Christopher Borders was not a happy man. He had a loving wife and an adorable daughter. She’d just turned seven last week. His job paid well above average and kept him busy. And that was the problem right there. Lately, business had been better than ever and he was spending too much time at work to see his family as much as he’d like.
It meant that when he was on the job, he was more likely to grumble quietly to himself instead of the cheerful humming that he’d done before the Great Bell got so popular. The boss, a high end Richards type with a specialty in communications technology, was… well, given his income level, the appropriate word was eccentric.
The man wouldn’t reveal his birth name, just made everyone call him the Great Bell. Rumor had it, he’d actually had his name legally changed. To make it better, he walked around all the time in a costume that was straight out of the comics, a dark green jumpsuit with blue glowing lines traced over it in a circuit pattern and a tiny black domino mask.
During the Interruption, pretty much every piece of tech in the country either went down or went crazy. Flashing lights, blaring white noise or playing that creepy message “help me” over and over again. Everything except his cell network. The only way to send or receive calls. The company picked up a few new contracts, mostly government, as an emergency back up provider but it was the publicity that really made the difference.
With a story like that, people didn’t seem to mind paying at least twenty percent more than more common providers. Once word got around that he wasn’t dependent on the cell towers and he didn’t have any data limits… well, installers like Chris had plenty to do these days.
He had no idea how the Great Bell’s network did what it did, just that it was his job to go to new clients homes and hook up a little black box. If they had a landline or anything like that, there were dedicated slots in the box for them. Otherwise, it was just a matter of plugging it into their home power grid. How the hell it went from that to providing service for the client’s phone or wrist com was a mystery to him. Obviously, otherwise he’d be a Richards type himself and wouldn’t need to be here instead of at the movies with his wife and daughter.
Admittedly, the movie had pink and purple cartoon ponies, but little Signe seemed excited about it and he and Karen hadn’t been out in a while.
“Everything- everything going okay?”
It was the client, a nice guy as far as Chris could tell. He took a moment to extract himself from the tangle of cords and wires that surrounded him before he answered.
“Yes sir, Mr. Gainsbury. I’m afraid that connecting an old switch board like this can take a while though.”
“I told you, call me Mickael.” The man gave a sheepish smile. “It’s just- just that the lines keep going down, three times in the last twenty minutes. I know that sort of thing happens… but we’re the central hub for the region, and…”
Christopher gave a tired sigh and nodded. “Sorry about that sir. I’ll… I think I’ll be done in the next ten or fifteen.”
“Okay, just- just let me know if there’s anything we can do to help, okay?”
Chris didn’t give the answer he wanted to, just gave a polite nod. It wasn’t this guy’s fault he was in a bad mood. After the other man left, Chris crawled back into the web of phone lines and got back to work. Too late for the previews, but if he hurried, maybe he could make it before too much of the story had gone by.
Jason grimaced and disconnected the call. He’d tried three times in the last twenty minutes, but all he could not seem to get a call through to the Dillon Institute. Under other circumstances, he would keep trying. However, he was almost late to some sort of briefing that Operative Robert Grave and Analysis had scheduled. He would not give up trying to acquire the services of a powerful Null type, not this easily, but he could see that he would need to change his method. If he could not even leave a voice mail, perhaps he should simply investigate their website further and see if he could find an e-mail address to use.