Part IV: It's Difficult to Concentrate when Sweetie's Katana is On the Table
Written 2 November
Sleezy Spinoza, Captain Camper, Sweetie, and I were on Whimsy, seated at a low Japanese table, drinking sake.
The view of the lagoon was lovely, but the table's built-in animation was distracting (every 30 seconds or so one of us would stand up, lose our balance, and fall, then resume drinking).
What mostly kept us from concentrating, though, was Sweetie's katana. She had placed it conspicously on the table and was lovingly polishing it with a microfiber cloth.
Judge Camper looked uneasily at Sleezy and said to me, "I thought we would be having this conversation by ourselves."
"Oh, we can," I said, "but first I need to know what's going on."
Sleezy said, "Oh, Cheyenne, must you continue to pretend this isn't your doing?"
"Yes," Sweetie said, glaring, "she must. And by the way, I'm scanning you both for spy scripts and recording devices right now."
"Oh, Sweetie," I said. "Is that really necessary? We've known these people for years."
"Yes, it's necessary" hissed Sweetie. "I'm telling you, they're plotting against you."
"I'm not plotting against either of you, Sweetie," Sleezy said.
"Oh, no? Let me look through your handbag for exploding lipsticks."
"No! I-- I can't. My cosmetics are the secret to my commercial success!"
Sweetie looked as if she might grab Sleezy's bag.
"Everybody calm down," I said. "Sweetie asked to be present at this meeting; Sleezy asked to talk to me and I want to know why; and Judge Camper, I want to know why you messaged me after so many years. You've not had a word to say to me since you replaced Judge Virtual Judy on The Second Life People's Court."
"Fine!" said Sleezy. "I want the exclusive. What's behind this deal? How did you get it? When did it start? How rich is it going to make you?"
"What are you talking about, Sleezy? Stop playing around!" I said.
"The sale! The sale!"
"What sale? Are you talking about my jewelry?"
"No, the sale! Everybody's buzzing about it!"
"Everybody who?" demanded Sweetie. "I want names and I want addresses. Give me their ISPs now! I'm going to have a talk with them."
"Oh, really! It's just the business community."
"What business community?" I asked.
"The financial community," Sleezy said. "The corporate speculators. You know, the Gordon Geckos of this virtual world-- the corporate takeover people."
I said, "Tell me what you're talking about-- plainly-- or this meeting is over."
"The buyout! By the Tagg group! Of your sims!"
"What!?" I said. (Sweetie loves it when I use interrobangs. It's her signature punctuation mark).
"You're going to be rich," said Sleezy. "I never thought you'd sell this place, but I don't blame you. Who could turn down so many millions of Lindens?
"I'm not selling Whimsy!" I said through closed lips.
"I don't mean selling, really, just letting the Tagg Group take a controlling interest. You're giving control of your shares to them, right?"
"No!" I said. "How did you come up with this nonsense?"
"Why, I've heard reports that Taggmasster 2000 has been on the sim for days. He's talking to everybody, making plans for the transfer of ownership."
"We didn't sell any part of Whimsy to anybody," Sweetie said, menacingly, "and we're not planning on selling any part of it. This is ours. Ours! Nobody is going to take it."
"I see," said Sleezy. Then, brightly, "Is that for attribution?"
"It's our precious," said Sweetie, stroking her katana. "Our precious!"
"A Gollum reference always works," I said.
Judge Camper jumped in. "That's why I wanted to talk to you, Cheyenne. I can't believe you engaged in such an important-- and lucrative-- business deal without calling me, your old friend, corporate lawyer."
"You're a corporate troll now?" I asked.
"Corporate lawyer, thank you," he said. "Graduate, Santa Clara University Virtual Law School. Member, VBA-- Virtual Bar Association."
"Well, I'm not selling the sim," I said. That's why I didn't call you, and that's why I'm not going on television tonight with Sleezy. This is all just preposterous."
Suddenly Sweetie was standing on the table in samurai mode, katana in hand. "My scanners just went off! There are people on the sim! Lots of them!"
I checked my radar. "Forty-seven, to be exact," I said.
"It's an attack!" said Sweetie. "I'm telling you, it's an attack!"
"Noooo," Sleezy wailed. "My exclusive! How did they find out?"
"What was your last Facebook update?" I asked her.
"What a bunch of noseyparkers!" she said. "That was a top-secret-available-to-anybody post!"
"Oh, dear," said Judge Camper. "We've lost our window of opportunity. It seems the business paparazzi have caught wind of the buyout. There'll be no end of talking heads and fake analysts and money hunters out there, and they'll all be waiting to interview Cheyenne about the buyout."
"What buyout?" I said. "I'm not selling to anybody!"
"I'm going to kill them all," grumbled Sweetie.
Judge Camper said, "If you're being taken over by Taggmasster 2000 and his group of Wall Street sharks, you're in the high cotton. Welcome to the world of high finance, you two."
"But we're not selling," I insisted.
Judge Camper looked at me thoughtfully. "Hostile takeover," he said. "That's even worse."
"There are barbarians at the gate," Sweetie said darkly.