“So I’ve got two questions,” I began, between bites of the chow-mein-and-pepperoni pizza that Acrylic had bought for us. The blue and pink neon lights of the roadside stall rimmed its metal structure and the clear plastic umbrellas that protected it from the elements. It had rained earlier that night.
“I am attentive,” Acrylic replied.
“One,” I asked, “what does MEPHISTO stand for?”
“‘Multiply Enhanced Personified Heuristic with Integrated Sapience and Threaded Optimization’,” Acrylic replied, all in one breath. “And your other inquiry?”
“What exactly are we doing here?”
Acrylic swallowed his pizza. “As I have mentioned, hacking MEPHISTO is in no wise a triviality. Assistance is required. I have an…associate with whom I share a bit of a…friendly rivalry. I have made an entreaty for aid in that respect.”
Without warning, the Jumbotron flickered. A cartooned pirates’ galleon broke in against a dazzling yellow-and-orange splattered background.
“It seems we have elicited a response,” Acrylic remarked.