24 April, 2011

On the New Frontier...What Did They Feed the Computer Today?

     My scream brought my secretary to my open doorway.  She held scaled hands over her reptilian head, looking at me.  She waited, knowing my hysterics would abate.  As I huffed myself from my unleashing a tirade, I spotted a data tablet tucked under an arm.  Forcing back another yell, I asked calmly, "What news do you have?"
     Torli simply placed the tablet on my desk, spinning and retreating before I could grab it.  Frowning, I knew the tablet contained bad news.  I steeled myself with a swig of coffee, looking at the data.  I almost choked, burning my nose as I attempted not to spray my office in coffee.  Coughing, I looked again at the tablet in abject amazement.
     The food processor in research and development refused to shut off.  Instead, it spewed nothing but grits.  Feeling my frown resurface, I added this to the list of chaos from the day so far.  Malfunctioning lifts, random power surges, the appearance of stuffed animals when using the teleport terminal, and more added to the sense of mayhem. 
     Pressing a hand to my forehead, I marched out of my office.  Heading to a dark corner of the floor, I found the central computer unit humming away.  Lights flicked and flashed at me, in some order.  Blinking, I headed to the main status display.  Punching in my security code, I asked the computer to output the status report.  Turning, I waited for the holographic display.
     A cartoon of some nature blasted my ear drums.  Screaming, "Display off!", not a thing occurred.  Wishing for ear plugs, I furiously tapped the status display.  Not a one of my codes managed to stop the childish show hammering my senses.  I kicked the computer, accomplishing nothing more than banging my foot and yelping.  After an undetermined number of minutes it (Mercifully.) stopped.
     Shaking my head, I opened the door and yelled out, "Torli, send the word.  Switching primary system offline and failing to the backup."  As I closed the door I almost felt the groan from every staff member.  I counted in my head, giving Torli time to send the word to the agents in the field.  Sucking in a breath, I powered down the primary system, watching the backup kick on.  Seeing it appeared to be functioning, I left the computer control room, intent on getting back to work.
     Yelling in surprise, some object nailed me square in the back.  Spinning about, I narrowly avoided a data tablet flying at my head.  I dropped to the floor, seeing staff members scrambling all over.  Crawling under a desk, I began to doubt my senses at the sight before me.  I lost count of the number of objects I saw go whizzing by, as I crawled back to the computer room.  Once inside, I threw the master cutoff for both systems.
     Peeking out the door, I noted no flying objects and a few moans from staff members.  I walked out, checking on people as I went.  Shaking my head, I began helping to clean up.  It took the better part of two hours, but the office no longer looked like a tornado had paid a visit.  Satisfied, I returned to my office and sat at my desk, questions running through my head.  Jumping at the sound of a call coming through, I answered, "Kaden here."
     Laughter greeted my ears, prompting me to glare at the communications system.  Just as I prepared to scream, Doctor Jersil Weki yelled for me.  "Norville!"
     Wincing, I replied over the sounds of screaming and growling, "Weki what is going on up there?"
     "Norville thank the Maker of All.  We are cornered in research and development, "Weki's voice shaded into hysterics as he continued, "by a dragon!  It appeared from the teleport and -"  I listened in abject wonder, hearing screams and a roar echo over the link.
     "Weki!  Weki!"
     Panting from yelling, I raced from my office.  Hitting the emergency stairs at full throttle, I covered two flights in a record dash.  Tripping on a rug, I entered research and development head first.  When my skid ended I became acutely conscious of three things.
     Firstly, my back hurt from landing.
     Secondly, the entire R&D staff huddled in shocked silence.
     Thirdly, a purple and gold dragon filling the room, just turning to face me.
     Panic froze me right to the floor.  Looking up, the dragon glared down, hissing furiously.  I gulped, realizing I just volunteered (Myself!) to provide the appetizer for lunch.  Reaching in my pocket, I produced a snack bar.  My stomach growled in protest, as I slowly rose to my feet.  Smiling my most charming, I said, "Galactic Snacks; Always satisfies."  Throwing the snack bar, I leaped through the R&D doors as the dragon followed the object..
     Crashing to a halt, I thought frantically for a solution to this absurdly dangerous situation.  Hearing a roar, I scanned the hall.  Without much of a thought, I grabbed the hose for the fire suppression system.  Edging to the open doorway, I yelled, "Cafeteria is on the first floor!"  The dragon swung its head, hissing and mouth open.  I thumbed the valve switch to full open, foam blasting forth.  Holding on for everything, I aimed for the open mouth, foaming spraying across the room.
     Surprisingly, I hit the dragon bang on target.  A cough issued from the dragon, and then it simply vanished.  I glared in pure astonishment for a few seconds, managing to coat the R&D staff in the process.  I smiled sheepishly as I shut the hose off, returning it to the mount in the hall.  I walked back in to find the staff cleaning themselves and the place up.  Grabbing Weki, I asked, "How did that thing get here?"
     Weki stared off absently, trying my already fried patience.  Idly wiping foam off his coat, he said, "Norville, yes.  None of us are certain.  Override procedure for the teleport was initiated, and then the dragon appeared."
     I frowned, this piece of data doing nary a thing for the mess of the day.  Checking with R&D staff members at random, none could add anything to Weki's statement.  Glaring at the offending teleport system for a count, no answers arrived from that source.  Frustrated beyond words, I marched to the stairs, headed to my office.
     Arriving at my desk, I sat down and put my hands to my eyes.  The entire day just was so random, offering no hope of an explanation.  At this point I couldn't decide if I needed to call a priest, a shaman, or a film crew for the next holo hit.  Closing my eyes, I attempted to decide on a course of action.  After minutes of this, I rose.  I exited my office to Torli's desk, and said to her, "Please notify everyone to take cover.  I am going to restart the main computer system."
     Torli simply nodded and began notifying the departments.  I almost laughed as I headed back to the main computer system.  The staff had taken the warning in extreme seriousness, making forts out of desks and open rooms.  Sobering up a moment, I grabbed a large data tablet in case I needed it.  Prepared as best I could, I faced the main computer system.  Checking connections a moment, I finally turned the thing on.
     Facing the machine, I watched it start up normally.  I commenced holding a breath, waiting for some thing to happen.  Minutes rolled by, and I exhaled to nothing but the system running merrily on its way.  Baffled couldn't begin to cover my thoughts, but since it seemed to be behaving I shrugged.  I walked out of the room and made my way slowly to my office.
     Once seated, I began reading the activity log for signs of anything unusual.  This normally annoying task  was made doubly so today.  As I scanned the log, I tried changing the display type, to zero avail.  For reasons unknown, the display type appeared stuck in a comically difficult to read font.  I poked at the settings again, yelping as I got shocked.
     The curses and screams echoing in through my open door confirmed I was not the only victim of this latest mishap.  Glaring at my terminal, I shook my head.  Any number of random occurrences could be expected in a time travel agency, I mused.  Today's list of occurrences topped the normal by far, I thought sourly.
     "Mr. Kaden, a gentleman from Core Computer Services is here for a service call."
     "Thank you Torli, " I said in defeat, "Not sure if he can help, but he's here.  I'll be out in a moment."
     Getting up, I steeled myself to face a computer expert.  Striding out, I looked over the gentleman.  Extending a hand, I introduced myself, "Norville Kaden, Temporal Troubleshooters.  Thank you for coming."
     "Splendid to meet you sir, "he said cheerily, " Don Barry from Core Computer Services."
     I motioned him towards the computer center and turned him loose.  Hovering in the area, my mind turned back to the events of today.  In the last few minutes, all managed to be quiet.  This (I suspected greatly.) stemmed from most of the staff sneaking off.  I chuckled at the thought, not blaming them one bit.  My laugh faded, banked by fresh thoughts of the random events of the day.
     Thoughts flowing, something amidst the sea of my mind waved.  Trying to focus, a nagging suspicion slowly crept through my body.  I reached my office, sitting down with my raging thoughts.  Rocking in my chair, I frowned anew.  I rose and commenced pacing, attempting to focus my mind.  Engaged in this activity, a question popped into the clear.
     Who called in Mr. Barry to look over the computer system?
     Bolting from my office, I shot straight to computer room.  Skidding through the door, Don Barry jumped in surprise.  In his hand I spotted a data decryption unit.  Glaring in unfiltered anger, I spoke sharply,  "Yes indeed.  So nice of you to arrive Mr. Barry."
     Watching him closely, I continued.  "So nice of you to engineer so many headaches for us today.  An ingenious plan, "sarcasm dripped from my voice as I spoke, "to gain access to our computer system and data."
     Don didn't even blink at my accusation.  In reply, he merely put down the device in his hand, swiftly producing what appeared (To my trained eye and dismay.) to be a laser.  He pointed the the weapon at me, and I waited to be burned to cinders.  Sucking in a breath, I attempted to devise a way out of this.
     Seconds passed, before the realization that I was not dead drove home.  Looking intently at Don, I was shocked to see his expression frozen in terror.  Not wishing to waste an apparent chance, I dove at him.  I relieved him of his weapon and hauled him to his feet.  The look of terror remained fixed on his face, giving me pause.
     I felt my skin crawl just then.  A sound intruded upon my thoughts, the sound of hissing.  Turning slowly, my eyes widened at the sight confronting me.
     A giant bat like creature stood.  Unfolding its wings, the hissing grew in intensity.  Transfixed, both of us stood there. Don reacted first, yanking his laser out of my hand and firing.  I dropped and crawled across the floor as the 'bat' screeched.  Laser fire scattered off the hide as a wing took Don off his feet.  The door opened amazingly enough and I yelled, "Call the city police, emergency!"
     Almost out the door, something grabbed my ankles and yanked me back into the room.  Rolling over, I squinted in the brilliance radiating throughout the room.  Moments passed before the glow simply vanished.  Sitting up in total bafflement, I noted Don unconscious in a corner.  Getting up, I noted the main computer system was on.  I advanced to the main terminal, reading the message displayed on the screen.
     Two city police officers burst in the room, Torli in tow.  I faced them, saying, "Thank you gentleman.  Please remove, "I pointed at the unconscious figure of Don, "this man to a holding cell.  He attempted to commit data theft. I will be along once I verify no damage to our systems."
     The police hauled out Don, as Torli asked me, "At least we know what caused today's mayhem."
     I shook my head, handing over all of Don's gear to her.  She turned and left, leaving me to face the main terminal display alone.  The message answered one question, but opened many more. 
     I appreciate the opportunity to have studied your kind.  While we are unable to formally meet, I enjoyed the adventure as our ancestors must have experienced.
     Clearing the message, I pondered how I would explain today's events at the next staff meeting.

21 April, 2011

Side Step...What is Going On

I thought I would fire in a quick note, for those of you who may not talk to me often, nor see any of my posts on Fbook (Facebook).  I have not forsaken the blog, just been busy trying to get things published.  I was beginning to get worried, as none of the stories I was submitting were getting me anywhere.  Then I changed tacks, and now...

'Would You Say I Do?' is scheduled to be published in the near future at Short-Story.Me (www.short-story.me) on their website.  It was the first one accepted anywhere, and it took me by surprise.

'Now, What Does That Button Do?' was just accepted for publication in Digital Dragon Magazine's online April 2011 issue.  You can find them at:  www.digitaldragonmagazine.com

I have several other stories out that I am waiting on responses at this point.  I have begun work on a couple new things as well.  So no worries, I did not die or fall off the planet.  Or get hit by aliens.