Short Story on The Spot #1 – Day 3

It’s day 3, and it’s time to push through to the meat and potatoes of this one.  You can catch up with Day 2 by clicking HERE.  Here’s to hoping for a good session…


     I went about my usual routine for the start of my shift; I checked the cooling system – which was running at a balmy sixty-five degrees.  I went up and down each row of server racks, checking status lights for issues, and marking them checked on log on my tablet.  All was well, until I go to the back rack where something caught my eye as moved from rack E5 to E6.  I looked back and everything was green.  I could have sworn I saw an amber light on one drive.  I made a note about it on the tablet and moved on.

     At the back on the room, behind everything else was what we called, The Granddaddy; an IBM mainframe that some thought would die with the building.  It was big, it was ancient, and consumed a ridiculous amount power, but it was stout and reliable.  The company had been slowly moving processes off of it, in favor of newer solutions, for the last year or two, but it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  If you saw it, you’d get the impression that it was the old Chief of the tribe that was in his declining years, and the newer servers were the next generation that was rejecting the old ways.  I keyed a few commands into the service console and it returned ‘OK’ status on all subsystems.

     So, everything checked out and that usually would have meant it was going to be a good night.

     …for anyone else.

     Well, that’s not entirely true.  For the first hour-and-a-half, it was all gravy.  I was actually in a good mood.  I had even forgotten about Wild Bill and the betting pool.  It was all good.

     Then I got an email alert from the monitoring system; a ping test between a server and it’s backup timed out.  Oddly enough, I was unphased.  It wasn’t necessarily an issue.  Protocol dictated that the test would run again in five minutes and usually would be successful and the alert would be cleared.

     No worries, right?

     Five minutes later, ‘Ping test timed out at…’ Dammit.

     I logged into the server in question from my terminal, started looking things over.  It didn’t take long to find out what was wrong.  It showed one of the NICs was disconnected.  Could have been a number of things:  a dead NIC, a bat Cat5, but nothing that should ruin my night.

     I walked back to that server, in the last row of racks, directly across from The Granddaddy, and sure enough, a cable had worked itself a little loose.  I pushed it back in, heard the click of the clip and watched activity lights start their little dance.  My mood was restored.

     But while back there, I felt an unusual chill.  The thermostat on the wall showed it was sixty-two degrees.  Oh well, that was something I couldn’t change.  It would just be a another fashionable entry in my daily log.

     With that crisis averted, I went back to the console.  Everything else was still running.  I checked the clock; I had almost twenty minutes before my next scheduled task.  I figured it was a good time to walk down to the kitchen for a snack and get warmed up.

     I found the snack machine had been reloaded and the white cheddar popcorn was back.  I added a grape Amp energy drink from the drink machine, and I was set.  That is, until I had just taken my jacket off, sat down, and got situated.

     An email came to my phone – ‘Ping test timed out at…’  Are you shitting me!

     A string of colorful metaphors from my mouth followed me back to the data center as I logged in and saw it was the same damn server.  Logged into it and saw it was the same damn NIC problem.  Went back to the same rack and found the same cable loose.  I looked at the end.  The clip looked good.  It seemed tight when I clipped it in earlier, so what the hell?   I didn’t bother saying anything else.  I was going to nip this problem in the butt, right then and there.  There was a storage closet on the other side of the room with about ten thousand spare cables in it.  Now It wasn’t my actually my job to that type of work to the servers, and the Systems Admins might shit a chicken if they found out, but this was simple enough and wouldn’t hurt anything.

     I opened the closet and a dozen or so bins full of cables, organized by length, stared back at me.  I pulled out the bin of ten foot cables and went straight for a brand new cable.  I wasn’t going to take a chance on a reused cable having a bad clip.  I went back and started tracing the cable to the its other end on one of the network switches.  I unloaded with my potty mouth again when it became obvious that I needed a twenty-five footer and a GPS to find my way though bundle of cables.  So I nixed that idea, plugged the original cable back in and tried to put it out of my mind.

     I dropped into my seat, and took a chug of my Amp…then I noticed the clock.  That cable episode made me forget about the next job and now I was about ten minutes late.  I was moving into the meat and potatoes of my shift, and there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in the schedule.  Getting behind early could cause a traffic jam and a whole lot of other problems.

     I went right to work and The Granddaddy was on top of his game.  Jobs were completing faster than normal, and some creative manipulation of the other jobs in the queue helped make up more of the deficit.  I was back on a roll and feeling pretty good.

     So good, in fact, that I swiveled around in my chair to face the racks and shot them a double-bird and uttered a hearty F-YOU at the failed attempt to throw my night into chaos.  As if they could hear me, right?


I think this is a good stopping point.  Time for bed.  But this was a real good session, and if you hung in there to read a 1,000 word blog post, then mucho kudos to you.  I appreciate it.  Stats are below:

Writing time:  1:45      Wordcount:  1018 (Woohoo!!!)  

What’s different – I was able to get the post editor to accept a manual paragraph indent, which makes it resemble something approaching good format.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!


About Thomas J. rock

Writer of Science Fiction

Posted on January 23, 2014, in SSTS Challenge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: