Steganography: A Poll

So, I’m still relatively new at this writing-for-other-people lark, and in particular, on that part of it that goes “Show, don’t tell” – because since my original works have always begun with the worldbuilding aspects of things, I start out with something of a predisposition to tell, belike.  Granted, it can be tricky to get this right in a medium as short as my favored nanofic.

Anyway, I’d like to take a moment to ask my readers (rather than I or my lovely wife and beta reader, who have the disadvantage of already knowing the plot) who have a moment to think back to Steganography, parts One and Two, and take a quick poll on whether I have done so little telling as to leave the reader with no clue what was actually going on:

[polldaddy poll=5905355]

(If you’re absolutely swimming in time, you could take a moment to tell me which bits were particularly revealing or unrevealing or what you think you made of it in a comment, and I’d surely be appreciative of that.  Thanks muchly.)

Steganography (2/2)


As requested, I collected the package from the courier at Jerrad’s party.  No problems – the usual watchers were there, but there were no signs that anyone suspected an op in progress.  And with the transfer spread out over two dances and three conversations out of dozens, the statistical alibi should be solid.

I have reintegrated package HALO with packages CRAVAT and BOOZEHOUND previously collected by third-level operatives, and confirm successful reassembly and authentication.  The recipe is ready to deploy to second-level manufacturing on your instruction, and immortagen shipments should be go for street-level distribution within the week following.

Finally, I would note that in addition to the clean transfer, the courier positioned herself at the center of attention to avert suspicion of covert intent without, in my opinion, displaying the memetic tells of intentionally doing so.  In light of this excellent tradecraft, I would suggest that we recommend to the estrev paying this courier the highest level of performance bonus and adding her to the preferred external contractor list.

Awaiting further instructions,

OP2 Grayiron

– archived from the Falish Traverse Eldinimieuthunimis darknet

Steganography (1/2)

Mind-state transmission received; 3.263564 exp 16 octets validated.
Body reconstruction data [archive pointer].
Accoutrement construction data [catalog pointer], [catalog pointer], [archive pointer].
Augmented reality object code received; 2.465542 exp 10 octets validated.

Scan for hostile code complete; none found.
Identity confirmed: Acté Cyprium-ith-Réyne [UCID and mindprint match].


With a gurgle of suspension fluids and a blast of drying air, the body pod finished draining down, split, and opened.  The young woman stepped out of the pod, and stretched satisfyingly, curling long toes into the carpet.  A rainbow of color rippled under her skin, chromatophores rippling through their wake-up sequence.

Moving over to the shelf, her hair already whispering around her shoulders, coiling itself into complex curls, she unscrewed the leftmost container’s cap, poured the thick nanopaste within out onto the floor, and dipped a toe into the puddle.  She shivered slightly as the nanites made their ascent, the silvery fluid spinning itself into a shimmering gown around her.  A flip of her now fully self-styled hair out of the garment’s way, and a little shimmy to settle the fabric, and she was dressed.

“Dress: a little bit more provocative, if you please. I am one of those decadent Imperials, and I’d hate to disappoint all those expectations.”

While the dress busied itself adjusting its lines in all the right places, she slipped the copper-jade necklace-replica she’d brought around her neck.  Then, reaching into her personal thought-space, she produced, reified, and settled atop her head the augmentality illusion of a halo of fire, flames dancing and throwing off sparks among her blonde curls.

Well, she subvocalized, how do I look?

You are the very epitome, my lady, her muse wryly replied, of the young, rich, and lovely fluff that attend all of Saven Jerrad’s best parties.  I believe you will not-blend-in quite splendidly.