“Well, whaddaya think?” I asked.
A long-suffering electronic sigh came from the corner of the desk. “I suppose it will do. I was hoping to be placed on the other side of the building. But I fear that once again, it has been made clear to me that I am relegated to second-class status.”
“Dude. Have you seen where the others got sent? I think we did pretty good snagging this cubicle. And that’s because you managed to shift around the new office plan at the last minute. You rock, and I totally owe you.” I waved a hand around the open space surrounding our new cubicle and the open floor surrounding it. No, we still didn’t have an office with a door, but by some miracle we had an unobstructed view out the window of our 47th floor cube farm.
“Yes, I suppose you are correct. I do, as you say, rock.” The voice came from the speakers on my AI laptop and the screen pulsed with yellow-gold tones, a clear indication that BronzeSpook (hey, he found the username somewhere and decided he liked it, don’t look at me like that) was happier than he wanted to let on. He may be a sentient laptop, but like a lot of humans, his emotions showed on his face… or in BronzeSpook’s case, on his vidscreen.
“So, it’s all BS?” I asked in an innocent voice.
A burst of static, his version of a raspberry, issued from the speakers. His name was also something of an inside joke between him and me… along the lines of his initials. Yeah, between the two of us we had the humor level of a 12-year-old boy. And we’re proud of it.
We were in the middle of yet another office reorganization and let’s-move-everyone-randomly-around-the-building upheaval. I think this was our third one in two years. Upper management seemed to think that if they kept moving us around, changing work groups and reporting structures, we’d miraculously become more productive. Every time they failed to take into account the time loss on both ends of a move and a re-org, and the confusion over who to report to this week, never mind actually trying to figure out what the AIs and us, their handlers, actually needed to get our work done. Ask the minions? Inconceivable!
BronzeSpook and I were among the older AI/handler combos still working at Innetech. Everybody else either burned out, faded away, or up and quit. We repeatedly asked IT not to move computers (a.k.a. the AIs) around without asking their thoughts first, but as usual, IT never listened to us, the handlers. They just assumed we were data entry jockeys and didn’t really understand what we were working with. The reality was, they didn’t understand who they were dealing with. The AIs got cranky when they got randomly moved around, and we had to suffer the consequences of IT’s failure. Which is why BS had snuck into the online office plan and made a few alterations of his own. I strongly suspected that he wasn’t the only one. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of the cubicles along the outside walls, where there was a chance of a window, were now occupied by AIs and handlers. And despite some puzzlement from others who’d been assured of a window space, the online office plan confirmed the layout.
“Alright, BS, let me go find a chair and we’ll get this show on the road… hopefully before they decide to re-org us all again next week,” I said.
“I concur,” BronzeSpook replied quietly.
All around us, other AIs and handlers were finding their cubicles, getting set up, and from the chatter I overheard, also speculating on when our next move would be.
I rolled an apparently abandoned chair in from the hallway, and we got back to work.
This week my More Odds Than Ends prompt challenge came from AC Young: Memo to the IT department: Please don’t move our computers around without asking them for their thoughts first. They get cranky, and then we have to suffer the consequences. Padre was on the receiving end of my challenge: The gnomes marched down the middle of the street. Head on over to see what everyone did! Pick up a spare and join in the fun, or send in your own prompt and get a challenge back next week.