Monday, February 15, 2010

Merging Essence of Mount Huashan

Scene seed from The Economist's "The World This Week":

Tan Zuoren, an activist who had conducted an investigation into the role played by shabby construction in deaths from the earthquake in Sichuan province in China in 2008, was sentenced to five years in jail for "inciting subversion".

Scene also inspired by:

In software development, Subversion (SVN) is a version-control system initiated in 1999 by CollabNet Inc. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation.

Lui Meifeng looked at her image in the mirror. Her primary branch had gained weight, she could see it in the unsightly bulge that should have been tight abs. She should merge some of the muscles that her 2038.0618 branch was building on its trek to Cloud Terrace Peak on Mount Huashen, but it was too early and Meifeng didn't want to go through the extra effort of merging twice.

Meifeng sat in the CollabNet contoured chair and plugged the metal coaxial cable into the back of her head. She traced the stock and raw material bids that ran through the trading network. The yuan had been on a tear this week and the other traders were selling rapidly trying to preserve their wins. She sniffed blood. Her data feeds were some of the best and the yuan wasn't going to drop yet.

The day flew by, trading always went that way, and Meifeng doubled her principal's stake. Before unplugging, Meifeng checked her branch's progress. Meifeng slammed her fist down. Why was CollabNet showing her branch as a dead-end? She zoomed in to the final moments of her branch's life.

Memories flooded in and wind whipped Meifeng's cheeks as she fell down Ca'er Precipice where tufts of small green-leafed bushes grew on gray cliffs just out of reach of Meifeng's hands. She could taste her bodies fear. Meifeng called up the Personal Version Control System and rolled back fight minutes.

Meifeng was on the side of the cliff balanced on two narrow wooden boards. She shuffled her feet perpendicular to the cliff face, never crossing her legs. Below her the ground dropped away and a ribbon of river reflected the sky in the flat valley.

It was more than the wind, a push on her shoulder and her weight tipped too far forward. Her arms windmilled as she tried to regain her balance. She kept her hands out reaching for the person who'd pushed her. No avail, she began falling and saw a face on the edge of the cliff. Meifeng paused the PVCS and zoomed in on the face. She didn't recognize him.

Meifeng merged the pertinent memories of branch 2038.0618, ensuring that she got the man's face, but didn't retain the memories of the fall. Why would someone assassinate her branch?


Background: subversion, a revision control system for software, allows developers to check their code into repository. This is usually done with several branches that allows developers to check riskier, or more developmental code, on a branch that not everyone is using.

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