February 09, 2005

This story is inspired by the brilliant red science experiment (Amaryllis) sitting atop Mark's monitor in the office. And to the big boss's sudden thought of "Flower Cam!" today.


(c) Deb Atwood 2005

Cameron sat on the edge of the desk, kicking her heels back and forth in the empty air as she watched her brother tie off the burlap bag and set it aside. He lifted another bag with a picture of a brilliant red bloom on it, set a thick bulb inside, and then tied that one off as well.

"I thought you always said you'd make a name for yourself." Cameron scowled, picking at the edge of the ugly green salvaged desk. Her heels swung back with a sharp rap against the metal legs.

"I am," Kevin said. He chose a bulb from a different pile this time, settling it into a bag emblazoned with the logo AMARYLLIS.NET and a silvery blue flower. "As of last week, I've shipped over 5,000 unique and intriguing bulbs."

Cameron looked at the flower on Kevin's desk, propped in the only clear space -- on top of his monitor. Yellow petals with a touch of orange and gold. Four blooms with no scent, atop a two foot stalk. She shook her head. "I don't get it, Kev. It's just a flower."

Kevin set down the last neatly packed bag into a crate. He put the lid on and stapled it shut. Cameron's gaze followed him as he placed the crate on top of the others, marked the total to ship on a clipboard nearby, then made his way back behind the desk.

He sat on the old leather stool, tucking his feet behind the rungs, and typed out "www.amaryllis.net" for his browser. The homepage for his small garage company, selling designer bulbs, appeared. A smile tipped his lips as he added a nonsense sequence of characters to the end of the URL and hit enter.

A username and password response later and a different page was displayed. He clicked an icon, then turned the monitor for Cameron to see.

Her own face stared back at her, at first scowling, then confused. She pointed at it, and it pointed back. "How?" Her voice came in stereo from the tinny speakers on the monitor.

Kevin grinned. "I said they were engineered. I never said how. As each bulb blooms, nanites build the structure of a camera and a transmitter and a rebounder. The signals bounce back, flower by flower, to me here. Yeah, I won't start seeing things from the farthest ones till the network gets built up between here and there, but I figure I've got time. And getting the new HERB.NET and SPIDERPLANT.NET clippings launched next month is going to fill in a lot of the gaps. The business plan calls to start capitalizing on the information gains in about six months. I should be pulling a profit by year end."

Cameron's mouth closed with a snap. "You... you bastard."

He laughed. "I said I'd make a name. And that's one of them."

Posted by Deb Atwood at February 09, 2005 08:30 PM | TrackBack
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