Jackie slammed her head on the desk in frustration- the screen before her giving an indignant bleep and an all-too-familiar line of florescent green text scrolling out of the inky black darkness. Jim stepped in from the next room; a cup of steaming hot coffee in his hand.
“Still no luck?”
“This system is a piece of shit.”
“I feel that is an insult to the pieces of shit community. What’s wrong? Walk me through it.”
He sat down on the thick padded swivel chair beside her. There was a heavy thudding as rain pounded the tinted plex-glass window. A florescent orange sun was approaching the horizon and the faint blue tint from what little atmosphere there was began to fade to darkness.
“Well I was running a routine scan of the system to check for any weathering on the infrastructure so I boot it up, run a scan and it crashed for no reason. Then I booted it up again and there was this one phrase on the screen that wouldn’t go away and it wouldn’t respond to any input. So I shut the system down and waited while what scanners are still working started going haywire from the solar flares…”
She let out an exasperated sigh and let her rolling black locks fall from the bobby pin they had been constrained to and fell down her back. Jim gave that meagre relaxed smile that only a husband could pull off. She let out a deep breath and continued- the rain getting heavier all the time while some of the lights in the next room flickered.
“So once I’d calmed them down a bit I booted it up again and guess what? Same exact phrase, still not responding. So after a hell of a trek through the mainframe I find there a loose circuit board that needed welding back in place. Once I get back the phrase is gone and I think I’m in the clear. But as soon as I tried to start a scan it crashed again. Now, a good three hours later this same damn phrase is here and nothing else.”
Her exasperation was palpable as she buried her head in her hands.
“I don’t know Jim it’s like something doesn’t want me to scan the hull.”
Jims face transformed into a big goofy grin.
“What like one of your allliieeeenssss…? wooooooooooo!”
“Oh shut up!” Jackie giggled, playfully punching his arm like they were kids again.
No one knows what happened to them.
But they were never seen again- and no security tapes were ever found.