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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter
Greg Toppo
Progress: 114/256 pages

Another excerpt from "Check Mate"

Relax, this is only from the end of Chapter 2. I'm not giving you the good stuff :-)

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Using his security card and thumb print, he opened a drawer that was reserved for the programmed keys, and put them all away safely. Then he tidied up the paperwork, placed it in a secure cabinet and left to join the party. Free pizza. Now there was something to celebrate!

The event itself took place in a purpose built hanger on the AMARS complex. It had been fitted with a top quality DJ area, disco lights, flashing dance floor and an impressively stocked bar. At one end there was even a shallow swimming pool and fake palm trees for Hawaiian nights.

Adjacent to this were sound proofed sleeping quarters that had been built with considerable thought and effort. Each room had its own small en-suite, so if someone became violently ill, they didn't upset anyone else. A mini bar was stocked with fresh milk and water before every party, and the bedside cabinets contained a good supply of tablets, sachets and capsules. They had everything that someone would need to help them recover from the hangovers, stomach pains and other ailments that human beings suffered after getting completely smashed out of their skulls on alcohol.

As far as the company was concerned, all this investment was worth it for two simple reasons.

Firstly, it made sense that when its chief scientists and other important people were going to get mind blowingly drunk, that they did it in a safe environment where there was no chance of them divulging any secrets to the competition.

Second, it was because of the simple fact that you didn't find many commercial nightclubs in the Nevada Desert.

There was rumour of a third, unspoken reason. They said that it saved AMARS considerable social embarrassment. While their staff were among the most intelligent, well paid, high academic achievers in the country, it was a sad fact that most of them couldn't dance to save their diplomas.

By the time that Gary walked in, the party was already in full swing. A long table off to one side was being continually filled and then emptied of food. Pizza, cheese sticks, burgers and lots of party snacks that were so brightly coloured, that Gary believed they had to be seriously harmful to human health. If it wasn't immediately recognisable, or at least labelled, then he wasn't going to touch it.

Being a scientific community, they had designed their own plates specially for these events. He picked one up, hit it over his knee, and started to load it with pizza and burgers. It was a form of plastic that was filled with luminescent chemicals, just like night sticks. Not only was it firm enough to withstand the weight of fat laden foodstuffs, but the action of giving it a healthy whack, caused the liquids inside the plate to mix. This had the dual purpose of giving off heat, so your food stayed warmer for longer, and as long as you remained sober enough to remember what colour your plate was, it would call out to you from across the darkest of dance floors. Tonight, his was puce green.

Gary's reputation was such that not only could everyone recognise him when they were sober, they could also recall a subconscious need to avoid him when they were much the worse for wear. This night, like many others, people would make a path for him wherever he wanted to go. Usually, it was a straight line between the food table and the bar.

Although things went well and started to run in to the small hours, this particular party was destined to finished earlier than some. A chief scientist from one of the chemical labs, was on the illuminated dance floor during a particularly popular track. For a reason known only to him and some now-dead brain cells, he decided that he would attempt an impressive dance move that he'd seen John Travolta do in a film. When an appropriate up-beat came along, he put a hand on his waist, sent his hips violently out in one direction, and flung his other hand out to the side. Because his alcohol-addled brain had failed to account for the proximity of other dancers, he promptly smacked one of the artificial intelligence programmers in the jaw with his clenched fist.

It wasn't so much the force of the punch, but more the surprise factor that led the drunken programmer to stop doing, 'the macarena,' and begin a very short burst of, 'sack of potatoes,' as he hit the deck and found himself laying there, looking up at the glitter ball thinking, 'Oooh! Pretty!'

In theory, the security guards were supposed to be there to see that no one got hurt; but most of them volunteered for party duty just so they could have a laugh at the pathetic dancing. Tonight, however, they actually had to do some work. The music was stopped, the house lights brought up and staff members in various states of inebriation, had to be herded like cattle to the sleeping quarters.