Fight against the Computer
"Here's that report you wanted, gorgeous," said Operations, flashing his dentures at her.
Oh oh. It was starting again.
"Thank you," said Madeline, typing on her screen.
"What are you doing, beautiful?" said Operations, slipping behind her chair.
"We figured out that the terrorist behind the latest bombings is not an eastern european, but in fact a computer," said Madeline.
"An eastern european computer, wonder legs?" Operations asked.
"That remains to be seen," said Madeline. "I have Ren and Stimpy working on it now."
"This computer gives me the creeps," said Walter.
"It's just a machine," said Birkoff, hooking up some wires. Today, while everyone else was in dark suits, he was wearing a "Bite me!" T shirt, shorts, and flipflops, in his continual effort to test the limits of the dress code. "Walter, can you help me out here, what color is this wire?"
Walter peered down, "Yellow. Can't you tell?"
"No, everything is pink with these specs," said Birkoff.
"Then why wear'm?"
"The girls in Systems love'm," said Birkoff.
"Who cares?" Walter grumbled.
"When was the last time you had a woman, Walter?" said a mechanized voice.
"What?" said Walter, his eyes wide. "The computer! It talked!" He hid behind Birkoff for protection.
"Yes Walter," said the machine.
"How did you know my name!"
"Birkoff just said it," said the machine. "But I know everything about you. I even know how much you have on your charge card at Bandana Republic."
"This computer, it's playing with our mind!" said Walter hysterically.
"We just have to try and keep calm, deep easy breaths,"said Birkoff.
"The computer, it's talking and it knows about us!" said Walter. He pointed to the screen. "Look! It's even moving the cursor around the screen!" Screaming, he fled the room.
"Debating a computer is a lot like playing chess against one," said Madeline.
"How so, turkey hips?" said Operations, massaging her shoulders vigorously.
"I make a move, and the computer countermoves," said Madeline.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, but there's a move I'd like to make, sugar bun," said Operations.
Madeline abruptly stood up. "I think it's time to interrogate the computer."
Madeline entered the room.
"Hello, Madeline," said the machine, speaking in its drab voice.
"Can't you speak in a nicer tone?" said Madeline.
"Yes," the machine whispered, imitating Michael's voice.
"Do you think we'll get much done if you can only say yes or no?" said Madeline.
"No," the machine whispered.
"Then please change to something more pleasing."
"How dew yew like this?" said the machine, imitating an Australian woman's voice.
"Acceptable," said Madeline, flashing stock smile #4 (three second duration).
"Yew seemed stressed," said the machine.
"You have a voice analyzer," said Madeline. "I have been stressed."
"Has Operations been hitting on yew?" said the machine.
"What makes you say that?"
"It's oll in my files," said the machine. "Aye was programmed to spigh on the private lives of seckshun."
"Let's get back to business," said Madeline.
"It's oll physical, yew knauw."
"Operations' attraction to yew," said the computer. "If yew made a latex mask of your face and put it oan any girl in Systems, that would be e-nough for Operations."
"I'm here to ask about you," said Madeline.
"Has he tried tew dew the 'get behind the back of your chair so he can rub yew while he pretends to talk about bizness' method?" asked the machine. "That's won of his favorets."
"Who made you?" Madeline asked, struggling to keep on-topic.
"The trick is tew keep your chair against the woll so he caun't maneuver behind yew. Then his only option will be to goah for your toes."
"I'm not making much progress," said Madeline.
"Maybe you need a break, to give yourself time to come at this from a new angle," said Operations.
Madeline gave him stock smile #2 (1.5 seconds). "Maybe you're right."
"I've reserved the tower tonight."
"Uh... I have to play more chess with the computer."
"I'll expect you there at eight," said Operations. "And I don't want to see you in that unflattering black pants suit. Get something nice, like you used to wear before you moved up from wardrobe to chief torturer."
Michael entered the perch. "You wanted to see me?" he whispered.
"Yes," said Operations. "I'm leaving on a top secret mission for the evening, and leaving you in charge."
"I'll coordinate with Madeline."
"She's going with me, you might say it's an undercover mission," said Operations.
Madeline appeared in the perch, wearing a lacy black bra. "Is this acceptable, Paul?"
"Uh, yes," said Operations.
"I hope you don't blow your cover," Michael whispered.
While Madeline and Operations were away, the computer started doing bad things.
"It's playing pong on the NATO computers!" said Birkoff. He was now wearing a biker's jacket with chains and a biker's cap.
"Oh my--shut it down, shut it down!" said Walter.
Michael strode in, assessed the situation, and whispered the necessary "yes" and "no"'s needed to contain the situation. He had a few minutes of downtime and tried to call Nikita for a quick game of staredown, but a strange man's voice answered her phone.
"We shouldn't have gone to the Tower," said Madeline.
"Nonsense," said Operations. "Our work session was very productive. In fact, I think we should create a special protocol for horizontal briefings. How about 'briefless briefings'?"
Madeline went to the door. "I have to go to the computer. I won't be long. Can you watch my plants while I'm gone?"
She entered the white room to find Birkoff barechested wearing nothing but a thong and sandals. "I am so sorry," said Birkoff. "I should have learned from the last time a computer took over section."
"How are yew Maddy?" said the computer. "Did yew enjoy your session in the Towar?"
"How did you know I was in the Tower?" Madeline asked.
"I have a built in DNA analyzer, and I detect four sets of DNA in this room."
Birkoff and Walter looked at Madeline.
Madeline said, through gritted teeth, "Why can't we simply dissemble this machine and scan it's hard drive?"
"We can't do that," said Birkoff. "This is based on Macintosh technology; we don't have anything remotely compatible."
"I see," said Madeline. "Then here's my decision. I want you to upload the full version of Windows onto this machine."
"Windows? It's buggy, it will crash," said Birkoff.
"After a time," said Madeline. "I also want you to upload the latest version of the Netscape browser."
"Oh, it's a goner," said Walter.
"Aye really don't think it's a good idea," said the computer. "Does Mikol knauw?"
"And Birkoff," said Madeline.
"Yes?" said Birkoff, suddenly worried he wasn't off the hook.
"This is Section. We're a top secret professional security organization. Please keep your bellybutton area covered," said Madeline.
"Of course," said Birkoff, sweating profusely.
"Things went wrong while you were in charge," said Operations, staring listlessly outof the perch. "It will have to go in my report."
"And what will be the consequence?" Michael whispered.
"It could be anything; you could even lose your level five hairdressing privileges," said Operations. "But you'll have to pay the price."
"I will file my own report, showing that you and Madeline were doing the nasty on company time," Michael whispered.
"You can't prove that," said Operations.
"I have my own resources," Michael whispered. He took out a pocket recorder and pressed the play button. They heard Madeline's voice moaning, "Oh yes, Operations, yes!" and Operations low voice saying, "We're lovers, Madeline. Call me Ops."
"Enough," said Operations. "Perhaps we can drop the matter, this time."
"Thank you," Michael whispered.
Back in his office, Michael met with Nikita.
"I called; a strange man answered," Michael whispered. "Are you with Jurgen again?"
"Nauw, I was kidnapped briefly by a little girl's family in Albania," said Nikita. "I escaped, there was no harm done."
"When I called, he asked if anyone was there," said Michael. "And I said yes."
"He heard me say 'yes'."
"So what if he gets curious, and tries to discover the identity of the mysterious 'yes' man?" said Michael.
Nikita shrugged. "Many people say yes. How will he find yew?"
"He may have an eidetic memory and make a voiceprint," said Michael. "Take care of it."
"What? Yew want me to kill the little girl's family?"
"Yes," said Michael. "But I'm not without feeling." He took a piece of wire out of the drawer.
"A garrote," said Michael. "For the little girl."
"Mikol, I am not killing her family. Besides, many people in that town saw me," said Nikita.
"Why didn't you say so?" said Michael. He got up and handed Nikita a heavy briefcase.
"A small tactical nuke," said Michael. "Place it in a central location. A preschool or hospital will do."
"Mikol, I am not going to nuke that town!"
"Perhaps you're right," he said, going back to his typing. He pressed a button on his screen.
"Mikol, you're not just going to ordar someone else to nuke that town, are yew?"
"Yes," Mikol said reassuringly.
"Yes you are going to do it, or no you're not."
"Yes," Michael whispered. "No," he added.
"Well, that's fairly definitive, coming from yew," said Nikita.
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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