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ArlaneEnalra's picture

Implant

By ArlaneEnalra in Teleport Us

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Description

It was meant to end violence. It was meant to create a society where no one had anything to fear.  It was meant to keep the people safe. 

But for Technician Outis, something's very wrong.

2/22: Uploaded a version with a few minor fixes and edits.

Comments

irennie's picture
irennie from All over. Currently in Cambridge, England. is reading the Target Doctor Who novelizations February 2, 2013 - 7:55am

An interesting story.  I had a slight worry at the start that it might be too typical a dystopia, and while the twist changed that I didn't feel entirely satisfied.  Nonetheless you realized it well.  I had some specific comments.

  •  You got a lot of character in very quickly with the first section about the boy and the implant.  It puts the reader into the situation very quickly, and straight away we get an impression of what's meant to happen and what's going wrong.  A good piece of indirect worldbuilding.
  • Very minor complaint: when Outis is talking about his dreams he switches from present to past tense halfway though.
  • The section with Analyst was a little too exposition heavy.  There wasn't really a reason for Analyst to tell Outis any of this, especially not with this amount of glee.
  • The twist with the ending was interesting, but I couldn't really see the end-game of the dystopia you were describing.  I wasn't sure why what was being done was being done, or who was in control.  As such, while the story finished neatly, it felt unsatisfying.

There is some very good writing in this, and some interesting concepts.  I wasn't totally sold by the world you were building but I enjoyed the ride.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 2, 2013 - 8:16am

Thanks for the comments, I'm going to have to go back and look at the dream retelling, I completely missed that. It's funny to think I almost cut that entire front sequence. This is definitely a world/story I pln to do more with in the future.

Ivan Smith's picture
Ivan Smith from Melbourne, Australia is reading The back of a packet of potato chips February 2, 2013 - 5:07pm

Great story, well written. It was really easy to see the characters, (in my mind, the analyst looked like the creepy doctor from Twin Peaks for some reason). I don't have any major critiques, I would have liked the environment to have been described more, but this is hard within the word count and I liked the pace of the story.

Also, I actually liked the way you changed tense in the dream recounting, and hope you leave it in. It's perfectly acceptable grammatically, I feel, since it doesn't change mid sentence. It changes from simple present to simple past after the character flips out, and it adds a touch of reality, ie. suggests to the reader that this was not a dream but a real memory.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 2, 2013 - 5:55pm

I can very easily understand the association you have between the Dr. Jacoby and Analyst.  I haven't had a chance to re-read that section just yet but I'll take both views into consideration when I do.  Thanks for the read and comment!  And I'm glad you enjoyed it.  (The Dr. Comment brought a smile to my face!)  And yeah, that 4000 word limit is a real killer!

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep February 2, 2013 - 8:13pm

**SPOILER WARNING**

I'm a sucker for machines-gone-wild stories, and this certainly qualifies. Yes, humanity's enslavement is inevitable. We all know it.

I just hope it doesn't end up like your story.

What you've got here is a nightmare cloaked in sci-fi concepts. Which is just fine, because the future is a scary place in so many ways. This could easily be an episode of The Outer Limits.

I did not see your ending coming. I can't say what I was expecting, but the revelations about the Implant hit me at exactly the right time. You did a great job of leading the reader through what was happening. Just the right amount of description to illustrate a very delicate procedure. It's a shock, and I was forced to reassess everything that came before it with the revelations in mind.

It took me a little bit to realize this, but your story ultimately is about machines becoming more human. I don't think that's as common a theme as humans become more like machines--especially in this case, because the slide toward humanity is an unwanted effect of coming into extremely close contact with humanity.

Well done.

BTW, thanks for the image of the probe through the eye. 'preciate it.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 2, 2013 - 8:39pm

Glad you liked it, and your welcome ;)

Matt Hebert's picture
Matt Hebert from Vermont, originally, now in Dublin February 3, 2013 - 10:32am

Really enjoyed the storyline, and the characters were generally well done [Analyst starts well, but maybe a little too arch villain by the end?].  It was a tricky thing to shift our perspective in the last scene, and I thought you did that very well.  

I had a little trouble in the Physician scene taking Outis from a routine session [?] answering questions to huddled and sobbing.  Maybe the ending explains it a bit more, but for what it's worth, I got hung there just a bit. :)

Anyway, nice job and thanks!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 3, 2013 - 10:40am

Figuring out how to get Outis through the Physician sequence was one of the things that gave me the most trouble.  Its a scene I'll probably have to rework at some point.

Glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for the comments!

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday February 3, 2013 - 11:34am

I enjoyed the story and it was very well written. I enjoyed the graphic imagery. It gave just enough detail to be creepy without going overboard. 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 3, 2013 - 12:30pm

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks!

Klas Holmlund's picture
Klas Holmlund February 4, 2013 - 12:43pm

Lovely. Shades of Michael Palin in Brazil. Maybe got a bit jumbled at the end. Feels in a way you rushed the finish line a little bit. The pacing, the reveal, everything up to page 15-16 or so was simply stellar.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 4, 2013 - 1:36pm

Glad you liked it!   I'm going to have to look up the Michael Palin reference, not one I'm familiar with.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 5, 2013 - 2:15am

Michael Palin of Monte Python fame plays an affable torturer in the 1985 masterpiece movie Brazil. You really shouldnt miss it. I was sure your character was inspired by him. 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 5, 2013 - 6:03am

I'm definitely going to have to hunt it down now!

mattymillard's picture
mattymillard from Wolverhampton, England is reading Curse of the Wolf Girl - Martin Millar February 5, 2013 - 12:57pm

Euwwww... I wish I hadn't read this whilst I was eating my tea :-)

Despite the appetite quenching imagery (which was good, just at the wrong time for me), it was very enjoyable! I got a little confused around page 16 in terms of what he was and felt this could have been a little smoother, but I guess part of that was the intention.

It left me wondering what on Earth was going on - why and how did this happen? Have robots taken over the world or have humans developed a way of creating an army of robotic servants from humans? If robots have taken over, how do humans keep reproducing? This isn't a criticism - I'm intrigued and am left wanting to know the backstory. Maybe a longer version is in the offing one day?!

Matty

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 5, 2013 - 1:24pm

I'm thinking about doing in an expasion of this story or something in the same world.  There's so much I can see going on there!  There have been a couple of people who mentioned issues around pages 15~16, I'm going to have to take a look at that and see what I can do with it.

Glad you liked it!  (And do keep writing ;)

Paper_Junkie's picture
Paper_Junkie from MN is reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again February 5, 2013 - 1:09pm

I liked the way you built up the dread-- the pacing was great.  I'd agree though, the Analyst feels a little too over-the-top and villianous.  If you find a way, it would be interesting to hear why this is happening- the reasons for the implant system. 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 5, 2013 - 1:29pm

I can give you the question that I asked when I started writing the story, "What is the ultimate conclusion, the final end, when attempting to restrict or controll access to weapons as a means of limiting violence?"  That leads to asking the question, "What is the final/ultimate weapon available to man?"  I think I strayed a bit from that initial set of questions when writing the story (Ever get the feeling that your characters don't really want to cooperate?)  but that was where I started.

As to the Analyst, hmm.  I'll have to take a closer look at him.  It sounds like I might have written him as enjoying its work a little too much.

Thanks for the comment and glad you liked it!

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes February 15, 2013 - 2:42pm

Fun-Fun story. Well, not fun for Outis, but fun for me. I really got sucked into this one. Great job! ~Sam

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 15, 2013 - 3:21pm

Glad you liked it :) 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) February 18, 2013 - 5:18am

This is a nicely contained story, and I like the fact that it has a defined arc.  The world you weave is intriguing, and I can see shades of Matrix and Brazil (as I see others have mentioned).  The Analyst is great fun in his complete lack of morality, and I wonder if he himself is implanted or is actually less “human” than the implanted.  0.1% is a very small number to choose – was that just for shock value?  It seems remarkably inefficient just for control.  I guess it would have been nice to have a bit more in the way of motive – why do they need the humans?  Why put up with such a small survival rate?  The danger with expanding the story further is that if you aren’t careful it could be very similar to The Matrix.  This works very well in short story format, and if you do develop it further, I hope you can take it down new and surprising paths.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 18, 2013 - 7:00am

Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you liked it!  Analyst was meant to be significantly less than human.  In earlier drafts, I had implants like Outis's continuing an independent existence after they were removed from their host.  Everything I tried on that front seemed to fizzle on me, so we have Outis going on to impart "wisdom" and Analyst being a touch more ambiguous.

Something I didn't convey in the story very well, and may try to work in if I can get another draft finished, is that prenatal implantation gives much better odds.  That 0.1% was meant to be a declining number that had started out much much higher years before this point.  I was hoping to portray a system in decline.  And, I have to admit that that there was a touch of going for shock value; that Outis's job was more to do with disposal than processing.

The fact that the rest of the population put's up with the survival rate comes back to the implant itself.  No one, other than the machines, knows that the survival rate is so low.  They don't remember people disappearing thanks to the implant.

Motive was meant to start with humans and potentially be ceded to the like's of Analyst and the Physician's.  Something else I ran out of room to work into the story. :( The idea of using the implant to control people would have started with humans trying to impose control on other humans.  I had tried to intimate parts of that in the conversation between Analyst and Outis at the end.  It's also something that I'd like to explore more either in another story or by expanding this one.

It sounds like I need to think about the way I'm conveying some things in this world.  Thanks for the input!

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) February 18, 2013 - 8:16am

Thanks for going in to a bit more detail.


System in decline makes perfect sense within the context of the rest of your story.  Man’s inhumanity toward man and the need to control is always a great subject to tackle, and I really enjoyed your take on it.  It sounds like your story could have done with 500 to 1,000 words more on the limit, but I do think it works in its form.  I think the recycling of Outis is a neat touch, so it’s probably a good thing that other ideas fizzled at that point.

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 18, 2013 - 12:25pm

A very creative, complete short story. Well done. And, really scary. It made me shudder, which I loved. (I totally felt the "Brazil" element, in a good way though--really worth checking out.)

 

Minor thing to consider in a revision: when you shifted scenes, it took me a second to orient myself. Tiny tweaks would solve this. Otherwise, I don't think a ton more exposition is required.

Great job!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 18, 2013 - 12:48pm

Thank for the comment!  Can you be more specific about what threw you in the scene changes? (And I'm really need to watch Brazil!)

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 18, 2013 - 1:04pm

On re-reading, it's the transition between the first two scenes only. It took me a minute to realize Outis was in a new scene with another character. Minor stuff. :)

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 18, 2013 - 1:14pm

Thanks! I'll take a look at it.

Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures February 19, 2013 - 9:04am

Great story! It was dystopian, freaky and dang gross and I loved it for all those reasons. I really don't have any critiques. I do differ from some people in that I found the Analyst fantastically gleeful in the most horrible way so personally I think either amp that up more or leave it as it is because it made it that much more horrible to think he takes such joy in his work that seems so gruesome to us. Great job!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 19, 2013 - 10:08am

I really like your second sentence there!  Most definitely thanks for the read and Glad you liked it!

 

Harlem Snape's picture
Harlem Snape February 20, 2013 - 9:14am

Fantastic Story!  My only critique is minor, and barely worth mentioning, but I woudl recommend uploading it in .DOC form.  It will enable others to assist in editing (not that this one really needs it).  But also, the .pdf looked a bit strange on my computer, the print was very light and hard to read. but that is just me nitpicking.  Great job!  Thumbs up from me!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 20, 2013 - 9:57am

hmmm, first comment I've had about problems with the pdf, I'll take a look at that! Which pdf viewer are you using?

Thanks for comment and read! Glad you liked it!

C Patrick Neagle's picture
C Patrick Neagle from Portland, Oregon is reading words, words, words February 21, 2013 - 3:16am

Dang, that was good. I'm reduced to making comments on small proofreading and preference bits:

Pg 2: “on in his throat” [I'd go with 'in']
Pg 6: “lest [he discover] the sickly green light..." [my preference, but clarifies what he's worried about.
Pg 7: “stated the Physician” isn’t needed. Also, “it ordered” [The dialogue back and forth does your work for you here].
Pg 9: Would Outis use the word ‘voracious’ when remembering the dream? ‘Voracious’ doesn't seem like an I'm-in-a-panic word. Also, my preference would be, “Did it have a soul?” rather than ‘even have’.
Pg 10: “Even the [sound] of the whirring fan disappeared.” [Again, for clarity]
Pg 11: “…sounded male and accompanied a faint red light...” [Again, clarifies direction and action]
Pg 16: “How cute. You think…” and “…your old job.” [That's the addition of two periods, if you can't tell.]
Pg 18: ‘[But] give it half a day…” [The statement is in opposition to the sentence before, so 'But' or 'However' sets it up.]

I have a fondness for dialogue-heavy pieces. Good work there, though there might have been a few commas I missed in my line-edits, above. Also, I like the logo. Fun.

Toward the end, I was expecting Outis to be transferred into one of the robots to join the ranks of the robot overlords and will admit I was a bit disappointed that didn't happen. Either way, the story was a beautiful examination of the question 'what makes us human?' Is it memories? Or something more. I also couldn't help but think of that old Intro to Philosophy question: If you have a boat and replace the deck, is it still the same boat. What if now you replace the hull? The sails?"

I enjoyed this read quite a lot. Thanks.

 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 21, 2013 - 7:48am

Glad you liked the story! It's amazing how much of that kind of thing your mind just glosses over.  Most definitely thanks for the feedback!  One question though, your comment about page 16 "... your old job."  Why is that a period and not a comma?  Are you seeing it as separate from the following sentence?

I've merged all the other edits and will post and updated version once I get a chance to go back through and re-read it now.  Which I'll probably do over lunch!

Again Thanks!

C Patrick Neagle's picture
C Patrick Neagle from Portland, Oregon is reading words, words, words February 21, 2013 - 11:45pm

I do. If I remember rightly (and this was yesterday and four or five stories ago), it went, "...your old job," the doctor laughed... Something like that. If it was 'said' or 'chided' or a word like that, then maybe one sentence. I just don't see 'laughed' as a synonym for 'said.' Could just be me. That said, breaking up sentences when you can is hardly ever bad advice. Heh.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 22, 2013 - 6:47am

Ok, I went with your suggestion on that one.  Thanks for the insight.  That's one of those rules/patterns I know that I'm going to screw up all the time. ;)

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb February 21, 2013 - 12:57pm

I'm really rather impressed. I'm sure a more seasoned sci fi nerd than myself would give me ripping for this comment but I feel like I've just read an idea I've never seen before. I liked how we..

SPOILER ALERT

...discover it was really the implant we were following all along that ends up as 'essence' of Outis and I loved the final line 'It would be a shame to waste him.

I'm usually alergic to stories told mostly in dialogue but you pulled it off quite well, especially the Analyst's sarcastic tone. The whole story felt rather funny to me, a kind a sci-fi black comedy, even right from the start where Dustin dies in the chair and I was thinking 'I'm supposed to be horrified at a dead kid' but actually I felt as detached from the whole situation as Outis seemed to be, as if his attitude was 'Ah well fuck it, next please' and mine was supposed to be as well. That kind of emotional detachment and slithers of black humour isn't usually my sort of sci-fi but you've won me over quite successfully.

The only real criticism I had was that I felt like I wanted a bit more background on this world. I finally got my question about what the implants were really for answered but I still felt like asking who controls everything, why they do it, how it came about, all the usual. I know this is a small story and these comments are mostly me thinking big, but I'm doing it because that's all I can think of if I'm honest. A really good story, if anyone can suggest improvement it's not me.

(That's a thumbs up, to cut a long post short.)

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 21, 2013 - 1:21pm

Glad you liked it!  When I'm writing, I quickly find my characters falling into long conversations.  I can "hear" the conversations more readily than I can "see" their physical interactions.  (As crazy as that might seem ;)  Either way, dialog just seems to flow better and progresses a story faster for me.  I'll agree though, it can be tricky to pull off.  I know there are times when I read a dialog heavy section and lose track of who is saying what, especially if there is more than one character speaking.

Anyhow, most definitely thanks for the kind words!

Shane Berryhill's picture
Shane Berryhill February 26, 2013 - 12:26pm

You hooked me right off the bat, my friend. Keep writing! You've got loads of talent.

However, I recommend you familiar yourself with Strunk and White's THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE. It's long been considered the writer's bible, and naysays heavy use of adverbs, colorful dialogue attribution, etc.

Cheers,

Shane Berryhill

In a society where owning books makes you an outlaw, literature is kept alive by "burners," those who wage war for books by reciting their pages in rap-style battles called "burns." BURN by Shane Berryhill features "Reader" on the night of the biggest burn in his life. Reader must face off against "Shakespeare" for the title of "Librarian" while the Tolstoys, the Austens, the Wells, the Vernes, and all the other burner gangs look on. BURN is a tribute to the work of Ray Bradbury and a love letter to the written word.

Read, rate, and review BURN here: http://litreactor.com/events/teleport-us/burn

 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 26, 2013 - 12:40pm

Thanks for the read and most definitely glad you liked it.  I've seen Elements of Style mentioned several times here but I don't have a copy myself.  (Another item I need to get a copy of.)  Thanks for the tip. ;)

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Pet Sematary February 27, 2013 - 7:15pm

Don't have a ton of input after all the other things that have been said.  Great story.  I love the horror/sci-fi vein.  

I was a little visually confused when his point of view left his body.  I wasn't sure why that happened.  Did the implant have eyes?  Maybe I missed something.

Still, very original and fun.  I enjoyed it.  An easy thumbs up from me!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 27, 2013 - 7:37pm

Glad you liked it!  In the scene you're talking about, Outis was supposed to be seeing things through Analyst's eyes.  Since Analyst and the implant were compatible technologies and the implant had a continuous up-link, it seemed like a reasonable idea for Analyst to be able to feed it imagery.  Any suggestions on what would make it less confusion?

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Pet Sematary February 27, 2013 - 7:51pm

Maybe on page 14 when his perspective first switches, discrible it as changing channels on a TV, a switching on and off.  Then he sees the the Analyst's arms below his vision.

Or just say, his perspective switched to that of the Analyst's.  I know it breaks the "show don't tell" rule, but sometimes I think it's necessary for clarity.

Reading through it again, this is a very tight story.  These are just some ideas.  

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 27, 2013 - 9:33pm

Thanks for the ideas!  I'll have to think about what I'm going to do there, I can see how what you're suggesting would make the switch clearer. (I'll probably have to do that in a future edit though :( )

Tim Needles's picture
Tim Needles from Port Jefferson, New York is reading Stories edited by Neil Gaiman March 1, 2013 - 6:40pm

Terrific story, really!  It moved so quickly and manages to have some really terrifiing moments.  I'm late to the game so I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of creative critiscm but it's quite impressive and with so little fat, well edited! This story makes your goal of reading all the stories that much more honorable!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 1, 2013 - 8:32pm

Most definitely thank you for the kind words!  I'm glad you liked the story.  If I haven't read yours yet, I'm going to get there! ;)

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 7, 2013 - 1:10pm

Finally I got to read it! I really enjoyed the read and you surprised me several times, starting quickly with the boy dying, which kept me on my toes! 

Every new steps I enjoyed discovering a little bit more about the world, the Physician, the Analyst, even the implant. A lot of strong ideas here.

at the end, instead of the Analyst's big explanation that felt more directed toward me -the reader- than Outis, I think I might have had enjoyed seeing a mutation in pov, following O's 'rebirth' maybe

Do you imagine that the story takes place on Earth? When it started, I assumed it was - as always I guess- but then I realized that in your 'world' overpopulation didn't seem to be an issue so it might not. Either way, I'd love to know more about the whole world supporting this system!

Thanks for the ride, I hope I'll get to discover more of your universe!

PS: my apologies if my comment is just a repeat from previous comments. I haven't read them all :/

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 7, 2013 - 6:20pm

Most definitely thank you!  I'm glad you enjoyed the story.  I can honestly say that writing Implant was a bit of a surprise as well.  I was never quite sure what was going to happen next!

As to your questions, Implant could as easily take place on Earth or just about anywhere else.  I usually build my worlds from a highly specific locality outwards, adding details as I go.  I have plans to do something with this universe but I'm not sure quite what yet!

Don't worry about repeating other peoples comments, repetition just adds more credence to those opinnions ;) 

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 8, 2013 - 7:01am

That's an excellent news! Let me know when/if you develop the story, would love to read and discover more about it.

Phillip McCollum's picture
Phillip McCollum from Southern California is reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks March 10, 2013 - 7:30am

Wow! Eerie how much Doctor from my own Higher Minds was similar to your AI scientists. Fantastic story! You have a gift for brilliant description and pacing. I look forward to more of your work.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 10, 2013 - 12:04pm

That's what I get for replying before I've had my morning coffee! The other comment should have been a reply, not a stand-alone one.

And since it is now on the second page:

Thanks for the kind words! Multi-armed AI's with questionable intent seem to have turned into a repeating theme this challenge. There's also the surgeon in Tomcat. I want to say that there was at least one other one but I can' place the story right now. Glad you liked it!