Datafeeds 1.1 image mapgovernment hallway, blind

I hurry into my government office building, a little late, definitely not taking the time to enjoy the beginning warmth of the sun on my face from the summer sunrise. It had taken longer than I thought it would to get the orange juice, and I had had a hard time choosing which kind to get. I had finally remembered that Ken, the head of the California legal team, is recovering an ulcer, so I got the low pulp, low acid type. In the government, we can't pay for food for a meeting so everyone in the host building pitches in to buy something: donuts, orange juice, coffee.

I quicken my steps, hoping that the elevators won't take to long today. I have to catch Brian, the hydrologic modeller, before the meeting to make sure that he had brought the donuts like he had promised. I also want him to incorporate a few last minute corrections I had brailled in last night when I reworked the numbers and found that some of the percentages were off. Sure enough, when I felt over the raised lines of the hydrographs, it had been easy to pinpoint the mistakes. Brian would be able to correct them in just a couple of minutes before the meeting starts--if I can just get to him in time.

It's 16 steps from the entrance to the elevator. I never bother with the locator strings, even though the government just splurged on the very latest ones. All you have to do now with the LocatorNet G5000 is braille in your destination or hit 0 for an operator who input the destination for any employee or office for you. You get a personally attuned moving string and you can't get lost. They are programmed to avoid other strings, so you won't bump into anyone, and you can walk just as fast as you want. There is even a firewall to prevent full-scale reprogramming of strings, a common enough college prank, but rarely seen in an office. (I remember Jane's husband once had that trick pulled on him before an important conference at the Marriot Inn...some live gamers had done a mass reprogramming. Turns out his meeting room had half a room of orcs, some Amway salesmen, and the CEO of the company.) It's never happened in any government building, though. I once asked Bob, our building programmer, why on earth we needed such strong firewalls for the locator strings. He said, security. Never a good enough reason, if you want my opinion.

I break off my wandering thoughts to concentrate on prepping for the meeting. If I could just convince the lawyers, particularly Ken, that our analytical approach to the cumulative effects analysis is sound and will stand up to an administrative inquiry, we could have a shot at meeting our deadlines. If not, if they insist on a more arcane route, then the timeline's shattered and and we won't be able to put the water storage banking or trading into practice any time soon, thus worsening the already severe water crisis. Who knows, maybe California, Nevada, and even other western states would be forced to resort to water rationing.

I try to think positively, to affirm that all will go well. The mantra at least makes me smirk a bit, even if it doesn't quite do the trick.

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