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2016年2月25日 (木)

said somebody offscreen


Shadow looked away. Officer Liz had begun, gently, to snore. Carla, the little waitress, snapped, "Hey, jerk-wad! We interrupt this broadcast to show you something that's going to make you piss in your friggin' pants. You ready Air Purifier?"
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The screen flickered and went black. The words LIVE FEED pulsated in white at the bottom left of screen. A subdued female voice said, in voice-over, "It's certainly not too late to change to the winning side. But you know, you also have the freedom to stay just where you are. That's what it means to be an American. That's the miracle of America. Freedom to believe means the freedom to believe the wrong thing, after all. Just as freedom of speech gives you the right to stay silent."

The picture now showed a street scene. The camera lurched forward, in the manner of handheld video cameras in real-life documentaries HKUE DSE.

A man with thinning hair, a tan, and a faintly hangdog expression filled the frame. He was standing by a wall sipping a cup of coffee from a plastic cup. He looked into the camera, and said, "Terrorists hide behind weasel words, like 'freedom fighter.' You and I know that they are murdering scum, pure and simple. We're risking our lives to make a difference."

Shadow recognized the voice. He had been inside the man's head once. Mr. Town sounded different from inside, his voice was deeper, more resonant-but there was no mistaking it.

The cameras pulled back to show that Mr. Town was standing outside a brick building on an American street. Above the door was a set-square and compass framing the letter G.

"Let's see if the cameras inside the hall are rolling," said the female voice-over voice.

The words LIVE FEED continued to blink at the bottom left of the screen. Now the picture showed the interior of a small hall: the room was underlit. Two men sat at a table at the far end of the room. One of them had his back to the camera. The camera zoomed in to them awkwardly. For a moment they were out of focus, and then they became sharp once more. The man facing the camera got up and began to pace, like a bear on a chain. It was Wednesday. He looked as if, on some level, he was enjoying this. As they came into focus the sound came on with a pop.

The man with his back to the screen was saying, "-we are offering is the chance to end this, here and now, with no more bloodshed, no more aggression, no more pain, no more loss of life. Isn't that worth giving up a little?"

Wednesday stopped pacing and turned. His nostrils flared. "First," he growled, "you have to understand that you are asking me to speak for all of us. Which is manifestly nonsensical. Secondly, what on earth makes you think that I believe that you people are going to keep your word Neo skin lab

The man with his back to the camera moved his head. "You do yourself an injustice," he said. "Obviously you people have no leaders. But you're the one they listen to. They pay attention to you. And as for keeping my word, well, these preliminary talks are being filmed and broadcast live," and he gestured back toward the camera. "Some of your people are watching as we speak. Others will see videotapes. The camera does not lie."

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