Adventures of Bat Magnum, FileMaker Consultant
by Brian Dunning
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[For actual FileMaker Consulting, click here.]
Magnum slammed the carabiner onto the chopper's rail and leaped
out into the nothingness. The wind hit him like a freight train,
hammering him back and he dangled like a rag doll in a hurricane,
battering in the jetwash. He pulled his feet in to avoid the blur
of the tail rotor. Instantly the chopper shuddered as his concussion
grenade detonated inside with a ribsnapping thump.
He caught the rail and pulled himself back in. Greer and Macklin
lay shattered on the deck, blood streaming from their ears. The
chopper began to rock queasily as the dead pilot tumbled from
his seat. Bat Magnum transferred his carabiner onto Greer's case,
grabbed it by the handle, and leapt out the door as the chopper
began its final sickening roll toward the Peruvian crags.
Bat Magnum heard the familiar beep in his earpiece as his Iridium
asked him who he'd like to call. "Sidekick," he shouted,
and drew a fresh magazine from his pack, sliding it into his MP5K
as the rushing wind rattled his jacket harder and harder.
Four thousand miles away, his laptop computer received a voice-over-IP
call and sent the standard greeting. Nuance recognized Bat's voice
and launched a FileMaker Pro document. As soon as the application
was open, a startup script ran and imported the VoiceXML from
Nuance with a custom XSLT style sheet. FileMaker composed a single
text command, exported it as VoiceXML back to Nuance, then went
into a pause waiting for Bat's reply.
Bat called off the numbers stenciled on the case as he slid out
the MP5K's collapsible stock and shouldered it. He drew a bead
on the approaching Robinson R22s, ripping off a burst and blooming
the fuel tank of the lead chopper. The others veered away as debris
tumbled from the blossoming orange cloud.
FileMaker Pro was unable to find the case listed in its diplomatic
database. Bat Magnum took a moment to glance downward, noting
his altitude at no more than 5000 feet. And falling fast.
He spun in the mad hurricane and his MP5K rang again, clipping
off a rotor from another R22. As the chopper began vibrating itself
apart, the pilot fired off a ballistic chute and saved himself.
Still falling. An error trapping loop in the FileMaker Pro script
tried an XML web service to contact the central database in Macau,
which fortunately had the case listed and returned a lock combination.
FileMaker imported this, composed a reply, and sent a VoiceXML
stream to Nuance. Bat received the spoken combination.
Seconds later he had the case open, pulled out the parachute
packed inside, slipped one leg into a loop and pulled the ripcord.
It rattled harshly as it opened and then jerked every nerve in
his body when it snapped full just as he struck the ground, the
case and his MP5K scattering.
Crew from the landed R22s approached from every angle. Bat was
too tired, too flustered, and too shocked from the landing to
resist. The world spun as they manhandled him, grew darker as
he felt himself roughly shoved, and then went black and peaceful.
Before he could rest, Bat Magnum shocked awake as cold water
splashed his face, up his nose and into his ears, all over his
shirt. His left leg was in agony. He was in a cold room with blue
light. By instinct, he immediately knew that his trusty Glock
19 was no longer secreted at his calf.
Four men came slowly into focus, standing patiently. One, apparently
a doctor, leaned in and checked his pupil response with a small
flashlight. Bat noted an array of syringes on a small metal table.
Two of the others were just apes, Eastern Europeans with assault
rifles, bad suits, and too much aftershave. The fourth Bat couldn't
finger. He seemed too young to be the one in charge. But he was
too tired to work it out.
The young man was talking in a language that sounded familiar.
In his hands he held out Bat's headset and phone. He gestured
something, and continued prattling on. The doctor took out a pad,
leaned over the metal table and wrote something. As the young
man slowly repeated what sounded like a string of numbers, the
doctor showed his writing to Bat. He'd scrawled
Ten million Czech crowns. That was what, like three hundred grand?
Bat almost laughed, the amount seemed so trivial, but it hurt
his throat and he tasted dry blood. Instead he gestured for the
pen. The doctor handed it to him and Bat scratched out the 10
and wrote in a 12.
The young man's face grew dark as the doctor showed him the new
figure. He spouted a stream of something Bat didn't catch, but
was interrupted by his cell phone ringing. The young man answered
it, listened, and hung up. He nodded tersely to Bat Magnum and
handed him his headset and Iridium.
"Sidekick," said Bat coarsely. He waited for Nuance
to pick up and then commanded "Service agreement. Three hundred
and seventy five thousand dollars." The doctor was writing
again, showed it to Bat, and Bat read off the fax number into
his headset. He hung up. Moments later, the white lights came
on in the room and a fifth man entered. His English was faultless.
In his hands he held Bat Magnum's freshly faxed, and signed, service
"Mr. Magnum," he said as he unlocked Bat's restraints.
"Thank you. I look forward to working with you. Valery will
go over the specs with you."
Bat Magnum pulled himself unsteadily to his feet. The new man
smiled and handed him back his Glock. Bat holstered it and shook
hands. "We're going to build you one hell of a contact manager,
Pinocek led him out the door, talking as they walked. "I
hope so. Perhaps you can also take a look at our FileMaker Server
while you're here. We've had some questions about performance."
The doctor and the two gunmen followed, turning off the lights
and closing the door behind them.
Thanks to Rich Coulombre
of The Support
Group for his technical contribution to this article.