About The Scarlett Kite
Hi! I'm Scarlett Kiteway, I'm 21 years old, a journalism student in Perplex City and this is my blog all about the excitement over the search for the Cube. I'll be keeping track of what the media over there is saying about it, and maybe a little bit about my life as well!
Friday, February 23, 2007me, 06:08 PM
In all of my journalism classes, they tell us to suspend judgment of the facts, to doubt everybody. I guess I never really understood before that they really meant... everybody.
I think back, now, to that ball night. I felt so very grown-up in my new gown. It was white satin, with a maze of little sparkly beads all on it, and it was strapless. I was so smug that I had talked my dad into letting me wear a strapless gown. And I felt sorry for Violet who was too sick to come.
I guess that's when she started lying to me. To everyone.
A couple of days after the ball, I made soup from an old recipe of our mother's I'd found in the kitchen, and I brought it over to Violet's apartment. Her nose was so red you could've used it for a traffic signal, and her eyes had these terrible purple smudges underneath. I made her eat the soup and clucked around piling her up with pillows and blankets, just like she'd done for me a hundred times when I was sick. And she croaked up at me, "Don't ever change, Lettie, you're perfect just as you are."
Well, it's too late, I've changed anyhow. People keep treating me like I'm broken, you know. They talk to me in hushed tones and they lay their hands on my shoulder in a way meant to be reassuring and they avoid asking me about anything 'worrying' or 'stressful,' which means nobody wants to let me talk about everything I've been through. I'm not broken, though. I mean, I think I was before, right after... you know. With my dad. And Lancewood. I'm not, now.
But I'm not the same Scarlett I was three years ago, either. There's a Scarlett-shaped hole in everyone's life where I used to fit, and I don't fit there anymore, but people keep trying to push me back in. And I'm just so angry at everyone, at Kurt and Violet and my father for all lying to me, and for expecting me to just trust them again and go on being sunny little Lettie. And I'm angry at the whole city for giving Kurt and Violet a Silver Solve for their very convincing years of deceit, while I get... "Oh, don't worry, Scarlett, the drugs are almost entirely safe. We're very probably almost sure that everything will be fine, eventually." This must be what growing wiser feels like.
Violet knows I'm angry, of course. She sees it simmering there under the surface. Maybe the worst part is she thinks I don't have a right to be angry at all; like when we spoke a couple of days ago.
"I was only trying to do the right thing," she told me.
I told her: "I know you were 'trying to do the right thing.' I know you didn't ask for it, I know you were afraid, I know you were trying to keep me safe. I understand all that. But the point is, you lied. You even lied to me."
I shook my head, and tried to explain just one more time. "And you were so good at the lying, Violet. So very, very, good that I just don't know where the real Violet is anymore, or if there's even a real Violet at all."
I still love my sister, I just don't know if I can trust her. But I'll always be there for her if she needs me. She did risk her life and her secret to come save me, in the end. Although... without her secret I guess I wouldn't have needed saving.
My fingers don't hurt so much anymore, you know. They still feel bruised when I use them. They're so ugly, though, and I can't bear to look at them. I've been wearing gloves, and telling people it's to protect my fingers, but really it's so I don't have to see them all the time. They remind me of all the ugly things there are in the world.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007me, 04:46 PM
I think this is recording. I can see the words coming up on the display - it should be OK and I.... They've put bandages on my hands. Nothing hurts but I feel so sleepy. I'm, I'm fading in and out. Everything seems very distant, like a dream, or something someone told me once. Kurt came to see me today, I think. Unless it was a dream, but it doesn't seem... He told me all about the different drugs they're giving me, and what the effects are. Kurt knows so many things. He'd found me some literature about tissue regeneration treatments and said I shouldn't worry about my hands because at least 90% of the damage is repairable. They don't hurt. Nothing hurts at all, and my head is very quiet and peaceful. I think it's the drugs. I'm trying to remember what I....
[No vocal signal detected.]
No, no please, no, I don't, I don't!
[No vocal signal detected.]
Sorry, I fell asleep. I keep doing that. I think of things and then I lose them again. The doctor said not to fight against it, just allow myself to heal. Sometimes moments come back suddenly, vividly. Just now I thought I was back there... in that.... It's so funny that I was in The Point. I love The Point. It didn't seem like... I thought I was far away, in Anjsbourg again maybe. I...
[words indistinct, please repeat]
Sorry, I. I don't know what I told them. They put needles in my arm and I... there's no way I could warn the Castilles. I don't know.
[words indistinct, please repeat.]
It doesn't like it when I cry. It thinks I'm making indistinct words. Funny. Everything seems funny right now. I don't want to make the little machine unhappy, but it's so unhappy. Maybe it's me who's unhappy, but I can't find it in my head. Violet came to see me, after Kurt. She told me about Caine, but it seemed to me like the very last thing in the world to think about. Violet was angry like snow around her hills and valleys and I told her so, but I don't think she understood. She looked at my bandaged hands and cried, and I told her not to cry. I can't remember the last time I saw her cry. I wished my dad was here, to give her icecream like he used to when we were little but he's not. I have to sleep now.
Friday, January 19, 2007me, 09:43 AM
Sorry about the cliffhanger yesterday - I think old habits die hard. But I suppose if finding old, brave Scarlett means also rediscovering my enjoyment of cliffhangers, it's worth the trade. And I really think I am finding her again. I feel so much better now, so much calmer and like I know what I'm doing again. I can't help worrying that it won't last but I hope, I so hope it will. So, Vi and I came up with a plan. I'm going undercover at the Sentinel! Not very undercover, of course, because they all know who I am. (I asked Violet if we could come up with some kind of disguise for me, but she seemed to think that wasn't the best idea. She was very kind about it though - I wonder how long it'll be until I can make her properly tetchy with me again ;-) ).
Here's the plan: I go into the Sentinel today at lunchtime to talk to Iona. This was really easy to organise because everyone's so nice to me right now. I'm going to ask her if she knows about who might have broken into our house - no one's been arrested, but our best guess is still that it was a journalist looking for information. It doesn't seem likely that Iona will be able to tell me anything but it's worth a try; she might have some leads that could help or, if I'm very lucky, I'll manage to wangle my way onto the Sentinel key systems and see if anyone's been trying to sell information about us.
It's so nice to be back. I haven't burst into tears about anything for more than a day now! I'm worried about going back there, but everyone's been so supportive. Violet's annoyingly insisting that I 'check in' with her as soon as I leave the Sentinel - she and Caine are still so worried about me. But I really think I'm getting better, I've even called a couple of friends and I'm looking forward to Caine's band's gig next week - the only way is up!
Thursday, January 18, 2007me, 03:54 PM
I'm angry. I think I haven't been angry for weeks, maybe months. At least, angry with anyone who isn't me. But now I'm angry. It feels... nice. Strong. Alive.
Vi took me back to dad's house - I didn't want to go there by myself but I'd left some stuff there and wanted to see if anything had been taken. Whoever it was - Vi guesses some journalist - had turned everything over. Not just turned over. Destroyed. The Zingiber sofas my mother chose, ripped to shreds. Urns and vases smashed. Drawers tipped out onto the floor. Paintings cut out of their frames and left, curled and crumpled, on the floor with the other debris. It felt angry. The whole thing felt like someone was personally angry with us, wanted to hurt us.
The bedrooms were just the same. All my books were thrown on the floor, the photos I took in Tanraga which I'd had printed out as posters were ripped and crushed. They'd even gone through my wardrobe, ripped into the linings of my coats. One of them was Violet's coat, in fact, but she didn't seem too angry. She wanted to know if anything was missing but I couldn't tell. There could be loads of things missing that I'll only think of when I go to look for them in six months' time. This was what made me really, properly angry. Someone I've never met, someone I don't even know. After everything that's happened, everything I've done and it's not even... it just doesn't make sense.
Vi went to look around the rest of the house while I sat in my bedroom. I picked up one of the antique leather-bound books my father had bought me years ago - the faceless someone had ripped its covers off. She found me still staring at it when she came back.
"Are you OK, Lettie?" she said. "We can leave if you want to. You don't have to stay here."
I didn't answer.
"Lettie? We'll get someone in to clean up. Everything can be replaced."
I turned that book over in my hands.
"Lettie? Sweetheart? Let's go now, OK? Maybe you should take a little nap."
She's been like this for months.
"I'm not a child, you know," I said.
"Um. OK. Yes. I know."
"I don't need anyone looking after me."
"OK then. Let's go?"
"You know, while you and Kurt were sitting at home messing around with investigating libraries and Recons I went to Anjsbourg!"
"Yes," she said, "I remember."
"I've been further away from the City than anyone else we know! I'm different from you! You don't have to treat me like a baby, I don't have to always be taking naps and drinking tea!"
I looked up at her. She was smiling.
"Yes. Good. In which case, I have an idea for you."
Tuesday, January 16, 2007me, 03:06 PM
It wasn't me after all. It was something else. I would have preferred it to have been me. Why is that? I feel like it would have been easier to bear. Instead, this is what happened. I woke up at about midday, feeling kind of OK. Still sick, but I managed to drink a little coffee. And I still didn't remember anything. My head hurt and my body hurt and Caine still wasn't back so I thought... I'll go for a walk, to clear my head.
It's about a mile, maybe a bit more, from Caine's place to my dad's house and it seemed perfect. It's been a pretty warm day - I carried my dress shoes in my hand and enjoyed the walk, the feeling of air in my lungs and warm sun on my skin. And it was only when I got almost to the house that I saw all the cameras and the journalists waiting, and it was only then that I remembered what happened last night. I think there are pictures of me crying on every news station in the city right now. And I still don't know where Caine's gone, or why.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007me, 11:41 AM
I feel sick. I think I have been sick, but someone cleaned it up. I'm in Caine's apartment but he doesn't seem to be here. He's left me fresh croissants, fruit and coffee things, but I feel sick when I look at them. He's nice though, Caine. I expect it was him who cleaned me up. I can't really remember. I can't remember very much from last night. I remember getting dressed up, and I remember arriving, and I remember Caine taking care of me and I remember crying, and I feel like some other things happened, and I feel really sad but it's all through a thick murky curtain, a fog. I think maybe I spoiled the party somehow. That's how I feel, I think I cried and spoiled the party for everyone. Caine's left me a note saying he'll be back in a couple of hours, and, for some reason, that I shouldn't turn on the news. I think I'm going back to bed. Everything hurts and I want to cry but I don't know why.
Monday, January 15, 2007me, 01:09 PM
There's this nightmare I have, over and over and over. I'm walking in some kind of maze. There's not much light, or the light is flickering, and I'm afraid, just afraid all the time. There's someone following me. Or is it that I'm following them? I can't tell. The lights flicker on and off and I know that they're going to catch me soon. Or maybe I'll catch them and that would be worse, so much so very much worse. And then the lights go off, and it's dark, and I know that they're in the room with me, right there. In a moment I'll feel their breath on my neck. And then I wake up screaming. I've been doing that a lot.
I can't explain what's happened to me, not really. Violet's been so kind, I've never seen her like this before. When I wake up in the middle of the night, and they tell me that I was shouting or screaming, and Caine brings me warm milk and Vi strokes my hair it's like... I think it's like my mother. As much as I can remember. And I know they love me, and I know they want to help, and I trust them, I really do, but I can't feel it. I can't feel anything much, sometimes. Only afraid, and alone. And I think back to the person I was this time last year: travelling, having adventures, excited by new destinations. I can't even believe it was me. I feel like I've always been sad and afraid. It's the Academy Ball this evening and I can't go, I don't want to be around all those people. I don't even leave the house that much anymore. All the time, I feel like something awful's about to happen. Just around the corner, just out of sight.
I hate this, I hate it. I wanted to be able to tell you how I'd spent the past months researching and investigating, and getting closer to finally solving all these mysteries. And some days I feel like that Scarlett, sometimes for a few hours put together and I think: I can do this, this is me again. And then I remember that I'm not that person anymore. I'm someone new, and this is who I am, who I'll always be. I'm a person who killed someone. Before I ever really fell in love, before I learned to waterski, before I finished college, before I tried eating swordfish, before I got married or had children. Before all that stuff that regular people do, I killed someone. I don't know who I am anymore.
Friday, October 20, 2006me, 02:28 PM
I'm writing this from Violet's apartment on Moebius. I've been staying here the past few days. Well, since we got back from Viendenbourg really. I haven't even been out of the apartment today - I've just been sitting in the window seat, monitoring the chat and news channels on my key, browsing some favourite Earth sites and knowing I won't be able to get at them much longer. Vi said Kurt had sent her a quick mail with a warning about the lockdown beginning at 5.30pm today. I think I may never want to leave the apartment again.
I had a conversation with my father yesterday. He's been trying to get through since Monday but I haven't been answering. I can't really remember a lot of the things he said. He was angry, and he was trying to hide it but he couldn't. I remember he said: "Why, Scarlett? Why couldn't you talk to me?" And I didn't have an answer - at least not one that made any sense. And I remember he said: "I want you to come home." And I started crying, and Violet took the key away from me and shouted at him for a while about lying and deceiving, and how he owes us an apology. I've been doing that a lot lately. Crying.
I miss my dad, the dad I used to know, or thought I knew. And I miss the world how it was, when I thought he could solve it all for me. And I don't know what to do or what to say about any of this so I just say: I'm sorry. I don't know how much of this is my fault, but for the things that are, I'm sorry.
Monday, October 16, 2006me, 04:17 PM
Have you ever had the feeling of having outgrown yourself? Or where you suddenly take a turn around a corner and come face to face with the person you were a year or two ago and realise, properly realise that you're just not them anymore? And you think - when did this happen? I seem to have been looking the other way and pretending to be that person I used to be when all this time, I've been... changing.
So, I was wondering what to write here, about all of this, and feeling confused and sad, and staring at my blog I noticed this, which I wrote not so very long ago:
"I'm not just, like, majoring in journalism, I really love it! I know some people think it's a bit hokey, but I really believe that journalists can make a difference. My friend Iona Rodie who writes for the Sentinel has changed City Council policy on the environment with her writing. One day I'm going to do the same."
I remember what I thought when I wrote that. I still believe it. Journalism is something that can change the world, can make a difference, can right wrongs and expose lies. But every gain is a loss, you know? I remember writing that about Iona's environmental stories, and feeling so excited and happy that she'd stopped some corporate dumping of waste in a protected habitat. And now I can't stop thinking about what happened in that corporation. Did someone lose their job? Were they thrown out of their house? Did their partner leave them? What happens then?
Violet isn't sure about what we've done. Her instinct was to keep everything secret, to investigate more, maybe to find a way to use the information to our advantage. But she agreed it was my call. Because of Lancewood. Because of Major Maine. And because I still believe that revealing the truth can change the world, I've made my decision and you'll hear about it soon. I don't know what's going to happen now. I don't think it'll be good. But everything's different already - there is no good decision anymore. The world has changed while we were looking the other way.
Saturday, October 14, 2006me, 11:52 AM
We've all read over those documents that Kurt got off the Viendenbourg network. Thank you for deciphering them for us, but now that you have, I really wish you hadn't.
"Subject reports extreme pain, disorientation."
"Subject severely injured. Expired at 18:15."
Something awful is happening at Viendenbourg, that much is clear, and... my father is directly responsible. This is the same man who tucked the blankets up to my chin at bedtime and taught me how to catch fireflies, you know? And I've known for ages now that my father was somehow involved in all of this, from the last time I went into Viendenbourg, but I'd hoped there was some sort of innocent explanation. I think now it's too late for that.
And, try as I might I can't get away from the fact that if my father authorised the experiments on Major Maine, it was he who made me... Well. He might as well have had his hand on the gun with me.
So now we're all huddled together in our tent. It's pouring rain outside, which isn't helping moods, and we're trying to decide who to tell, what to tell. We have to tell someone, we're agreed on that, but there's no way of knowing who to trust. I said on Hobbs Island, maybe the safest thing is to tell everyone. But I don't know what will happen if we do. I don't know what will happen to my dad.
Thursday, October 12, 2006me, 06:01 PM
I guess Violet told you all about our adventures at the Viendenbourg Heritage Centre. It's weird. The compound is still the same, the low-slung grey building is still there but now there's this tourist attraction for, apparently, the general public. It's very odd - obviously it hasn't been there long but really it still had that wet-paint smell to it. It looks so new I practically expected to find bits of it still wrapped in plastic. We feel kind of idiotic not having thought to check up on our key networks about what might have been going on here, but what were we supposed to do? The last time I was here it was a top-secret military facility, who would have thought it'd turn into a theme park?!
Anyway, Violet and I came up with a plan of attack with Kurt. That part of the tour, right at the end, when the children connect their keys to the Viendenbourg network - we decided to hook up at that point. Kurt didn't think he'd be able to find a way in through military security in the few minutes we'd have (and he was right - apparently just looking at the gateway practically made his eyes bleed) but he devised a little plan to retrieve some less-guarded files, the dumped corrupt files stored in temporary files on the system.
Which we now have. Most of it is garbage, just strings of meaningless characters, but Kurt said he thought this part looked significant. He thinks there are several files all mangled together and we hoped, well, we thought, that you might be able to help us untangle them? Kurt gave me the original file and the same one in hex too.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006me, 05:12 PM
It's been a year, almost to the day, since I first came to Viendenbourg. Then, I was with my boyfriend and my friends and a strange man called Allain who knew more about the place than he ought to have done. But I didn't know how important that was yet. A year ago I was camping in these woods with my friends and we built the campfire high and told ghost stories and took pictures of each other posing in front of the splinterwood trees and the towering crowns of purple hawksblossom. A year ago I hadn't even put anyone I loved in danger, let alone, well. Let alone killed someone.
I haven't said any of this to Violet. I know she's noticed that I've been quiet. I haven't wanted to say much about anything much since Lancewood and I guess she knows why. But coming here, coming back here and remembering everything that happened last time I was here... if I were to tell her to go back she wouldn't listen, and if I were to explain to her what I'm thinking she couldn't help. But the hawksblossom's blooming again and I'm a little sad, and a little frightened.
We brought the car this time - can't bring it through the woods of course but we've taken it as far as we can and have set up camp in the forest. Kurt took us shopping for a whole new camouflaged tent, with smart-skin which blends into the surroundings. We're taking precautions. He's also rigged up the same bafflers Allain and I had last time, this time super-streamlined, extra-safe, highly-monitorable. Violet says she doesn't know when he gets time to sleep for doing all of this. I think maybe he didn't sleep at all this weekend, just got by on a bunch of Ceretin but I don't know if she knows that either.
I had a conversation with Kurt on Saturday night. Vi and I were at his apartment. She was asleep on the couch and Kurt had his soldering gun out, creating some kit for us.
He carried on working as we talked, in that careful meticulous way he does.
"So that was quite bad, what happened at Lancewood."
I nodded slowly.
I said: "It's difficult to talk about."
Kurt fiddled with a few more connections and pulled out a thin-beamed laser to fix a lattice-work of tiny wires in place.
"Yup," he said. "It's, um, it doesn't get much easier."
I nodded again.
"A bit easier," he said, still looking at his work, "these things are, you know. It's better if you can work out how to talk about them."
"I've talked to Vi a bit about it. Sometimes. Look, um,"
He frowned at his circuit board, retrieved a tool that looked like a tiny button-hook and used it to twist two minute screws in place.
"If you ever want to talk. About Lancewood, you know, and I guess. You can talk to me."
I don't know if Kurt's going to be the person I'll want to talk to about all of this, but I really appreciated the thought. Vi hasn't really known what to say so she's sort of ignoring the whole I-killed-someone part of our expedition and is concentrating on the we-have-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-it element. Which is fine. It's good to have a project.
So, we're back in the forest. We have our special anti-confusion-field gizmos. And tomorrow we're going back to Viendenbourg to find out what's going on. And in my pocket, I have Major Jake Maine's dogtags. Just to remind me why we're doing this.
Friday, September 22, 2006me, 09:55 AM
Violet and I are still exploring Granier's laboratory here in the Lancewood Archipelago, but I thought it was a real disappointment - nothing interesting, no secret documents, no mummified corpses, nothing like that. We've just arrived back at Hobbs Island for another look and to try and get in the lift, which was locked. I just hope it doesn't just lead to more empty old rooms.
Oh, and in case you missed all the 'fun' that we had exploring Level 1, you can read the logs from yesterday afternoon of Violet, Kurt and me text chatting.
Thursday, September 21, 2006me, 04:10 PM
So I know Violet's told you this anyway, but just in case you haven't noticed her post yet... Her friend Kurt's produced this awesome interface for us to explore the lighthouse, and talk to each other and to him. If you want to look at it, go here. It's so exciting!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006me, 05:59 PM
Sailing is fun! Even if I do have to spend my time with grumpy-pants sister and her love life issues. It's still fun! We spent last night in the little seaport of Great Lancewood. It's a cute town, all the houses face down to the shore and there are even little 'heritage' fishing boats you can take out to explore the harbour with real oars and everything. I wanted Violet to come out on a boat with me, but she just grumped a bit more and said she had some "research" to do. I think she was on her key moaning to Kurt for two hours while I was out rowing my boat all the way round the bay, getting all salty from the sea spray.
This morning, we rented a proper boat though - a self-steering yacht with a little cabin and galley below and all the latest key-port gadgets. I can even play my music and watch my vids on the boat! That is, when Vi's not telling me to keep the noise down :-(.
The thirteenth island (which apparently has a name, Hobbs Island, which I think is kind of a shame, because it was cool calling it 'the thirteenth island') is marked on the maps as being "completely uninhabited" with no interesting features or heritage. Because we've been doing this for a while now, Vi and I just looked at that information, looked at each other and programmed the destination into our yacht's navigational systems. You know, maybe to find the Third Power you guys should just go to every place in the world which has "nothing interesting about it" and is "utterly deserted", because that's how these things seem to work.
It's been a perfect day for sailing. The sky is a light china blue and the wind is high and for a few miles a pod of dolphins was following the boat, rolling over and looking as if they were smiling. You're supposed to get special permission to land on Hobbs Island, because the sandbanks are dangerous but we managed to navigate it safely with the map Vi got from her bestest Recon friends. (She doesn't like it when I tease her about that either. She doesn't seem to like being teased at all these days.)
So now we're on Hobbs island. It's teeny, only about four miles across by maybe a six along, and very flat - no trees or anything. Vi's borrowed Kurt's clever tent and various other handy gadgets. Luckily, the tent automatically expands to accomodate more people, or we'd have to share a sleeping bag! I suppose we could sleep on the boat if we wanted but we thought we might find ourselves too far away while exploring so it seems sensible to have the tent.
We haven't had to look far to find something interesting, though. About a quarter of a mile inland we found a huge circular set of foundations. Just as if, as Violet said, there used to be a lighthouse here. And at the edge of the foundations there's a set of steps down into... well, at the moment it just looks like a bare concrete room, like a bunker or a storage cellar. But Vi's going to bring some of the proper scanning equipment Kurt gave her tomorrow and we're going to see what else might be down there.