This Can’t Be Good, by TDK

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8:00 a.m., Monday morning – Usually the time for grabbing coffee before logging in and catching up on the days memes.  Hell, the computer would even finish booting from its weekend slumber for a good 10 minutes anyway.  But not this time.  This time it was actually Sunday, and it was 7 a.m., and Mitch had been sitting in his boss’s office for the past -how long now? where’s the clock?- debating with the speakerphone to little avail.

We get that it went off early, but that doesn’t tell us enough,” Jim said, trying to keep his calm.  “We really are going to need those flight logs before I can send my engineers after the problem.  Otherwise, we’ll be flying blind and any answers we might be able to come up with won’t mean anything.”  Jim’s cell phone buzzed and he quickly looked at it.

Information in the flight logs is classified,” said the phone.  “I will not give you access to them.”

You can scrub them,”  Jim responded. “We gave you guys a utility to do that.  Look.  Just go talk to your superiors and they’ll tell you the same thing.  In the meantime we need to get off the phone so we can get to work here.  I’ll call you back with hourly updates.”

With the conference call over, Jim turned to Mitch.  “Thank you for getting here so soon.  I know you won’t get anything, but at least try to go through the code changes between our last two releases to see if anything pops out.  That was Kurt just now, he’ll be in soon.  No word yet from Harry.”

I’m on it,” said Mitch as he got up.  Today was not going to go well at all.  Not enough sleep, and Harry was unreachable.  Not that Kurt was a bad engineer, he just tended to do things… his own way.  More than once, code reviews had caught some less-than-polite words strewn about his work.  Mitch had let some of his more subtle silliness fly, though. It all worked well, and the paperwork wasn’t worth the hassle.  Harry, however was ideal.  He worked fast and precisely and knew the source code backwards and forwards.

Why would a bomb go off early? He internally asked himself.  The first thought was, of course, that it was faulty bomb firmware, but the Air Force swore there were no changes in the bomb firmware, and they had dropped another one on the target just to be sure, with the same result.  Somehow, their software must have been at fault.  Given it faulty targeting data or something.

The coffee was only beginning to kick in when both the scrubbed logs and Kurt rolled in the door an hour later.  Caffeine must not work as well after only four hours of sleep.  Mitch, quickly grunted out instructions to Kurt to go through the logs while he scanned the targeting changes.

Got it!” shouted Kurt not 30 minutes later.  How was he always so awake in the morning?  It’s just not fair.  “It’s a stupid sign error.  They were trying to hit something below sea level near the Dead Sea.  We dropped the negative on the altitude when we passed it over to the bomb.”

Something didn’t sit right with Mitch about what Kurt had just said so he wandered over to his cube.  “Kurt?  How did you know where they were flying?  They scrubbed the location data before they sent it to us.”

Well yeah,” said Kurt.  “But Harry and I had been talking a while ago about how to get back at that data if we needed to.  Sure they change up all the coordinates but-”

Don’t tell me any more!”  Mitch interrupted.  “So I guess you guys wrote up a script or something to just break the law any time it became a hassle.”

There’s more to it than that.  You still have to-”  This time a simple glare cut Kurt of mid sentence.  “Anyway.  Yeah.  But we haven’t used it before today.”

Okay.  I’m going to go tell Jim the good news.  But, I don’t want you saying too much about this to anyone.  Understand?”

Mitch blearily walked over to Jim’s office.  He was on the phone, again, with someone else who was coming down on him for this.  When he finally hung up, Mitch opened his mouth to speak when the phone rang.  Again.  After a quick glance to the caller ID he paused.  “Seven five seven?  Another call from Virginia?”

Jim picked up the receiver and quickly got to talking.  Mitch could only barely hear the words, but he heard Harry’s name in there which seemed rather odd to his sleepy mind.  Mitch took the opportunity to close his eyes briefly before something else Jim said brought him back better than any stimulant ever could.  “What do you mean defected?”


Welcoming TDK

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A friend of mine who goes by TDK is throwing his hat in.