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in his hand.
"Telegram for ye, Paddy!"
He stood there, a huge man with a bushy black beard, bandana around his head,
and eye patches over both eyes.
"Arrr! Sink me harbour and all that pirate bilge!Lemme see what ye got there,
Seamus." He took the paper, flipped up one eye patch and read it, and frowned.
He turned it on its side, tried again, then tried it upside down. "What kind
of code be this, Seamus?"
"Ain't no code, Paddy, I swear! Come in plain, I tell ye!"
Paddy read the paper again.
SAMPLE REPEEK BILLION BILLION FEMURS TO PICK UP DECAYED SPICE SHEEP
AND MAIL AND DEFECATE SHEEP AND ALL UDDERS ABROAD.
"Arrr! This be gibberish! But the reply's there. How'd this come in, Seamus?"
"Relay, Yer Meanness. S. N. A. F. S.N.A.F.O.O. system."
"Hmmm . . . Never used that one meself, but 'tis said it's the most secure of
all, but this message got to be fouled up somewheres along the line, arr. Let
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me scribble a line on the back of this here paper for ye to send back to 'em
whoever they is and get some sense."
Seamus looked at the block-printed characters.
ORIGINAL MESSAGE GIBBERISH. PLEASE SEND AGAIN. LOVE, PADDY.
The pirate nodded. "Arr! And bring me the reply!"
Old Seamus hurried back to the combination hyper-space transmission facility
and brewery he ran and fired up the S. N. A. F. 0.0. channel, then read in the
message exactly as Paddy gave it to him.
It went out on the proper channel, on an entirely different route, through
accent after accent and language after language, and finally it popped out
again where Herb was sitting.
He picked up the message, read it, and frowned.
GIBBERING MASSAGE ORGY. PLEASE SEND PATTY. LOVE GIN.
"Geez! That must be some inn!" he said aloud, wishing he were there. However,
business was business.
SORRY TO INTERRUPT FUN, BUT NEED YOU TO DO QUICK AND DIRTY JOB FOR
BIG MONEY. WILL YOU GO OR SHOULD I GET SOMEONE ELSE?
Back and forth the message went, until Old Seamus tottered in again. By this
time Paddy was a bit drunk, and had other problems.
"Arr! I've gone blind! Can't read a blasted thing!"
"Er, sorry, Captain, but don't you think you oughta maybe lift one of them eye
patches?" the old man suggested. "Why do you wear two of 'em, anyway?"
Paddy started a moment, then raised one of the patches. "It's a bloomin'
miracle, it is! I can see again!" He paused. "Huh? What was yer question?"
"Why do you wear two eye patches anyway?"
"Us pirates always wear eye patches, old man. You know that. It's in the
instruction manual you get at pirates' school. But I can never remember which
eye to wear it over, that's all. Now
let's see that message."
SORE TO INTERPRET FONDUE, BUT KNEAD EWE QUACK UND D.T.'S FOUR BUG
MOONEY. WILL HUGO OR GAROT ONE SMELLS?
"This be lunacy!" Paddy swore. "I think there be some problems with this
secure system. It be so secure nobody can ever figure out the message!"
Seamus stared at the paper. "I dunno. A ewe is a girl sheep, and the first
message said something about sheep, did it not? Maybe this fella's tied up in
a fondue party and needs somebody to smuggle his sheep in."
"Sheep? For fondue?"
"Well, maybe they're using sheep dip. Who knows.bout some of them strange
customs out there, and there's no accountin' for taste."
"Aye, I've boiled a few mutineers in soft cheese meself," the captain
admitted. "Still and all, I'm gonna give this swabbie one more try and then to
perdition with 'im!"
He scribbed something again on the back of the paper and Seamus read:
CALL ME DIRECT. MESSAGES NOT CLEAR. PIRATES DON'T CARRY NO SHEEP!
At the other end, Herb stared at the message and sighed. Maybe this system had
a few bugs in it, he decided.
ME DERICK COLD. MOOSE SAGES NO ECLAIR. PIE RATES DAREN'T CARRION
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NOSE HEAP!
For a moment he wondered if he was being insulted, but then he got hold of
himself and asked the master computer for analysis.
"Have you ever played `rumor?" it asked him. "Yes, as a child."
"Remember what happens when you whisper some-thing to the first person in
line, who then whispers it to the second, and so on? What comes out at the
other end?"
"Yes. It bears little resemblance oh! I see! But how can I get the proper
message to him any way but this without being traced?"
"You might try just sending it in tight code directly to our office on La
Hibernia," the computer suggested. "Then have the local computer there
transmit in the clear to the local station, who won't know where it came from.
Have them respond to one of our electronic mail stops we keep there for
confidential reasons under the name of that contracting company the
president's son fronts for us, and have that computer shoot it back here."
Herb snapped his fingers. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" He paused a
moment.
"Uh we have a local office on La Hibernia?"
"We have local offices everywhere. And as to your first question, if you had
thought of it, then you could be the central computer and I would get to spend
your money on wild and frivolous living," the computer responded. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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