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'Birds?'
Narrator Anwar Ibrahim
Volume Into the Forest
Starts May 12, 2014 (10:23:52)
Ends May 12, 2014 (20:10:24)
Previous chapter 078*371*636
Next chapter Planski

"'Birds?'" is the third chapter of Into the Forest. It is the first chapter to be narrated by Anwar Ibrahim.

Chapter Quote Edit

"(An unmatched left parenthesis creates an unresolved tension that will stay with you all day." - Randall Munroe, xkcd

Summary Edit

The chapter opens up on May 12, 2014 at 10:23:52 in Los Angeles, California. Anwar is trying to resolve the money issue he has been dealing with. He wants to be paid the money the company owes him but he is unsure if it will be enough by this point. He keeps thinking about the deal made to him by Enzio: if he is able to debug their game "Cataplyst-1" then they will pay him more than the company he currently works at is promising to pay him.

Anwar opens the source code for Cataplyst-1 and starts reading through it. The game will not even run in its current build. He is trying to figure out how he will even resolve that much. From what the readers are shown, the game has over 100,000 lines of code Anwar needs to sort through.

Earlier, when Xanther and Astair took the car to take the cat to the vet, Anwar was left without a way to take Shasti and Freya to school. He had to call a friend for an emergency pickup, which luckily worked out. After that, he spent the next few hours trying to fix Cataplyst-1. He is unsure of what the title is supposed to mean. Ehtisham calls Anwar, apologizing for cancelling their plans last night, and asks Anwar if he would like to go to Culver City with him for the afternoon. Anwar is unable to make it without the car so they reschedule for the evening. Anwar takes another look at the code for Cataplyst-1 and he is unable to spot an error of any kind. He becomes increasingly frustrated, especially when he thinks about how Enzio only gave him a limited amount of time to complete this job.

Anwar begins to daydream. He remembers a time when he was younger and was still living in Cairo, Egypt. He was only four years old. One day, he was home at the apartment he and his parents were living at. It was a small apartment located nine stories up in the complex. It was dinner time and his father, Shenouda, was setting the table. His mother, Fatima, had left to pick up groceries and would be back soon. Once Fatima did return, she and Shenouda began cutting bread and filling bowls with soup. They began talking, and while that was happening Anwar spotted a red volleyball rolling into the dining room.

Anwar's daydream is cut off when Xanther and Astair return home from the vet. Astair tells Anwar about everything that happened there. After they talk, they tell Xanther she still has to finish the rest of the school day. Xanther protests, saying she doesn't want to leave the cat alone. After Xanther feeds the cat, she sets it down and Astair drives her to her school, Thomas Star Kane. Anwar returns to the computer and starts looking through the coding of Cataplyst-1 again.

After becoming frustrated again, Anwar goes downstairs to make some herbal tea. While waiting for the water to boil, he decides to check on the cat. It is sleeping. Anwar, and none of the other Ibrahims, had noticed how old the cat looks until it was pointed out by the vet earlier.

Later that evening in Culver City, Anwar meets with Ehtisham at Sementera. Ehtisham tells Anwar that he already spoke to Talbot and Glasgow but he also wants Anwar's opinion on what they spoke about. He shows Anwar a series of spreadsheets all relating to their money issues. He tells Anwar that he, Talbot, and Glasgow are all planning on leaving the company due to its massive debt. He also informs him that nobody will be losing proprietary rights, so Paradise Open still belongs to them and not to the company. Paul Bucksea of the company Dead Rowboats has offered to take over the lease and has already wired over the money. They try and figure out what they want to do next, and afterwards they begin talking about Mefisto.

Anwar tells Ehtisham that he is unable to debug Cataplyst-1. Ehtisham says that he should try music. When Anwar asks him to elaborate, Ehtisham explains how he heard about someone at Red Fly Studio who "programmed outputs of various pitches at different points in the code. Do-re-mi type stuff. Whenever the CPU crashed, the audio system kept producing the tone. If you know the note, you know where to look." The Narcons comment a book: "Game Coding Complete, Fourth Edition by Mike "MrMike" McShaffry and David "Rez" Graham, p. 827" for reference.

Ehtisham points out something strange to Anwar. The last time he spoke to Kozimo, all Kozimo wanted to hear about was Mefisto. Ehtisham told Kozimo about the prank Mefisto pulled on the Ibrahim family. The two go into The Glass House to discuss this further, but once inside, they find a large amount of birds in cages. There are movers clearing out the Sementera building and replacing all of the items with new items now that Dead Rowboats has taken over.

The chapter ends on May 12, 2014 at 20:10:24.