Friday, September 30, 2011

Human Black Box: Devils Advocate (prt 1)

Welcome to the newest installment of Human Black Box, pumped out ready for a Friday. This is the beginning of a new arc; Arc 2, titled "Sacraments and Lies." This particular section is part one of Devil's Advocate. Before I go any further, I shout out to the guys over on the EP Forum - this particular thread inspired me to draft up my thoughts for this arc. Expect plenty of Left Behind references. Simply because I can't resist.

This particular act begins on Mars. Because the webbernetz is pretty cool, I have two things for you, my dedicated readers. The first is a map of Mars at the time of EP:

The second is even cooler. I present to you Google Mars. It's like Google Maps, but it's for Mars instead of Earth. Google Earth also has a 3d Mars Skin that you can download for it, too; it's definitely something you should check out if you're interested in that sort of thing.

In the meantime, let's get this arc started on the right foot...

                The shadows fell at odd angles on the walls, the only noise the sound of a heart thundering, and breaths spaced unevenly, matching the footfalls.
                They’d found him. Somehow, someway, they’d managed to find him.
                He looked over his shoulder. He had done everything possible – change clothes, change bodies, and had gone so far as to modify his kinesics profile. He had even picked up this morph from the Black Kettles, to avoid the planned obsolescence of the regular morphs designed by the hypercorps of Mars. None of it had worked. They still managed to track him down. He’d sought help from the flesh-traders of Les Gouls, and that was where he’d gotten this morph from, but despite all of their empty promises, Ozma had still managed to find him.
                The lights of Noctis-Quinjiao reflected off of the streets and glass buildings. They were a rainbow of toxic neon hues; glimmering and shining against the cold night of the Martian sky. He jumped over a barrier, landing in a drainage ditch on the other side. The dark-clad ghosts, mostly invisible, landed a few feet behind him. He continued the run – this morph was not designed for it. In fact, this morph was poorly designed, probably a lemon, but he’d expected nothing more from the flesh-traders. Planned obsolescence arguably would’ve been better than this, but he didn’t need or want this morph for anything more than getting to a safe place.
                Which was a whole lot harder than it had any right to be.
                He pulled out a machine pistol and took aim, shooting recklessly into the darkness behind him. The rounds ripped through the shadows, and a spray of blood told him that he’d hit one target, at least. He couldn’t be sure if he put the target down or just hit it, but he didn’t stick around to find out. He ducked into a narrow tunnel, crawling on hands and knees through another concrete barrier.
                On the other side of the concrete barrier, he staggered onto his feet, loading another clip. The first ghost came through and he scored a clean shot; the back of the head exploded and the ghost fell forward, the morph’s natural invisibility factor turning off as it hit the ground. He had no idea how many of these ghosts were following him, but given they were Ozma agents, one was too many.
                There was a highway around here; one that could take him out into the outback. He just had to get there, first.
                He spun around and backed into a wall. It was a dead end – his heart spiked as he wheeled around. A last stand was certainly not something he wanted to do here.
                Erasmus Mahmoud-Martinique: [I don’t know what you want. I didn’t do what you think I did… don’t come any closer or I’ll shoot!]
                He was a fool for using his real name, but at this point, it didn’t matter. Ozma probably knew his real name and every fake name that he could ever have, ever had, and ever wanted to have.
                He watched for the tell-tale signs of movement and, when the first one appeared, opened fire with his machine pistol at it. The spray of blood was accompanied by a return of fire, a bullet striking him in the shoulder. His medichines – thankfully this body at least had those – were screaming at him. He tried to duck out of the dead end, the bullets ripping into the morph as he returned fire. One of the ghosts fell. He saw another move back and emptied a clip into that one, the ghost hitting the ground and becoming visible. The concrete drainage ditch was painted with blood spray, as he raced towards the exit. He jumped over the hand railing, landing on the street. He staggered right in the way of a large hauler – he threw himself to the sidewalk, and staggered back onto his feet, as transhumans of all types took notice. His shoulder was bleeding out. The medichines were doing everything possible to make sure he didn’t bleed out, but the blood loss was still tremendous.
                He ducked down an alleyway, pushing aside two lovers as they walked hand-in-hand. They took a step backwards as he picked up the run again, ducking into a building.
                He couldn’t see them anymore.
                Ahead of him was the exit; he slowed his pace, the medichines working to make sure he didn’t bleed out. He laughed, stepping into the open, with a large crowd of transhumans. He was going to make it. He was going to be able to…
                He didn’t finish his thought; it was cut off by a .50 caliber sniper round that detonated his skull like a stick of dynamite shoved in a watermelon.
                There was screaming, and the crowd panicked jumping away from his body as it crumpled, mostly headless, to the ground.
                Rezan (private channel, #all Ozma agents#): [Bull’s-eye. Target is down; repeat, target is down. We need a clean-up crew out here.]
                Mahmoud-Martinique’s body lay on the ground, the crowd backing away from it. The police would be arriving, and crossing the police was the last thing any citizen of Noctis-Quinjiao wanted to do. Except for, it seemed, one brave soul, who shoved their way through the crowd. The head had been vaporized from the base of the skull up – when it hit the ground, the blow jarred the cortical stack free, allowing it to roll away from the body into the crowd. Once there, a hand in gloves reached down and picked it up, tucking it away as they pulled the hood over their head, watching the first police arrive. Allowing themselves a satisfactory nod, they turned and walked away, leaving the scene of the crime far behind.

                One thing became very clear to Chloe from the moment that she woke up to the moment that she had found herself a place to stay – in Elysium, everyone was very, very pretty. She hadn’t seen an ugly individual yet. While in her best of time she had entertained the thought of being beautiful, she was convinced she had nothing on half the population of the city. They had movie-star looks; the most gorgeous of the gorgeous people. She’d downloaded a language guide – or, more accurately, had Azure, the new name for her muse, download one – for both Hindi and Cantonese. She knew the basics, but there were places where even the basics couldn’t help get her by.
                In her day-and-a-half stay in Elysium, accompanied by a whirlwind tour of the city and getting lost twice in neighborhoods where she couldn’t speak the primary language, she’d come to realize something else about Elysium: Elysium was a city shaped by Hollywood and Bollywood; the bastard child of fame, fortune, and the beautiful people, rolled into one city and stuffed in a crack on the Martian surface.
                This was also the city of a single man – Zevi, of the Oaxaca-Martens family. They owned the city. Tonight, Chloe was sort of hoping to get a glimpse of Zevi, but judging from what she’d seen in the city and its inhabitants, she probably knew what to expect ahead of time.
                She stood in the washroom, the clear plastic shield separating her bedroom from the shower showing her reflection. The whole thing had a Victorian feel to it; like something pulled out the 19th century with modern sensibilities shoved in along for the ride.
                The skinflex on this morph had allowed her to take a facial shape that she recognized. All of her morphs, courtesy of Antares, had that feature – it made it easier for her to adjust if she could make her face look like what she was used to. The strongly Persian and Indian face was a comfort to her now; especially after seeing all of the absolutely gorgeous people in Elysium.
                 She slicked back her green hair. The nanotattoos on this body were different, but that was okay – as long as they were green, she didn’t particularly care. And they were – they were a bright neon-green that covered most of her body, with lines running down her face. She could change them by thinking of it, or even turn them off, but they added to the uniqueness of her body, so she didn’t.
                That was another thing she’d learned. Objectification didn’t mean what it had meant when she learned the term. It might be an indication of what time period she was from – she still hadn’t figured it out, and the nightmares, as infrequent as they were since one month ago when she first woke up on Earth, hadn’t helped – but the thought of being stared at and having her body judged for how it looked made her feel uncomfortable. There was an attachment to it that most everyone else didn’t have; objectifying a person’s body was no more uncomfortable to most people than objectifying a car or some other expensive but ultimately disposable belonging.
                Many people, including a friend of hers on Luna, had commented on how conservatively she dressed. That was probably why.
                Tonight, though, she was nervous about breaking that. Tonight was a dinner party – a cocktail (or, as Zira had joked before they left, a ‘cock-in-tail’) party, and she was going to try and break out of that uncomfortable model and be a little more daring.
                Azure: [Are you sure? This probably isn’t the best place to try that out, Chloe.]
                Chloe: [I want to give it a shot. I mean, I’ve got that dress over there, and I’ve been eager to wear it.]
                She walked over and picked it up; she wasn’t quite sure how it would stay on – bubble gum and prayer, maybe – but she was determined to find out. It consisted of a single sleeve that fanned out at the bottom with flower-petal like cups and a scoop back that would probably be so low as to show the base of her spine.
                Chloe: [I’m intimidated by this dress. Is that natural?]
                Azure: [You could always program it to be longer and less revealing.]
                Chloe: [No, I want to give it a shot.]
                She looked back in the mirror, her head falling between her shoulders. “No I don’t. I’ll look like a fool. I’m not half as good-looking as some of those people who’ll be at that party. I mean, they’ve got specially-tailored bodies. Every fetish you could probably imagine they’re built to accommodate.”
                Azure: [I doubt they’ll have neotenic morphs.]
                Chloe frowned.
                Chloe: [That’s because those things are disgusting and wrong beyond all words. Who wants to sleeve into the body of a child, huh? That’s just… ugh.]
                Azure: [They aren’t children's bodies, Chloe. They just look like children.]
                Chloe: [And that makes it even worse.]
                She pulled her lip down. “I’m hideous.”
                Azure: [You are not, Chloe. Don’t tell yourself that.]
                “Compared to the people in this city I am.”
                She sat the dress down and walked over by the bed, looking out the window at the Palazzo as the lights started to dim. It’d be nightfall soon, and if she didn’t settle on what she’d wear, she would lose the opportunity to.
                “I’m wearing it,” Chloe said, walking back towards it. She sat the towel on the chair and pulled the dress on; there was adhesive that kept it into place, but it didn’t hurt when she moved the dress. It was about that time she realized that she couldn’t wear anything under the dress, because of the way it was made.
                “Oh. No, this won’t work.”
                She heard a knock at the door, and her AR displayed a figure that didn’t look remotely familiar. It was another woman, with peach skin and vaguely Eurasian features, with short silvery-blue hair. She was slender and beautiful, like damn near everyone else in this city, wearing pants and a very immodest and see-through cloth shirt. Her body was covered in glowing tattoos, a circuit-like design, which resembled those on Chloe’s body back on Luna.
                It took Chloe a minute before she realized that the kinesics profile matched Zira’s.
                Taking comfort in the fact that it was just her friend, Chloe walked around towards the door. She didn’t wonder where Cornelius was at – he was probably on Luna, still in cold storage. While he’d been sleeved, it was a synthmorph. Antares had promised a full biomorph for him as soon as it was possible; Chloe had the sinking feeling that he was using it to rope Zira into helping out with this mysterious project, but she wasn’t going to speak up.
                She peered through the door at the human woman.
                She tapped the viewport. “Chloe?”
                Chloe smiled. “Look, don’t laugh, alright?”
                “That’s an odd request.”
                “I look like a trashy whore.”
                “You’re in Elysium. There’s no such thing.”
                Chloe opened the door, revealing the dress. Zira’s eyes opened wide for a minute, and she whistled.
                “Uh… wow.”
                “Hey,” Chloe said.
                “It’s not laughing. I promise.”
                “Just shut up and get in here,” Chloe said, pulling Zira in and shutting the door. “Your shirt is see-through.”
                “I know. It’s pretty cool, too. I can change the fabric if I want to; make it white, black, orange, gray – you name it.”
                Chloe walked into the kitchen, not bending over but kneeling down to collect two glasses.
                “This dress makes me look trashy.”
                “It does not. That’s probably the hottest thing I’ve ever seen someone wear. Clothes make the person.”
                Chloe turned around, as Zira walked towards her.
                “You’re walking differently,” Chloe said. “Your walk isn’t matching your kinesics profile. Did you hurt yourself?”
                “I have my reasons,” Zira said, as Chloe poured both glasses half full.
                “Oh? Is it because you’re not used to human bodies yet?”
                “Well, that and other reasons,” Zira said, taking a drink.
                “Like?” Chloe pressed.
                “You’d have a hard time walking too if you had an anaconda with matching cocoanuts shoved down your pants.”
                 “A what?”
                Zira took a drink, smiling faintly. “You know, I just woke up not even several hours ago. It’s really strange to wake up, look down and go ‘hey, look, female body!’, and then, ‘hey, look. Human body’, and then ‘Oh look. A penis. A really big penis. With matching really big testicles.’ But hey, you can shove nanotats everywhere. I seriously hope the guy… girl?... who had this body when they got these tattoos wasn’t conscious.”
                “No. You’re kidding me,” Chloe said. “They make bodies like that?”
                “I can show you.”
                Chloe smiled faintly. She was feeling daring inside of the dress.
                “I’d encourage it.”
                Zira smiled, leaning forward.
                “How much time do we have before the party?”
                “Oh, good,” she said. “Because I did mention that dress makes you look gorgeous, right? You’ll want to take it off – I’d hate to ruin it.”
                She leaned forward and put her arms around Chloe’s waist, pulling the bottom of the dress up.
                “Quick question,” Chloe said, her breathing becoming fast and labored. “How big and will I be able to walk?”
                “We’ll find out,” Zira said, unbuckling her belt.
                The two locked lips, staggered backwards, and fell on the floor.

                Chloe: [I’m glad I took that second shower.]
                She stepped out of the small cab – not the most ideal transportation considering, but still pretty high class (like everything else in Elysium) that she’d seen so far.
                Azure: [With or without Zira?]
                Chloe: [Both.]
                Azure: [Then that would make three. You can count, Chloe. It’s simple math.]
                Chloe: [I can, but when I’m not paying for it, I don’t bother.]
                Azure: [Touché.]
                She extended a hand and took Zira’s. She was wearing the dress; she wasn’t feeling as brave as she was earlier – it was longer, about knee length. Short enough for her to not regret being unable to wear anything under it.
                Zira: [How did you manage to get us in here, anyway?]
                Chloe: [I have my ways.]
                Zira: [Come on now. Just because we fucked in the kitchen at the drop of a hat doesn’t mean I’m willing to believe you’ll put out for just anyone. I like to think I’m special.]
                Chloe: [And shower, and bed, and living room, and kitchen again… that body is amazing. But no, I didn’t. Antares did.]
                Zira shuddered.
                Zira: [I don’t need the mental image of an AI putting anything out for anyone.]
                They walked towards the club door, where the worker pod stopped them. Chloe took the lead, stepping up and introducing them. After a few seconds of talking, the pod let them through, and the full nightlife of Elysium opened up before them. Or, at least, the nightlife that this club offered. The dense smell of opium and hash filled the air as they walked in, with all sorts of alcohol on tap and flowing freely. The lights were flashing throughout the spectrums, and the noise and music throughout the full range of human hearing and then some.
                Chloe: [I’ll go use the rest room, I’ll be right back.]
                Zira tucked her hands in her pants.
                Zira: [I’ll get drinks. If you aren’t back within several minutes, I’ll come looking.]
                Chloe: [You’re my self-appointed protector now?]      
                Zira: [Well, there’s that, and then there’s the fact that I wouldn’t mind getting the most out of this body while I’ve got it, and a bathroom sounds like a fun place to fuck.]
                Chloe sighed and rolled her eyes, turning around.
                Zira: [Flaunt that ass. You know you’ve got one.]
                Chloe: [I will when you do.]
                Zira: [What do you think I’ve been doing?]
                She pushed open the door, stepping inside and sighing.
                Chloe (private chat, #Azure#): [I’m sore.]
                Azure (private chat, #Chloe#): [I don’t blame you. I get sore just watching the XPs. She wasn’t kidding.]
                Chloe (private chat, #Azure#): [There might be something wrong with that body’s chemistry. I’ve never seen Zira like that before. Of course, I’m not really sure I should be complaining, either – sore as I am, that was a lot of fun :3]
                She turned around and walked towards one of the stalls.
                Azure (private chat, #Chloe#): [Or it’s been a while. Remember that she doesn’t have Cornelius.]
                Chloe nodded. There was that too. She really didn’t need to use the bathroom, but she needed to take a step back and collect her thoughts, and try to figure out why Antares had sent her here rather than somewhere else. She turned around, spotting one of the cleaning synths as it walked into the room. She walked over to the mirror, and looked at it, as the synth stopped just behind her.
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Hey there, kiddo. Looking sharp.]
                Chloe turned around, and smiled faintly, sighing.
                Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [You startled me. I wasn’t expecting you in person.]
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Nope. Not person; in fork. As in, Delta Fork. As in, it has the memory to remember what I told it and after this it’ll likely walk in front of a hauler herp-fork.  So, at this moment, you’re probably wondering three things; what you’re doing here in Elysium, what you’re doing here on Mars, and why I directed they give Zira the body she got. The answers, not in any particular order: Zira’s body was a mistake, but I wouldn’t tell her that.]
                Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Depends on your definition of ‘mistake.’]
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Anything that takes your mind off of the task at hand.]
                Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Then you made a big mistake.]
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Thought so. Anyway, second answer … haha, that was a funny pun … anyway  – you’re in Elysium because this was the last recorded place for the reason why you’re on Mars – his name is Dr. Erasmus Mahmoud-Martinique. Or, as I like to call him, Dr. M&M. Now, Dr. M&M is famous for a lot of different things, foremost among them coming in a rainbow of colors, and melting in your mouth and not your hand. Also, he’s famous for planting a bomb that blew up a habitat that resulted in about 100 people getting resleeved. 100 peeved, upset people who are now indentured infomorphs and would like to see Dr. M&M crushed on the cement. Here’s the thing about the bomb, though; he planted it, used his real name to buy the stuff, and made no secret about the fact that he was behind it.]
                Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [That doesn’t reek of a set-up.]
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Nope. Sure doesn’t. See, they’ve got him on video planting it. They’ve pegged him by his kinesics profile. They’re almost 90% sure that’s our man.]
                Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [So he’s just a phenomenal idiot.]
                Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Normally, that’s how we’d write him off, too. But one of the power players is interested in him – Oversight. Oversight doesn’t normally stick it’s nose into business surrounding this; it’s the job of the Martian Rangers to hunt down the fabled Blue M&M. Oversight doesn’t get involved with candy. Now, Dr. M&M is a different matter. We want you to figure out why.]
                Chloe frowned.
Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [So… you want me to infiltrate this Oversight business?]
Antares (private chat, #Chloe#): [Well, first off, our information on good Dr. Candy is sorely lacking. If you could come up with some information from him, that’d be great. Then go to see what Oversight has to say. It might make your job a little easier.]
Chloe nodded, sitting back.
Chloe (private chat, #Antares#): [Alright. Sure, I’ll do that. Is Zira here with me?]
Antares nodded.
“We can do this,” she said, as Zira opened the door, holding the drink.
“There you are,” she said, looking at the robot. “Who’s this?”
“Just leaving,” Chloe said, walking over and hugging Zira. “Let’s have a little fun, then I’ll explain everything to you.”
“Remember – we pride ourselves in our clean bathrooms,” the synth said. “Please clean up any unwanted bodily fluids after you are finished. Thank you.”
It shut the door and turned off the light.

Zira: [Blanket search – turns up nothing. Good thing he had rep with the Reclaimers, otherwise we’d have been up shit creek.]
Zira’s voice fell on deaf ears.
                Zira: [Chloe?]
                Azure: [She’s asleep.]
                Zira sighed.
                Zira: [Wake her up, please.]
                A few seconds later, Chloe heard a noise and she jerked awake, rubbing her eyes.
                Chloe: [Huh?]
                Zira: [Are you tired or something?]
                Chloe: [I don’t sleep well, Zira. Don’t bother me about it.]
                Zira: [I know what you mean. I’ve been here all of two days now and all I can think about between eating and sleeping is sex. If I’m not with you I’m spending quality time with my hand. The anxiety if I don’t is just crippling.]
                Chloe: [You don’t have the share. I know.]
                She shifted her weight. How she managed to fall asleep in the position she was in she didn’t know. The body that she was in wasn’t the sylph morph that she’d sleeved into when she arrived on Mars – this body was different. This body was one that Antares had set aside for her. In addition to being far more coordinated and quick in this body, but the skin itself matched the patterns of the glass and concrete walls that she was stuck against. She rubbed her eyes, trying to keep herself away as she started the slow climb. The down side to this body, because she couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t give her away, was that she couldn’t be wearing anything. Scaling a building naked, wearing just a small, dark colored belt, wasn’t her idea of a good evening, although the fact that she blended in with the building made it just a little easier to suffer.
                Chloe: [So this is where he stayed at?]
                Zira: [According to his contacts in the Reclaimers.]
                Chloe nodded, continuing to scale the building. He would be in the upper floors; the floors that were the hardest to reach. She strained and groaned, finally reaching the window. She touched the window, examined it, and then reached down around her belt and pulled out a small, walnut shaped object. She cracked it against the glass, and after a second of dealing with the cool cross breeze and looking over downtown Elysium, the window completely dissolved.
                She climbed in, shivering for a minute before collecting herself. She had a job to do.
                The man looked like he’d left his house in a mess. It was an absolute disaster area, with everything flipped over, or turned out of place. She crept through the living room and into the hallway, looking in through the doorway into another, side room. There was a shot-up, creeper robot lying on the floor.
                Chloe: [I think we’re too late.]
                Zira: [It’s looking that way, isn’t it?]
                Chloe crouched down by the robot, flipping it over and looking at the back. The cyberbrain had been pulled from it, leaving just the shell in place.
                There weren’t any empty casings lying on the floor. She bit her lower lip, standing up.
                Chloe: [Whoever got here before we did probably cleaned this place out.]
                Zira: [Does no harm to continue checking.]
                Chloe nodded, and slowly trailed into the next room, looking around at the bed. It was flipped over, with the covers torn off. Amazingly enough, there was something on the floor that she hadn’t seen in a while: paper. She knelt down and picked up the shredded piece of paper, looking at it.
                Zira: [Why, hello there. I don’t think they make paper anymore.]
                Chloe: [What did you say his hobby was?]
                Zira: [He was a Reclaimer. Or worked with them. The guy was actually a mathematician, but that’s beside the point.]
                Chloe looked at the sliver of paper, and read it aloud, “race Method” she said, the rest of it cut off by the fact that the paper was torn. “I wonder if I can find anymore.”
                She started digging around, but to no avail – she couldn’t find any more slivers of paper. Aside from that one, whoever tore this place apart had been very thorough about it.
                Zira: [Hey, Chloe. I got a ping back from the G-net.]
                Chloe: [A little late.]
                Zira: [Well, the folks on G-net respond on their own time, not ours. Anyway, he’s got a bit of a reputation in the black markets' dealings. That bit of a reputation is going to be taking us to a small Martian colony in the outback.]
                Chloe looked at the paper, and tucked it away in her belt.
                Chloe: [That’d be after I get dressed.]
                Zira: [Well, I was hoping it’d be after a couple of other things, too. I imagine you’re probably cold.]
                Chloe: [Subtle.]
                Chloe walked back towards the window. She could visualize Zira shrugging.
                Zira: [I told you.]
                Chloe started climbing down.
                Chloe: [You did. And honestly? If we could get some way that you weren’t thinking about it 24/7, I’d be all for it. We’ll see what we can do. It’s probably that body.]
                Zira: [Probably.]
                Chloe slid down the side of the building quickly and landed, ducking away into the darkness. Her mind was torn – she couldn’t figure out who had broken into the house, and she had no idea what that paper meant. All she knew was that she wanted to find out.


  1. Ooh, new Human Black Box. It's been a while.

    The big spaces for paragraph breaks are a bit much, but not that big a deal.

    He’s sought help from the flesh-traders


    The dark clad ghosts

    "Dark-clad" should be hyphenated.

    thankfully this bad at least had those


    The nanotatoos on this body were different

    You spell "tattoo" without the double "t" a lot. Careful.

    You've stopped colour-coding the Mesh text? Too much trouble finding distinct colours for everyone?

    They aren’t children bodies, Chloe.


    It’d be night fall soon

    "Nightfall" is one word.

    She was slander and beautiful


    put her arms around Chloe’s waste


    what I directed they give Zira the body she got.


    in the positions he was in

    "Position she". The space is in the wrong place.

    "I wonder if I can find anymore.”

    Any more.

    reputation in the black markets dealings

    Markets', I think.

  2. "You've stopped colour-coding the Mesh text? Too much trouble finding distinct colours for everyone?"

    Well, it's that and the fact that I've started typing them in a Word document before hand rather than in the text box when I go to make a post. This way, all I have to do is copy and paste them over. It takes about as much effort to color-coat them in word as it does in blogger, but I decided that more time needed to be spent in the story than matching the colors. A few people don't even read them with the color anyway, and with the name, it becomes that much extra work. The fact that I'm down to my normal amount of typos for a section of this size shows that I was right. :)