“Whoa! Sorry, old sport!”
David blinked and looked up to see a teenaged boy standing on his foot. He must have fallen asleep. A quick look out the window showed him that his stop was approaching. It seemed this heavy footed kid had good timing.
“Please get off my foot,” David asked, pausing the music on his .mp3 player “my stop is coming up.”. He felt a bit silly for adding a reason for this kid to get off of his foot, but the sentence seemed flat and lifeless without one. Besides, he didn't want to be rude.
“Sure thing, old sport” the kid stepped back and 'bro-fisted' another similarly dressed kid. The dark smile dripping from their faces suggested they had been having a laugh at his expense.
He hit the button to signal his wish to get off at the next stop and remembered the dream he and been having. It almost seemed to be a continuation of the dream he had last night. He liked this dream. It could continue for as long as it liked.
He really wasn't someone who remembered his dreams. At least he didn't think he was. Normally he'd remember a scene or two – or a general concept but nothing as detailed as this one. He smiled as he imagined how this princess would look. He promised himself to write down what he remembered if he got a few free minutes at work.
He stepped into the office and thoughts of having a few 'free minutes' melted away. A vibrating wave of hectic force pulled him away from getting his morning coffee. Henry, a fairly new colleague jumped in excitement upon seeing David. He waved his arms and, upon getting his attention, cupped his hands over his mouth to make himself heard. This wasn't at all necessary, but seemed to calm the odd little man so David tried to ignore it. “The network shield has been rotated 34% out of phase and we can't move our data packets.” He uncupped his hands, turned his head to the side and gave David a polite, accusatory glance.
David really disliked it when colleagues attempted to troubleshoot the network. He knew they meant well, but they ended up either ruining something that was working or completely misdiagnosing the problem and sending him off to look for ghosts in the machine.
In this particular case he knew that the network shield couldn't possibly be 'rotated' – it was a physical impossibility. He had a few ideas what the issue could be but he had to make sure. He sat down at his workstation, still without having his first cup of coffee, and stared at his dataline.
“Heya Dave, how's it going?” Terry, a youngish kid wearing a Front 242 t-shirt walked up and half nodded a greeting. He took a sip of his coffee and continued when David didn't answer. “Look, I know you're going to be busy with the net shield and all, but we got an issue in this morning regarding the passage layout you wrote last week.”
David was a software developer and the company he worked for produced computer games. Terry had been given his first project and going at it like a man possessed. This was a high profile project and the priority was placed higher even than that of the infrastructure for which David was responsible.
“Go ahead, shoot” David swung his chair around to face Terry and cocked his head.
“I went over the specifications of the bricks you used to construct the wall. We're talking about the underground passage. It seems the bricks have what's called a 'stack layer' and when you render them, you just set them up one by one without even looking at the stack layer. “
“They aren't different, are they? The bricks?” he remembered slugging through pages of code just to be able to set up all the objects needed to construct the passage in one programming loop. It seemed like a simple thing to do but he kept running into trouble with tables facing the wrong direction or windows that wouldn't stay in place. The bricks were actually easy to render. He hated the thought of going back and redoing this work for little to no gain.
“No, not different, not really. They just have different stack layers and they need to be stacked accordingly. I mean, they probably look fine and act appropriately but we can't ignore this. We never know what is going to come in future version. At any rate, this needs to be in the bundle I'm uploading today. I sent you a bug report.” he took another sip of his coffee and waited for David's agreement.
“Yeah, ok. I'll take care of it.” he turned his chair back to his workstation and sighed. Terry turned in mid sip and walked back to his office.
“What a morning, eh?” a pair of eyes looked up from behind a computer screen across from David's workstation. Marvin, the owner of the eyes, had been with the company for almost as long as David. David was glad he shared an office with him. The two of them got along and rarely worked on the same projects so they never got in each others' way.
“Yup. When it rains, you know?” he picked up his datalink and frowned at the connector.
“I don't see how you can put that in your eye without a connection lead” Marvin said, shuttering. The dataline's connector was two metal hooks that attached to the lower right side of a programmer's right eye. A connection lead was a gel like substance that one applied to the connector to make inserting the connector easier and more comfortable. David was allergic to the stuff and learned early in his career to go without it.
“I tried that foam stuff you recommended on my mobile box but that wasn't any better. I went around all weekend as if someone punched me. I couldn't even get on the box again until last night.“ As bad as this was, his worst experience had been in his first company. After only a few hours of coding, his eye had swollen up to the size of a golf ball. In the two weeks he spent recovering, he wondered if he had made the right career choice and even thought of avoiding a dataline entirely. Unfortunately neither was an option.
In all honesty, he wouldn't have it any other way. Annoying as it may be, the bare connection that he had with the line was quicker and more responsive than any paste, gel or foam he used.
With a smart snap, he connected the dataline, felt the familiar, euphoric rush of electric information into his brain and began transforming the incoming digital surges into network saving, surgical circuits.