Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom – Day 28 of 61

Dan and I spent the day riding the Mansion, drafting scripts for the telepresence players who we hoped to bring on-board. We were in a totally creative zone, the dialog running as fast as he could transcribe it. Jamming on ideas with Dan was just about as terrific as a pass-time could be.

I was all for leaking the plan to the Net right away, getting hearts-and-minds action with our core audience, but Lil turned it down.

She was going to spend the next couple days quietly politicking among the rest of the ad-hoc, getting some support for the idea, and she didn’t want the appearance of impropriety that would come from having outsiders being brought in before the ad-hoc.

Talking to the ad-hocs, bringing them around — it was a skill I’d never really mastered. Dan was good at it, Lil was good at it, but me, I think that I was too self-centered to ever develop good skills as a peacemaker. In my younger days, I assumed that it was because I was smarter than everyone else, with no patience for explaining things in short words for mouth-breathers who just didn’t get it.

The truth of the matter is, I’m a bright enough guy, but I’m hardly a genius. Especially when it comes to people. Probably comes from Beating The Crowd, never seeing individuals, just the mass — the enemy of expedience.

I never would have made it into the Liberty Square ad-hoc on my own. Lil made it happen for me, long before we started sleeping together. I’d assumed that her folks would be my best allies in the process of joining up, but they were too jaded, too ready to take the long sleep to pay much attention to a newcomer like me.

Lil took me under her wing, inviting me to after-work parties, talking me up to her cronies, quietly passing around copies of my thesis-work. And she did the same in reverse, sincerely extolling the virtues of the others I met, so that I knew what there was to respect about them and couldn’t help but treat them as individuals.

In the years since, I’d lost that respect. Mostly, I palled around with Lil, and once he arrived, Dan, and with net-friends around the world. The ad-hocs that I worked with all day treated me with basic courtesy but not much friendliness.

I guess I treated them the same. When I pictured them in my mind, they were a faceless, passive-aggressive mass, too caught up in the starchy world of consensus-building to ever do much of anything.

Dan and I threw ourselves into it headlong, trolling the Net for address lists of Mansion-otakus from the four corners of the globe, spreadsheeting them against their timezones, temperaments, and, of course, their Whuffie.

“That’s weird,” I said, looking up from the old-fashioned terminal I was using — my systems were back offline. They’d been sputtering up and down for a couple days now, and I kept meaning to go to the doctor, but I’d never gotten ’round to it. Periodically, I’d get a jolt of urgency when I remembered that this meant my backup was stale-dating, but the Mansion always took precedence.

“Huh?” he said.

I tapped the display. “See these?” It was a fan-site, displaying a collection of animated 3-D meshes of various elements of the Mansion, part of a giant collaborative project that had been ongoing for decades, to build an accurate 3-D walkthrough of every inch of the Park. I’d used those meshes to build my own testing fly-throughs.

“Those are terrific,” Dan said. “That guy must be a total fiend.” The meshes’ author had painstakingly modeled, chained and animated every ghost in the ballroom scene, complete with the kinematics necessary for full motion. Where a “normal” fan-artist might’ve used a standard human kinematics library for the figures, this one had actually written his own from the ground up, so that the ghosts moved with a spectral fluidity that was utterly unhuman.

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