The following morning Ash awoke at five o’clock. He was wide awake and alert like always. He lay there for a while, just going over the plan for the day. He had been mulling over the recent events in his life and was trying understand why he felt incomplete. Why did he? He always felt this way. There had only been a few isolated times in his life when he hadn’t felt incomplete.
He was sifting through the 'files' in his mind and examining what there was that made him... complete.
He was missing something, he knew he liked the company of others and was still sure that he would be with that special someone one day and that thought, though it seemed silly, was enough to keep him going.
He stood up and made his bed quickly. Even though the process was very rushed and was very fast. The end product was a creaseless well made bed and he smiled. Today was what he saw as the beginning.
He looked about his room. There was a wall of books and computer components He knew he was a hoarder. Collecting things that he had learnt from, keeping them safe as he feared forgetting what he had learnt. Which he never had, though the possibility of this happening scared the *beep* out of him.
This was his first day in “The Company”. He was just a tad unsure as to how he was meant to feel. Was he suppose to be excited? Or nervous. Actually he felt like it was just another day.
He was more or less relieved that one journey had finished and another had begun. The years of study were complete and he had been accepted into the Company. Though he was unsure as to what he would be doing. Over past few years Ash had developed a number of contacts through various ways.
During his study he developed a number of friendships with people who were on their way to powerful positions. One friendship that developed a few years ago was the one that changes his direction. No, not change but more so streamline. He knew where he was going but he dint know how to get there. Retro seemed to have all the answers. He was a bit weird. He was simply one hundred percent geek material. Their friendship wasn’t developed straight away. Ash noticed that Retro did a lot of observation over what Ash was doing and achieving. He also recalled an incident that more or less drew Retro in and conversation about technique and ambition spawned a relationship based on knowledge.
It was Retro who gave Ash the nudge towards the Company. Ash had wanted to work for the company his whole life. He was wanted to complete what his father started. It was strange; Mark had always discouraged Ash from working in the Company. Telling Ash that his ability would be better suited elsewhere.
Regardless, Ash was now devoted to his fathers’ goals and his work in the Company. He knew his father would be proud of him.
He decided that the room was out of whack and needed a clean before he started to get dressed for work. He walked over to a counter where he had left the Certificate in Creative Writing, Grabbed the Cert and went to the Bookcase. He opened a file that was close to pretty full and quickly went through to find a gap. The file was full of Awards and achievements. Everything from His Masers degrees to certificates were here in this file. They all seemed pretty bland to Ash and they one that meant the most was probably the one that wasn’t essential. His basic award in Creative writing meant the most to him.
Ash looks at the wall. A duplicate of the Cert was hanging next to a picture of his parents, and in a strange way he knew they would be happy.
Ash sat at his personal Computer terminal and checked his emails. His computer was home made, or shall we say, self made. Ash compiled the parts over a period of time and one day just sat down and it happened. He concentrated on what he wanted and moved to pick up tools and parts and it was like his body was disconnected from his mind. Within minutes an extremely fast and really cool looking computer was build.
HE checked his e-mails. There were several from his old friend 'Psychochic101'. An old cyber friend he had been in contact with for the past five years. They initially began their friendship discussing details of various University projects. She was located in England and was studying one of the Degrees he had finished.
She stated that she will be out of contact for a while as she will be on holiday and would be in contact when she gets back. She ended the e-mail with a single x as she always did.
Ash thought nothing of this and went to bedroom to get dressed. He decided to dress 'Smart Casual' as he knew there was no dress requirement but wanted to make a statement. He normally liked to dress according to his moods, this time he decided to go against the norm as his mood was confusing and this would produce an awquard look.
He decided to go with Black pants and a Light Green short sleeve shirt with dark brown Boots. This he felt made a definite 'I know what I’m doing' statement.
He sat in the lounge room and waited for the knock at the door.
Lou was soon to arrive, she also worked at the Company and they had organized to drive together. He was hoping that there wouldn’t be any sexual tension. He thought that after the feelings he had they other day, things could get funny. He was happy that she worked in the Astrophysicist department and he wouldn’t be close to her during the day. He couldn’t handle that.
There was the knock; Ash was at the door in mere seconds. He opened the door and she stood in front of him and in his eyes she was a picture of pure beauty.
“Hi Ash, I hope your ready for a busy” Said Lou boldly. “Here is the mail that was in your box”
Ash took the mail, smiled and they headed for her car.
Lou had been working at the Company for the past six months and knew the layout of the workplace already. She acquired work through Mark and wasn’t ashamed to say this. As far as Ash was concerned she did her job well and was respected in the industry.
Ash knew that the company was like an onion. It had commercial dealings with other commercial entities, government entities and was much larger than he knew. Many different layers that worked independently, but were together as one.
They drove to work. The drive was for an hour and for the majority of the drive there was complete since in the car. Ash was going over many different things at the same time. Work, his feelings for Lou, his own agendas and projects. This level of thought was exhausting in itself.
Half way to work Ash opened the mal. Bills, more Bills and a letter from The Local University. This was an acceptance letter for employment as a part time lecturer. This pleases him as he felt he needed an output that was not work related and the Company had already advised him that they would support him with this external workload.
Ash informs Lou about getting the position. He had talked to her before about this ad she always seemed a bit hesitant, if not a bit reserved.
Lou tried to concentrate on driving. She was aware of her feelings for Ash but knew she couldn’t act on them, this was not permitted.
As they get closer to the Company headquarters Lou gets excited, perhaps anxious as she is not certain as to how the day will pan out. Will Ash do well. Will he be able to succeed in the plans that his father died for. She wanted to vomit but controlled herself.
Ash was also Anxious, he realized that one of his goals was close to being fulfilled and he would soon be able to work on his other goals.
They arrive at the compound. At first glance the Double storey building looked neat, clean and well kept. There was a blanket of low-lying shrubs and plant life surrounding the building. Though Ash had never been there before he knew where things basically were. He doesn’t question anything to Lou and this surprises her as she expected the usual flooding of questions that normally happens when they are in a foreign area.
Ash follows Lou through the main door into the security checkpoint. At this point there was a metal detector with four guards standing by.
Ash had a familiar fuzziness in his mind and knew that there was an unusual connection going on. Something or someone here was not what they seemed. He shrugged this off as he knew that he would have to get use to the se feelings in this type of work place.
Ash passed through the terminal and displayed his Authorization card which was given to him by Lou. As he passes through the Terminal, unbeknown to him his DNA is scanned, along with his contents of his bag and clothing. As Ash comes out of the Terminal is greeted by a group of employees who looked upon him with a sense of awe. They see him as a newcomer.
Ash can see Mark in the distance smiling and waiting for him.
The employees at the scanner terminal chat frantically to one anther in total disbelief as they see the readout of the DNA that was just scanned. There seemed to be some confusion and Lou shrugs and they continue to walk to Mark.
Mark greets him with “God morning”
Ash replies “Good morning to you too”
They walk as a group to a large room that has an elevator shaft at the end. Ash is quite stumped at how he knows the building and its layout but doesn’t indicate this to anyone else.
He had only walked down a hallway and into several rooms, but he felt that same fuzzy feeling and knew that he was able to suddenly recall the layout of the building. He was also astonished because the design specs that he saw in his mind were massive. He was excited by this and a little freaked out.
“This is where I leave you buddy, I work a few rooms from here and your going to go in a different direction” Lou states to Ash.
“Cool, Ill be seeing you sometime during the day I suppose” he replied.
Lou coldly tells him “No, you will see me at the end of the day and not before”
Ash found that last statement of Lou's to be a bit strange. Was she setting up boundaries? Did she have feelings for him? He didn’t know and didn’t have time to contemplate any such thing.
Mark indicates to the elevator with his hand and a casual manner.
They enter the elevator together
“I will escort you to your workplace” Mark told Ash
Ash thanked Mark and they entered the extremely clean and shinny elevator that was very modern and clean cut in appearance.
Mark laughs to himself, then turns to Ash and boldly states “Your work area?... the department will be run by you”
Ash felt that there was a hint of jealousy in his tone, he tried not to smile.
“Serious? My own department, cool. Lets go”
They discuss further the importance of Ash's position, though Mark, who talks from only an Authority position not a fatherly one. He is also a little vague on what his position is.
Ash is aware only that the company works to better the lifespan of the planet and all its inhabitants. Though he knew it was lager than that and he would soon discover the full workings.
Ash was confused, what was he doing here?. He was employed as an astrophysicist who had many other abilities. He was descending down an elevator shaft at a great speed. This was nowhere near the surface or any viewing points into space where he felt he more suited.
He noticed that the elevator didn’t work like any other he had seen before. It almost slid up and down and wasn’t pulled or even pushed. He needed to know more but knew it wasn’t the right time to ask.
The elevator descended to a great depth, in excess of 100 floors below ground. The temperature didn't change and there was poxy music playing, like John Denver or something like that, Ash wasn’t very experienced with a wide range of music.
“Get ready for this” Mark stated calmly.
The doors open and Ash is shocked. Standing there mouth agape. There was a small sea of faces all staring at him. Most of these were smiling in an almost idiotic manner. Was he doing the right thing?
A mid height, extremely thin woman approached him with both hands out, gesturing to him to hold her hands.
Ash held out his hands, though he felt it was a bit of an odd way to greet someone you have never met before. It was a close friend greeting and he didn’t know her.
She held his hands stated something in a language that he had never heard before. She looked embarrassed, and apologized.
“I’m sorry, my words got a little messed up then and I’m sure you had not idea what I said”
She continued to smile and than stated “Welcome!”
Ash smiled and was a little confused because even though she had spoken in a foreign language initially, he had understood the greeting.
Mark walked around to his front and faces Ash. “The room behind me is your office, but know this, the whole department is under your direction. You can do what ever you feel necessary to get the work done”. Mark than patted Ash on the shoulder and re-entered the elevator.
Ash stood there, with his man bag over his shoulder and observed his workers doing what they were doing.
He laughed to himself as he didn’t know what he was meant to do. He had no direction and he appeared to have no supervisor.
He looked at what people were doing in the large office. They were looking at screens and typing. There were individuals with elaborate and weird computer components assembling hardware. People looking at a large digital star chart of what Ash knew to be the universe they were in.
He casually strolled over to his office, opened the door and entered, closing the door behind him. This was cool. The office was approximately six meters by eight and had a large desk in the centre. He approached the desk slowly. Taking in everything he could. This wasn’t just a desk this was so much more. He could hear whispers outside and he noticed that some of his employees were talking quietly and rapidly to each other. They seemed concerned and excited.
“What’s going to happen”, “Will he understand”, “he doesn’t belong” These were some of the phrases he picked up. He turned his head towards the large windows and there was silence.
Ash smiled defiantly and turned back to the Desk. He drew neared and stopped. There was a cube in front of it. It was shaped like one of the old Blocks of foam that use to be covered in a swayed or material and used for as ottoman. It was s charcoal grey color and Ash sat on it.
The following situation kin of freaked him out.
The seat was cold. After a few seconds of being seated, Ash realized the Ottoman wasn’t as firm as he initially thought. It became less dense and changed shape. This was weird, the Ottoman quickly took on a new form of shape that seemed to mould into the curvature of his own backside.
After being shocked Ash smiled approvingly and returned his focus to the desk. This desk was pretty big and was the same color as the Ottoman. The top of the desk was actually a computer screen. Ash reached out and touched it just to feel the surface. The screen came alive and showed a map of the world. This was unlike any computer he had ever seen. He grabbed his bag and placed it on the desk and removed his small took kit. From that he removed several tools and ducked down beside the desk to the service panel.
Opening this he revealed to himself an array of circuitry and wires that he wasn’t familiar with. Several pieces he had used before but the main bulk of parts were different and he could make neither heads or tails of anything. What he thought was the CPU was located in the centre of the multi layer platform.
He stood up and looked at the screen. The chair was slowly conforming into its original state. Ash sat down on the block and the same transformation began again. He viewed the screen and ran his fingers across the top. Lines appeared on the screen and a flurry of words dashed across the screen on the lines. He held his fingers on top of the screen a bit longer. There was a tingling sensation on the tips of his fingers. He thought 'whoa...' and as he was thinking this thought the letters “WHOA...” appeared on the screen. He quickly withdrew his fingers and a strong smile appeared across his face. This place was awesome. He had so many questions and he was determined to get some answers... eventually. He relaxed and sat back. His fingers stretched out onto the screen and he though about gaining access to the computer diagnostics.
'Hello, are you the new Head of this Department?' this thought went through Ash's mind. It wasn’t his own though.
‘Relax; you obviously haven’t used this system before. There for I will explain it to you. Don’t let your fingers come off the screen. You need to have physical contact with me to access this terminal' thought the computer.
Ash asked 'You’re new, I’ve never seen, let alone heard of this type of computer before. When were you created?'
The computer responded with 'There is no specific time parameter set, I don’t know'.
'How were you made' Ash asked
'The Company designs and makes its own computers and I know you want to know why and how. Firstly because we can make them better than anyone else, secondly because it’s so much cheaper.
Ash heard noises behind him, the door opened and his contraction was lost, his fingers came off the screen surface as he turned. A circuit is his mind flipped and during the time it took for him to turn, fall off the chair and his body to land on his left hand side, thousands of images and scene flashed in his consciousness behind his eyes. As soon as he hit the floor he was a dead weight.
Several minutes later Ash opened his eyes and had a splitting headache. He looked up and realized he was in the arms of a woman he had never seen before.
“Hi, I hope you're ok, what happened, all of a sudden you collapsed?... are you OK?” said the woman in a very concerned manner.
“I’m... ok. I don’t know what happened, but it scared the *beep* out or me” he said groggily. My head hurts and your nursing me and on top of that I don’t even know who you are?”
The middle aged woman suddenly started to blush “I’m sorry, my name's Amanda and your an inspiration to me” her speech began to get excited and nervous and faster.
“I’m actually holding the man who changed my life, my way of thinking and my direction. I read your award winning journal so many times” she gasped
“Yes you are holding me” he jokes with her.
“Do you know it has astounded the whole world?” she asks.
“Yeah... I’ve been told that” he replies with a smirk.
She looks at him quizzically, turns her head and appears to dismiss a thought. She asks “How did you gather all that information to write that journal in such a short time frame”
Ash avoids this question as he doesn’t like to brag about his abilities that he doesn’t even understand.
“That’s an awesome computer” Was his way out.
“Yes it is. Its all yours and we can see that you’ve been acquainted with It.” replied Amanda.
Ash looks back behind her to see five heads poking through the door way and many more pressed up against the window, all smiling at him.
Quietly he asks Amanda “What is it I do around her anyway”
With a happy tone she quietly replied back “You manage one of the best technical development departments in the world”.
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