“Hello? Hellooo…. Anyone there? Hello!”
“Uh, yeah, I’m here.”
Finally! “Where the hell have you been?” Tori yelled at the mic. “I’ve been calling for half an hour. This is your idea of a flawless system?” Her bare feet were freezing on the concrete floor and her strappy tank wasn’t nearly enough to keep the chill away. She could poke someone’s eye out with a nipple now and it just pissed her off even more.
“I apologize, ma’am, we’re experiencing some… technical difficulties.” Incompetent jerkoff.
“Why is your voice all warbled?” This thing was ridiculous. This was not how tech support should look – or sound! She could hardly understand the guy. If he told her to go up and reboot the system somehow and come back she would smash this box to pieces and then track him down and shove it up his ass.
“It is? Er,… I’m sorry I—”
“Stop apologizing,” she snapped, raising up on her toes to get more blood flowing through them. “I am two phone calls away from suing all your asses for this piece of crap. It cost me a fortune and now it won’t even start up. Fix it!”
“Wow, okay, let me see what’s up. Hold please.”
The line, such as it was, went dead.
He was so going down.
Ryan typed furiously to bring up the specs to a system he had never seen before. Number thirteen. Was that some kind of joke? Aw, what the hell was this! Every screen he brought up looked like it was composed by a five year old. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it, sure as hell hadn’t written it.
In a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation, he broke protocol, overrode the system and pulled up the camera feeds. Fifty one homes, over three hundred cameras filled the screen like dominoes. A giant mosaic of lives from all over the world. He ignored the mess because if he looked at it his brain would shut down in self-preservation.
When all else fails, go back to the basics. SQL was his god. He filtered the results to narrow down the results again and again until he was left with one house. By some miracle he managed to engage the motion detector to find the woman he was speaking to and one single video feed filled the screen.
Ryan did a double take. The woman was hopping from foot to foot in front of the breaker box. Her back was to him but it was one hell of a view. If he wasn’t freaking out right now he’d take a moment to appreciate it.
“Damn boy,” Matt said. He wasn’t looking at the woman but at the code scrolling across a different screen. “Someone screwed ya big time.” He pointed to a line towards the top. Ryan’s name was there, implicating him as surely as if he’d left a fingerprint. Only he’d never seen this stuff before.
“Go get Celia,” he told Matt.
“Holy shit, is that her?”
“Shut up and go get her.”
Matt made a face. “You sure you wanna do that?”
“Now!” Christ, he was in such deep shit.
“Hey, what the hell?” the woman’s voice blared through the speakers. Clear as bells. He had no idea why she couldn’t hear him that clearly. “Are you even still there?”
Matt patted him on the back. “You’re up, slugger,” he said helpfully and went. Hopefully to get Celia.
Ryan unmuted his mic. “Yeah, still here. Hold please.”
“Are you kid—” He cut off the audio.
Celia entered like a general walking onto the battlefield. “Talk to me.” She’d know what to do. They’d apologize to the woman, send her a full refund and move on with the day. That was the diplomatic thing to do.
Confident that their fearless leader would come up with a solution, Ryan slumped in his seat. “I have no clue. Look at this mess! I don’t even know where the hell it came from.”
Celia scanned each screen, scrolled through a batch of code. “Can you fix it?”
Ryan’s jaw dropped. “Seriously?”
She just looked at him like he was wasting her time.
“Uh, in about four months working non stop, maybe,” he said dryly.
She nodded. “Fake it until it’s done.”
“We can’t risk the bad press. That pretty face goes public with how we messed up, we’re over before we can even get off the ground. So you need to fix this. Get it working. Make her happy. You do whatever it takes, got it? I want to see a satisfied customer by 2pm.” And she walked out.
What the hell was he supposed to do?
Virtual Copyright 2011 Alianne Donnelly, all rights reserved, may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner, written, electronic, or otherwise without express permission from Alianne Donnelly.