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We, Such As We Are, Are Here!
"Where is everybody?" you ask, Mary.
"Busy, busy, busy," I reply, "Running the world and all that sort of stuff. I had to get up to Harrods for new supplies of The Widow and some fresh caviar before they closed. Then I had to dash over to Paris and examine the new plans for that City. Then it was straight back to the emergency bunker in downtown Nashville in order secretly to inject some massive and cruel misdirection into some of the clues in next month's NER Crossword."
"As if that wasn't enough to fill my day Rebecca roped me into helping her get Hugh out of the cryogenics storage unit and warm him up so that he could write all next month's articles and posts - well, all apart from yours and mine (well, all excepting yours, at any rate, for I tend to leave cerebration to Hugh because he is better at it than I - as you can see)."
"But don't worry, dear Mary, for when your time to go home approaches Rebecca's loyal assistants (zombies, actually, but one just can't get the staff these days, you know) will come and get you and I can assure you that she has a wonderfully comfortable cryogenic pod especially reserved for you. God willing, you should be able to post for centuries yet."
"Isn't technology wonderful? At any rate, it does mean that Rebecca and I don't have to do the difficult stuff like writing and I'll bet that you have never noticed that Artemis and Esme are both radio controlled from our new Cray Supercomputer - they are both robots, don't you know. Latest Japanese technology and all that rot - good, aren't they?"
"Of course Jerry Gordon and Richard L. Rubenstein aren't real. They are just very clever holograms created by our new supercomputer. They're offline at the moment for servicing and upgrading but I can assure you that they will be back before long - in new and improved versions. They are in beta testing at the moment and will be released soon - after all one cannot be too careful with artificial identities: they could have original and disturbing insights into the Islamic mind and one wouldn't want to rock the boat too much, would one?"
"Ares Demertzis is, of course, a total fiction. He is a composite character written by a committee based at a famous restaurant on Hanover Street in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is supposed to be partly F. Scott Monument and partly Orson Welles (a small, misspelled spa town in Kentucky). He will be fully automated by October after which event he will feel and perform much better."
"Theodore Dalrymple is a split personality - even the best of plans can go wrong, you see. This program was originally conceived to be an agreeable old fogey which upheld good, old-fashioned morality. Regrettably, it/he was first tried out on an Apple Mac and the program therefore developed a few independent quirks and ticks which Rebecca and I have never been able to solve. It split into two and can take over any website whenever it wants to - not altogether a bad thing given its take on the world."
"Normal Berdichevsky and Ibn War Rag were originally designed as special reporters but somehow, after a lightening strike on Area 51's computer, morphed into the very useful personalities which Rebecca and I deploy on this site today whenever you, Mary, let us down. Rebecca, of course and as you have probably guessed by now, is an alien from the planet Zog. I, myself, am merely a super-clever and undefeatable virus created by Andrew Bostom and Nidra Poller - who are also natives of Zog - I can be a real bastard at need."
"It's bad news I'm afraid, Mary. You are the only real human being here. Yes, I know that it shows. Sorry! But do keep up the good work. You are needed – I just can’t remember why at the moment, because I’m busy giving Norton the run around – again! It’ll come to me, just give me a moment or two. Damn, I wish these Cray’s had better and faster processors!