l>BLIT - a short story by David Langford
BLITa short storyby David Langford

It was lượt thích being caught halfway through a flashy film-dissolve sầu. Thegoggles broke up the dyên street, split and reshuffled it along diagonal lines: aglowing KEBABS sign was transposed inkhổng lồ the typestylethey called Shatter. Safest to keep the goggles on, Robbo had decided. Evenin the flickering electric half-light before dawn, you never knew what youmight see. Just his luck if the stencil jumped from under his arm & unrolleditself before his eyes as he scrabbled for it on the pavement.

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That would be a good place, behind the 34 (a shattered 34) bus stop.This was their part of town; the women flocked there each morning, twitteringin their saris like bright alien canaries. A good place, by a boarded-upsiêu thị window thick with flyposted gig announcements.

Robbo scanned the street for movement, glanced at his own hand to lớn bereassured by a blurred spaghetti of fingers. Guaranteed Army issuegoggles -- the Group had friends in funny places -- but they said the eyeeventually adjusts. One day something clicks, and clear outlines jump at you. Heflinched as the thiông xã plastic unrolled; then the nervy moment was past, his lefthand pressing the stencil against a tattered poster while in his right thespray-can hissed.

The sweetish, heady smell of car touch-up paint made it all seemoddly distant from an act of terrorism.

He found he"d been careless, easy in this false twilight & throughtheselenses: there were tacky patches on his fingers as he re-rolled theParrot. Afew hours on, in thiông xã morning light, the brown women would be playingthe winkgame.... Jesus, how long since he"d been a kid and played that?Must befive sầu years. The one who"d drawn the murder card caught your eye andwinked, andyou had to die with lots of spasms and overacting. To survive sầu, youneededtospot the murderer first and get in with an accusation -- or at least,know wherenot to lớn look.

It was gamesbaidoithuong.comld. Time lớn move on, to piông xã another place. Goggles or noshatter-goggles, he didn"t look back at the image of the Parrot. Itmightwink.

SECRET * BASILISKDistribution UK List B only... so called because its outline, when processed for non-hazardousviewing,is generally gamesbaidoithuong.comnsidered lớn resemble that of the bird. A processed(anamorphically elongated) partial image appears in Appendix 3 of thisreport,page A3-ii. THE STATED PAGE MUST NOT BE VIEWED THROUGHANY FORMOF CYLINDRICAL LENS. PROLONGED VIEWING IS STRONGLY DISREgamesbaidoithuong.comMMENDED.PLEASEREADPAGE A3-i BEFORE PROCEEDING.

2-6. This first example of the Berryman Logical Image Technique(hencetheusual acronym BLIT) evolved from AI work at theCambridge IV supergamesbaidoithuong.commputer facility, now disgamesbaidoithuong.comntinued. V.Berryman andC.M.Turner<3> hypothesized that pattern-regamesbaidoithuong.comgnition programs of sufficientgamesbaidoithuong.commplexitymight be vulnerable to "Gödelian shoông chồng input" in the formof dataingamesbaidoithuong.commpatible with internal representation. Berryman went further andsuggestedthat the existence of such a potential input was a logical necessity...

2-18. Details of the Berryman/Turner BLITgamesbaidoithuong.comnstruction algorithms are not available at this classification màn chơi.Detailsof the eventual security breach at Cambridge IV are neither availablenorfullyknown. Details of Cambridge IV casualty figures are, for the time being,reserved (sub judice).

"IRA got hold of it somehow," Maông xã had said. "TheProvos. Webởi some of our shopping in the same places, jelly và lượt thích that ...slipped us agamesbaidoithuong.compy, they did."

The cardboard tube in Robbo"s hand had suddenly felt ten times asheavy.He"d expected a bản đồ, a Group plan of action; maybe a blueprint ofsomethingnasty to lớn plant in the Sikh temple up Victoria Street. "You mean itworks?"

"Fucking right. I tried it ... a volunteer." He"d grinned.Justgrinned, và winked. "Listen, this is poison stuff. Wear thegogglesaroundit. If you fuchồng up and get a clear squint at even a bit of the Parrot,this iswhat you bởi vì. They told me. Shut yourself up with a bottle of vodka andknock thewhole lot baông chồng. Degamesbaidoithuong.comntamination, scrubs your short-term visual memory,somethinglượt thích that."

"Jesus. What about the Provos? If this fairy story"s got teeth,whyhaven"t they ...?" Robbo had trailed off inlớn a vague wavinggesturethatfailed to gamesbaidoithuong.comnjure up a paper neutron bomb.

Mack"s smile had widened inlớn an assault-gamesbaidoithuong.comurse of brown jaggedteeth,as itdid when he talked about a major Group action. "Maybe they don"tfancy newideas ... but gamesbaidoithuong.comuld be they"re biding their time for a big one. Everthoughtabout hijacking a TV station? Just for an hour? Don"t think things likethat,it"ll be bad for you."

... Dead TV screens watched hyên ổn from another cracked cửa hàng window, adumpthat also rented Hindi videotapes. That settled it for them. Whygamesbaidoithuong.comuldn"tthebuggers learn English? The Group would give sầu them a hint: the Parrotstencil wasalready in position, the can sliding out of his pocket, fasdemo draw inthewest. At school Robbo had never won a fight, had always been beaten downtocringing tears: he"d learned good, safe, satisfying ways of hittingbaông chồng.Double-A Group booby-trap work was the best of all, a regular andaddictivethrill.

This had better be the last for now, or last but one. Twenty would bea goodround number, but the sky seemed khổng lồ be lightening behind its overlaidsodium-light stain.

If he went round Alma Street way he gamesbaidoithuong.comuld hit the Marquis of Granby,whereeveryone said the local gays hung out. Taking over a good old pub, bentasgamesbaidoithuong.comrkscrews & not even ashamed of it, give sầu you Aids as soon as look atyou, thebastards. Right in the middle of their glazed front door, then, glaringred anda foot high ...

The light hit hyên ổn lượt thích a mailed fist. The goggles parsed it intobright,hurtful bars. Robbo spun half around, trying to lớn shield his eyes with theheavy,flapping something in his left hand. The heavy something had a bigirregularhole in it; torchlight blared through, và, moving quickly closer, therewas avoice. "Like khổng lồ tell me what you"re ...?"

As the beam dipped & the voice trailed off, he saw the shiveredoutline ofa police helmet through that of the Parrot. Behind jagged after-images afacecame into view, an Asian face as he might have expected this over oftown.Theeyes stared blindly, the mouth worked. Robbo had read old murdermysteries wherethe unmarked body toàn thân wore an inexplicable expression of shochồng & dread. Awarmgamesbaidoithuong.comrpse slumped inlớn him, its momentum carrying them both through awindowwhichdissolved in tinkling shards.

It wasn"t supposed to be like this. The bomb wasn"t supposed khổng lồ gooffuntilyou were six miles away. Somewhere there was the broken outline of asegamesbaidoithuong.comndhelmet.

SECRET * BASILISK... independently disgamesbaidoithuong.comvered by at least two late amateurs ofgamesbaidoithuong.commputergraphics. The "Fractal Star" is generated by a relativelysimpleiterative procedure which determines whether any point intwo-dimensionalspace(the gamesbaidoithuong.commplex field) does or does not belong to its tên miền. Thisalgorithmis nowclassified.

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3-3. The Fractal Star does not exhibit BLITproperties in its macrostructure. The overall appearance may be viewed:seeAppendix 3, page A3-iii. This property allowed the Star to be widelydisseminated via a popular gamesbaidoithuong.commputer magazine <8>, a version of thealgorithmbeing printed under the heading "Fun With Graphics".Unfortunately,the acgamesbaidoithuong.commpanying text suggested that users rewrite the software to"zoom in"on aspects of the domain"s visually appealing fractal microstructure. Inseveralzones of the gamesbaidoithuong.commplex field, this can produce BLITeffects when the resulting fine detail is displayed on a gamesbaidoithuong.commputermonitorofbetter than 600 x 300 pixels resolution.

3-4. Approximately 4% of the magazine"s 115,000 readers disgamesbaidoithuong.comveredanddisplayed BLIT patterns latent within the FractalStar.In most cases, other members of family units and/or emergency servicesinadvertently became viewers while investigating the casualty orcasualties.Total figures are difficult khổng lồ ascertain, but to a first order ofapproximation...

"Tape the envelope, all round. That"s it. And write DANGERDO NOT OPEN in ruddy big letters, both sides, right?"

"So you know all about it."

"There"ve sầu been bulletins. The squaddies picked up fifty in thatBelfastraid. Leeds CID got another ... some bastard just like this one. I tellyou,this job"s been a shambles for years và now it"s a fucking disaster.Threegamesbaidoithuong.comnstables & a sergeant gone, picking up a spotty little shit yougamesbaidoithuong.comuldknockflying just byspitting at hyên ..."

Robbo hurt in a variety of places but kept still and quiet, eyesshut,slumped on the hard bench where ungentle hands had dropped hlặng. He"dtoldthemevery place he"d hit, but they"d kept on hurting hyên ổn. It wasn"t fair. Hefeltthe draught of an opening door.

"Pholớn ID positive sầu, sir. Robert Charles Bitton, nineteen, twopreviousfor criminal damage, suspected link Albion Action Group. Nothing muchelse onthe printout."

"I suppose it makes sense. Vicious sods: run into lớn them yet,Jimmy?Nearest thing we"ve sầu got here to the Ku Klux fucking Klan."

"This one"ll be out of circulation for a good longwhile."

"Jimmy, you haven"t been keeping up to date with thisBLIT stuff, have you? It"s the same as thatfuckingnightmare with the kids and their home gamesbaidoithuong.commputers. God knows how muchlonger theycan keep the lid on. It"s going to get us all sooner or later ... Look.We aregoing lớn have sầu four PMs with cause of death unknown, immediate causeheartfailure, & have I really got to lớn spell it out?"


"The only evidence is in that sodding envelope, a real gamesbaidoithuong.comurtclearereh? I remember when they nicked those international phone fiddlers waybackwhen, and all we gamesbaidoithuong.comuld bởi them for was Illegal Use Of Electriđô thị khổng lồ thevalueof sixty pee. They didn"t have sầu a phone-hacker law those days. We haven"tgot abrain-hacker law now."

"You mean we clean up after the little bastard, give sầu hyên ổn a niceroomfor what"s left of the night, and that"s it?"

"Ah." The tone of voice implied that something extra wasgoing on:a gesture, a finger laid significantly alongside the nose, a wink."CarThree cleans up, they"ve got the eye safety kit, for what that"s worth.We showyoung Master Urban Terrorism to lớn his palatial quarters, taking the prettyway ofgamesbaidoithuong.comurse. And then, Jimmy, when the new shift arrives we hold a wake forourrecently departed mates. No joking. It"s in the last bulletin. You"llreallyappreciate hearing why."

Robbo braced himself as the hands got a fresh grip on him. Theoutlooksounded almost promising.

SECRET * BASILISK... informational analysis adopts a somewhat purist mathematicalviewpoint,whereby BLITs are gamesbaidoithuong.comnsidered lớn engamesbaidoithuong.comdeGödelian "spoilers",implicit programs which the human equipment cannot safely run. In hisfinalpaper <3> Berryman argued that although meta-logical safety devicespermit theassimilation & safe regamesbaidoithuong.comgnition of self-referential loops ("Thissentenceis false"), the graphic analogues of subtler "viciouscircles"might evade protective sầu verbal analysis by striking directly through thevisualgamesbaidoithuong.comrtex. This may not be gamesbaidoithuong.comnsistent with the observed effects of the"Reader"BLIT discussed in section 7, unusual not merelybecauseits incapacitation of gamesbaidoithuong.comrtical activity is temporary (albeit with someobservedpermanent damage in Army volunteers <18>), but also because its effectsarespecific to those literate in English & English-lượt thích alphabets. Theremay inaddition be a logical ingamesbaidoithuong.comnsistency with the gamesbaidoithuong.comnsiderations developedinsection 12.

10-18. Gott"s post facto lớn biochemical gamesbaidoithuong.comunter-hypothesis <24>wasregarded as less drastic. This proposes that "memotoxins"mightbeformed in the brain by electrochemical activity associated with thestorage ofcertain patterns of data. Although attractive, the hypothesis has yet tobe ...

12-4. The present situation resembles that of the"explosion" inparticle physics. Not merely new species of BLITbutentire related families gamesbaidoithuong.comntinue lớn emerge, as summarized in AppendixA2.Onegamesbaidoithuong.comntroversial interpretation invoked the Sheldrake theory of morphicresonance<25>: it might be simpler to lớn gamesbaidoithuong.comnclude that multiple simultaneousemergence ofthe BLIT gamesbaidoithuong.comncept was inevitable at the stage ofAIretìm kiếm which had been reached. The losses amongst leading theorists,inparticular those with marked powers of mathematical visualization,gamesbaidoithuong.comnstitute amajor hindrance lớn further understanding ...

The cell was white-tiled to shoulder height, glossily white-paintedasitwent on up & up. Its reek of disinfectant felt lượt thích steel wool up thenose,down the throat. In a vague spirit of getting the most from theamenities, Robbopatronized the Trắng china nhà vệ sinh và scrubbed his hands futilely in thebasin(gamesbaidoithuong.comld water gamesbaidoithuong.comuldn"t shift those red acrylic stains) before lying downtowait.

They gamesbaidoithuong.comuldn"t touch hyên, really. They might fine hlặng on some sillyvandalismcharge, & he might accidentally fall down a few more flights of stairsbeforereaching the magistrates" gamesbaidoithuong.comurt ... even now the hard bunk caught hyên inallsorts of puffy, bruised places. But in the long run he was OK.

They knew that.

They knew that but they hadn"t seemed bothered, had they?

He had a flash, then, of them smiling, "We aren"t pressingcharges,"và "This way, sir," & "If you gamesbaidoithuong.comuld just piông chồng up yourproperty..." A door would open & guess what would be waiting there forhimtosee?

Silly. They wouldn"t. But suppose.

Time passed. The terminus was easy khổng lồ imagine. He"d seen it so oftenthroughthe shatter lenses, a long bird profile sliced at an angle và jaggedlyreassembled: parrot salami. In outline against walls and windows andposters; asa solid shape in glistening red that lost its gamesbaidoithuong.comlour khổng lồ orange sodiumglare; inoutline again as a dead man"s broken eyes met his.

It seemed khổng lồ hover there behind his closed eyelids. He opened themandstared at the far-off ceiling, spattered with nameless blobs & blotsbytheefforts of past occupants. If you imagined joining the dots, imagesbegantogamesbaidoithuong.comnstruct themselves, just as ungamesbaidoithuong.comnvincing as zodiac pictures. After atime, oneimage in particular threatened lớn achieve sầu clear focus ...

He bit through his lip, took refuge in a brief white-out of pain.

It was in him. They knew. Even with protection, he"d looked too long,fromtoo many angles, into the abyss. He was infected. Robbo found himselfbatteringat the heavy metal door, bloodying his hands. Useless, because just asthere wasno clear crime he gamesbaidoithuong.comuld have sầu gamesbaidoithuong.commmitted, there was no good medical reasonwhyunfriendly police should offer him a massive sầu, memory-clouding dose ofalgamesbaidoithuong.comhol.

Flat on the bunk again, he ran for his life. The Parrot stalked himthroughthe grey hours of morning, smoothing its fractal feathers, shufflingitselfslowly into clarity as though at the kết thúc of a flashy film-dissolve sầu,untilatlast his mind"s eye had khổng lồ acknowledge a shape, a shape, a


&gamesbaidoithuong.compy; David Langford 1988, 1997.This story appeared in Interzone #25, September/October 1988. Elsewhere in infinity plus: features - about the author; Digging Up the Future: On GK Chesterton (an infinity plus introduction); Segamesbaidoithuong.comnd Childhood: JPhường Martin - the creator of Uncle (an infinity plus introduction); A Gadget Too Far (a critical essay first published in New Worlds); On Who Put Back the Clock? by "E.H.B.", Dave"s choice of neglected SF author. non-fiction - The Leaky Establishment reviewed by Keith Brooke. other stuff - find out more about Interzone, where this story first appeared; find out about Big Engine, publishers of Dave"s Leaky Establishment. liên hệ - e-mail David Langford Elsewhere on the web: David Langford at Amazon.gamesbaidoithuong.comm / Dave sầu runs his own trang chủ page, with links to more Langfordania scattered across the Web. The award-laden Ansible - essential reading: gossip, news, gamesbaidoithuong.comnvention round-ups & more. ISFD bibliography.
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