ira would consider his only friend. Most of his other social interactions had always been failures, though the bullies at school did tend to regret picking on him, once Isaac found out what had happened. He'd never so much as kissed another human romantically, let alone had a date or anything more. All he had was Isaac, and it seemed to suit him just fine. Sometimes they argued, like all siblings do, and sometimes, impetuously, he'd claim to hate Isaac for this reason or that. But he always came back and changed his tune. He had the attention span of a gnat when it came to anything emotional that wasn't instantly pressing. He just simply wasn't built that way. He didn't think like other people, and though he was smart in some areas, he was a novice in others. Art evaded him, as did the creation of music, the craft of literature. if it couldn't be taken apart and analysed by mathematics or a new computer program, it was beyond his feeble grasp. ...Which was perfect for the Brideston family. Computers and humanity were not nearly compatible enough yet. But Ira was working on it. He wasn't sure he could ever make a computer processor as edible as a cheese cracker though...

The offending article was fished out of Ira's jeans pocket and held up for Isaac to see. Its casing was cracked. Ruined. Ira seemed to mourn it as he stared at it, his expression pulling into a deeper pout. It had been a good little processor. Small, neat, clean, efficient for tiny spaces. Now it was cracked despite being of a higher tensile strength than his back, left molar. In this battle to the death, neither tooth nor processor had come out on top. Ira shuffled his weight around in pain and impatience again, and threw the tiny whatchamawhosit across Isaac's office as if it had personally insulted him.

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Isaac Brideston



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PostSubject: Re: A Gift Horse [Isaac]   Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:43 am

As Ira danced the dance of impatience outside his door Isaac could only sit at his desk and smile. He’d been watching this childish display since the pop up on his PC informed him someone was outside his door. Since then he’d been leaning forward at his desk, chin resting in his hand, trying not to laugh as his younger brother shifted back and forth waiting for the scanner to verify that he was in fact Ira Brideston. At any moment Isaac could have reached over to the little panel on his desk and hit the button to override the security scanner but…but this was just far more amusing. Isaac assumed that after this little meeting Ira would be running back to his office to figure out how to make the scanner more efficient. It really didn’t take that long but it was surely taking its sweet time for the impatient young man. Isaac wouldn’t mind an upgrade to the system. It had been a while, a while meaning a few weeks, and when housing geniuses and the insane one had to be a step ahead of the game. The last thing he needed was some brainy sociopath hacking his way into the mainframe from a PSP and taking control of everything. There had never been any close calls before but one could never be too careful. These kids were working on projects that made military level systems look like grandma’s email password. It was important to continuously change the security and update the systems. The more Ira worked on keeping them ahead of the kids the better off they were in the long run.

That and he enjoyed watching his brother work. It was fascinating in some ways, like watching an artist take blobs of color and creating a masterpiece. Ira took letters, numbers, and symbols and somehow it kept the patients in their cells and kept those pesky government officials out of their data centers. It truly was an art form. That each of those little symbols created something so complex that its beauty was lost on many who looked at it. When Isaac looked at the pages and pages of coding he saw mostly gibberish. Then again, he was willing to bet that “experts” in the same field as Ira would be scratching their heads if they saw the coding he was working on. Isaac knew a little, but he was no genius. He could fumble his way around a few programs but everything he knew he learned from Ira. However, no matter how much he tried to learn he would never be on the same page and at the end of the day all he could do was smile and nod. When that didn’t work he’d throw a bouncy ball across the room and go back to whatever he was doing. Getting Ira to break down anything into plain English was like pulling teeth from a PMSing crocodile. It made sense in his head and therefore should make sense in the heads of everyone else. After a while Isaac stopped trying to understand and just went with it.

When the door finally yielded and permitted Ira to enter Isaac clicked off the camera feed and turned in his chair to face his clearly distressed brother. He tried to hide the amusement on his face with concern and after a moment of listening to him whine Isaac got up from his desk. It took Isaac a minute to translate the gibbering into proper English and he sighed. “What did you do to your tooth?” He didn’t really have to ask. This wasn’t the first time Ira had come in with some complaint because he was too far in the zone to notice his surroundings. At least he didn’t burn himself this time. “Stop fussing and move your hand.” Isaac moved around his desk so that he could take a look at the injury that was causing Ira so much pain. This was always the way of it. When Ira got hurt he came running to his big brother. Isaac would put a band-aid on whatever hurt and then he’d be right back at it. What with mom and dad off on business they were pretty much left to themselves with the nanny lurking in the background. Isaac didn’t mind so much. He could entertain himself and he was there to make sure the bullies stayed far away from Ira. He’d grown very protective over his brother what with Ira lacking the ability to look out for himself in most situations. It seemed that Isaac would have to watch out for those nasty processors now as well. What with them trying to sneak into Ira’s snack food and all.

“If you cracked it we’ll have to call the dentist. Hold still and let me see.” Isaac was a little taller than Ira but the angle was still awkward and he had absolutely zero light in the back of Ira’s mouth to assess the damage done. “Come here and sit on the couch.” His eyes focused on the little object that was then fished out of Ira’s pocket and he sighed. “You really need to pay more attention. You could have choked if you had swallowed that. Be more careful from now on, okay? Actually look at what you put in your mouth when you’re eating in your office.” Isaac was having visions of processors and other little bits mixing themselves in with his cheesy snacks and them lodging in his throat when he didn’t remember to chew properly. If he choked to death in his office…Isaac had to shake the train of thought away and he came back to reality in time to see the thing go flying across his office. “You will be picking that up before you leave. Now go sit down so I can take a look at your tooth.” He moved back around to his desk to dig through one of the drawers, fishing out a little flash light. His desk was full of odds and ends, things that he might never need if it weren’t for Ira. Like a proper first aid kid, flash light, other various medical supplies and medication. He never knew what Ira would come running in with since the young man’s first instinct was to come to him and not go to the nurse.
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