Selben and Soda had gotten a two-month contract working on some IT projects at a company through an old contact of Soda’s. Soda was locked away slaving away as a code monkey. Selben could still chat with him during breaks, but otherwise was mostly on his own. He spent his time working on whatever needed to be done—typically things the other techs did not want to do.
Selben had accidentally finished all open projects, and the printers were (currently) behaving, so he had recently been shuffled off to work with the hardware technician. He started off his day boxing up newly configured equipment and shipping to different parts of the company. The whole facility was really big on recycling, so some of the boxes had old packaging labels on them from their previous use, like “monitor,” “printer,” or even “coffee,” but Selben did try to cross out any confusing labels. After finishing the last shipment, ITLead asked Selben to remain in hardware for the rest of the day and work on repairs, as the hardware tech wasn’t feeling well and had headed home. Selben enjoyed hardware, so he was happy to do so.
Lunch time rolled around. Selben was about to meet with $Soda for lunch, when he was stopped by a panicked $Whatif.
Whatif: A user just called in. They said their laptop was stolen, again!
Selben: Send me the details. I’ll take care of it immediately!
Soda had rounded the corner in time to overhear the situation and offered to help as well. He was currently a code monkey, but no way would a single ticket get in the way of his lunch!
The last empty box was disposed of. The cool morning air helped to keep Selben from sweating much, but he still looked bedraggled from the effort of bringing 40+ computer boxes out to the dumpster. Back inside, he slumped back down in his chair intent on returning to his normal duties. Before he could even open the managing tools, Soda popped his head around the corner.
Soda: Can you ping Location71?
Selben: Uh, I’ll check.
No response from the location. He shook his head no, but saw Soda’s headset was lit up. He was on his morning conference call, so Selben took the initiative. He tried calling the location, only to receive no response, including no voicemail. Checking the location’s network history, it looked like they had been regularly going down twice a week for the past several months. He emailed the information over to Soda.
Selben had returned to his regular work when he heard the jingle of keys. Looking up, he saw Soda with his coat and big stupid grin.
Soda: Time to investigate!
They headed over in the van. The steady rattle of some loose tools in the back was only slightly quieter than Soda chatting on about the new fondue maker his wife had just gotten, and all the different types of cheese you could melt in it. After a long drive, made worse by morning traffic, they arrived at Location71. They walked up to the door and headed inside. Everyone was working, and appeared normal. The front desk employee looked puzzled at their existence as they approached.
Reception: Welcome to Location71. How can I help you?
Soda: We’re from the helpdesk. We saw you’ve had a few network outages recently, including one earlier. We tried to call but got no answer, so we came over to check it out.
This story was based on a writing prompt found here.
The forest of Evil Haunted Darkness came into focus as the robed, frail-looking elf male sat up. Castfate had been lying by a campfire near two other companions. One was another elf, but unlike Castfate, wore dark leather clothing and wielded daggers. Kevy Thievy was the party’s rogue. Next to him was a half-giant paladin called Astro`Gar, serving as the party’s meat shield. His armor glistened in the light of the steadily burning fire, providing a truly impressive sight.
Astro stood and stretched. He tapped his wrist, causing a brief shimmer to surround him. His weapon and shield appeared on his back. Kevy followed with the same strange movement, causing his daggers to appear in his hands. He placed them at his sides with hardly any noticeable movement. Not wanting to be left out, Castfate made a similar motion. Instead of a weapon appearing in his hand, a small portal opened nearby. A small goblin dragged a glittering staff out of the portal and offered it to Castfate. After he took the staff, the goblin averted its eyes and slowly backed into the portal while singing praise to “Castfate the Mighty.” With a pop, the portal and goblin disappeared. Astro and Kevy scoffed and rolled their eyes.
“You spend too much in the cash shop, Cashface!” Astro laughed, using the derogatory nickname he and Kevy had come up with early in the game.
“Yeah, it like totally kills my immersion!” Kevy claimed, while reading a virtual layout of his stats.
“It gives no bonuses! I’m supporting the development process!”
I was a young DM, just doing my best. I was confident I knew the rules well, but previously I had only lightly dabbled in item creation, while mostly following pre-made books and adventures. However, this was a holiday session, so I wanted to step out of my comfort zone to create a fun and interesting session. Candyland was created!
The regular group had been left in the bottom of a dungeon during their last session. They had spotted a massive rat wearing a strange outfit, chased it, and ran into another character, Dana. Dana did not normally play D&D, but wanted to join our Friday night escapades.
Elvu, Zirq and Wuufy quickly grouped up with Dana and followed the rat into a dark cavern. They emerged in a Willy Wonka-esque Candyland.
It was the holiday season, and the one of the supervisors of BiggerCo had approved time off for almost everyone, including himself. This left Sup2, the remaining supervisor, in a sticky situation. He was an old acquaintance of Soda, and quickly hired him and Selben on for some super short-term temp work. The contract was for two weeks – not ideal, but it paid the bills!
Other than Sup2, there was only one other company tech in the office, so Soda and Selben were covering the phones and doing everything else that came up to the best of their abilities.
Selben was in his cubicle. The previous occupant of the desk was apparently a big snacker, as the keys in his keyboard frequently crunched. Repeated attempts to smack the keyboard against a trashcan had little effect in removing the chips and other crumbs. Selben’s phone began to ring.
Selben: Thank you for calling BiggerCo, this is Selben. How can I help you?
User: I can’t login to CompanySystem!
Selben: Okay, what error are you getting?
User: No Inter—Net—connection?
Selben: Can you check to see if you have internet?
User: I don’t, but I’ll try the Wi-Fi.
A few moments pass.
User: It’s working now. Thanks!
Selben: No problem?
Selben and Soda had gotten a two-month contract working on some IT projects at a company through an old contact of Soda’s. Soda was locked away slaving away as a code monkey. Selben could still chat with him during breaks, but otherwise was mostly on his own. He spent his time working on whatever needed to be done…typically things the other techs did not want to do.
Today, Selben was working with HardwareGuy. He was unpacking new desktops and setting them up in the computer lab to be configured. Selben was about to take the empty boxes out to the recycle bin when he heard a familiar voice talking to HardwareGuy.
HardwareGuy: What can I help you with?
Whatif: The printer by conference room two is acting up. I sent in an email, but nobody has replied. It’s been two days.
Selben thought he heard the faint words whispered, “Mal Diablo,” from several nearby techs.
HardwareGuy: Mal di… Er… No problem, Selben can check it out.
Selben peered around at the piles of boxes that rose up to his head and wiped the sweat from his brow. Yup, definitely heard it.
Selben: No problem. What’s it doing?
Whatif held out a stack of papers. Selben took them and saw they appears to be gibberish—words smashed over other words, and some were even upside down. It was pretty unreadable.
Selben: Okay, let’s check out your computer.
They walked down the hall, passing inspirational office posters like “Passion, what drives you?” with a stick figure staring at a pencil. Reaching the door to conference room two, Selben found the printer, as well as overflowing recycle bins, and made a note to empty them along with the cardboard later. He restarted the printer, and reinstalled the drivers, and tested the results.
Do you like to read in Chronological order? The index can be found here: timeline.selben.net
This tale takes place while Selben and Soda were running rogue, switching from company to company as temps doing contract work. At this location, the company was decently sized, but only had two locations, about a 30 minute drive apart. Selben was placed on the helpdesk alongside Soda. The other two techs they were filling in for were getting married (*yes to each-other*) so it was a short two week deal during the honeymoon. Unfortunately, due to their short contract, not much time was spent getting them up to speed on all the processes. Anything outside of general SOP (*Standard Operating Procedure*) was pretty vague.
Selben and Soda had been assigned their desks, a double cubicle. Each side was distinctively decorated for the his and her’s which the previous lovebirds had been sitting in. Selben drew the short straw and got the “Her’s” side, complete with the excessive pink–pens, paper and other stationary were so pink that they had a slight glow to them. Soda had a pretty standard desk with only a few pictures of the couple. Selben poked at a pink stuffed bear that leaned against his monitor as ITLead walked up.
A small, but booming, startup company needed IT temps, and Soda landed the contract for him and Selben. Expensive cars filled the parking lot of a large building, all so new that none had license plates yet. Selben tried to not feel intimidated by the shiny elevators, and glass doors everywhere as they made their way up to the main office.
Speedy the Office Admin filled in Selben and Soda on their jobs. They didn’t need to do anything complicated, just do general IT work and provide support to anyone in the office when needed. It was revealed they had somehow made it to this point without any in house IT support. The closest they had was Rabbit, who had fallen into the role of IT support, since she wasn’t scared to touch the power button on a computer. Many systems had either no password or were poorly optimized—one of the 6000 servers was being used as file storage for five gigabytes of data.
This story takes place in a game called Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (RIP =( ). The characters involved include myself and my then girlfriend (now wife!), Zirq. For those who never played Vanguard, it was heralded (like all new MMORPGs) “Groundbreaking” and “Most Advanced!” etc. As such, it had countless bugs and other issues. I seemed to have a knack for finding said bugs, which often got me into some interesting situations.
Selben and Zirq had been grinding (killing monsters with minor questing) late into the
morning night and woke up in a haze the next day, ready for more adventure. Selben signed on to work on one of his plethora of tradeskills so he could earn some in game money for gear. To his surprise, Zirq was already online.
Selben: Hey! What are you doing on already?
Zirq: I got my boat!
Selben: Huzzah! Can I captain a little?
Zirq: Sure, but we’ll need to get to the ocean first. This lake I’m on is way too small.
Selben: Okay, let’s go!
They started traveling. Being pretty far inland, it was going to take a while. Selben checked his map and saw a nearby river leading straight to the ocean. He came up with a brilliant plan.
Selben: Let’s drop the boat in the river and take it down!
The boat worked mostly flawlessly. They quickly safely passed high level mobs and other players along the shores, some waving as they went by.
Selben: We’re almost there, can I take over?!
Zirq: Yeah, here you go.
Zirq backed off the helm of the small craft. Selben took over and continued a bit longer down the river. Just ahead, things started to look a little strange, like the water ended… Much too late, he realized it was a massive waterfall!
Zirq: Uh oh…
They plummeted down the waterfall The boat remained upright as it fell. The physics of the game didn’t seem to know how to handle this scenario. Just as the boat should have crashed into the water below the waterfall. it continued falling and warped onto the bottom of the ocean, far from where they had been, and then de-summoned itself. Selben and Zirq were left standing at the bottom of the ocean not needing to breath and but also unable to swim.
Zirq: Why do you always find the bugs?
Selben: I’m reporting it now!