Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mind the skies: A requiem for Alex Velvet

The workers at Consolidated Overmetrics insist to this day that they were not, in fact, contracted to design a piano catapult.

Court documents and deposition transcripts indicate multiple incidences where employees and executives state that at no time was their a client workorder reading, "We need something of the dimensions x, y, z, must be capable of generating n amount of torque-feet and, by the way, also able to fire a Mahogany-toned Yamaha baby-grand Model AE564 (with the Composochrome add-on package) with lethal force at a range of 400 to 500 yards." This was not part of their work order.

Realistically, however, it should be noted that all force with regard to a flying piano inevitably can be classified as "lethal."

Still, that doesn't change the fact that the few lines in the above spec sheet that did not reference said piano were indeed part of their mandate, and that the client's request form clearly asked for the capability to propel an object of comparable size and mass from "a stand-still position to a targeted destination upwards of 400 feet from source." The socio-military applications for said device remain classified, but a string of spokesmen and witness have testified under oath that its application are myriad in both the civic and public sector.

The word "catapult," of course, never appears on the form -- this was to be a Metal-Carbide Stationary Object Linear Accelerator (MC-SOLA), the kinds of which that Consolidated had been churning out for some 11 years prior to what is now only known as "the incident" at the C.O. Proving Grounds, which are for tax and liability reasons located thousands of miles away from the California-based Practical Design Group in a gated facility in western Colombia, in a town called Xiopollin.

(It should be noted that there's no guideline for pronouncing the name of Xiopollin. In terms of native settlements in the South American nation, there was no precedent for anything of consequence at the intersection of the Chucha River and the Pixto Mountain Range -- Just 10 miles away from the Gila Resort ['Ski the Experience! / Esqui la Experiencia!']. The land in fact had be regarded as generally useless if not entirely cursed for use other than grazing land for the area's migrant ranchers, an application that vanished a short time after the native peoples of the valley were vigorously encouraged to continue their nomadic ways.)

Known colloquially among its workers as  'Facility X', the MC-SOLA at Xiopollin was tested under the guidance of Tyler Tarrington, a mid-level project manager and recent graduate from the University of Florida A&M with a degree in Mechanical Acceleration, a magnet program unique to the University designed to capitalize on the area's burgeoning interest in NASCAR and its attendant pursuits. Tarrington, a man whose personnel file gives no indication of being realistically considered a stupid person, was later said under oath to be the sort of young man who lacked judgment in numerous arenas, not the least of which being where acceleration was involved.

Hired at C.O.'s Silicon Valley location, Tarrington was reassigned to Facility X to, in the words of his Employee Travel Activity Timetable packet (ETAT), "Supervise the completion of this latest iteration of the SOLA project," which had been successfully tested in multiple markets at a smaller scale. Prior company-wide success in replicating the SOLA product gave them no indicatio to Tarrington than any other project manager.

Records indicate that the construction proceeded for three months without incident up until completion of a prototype, which when raised into launch position was upwards of 30 feet tall and 20 feet long. Prototype dates are always festive around Facility X, which on that count is again no different from the Company's other locations. As such crates of dark rum, pan-fried plaintains and rolled pork tacos were acquired for the team, in addition to the above described Yamaha piano (on loan from the Gila Resort in a trade for 50 of the spare cases of said dark rum earlier that year, a result that Tarrington described as "happy" in his logs). Bartering for goods and services, again, is a common practice South America and other outlying corpro-scapes where the Company has been successful.

Testimony -- and thorough investigation of the physical area -- indicates that initial tests of the MC-SOLA involving the Company's biodegradable foam models, a series of metal wastebaskets and one 5x5 carton of rolled pork tacos were successfully discharged with a level of accuracy .07% of target estimation some 800 feet away in the unoccupied Muhuatimoc Valley on the opposite side of Highway 175 to the West. In a deposition conducted on January 5, an engineer on hand named Hiram Willits of Sioux Falls testified that the testing celebration got "a little out of hand" shortly thereafter.

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