30 Jan 2014

Lethal Ladies #25 - Commentary

Again, please read the chapter first.

After the excitement of the previous two chapters, it's time to slow the pace down and give readers a chance to catch their collective breath.  Not for long, though.  Sexton is still out there and wounded.  Just as important, the Ladies are finally back together and rested.  Amber now gets to go through withdrawal.  Fortunately for her head, the painkillers for her shoulder will help ease the caffeine shakes.

The first scene also gives a glimpse into Rose's home life and the intrusion her work has on it.  It also gives a look at the how the Ladies get along with each other.  Allison does like Amber; the computer tech just prefers to keep things professional instead of Amber's laissez-faire approach.  Still, Allie does find the girl annoying.  The family analogy was completely unintended at the time of writing.  However, the comparison works, with Rose as the mother figure of the group and Allison and Amber squabbling siblings.  Elena doesn't quite fit the analogy well, though.

The next scene has Rose and Elena back at the investigation.  Rose's approach on the phone is simple, overwhelm with too much information until it's easier for the person at the other end to just give in and look to get the caller off the line.  This won't work at a call centre; the agents won't go anywhere without verifying information and will end the call if the wrong info is given.  However, someone without that training and without the fear of unemployment can be badgered.  If that person is busy, threatening to waste their time works to get information, and Rose isn't looking for personal data, just a person.

Elena has it easier, especially when security theatre rules airports.  All she needs to do is check for last-minute ticket sales for outbound flights.  While there have been security breaches where weapons have gotten through undetected*, Sexton's government access should be invalid and prevent him from using his regular channels.  Today's security adds a new challenge in planning escape routes for characters.  Flights, especially in the US, are essentially off limits; there's just too much paranoia in security to risk going to an airport.  Trains aren't as locked down, mainly because it's difficult to hijack one and run it into an office tower.  Of course, there's always the option of driving.  Driving works early when word is just spreading, when the pursuer has no idea who or what to look for.  Once that advantage is lost, it's best to be well out of town and ideally across the closest border.  If the pursuers are law enforcement, radios and telephones are faster than any car in existance and other agencies will be looking.

Admin assistants are people to be on the good side of.  They keep the office running by tracking the needs of everyone in it.  Get on their bad side and watch as needed supplies just don't get re-ordered in time, or the wrong supplies get ordered.  Nothing major, but little annoyances, like the wrong size Post-It or pens that aren't comfortable.  The admin assistant also handles most travel arrangements and purchases.  Even the Ladies depend on their admin, Tyler.  So, remember to be nice to your admin assistant and get her or him coffee and doughnuts from time to time.

Tomorrow, finding Donna Lund.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, why movie adaptations aren't the best for books.
Coming soon, more fun with Traveller.

* Adam Savage has managed to take a blade on board aircraft without it being detected, while forgetting he had it in the first place.

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