Ceilidh knows a lot of things she doesn’t say. She sees the things others think they hide. She hears the secret motivations tucked between their words. It’s like a super power, except only she can see it. Any time she lets on that she knows these things, people act like she’s been reading their diary, or (more commonly) they vigorously deny her observations. Often, even they aren’t fully aware of the subtle reasons behind their words and deeds. Ceilidh has the advantage of interacting with a machine without being part of it. She sees the microscopic turns of the mind’s gears. She cannot see the future, but when conversing with a person, she can easily trace a line from his or her thoughts and feelings at the moment to their most likely circumstances and actions in the next five minutes or several years. The degree of accuracy diminishes at a relatively predictable rate with longer projections because she cannot know the factors that may interrupt a person’s progress, including her own.
In fact, predicting her own future is the hardest thing of all. She sees herself as a pinball in this extraordinary machine, bouncing from one buzzing, flashing, singing, zooming moment to the next. The pinball, opaque, singular, solid and silent except for the crash and clatter of its many meaningless collisions with the machine. The only thing she ever really wonders is who’s playing the game.