Circuitry On Ice, Along With My Slice of the Pie

by Sue

Title: Circuitry On Ice, Along With My Slice of the Pie (1/1)
Author: Sue
E-Mail: susieqla@yahoo.com
Website: None.
Category: AU, Gen/Het, The Lone Gunmen, Esther Nairn Pairing: None
Rating: PG
Summary: Killswitch
Disclaimers: The Lone Gunmen and The X-Files are the creative property of C. Carter, Morgan and Wong, 1013 Productions and FOX.
Spoilers: None.
Archive: Anywhere, fine.

Circuitry On Ice, Along With My Slice of the Pie

Most of the stuff that's ever happened to me's been the result of accident. My winding up with these two is a prime case in point. Now I'm not saying my decision to join 'Hike and Byers in this life of creative theorizing and sneaking around electronically was a sad one; it's given my life some direction, at least. But this time, although not exactly different in texture, this accident had the potential of being a definite big, fat plus; and it was--for somebody else. Story of my life, yeah, great, just too late. Oh, well, I got to dream for a little while. I'll fill anybody who's interested in on what I'm yapping about. Ah, I can see you're interested. Where would a tale be without a little background to set the stage, so I'll digress...

Typical day at our nerve center: the three of us sitting around the breakfast table, scarfing down 'Hike's huevos rancheros, haggling over whose turn it is to sift through cancellations of subscriptions to the newsletter. It's a pain with instant brain death as its only reward. Anyway, my notebook's at the table and it's really bumming me out! I saved up forever for this top-of-the-line piece of technology, which I've only had less than a month, and it's running slower than molasses. The slower it runs, the more pissed I get.

Byers asks me if I want more toast but in the state of mind I'm in I tell him, "So I look like a ghost, least I'm not paler than you and I had the flu." I ignore the look of confusion he exchanges with 'Hike. Then my left knee, the one I injured, practically destroyed, years ago playing a brutal game of 'decimate the geeks' basketball during gym in high school starts throbbin' like there's no tomorrow. That's why I have a cold gel pack on it, to ice it down.

Now here's where purely by accident comes into play. I move the temperamental noteback to my knees and it's resting on the pack. No sooner do I tell 'Hike that he needs to give being a virtual voyeur a rest when I notice that my computer which I'd given several computations to handle speeds up to the tune of lightspeed! What's causing it? I'm dumbstruck until it dawns on me that it's gotta be the gel pack. It's drawing the heat away from the CPU. (For those of you still in the dark ages when it comes to technology, that's the computer's processing unit...CPU, get it?)

What's wrong with a hot notebook, you ask? Well, in a word--plenty. Ready or not, you're in for a quick lesson in thermodynamics... See, what the CPU does is move gigantoid chunks of data at top speeds. Now if we were endowed with microscopic vision, we'd see pretty quick how this info. morphs into millions of tiny electrons barreling along their silicon pathways, in reality. It's mind boggling when you stop to consider that these stable subatomic particles are the essence of what it takes to get our multi-tasked jobs done. If you're anybody who depends on a computer to help you navigate your world, you owe thanks big time to these relentless legions. When all's said and done, not bad for members of the lepton family having a rest mass of 9.1066 x 10 to the 28th power grams and a unit negative electric charge of approximately 1.602 x 10 to the 19th power coulombs.

So, I've identified the problem: hot electrons are agitated electrons. They don't move forward in one direction the way they're supposed to. Instead, they jive randomly, all over the place, hardly conducive to contributing to productivity in any way, shape or form. This free-for-all results in less electrons spelling it out to your computer what it's got to do next. Your fine piece of machinery turns into a slow-poke, and you pay by way of frustration. Like it so sucks! The less data getting through, the more confusion for the CPU until what can and ultimately happens is your intrepid computer figuratively throws up its hands in befuddlement and 'voila'--you've crashed, dudes and dudettes. Like so much been there, done that!

My feverish brain hatches a wild idea on the spot I'm keeping warm...an ice pack for laptops to keep 'em from heating up, slowing down and doing what comes all too naturally, goin' kaput! The pack siphons heat away from the comp., halting the agitation of our friendly electrons. Calm, cool and like so collected, they stream down the circuits in marching formation, orderly and totally in control. Beneath my chillin' notebook might rest a cool fortune in marketability.

Hey...now that's an idea. My eyes go even wider, a dribble of drool drips from the corner of my mouth, and when I exclaim, "Eureka--I'm rich!" I really give my startled roomies something to gawk at, following their recoil.

"What's your problem, man?" 'Hike barks, firming up his grip on the handle of his frying pan, and on a subconscious level I get the feeling he wants to take a swipe at me with it.

"Langly, are you all right?" Byers solicitously asks giving me the same chary eye 'Hike is, but with a lot more finesse.

"In the time it's taken you to aim your pan at me, 'Hike, my notebook's finished every algorithm I derivated it to marker, it's finishing up all the binars involved and it's just about to cap all possible range-worthy extrapolations. It's, it's like a friggin' miracle, guys. Done, finito in lickety-split time, not a slow-mo hitch anywhere along the way."

"And this causes you to foam at the mouth?" 'Hike badgers.

I take it well in stride, I'm too hyped. "It does since I've got what made it zap to it right in my lap. Max cold zone." I remove the source of intense cold off me, placing the computer and the pack on the table. Some orange juice sloshes from my glass.

They catch on fast which is one of the foremost reasons I live with 'em. Being slow on the uptake isn't my thing, but that isn't exactly news to you now.

With mini dollar signs swimming in 'Hike's pupils, he effuses, "Your 'book could be sitting on one, sweet gold mine, man."

I lay a walloping grin on him, merrily concurring. "Don't I know it."

"Langly, this bears further investigation," Byers cautions, curbing our enthusiasm. "Before we allow ourselves to get overly excited let's see what's on the Web in terms of forerunners, predecessors, that sort of thing."

'Hike and me whine in unison.

"Aw, come on Byers, stop always bein' a killjoy," I browbeat.

"I'm nothing of the kind," he defends. "I'm the soul of consistency." He pops his last piece of crispy bacon into his mouth, crunching heartily to stick his point to us.

"You say tomato, I say ketchup," 'Hike grouses, placing the frying pan into the sink that's stacked with dirty dishes. "First thing we get once there's serious dough coming in is a dishwasher."

Notice how so ready he is to spend my bread. I'm getting comfy in front of my 'old warhorse,' banging away on its customized keyboard with fingers that respond quicker than I can keep up.

From over my right shoulder, Byers tells me to narrow the search and I do; already several things are looking interesting, but nothing's an exact match at his stage. I'm bouncing in my chair. I set parameters more stringent than my initial ones, hoping against hope that nothing turns up. 'Hike's staring at the screen as hard as I am. We can almost taste the profits from my incidental happenstance. And just when we think we're home free, my screen goes black.

"What the?" I erupt, 'Hike takes a crack at the screen with his forefinger. Easy to tell he's as frustrated as I am. Being this close to a sure thing has us climbing the walls.

"We paid the electric bill, right?" 'Hike needles.

"I don't allow anything like that to slide," Byers assures.

"It's not a power drain," I toss in. "Power's still on, see?" I tap the green light on my monitor.

A full minute passes before the screen shows some animation, going from jet black to emeraldy sea green. It isn't long before bold, black letters ominously spell out, 'BITE ME.'

"Esther," the three of us gasp as one.

The entity we once knew as Esther Nairn is paying another ill-timed visit. She was way cool as a chick, but as this funky virtual being, she creeps us out whenever she decides to check in. We still think of her as a she; it's easier to wrap our minds around.

'FULL OF QUESTIONS AREN'T YOU. IDLE CURIOSITY, OR ONTO SOMETHING BIG?'

--Something way big--, I type, reveling in pride.

'BIG, BUT NOT FOR YOU. OWNERSHIP OF THE IDEA ISN'T YOURS TO CLAIM. HUNCHING WHERE YOU'RE GOING WITH THIS, CHICOS, IT'S ONLY FAIR TO TIP YOU. TWO WORDS: TOO LATE.'

--Why?--, I type. The whine's implied, so's the bad news she's about to lay on us.

'IT'S ALREADY TRADEMARKED, BEING MARKETED UNDER THE NAME OF CHILL PAK. YOU'VE GOT TO GET OUT MORE, VIRTUALLY SPEAKING. BUT, I KNOW, YOU'VE GOT YOUR HANDS FULL ELSEWHERE. THE INVENTOR'S MOTTO...COOL IT DOWN. SPEED IT UP. THE GUY'S RIGHT, YOU KNOW. IT GETS BRUTALLY HOT IN HERE.'

"Who's the inventor?" Byers demands to know and waits for me to type it. I obey with trembly fingers that pounce the keys.

'GET THIS. AN ACTOR ON A POPULAR TV SHOW TURNED INVENTOR. HIS NAME: DEAN HAGLUND. HE BEAT YOU TO GENIUS, WHIZ KID. SOME ADVICE? THINK QUICKER.'

I grimace, seeing WHIZ KID on the screen. While she was with us briefly she took to calling me that. I didn't mind, the chick was beyond hot, and that's in the good way.

Before I can even type, 'Are you sure?' Esther has every scrap of info. up, complete with Web address, about my would-be invention and its shrewd-looking inventor. Way weird, there's something freaky about the dude's face. If his hair was longer, he could pass for me depending on the light or lack thereof. Well, they say there's a look-alike for everybody on this planet.

Bummed doesn't come close to how I'm feeling, I know I share thie feeling. It's like so unfair--so par for the course for me, man; when's it gonna be my turn?

'ADIOS, AMIGOS.'

Dazedly, making several lame typos, I respond, -'Bye, and thanks I guess--

'UNCOOL, I KNOW, BEING THE BEARER OF DISAPPOINTING NEWS. I JUST THOUGHT YOU DESERVED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU WORKED YOURSELF UP, WASTING YOUR TIME. YOU'VE GOT MUCH BETTER THINGS TO DO. IT'S NOT SAFE OUT WHERE YOU ARE. YOU WERE BOUND TO STUMBLE ACROSS THIS SPLASH OF COLD WATER IN THE FACE, EVENTUALLY. I BROUGHT IT TO YOU SOONER. HANG IN THERE, GUYS. CATCH YOU NEXT TIME. LATER...'

Feeling only slightly better, I type, --Later, chica.--

She returns the screen to Haglund's image, and I promptly power my set-up down. So, she thinks we have better things to do with our time than fool ourselves into thinking I'd be a zillionaire, and all reap big. We must be growin' on her.

"Too bad, man," 'Hike yields, patting my shoulder. Byers echoes similar words, more or less, to that effect.

Yep, it's always the same old tired story. Too bad, but no cigar. I fold my arms over my chest, glaring at my bum knee, forcing myself to be philosophical. Dean Haglund, huh? Kind of an unlikely name for a TV personality, if ya ask me. But look at him now. According to his website, he even formed his own company behind his success. The lucky stiff; he got, where I could have so easily been, there first. Yeah, easy come, easy go...

In the words of immortal Esther, 'BITE ME!' And it so bites. Why him, not me? I wrestle with that one for quite some time until I vacate my workstation to get my hands on some Oreos, Doritos washed down with plenty of Mountain Dew. I'm in big need of a junk food fix.

The guys let me be, heading out for a little while. Say they need to check out something for a story. As the sedative effect of a good junk food high mellows me out, I get real laid back.

Okay, so maybe there is one small consolation with the Chill Pak. Haglund's part of our community. From what we gleaned, thanks to Esther's contribution, the genius is one of us, and proud of it! It'll be my turn to rise and shine one of these days. I determine right then and there to keep on pluggin'.

As every geek well knows, our day comes, sooner or later, and when it does...world, watch out!


End


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