10 Aug 2017

The Devil You Know - Commentary 3

So much for a mental health day, in The Devil You Know Chapter 3.

Ione needs time to recover.  However, being well aware of my cycle of action-reaction-recover, I decided to switch things up.  Ione's still off-balance, but to show her out of sorts, I need her in sorts.  Thus, her mental health day.  It's another chapter with her in her normal life, from waking up with a cat draped on her to dealing with her family.  Ione's world gets a little bigger.

Diesel is a cat.  I've had many, some who liked to sleep on me, others that needed space.  Some who would leap out of bed when I woke up and others who would just sleep harder despite me trying to extricate myself.  I've even had cats that preferred to sleep on my pillow, forcing me to move aside.  Diesel is the type that likes to curl up right beside his humans, no matter what the weather is.  It's great in the winter, but in the summer, the cat is treating the human as a heat sink.

My little heat sink.  She has no problems curling up beside me in the summer.  Photo by author.

Same heat sink is also good at getting out to the treat drawer when I'm finally out of bed.  However, Tux wasn't as interested, so he'd take his time, usually stopping right in front of me.  Cats will be cats, though they do understand when their humans are upset.  Mischief will curl up on me if I'm having a bad day of if I had a bad dream.

Ione's been out of town for a few days on a mission that she can't talk about.  Naturally, family doesn't understand when she doesn't answer right away.  Since we're seeing everything from her point of view, we're going to have a biased view of her sister, Amy.  The family dynamic comes up again later, but this scene sets up the later scenes and keeps Ione from completely recovering from her trip.

One again, there's evidence that Ione isn't average.  Sure, women ride motorcycles, too, but even a male character riding one despite having a government job is an indication that he's going beyond expectations.  With Ione, couple her riding preferences with her hobby of LARPing and her job of SIGINT analysis, both detailed in last week's commentary.  So, Ione is an urban fantasy heroine in the making.  She doesn't have power, or at least, none have manifested yet, and she has unusual skills, provided that one believes math is unusual.  At the same time, she does need to be a spy thriller lead, if not an experienced agent, then the analyst who gets involved in missions because of specialized knowledge.  It's a balancing act.

The Bridgehead Roastery is a real place.  The chain has more outlets than Starbucks locally, though nowhere near as many as Tim Horton's.  Pumpkin spice everything is available in October, and chocolatines are part of the regular menu.  Ben, though, is not based on a real barista.  He started out as a sympathetic ear for Ione.  It became a running theme for characters in the story - instead of just being around for one scene, they kept returning.  Ben's one of the returners.  But, he did allow me to get a couple of geeky quotes.  "Always in motion, is the future," and "Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff."

Ione's full name finally comes out.  She uses her middle name, mainly because there were too many Sarahs in her grade in school.  Amy's use of the full name is an indication of her anger.  They love each other like sisters, which means they'll stand up for each other, but if they fight, they know exactly where to hit, physically and metaphorically.  To be fair to Amy, she was never told her sister went out of town on work to Paris, someplace she wants to go.  And life goes on, with family being family.

The "chase" sequence, such as it is, is on local roads.  Ione made a poor choice of road.  The Parkway doesn't have many exits.  However, each direction is just two lanes, with curbs and no sidewalks.  A motorcycle can slip through traffic, while Ione's stalker is stuck.  The other feature of the Parkway is that it falls under Federal jurisdiction.  Welcome to the National Capital Region, where there are six separate police forces - Ottawa Police Service and Gatineau Police covering the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sûreté du Québec covering mainly the highways, the RCMP who have jursdiction over Federal lands, and the Military Police.  And that's not even touching embassy security.

Friday, the citation turns out to be a summons, in The Devil You Know Chapter 4.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, let's remake Disney's The Black Hole.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Hercules & Xena Roleplaying Game.


  1. I feel like math is perfectly normal. ;) It's handy to have some characters that the protagonist sees often (family/Ben), as they can help to provide some of the baseline routine/personality too. It's interesting - though I recognize the setting, the jurisdiction of police never really crossed my mind (much like the models of cars doesn't either). But then, I also have a tendency to use pets as props more than characters. (Luci needed someone to talk to, so she got a cat, who is never seen again but occasionally referenced.)

    I see you decided to go for the sentence recap, and keep the quoting as a teaser. I feel like that works - are you enjoying it?

    1. I figured. :) And it wasn't the original intent, but having a math major as the main character does show off the usefulness of the subject. That's what I thought; Ione needs a normal to act as a baseline when things get weird. And a family and friends where she can just relax and be herself. It crossed my mind from time to time, and this is the simplified version. Before amalgamation, Nepean and Gloucester had their own police departments while Kanata contracted out to the OPP. Diesel's role wasn't going to be big, but he kinda padded his part, and his mannerisms are based on cats I've had or known. (That's fair, too. Sometimes, you can really only tell someone who can't talk a big secret.)

      I'm still getting a feel for how the recpa works. It might get better once the plot is rolling. Ione's in a calm before the storm right now. I'll know if I like the format once Jack shows up.