Secrets: Chapter 29

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During the intermission between Ryu and The Darkest Heart, James stretched his legs and rolled his shoulders, causing Wigglewaggle to snuffle and resettle.

"I'm trying to understand this," he said. "How can you get a feed of live broadcasts through a television in a virtual world?"

"Umm." Kanade raised her arms up over her head, kicked her feet and let out a huge sigh of release. "Have you heard of NetMeet?"

"I don't know. Vaguely. I'm not a computer person."

An amused smile blossomed over Kanade's face. "It's a program that lets other programs talk to each other. We use it for our recording sessions, for example. I'll have the data stored in our studio, and then Casey or Julia can load up the audio mixing software and use it inside the game. Really convenient if, for example, one of your band members is in Texas." She peered at his face. "You're not glazing over, are you?"

"No, I'm thinking. These things are not my forte." James ran a hand through his hair. "How does that relate to the television?"

"I'm using NetMeet to import a cable feed. I can get channels from anywhere in the world."

"Amazing. What about stored media? Can you pull something out of a hard drive?"

"Did you have something in mind?"

"I have a ton of Ryu at home."

Kanade twirled an end of her hair in thought for a few moments, a faint smile playing over her lips. "Let's watch it."

"You can do that? From my computer?"

"Let's find out. Can you make us some popcorn?"

James wandered into the kitchen with Wigglewaggle perched on his shoulder. On top of the stone counter sat a microwave as out of place as the couch. Two minutes of rummaging and five minutes of popping produced two hot and ready bags. He checked the fridge—stone on the outside, a normal fridge on the inside—and procured two cans of generic soft drink.

When James walked back into the living room, he was looking at an image of his laptop's file directory. His folder of recorded media was open on the screen.

"You actually did it."

"Piece of cake." Kanade smiled, fiddling with her device, which was apparently a lot more potent than any television remote control. "Let's see. Here's the folder with Ryu in it ... and here's The Darkest Heart. Hmm. Which folder has the secret stash of porn?"

James sat, trying not to fling Wigglewaggle into a far corner of the room with any sudden movements. "It's the folder that says porn."

"Oh, I see it."

"Too early in the day for that one."

"Shall we be prudes until ten o'clock?"

"What are you threatening to do after ten?"

Kanade's smile grew wider. "Oh ... who knows."

James watched her fool around on his desktop and then queue up the two previous Ryu Christmas specials, all from a screen in a virtual world that she had somehow connected to his home computer's hard drive.

"Is this even legal?"

"Hmm ... since you asked me to ... it's probably fine?" A near-giggle escaped. "Don't tell on me, okay?"

"How do you know how to do this?"

Kanade sat back down on the couch, a little closer to him than before. She took one of the bags of popcorn and began to munch.

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