The Terracorp Chronicles

“The Robotto Papers” and “The Terracorp Chronicles” are metaphorical chronicles of the final two years before the demise of the Milpitas based Synapse Computer Corporation. Both are a bit silly, but they preserve a piece of Silicon Valley history nonetheless.

War Games

The steady beat of large drums could be heard in the distance, drawing closer, meting out their hypnotic rhythm. They drew closer still and took on the attributes of an Iron Butterfly drummer’s solo – drumsticks flying, battering, rolling, and shattering all ears focused on the sounds. The booming continued for several minutes more then began to subside. Slower and slower went the beat until it ended with a final cymbal crash. Then there was only the darkness and silence.

A figure rose from the ground and began to walk toward a tiny red light. He stumbled and fell but picked himself up and continued toward the beacon. When he reached the light he pressed a button beneath it and brilliance filled the area, revealing a plush executive’s office surrounded by large plate glass windows overlooking 18 production floors. The figure standing at the office power control panel looked toward the middle of the room and spoke to two other man squatting on the ground surrounded by puddles of water.

“I don’t know about you guys, but that was getting a little too uncomfortable,” spoke the man at the console. “Besides, it looks as if all of the Commucorp merger missiles were duds. It sounded like they all just bounced off the complex roof.” Heckler Bemoanus then walked back to the center of the room and helped George Frankenstein and Gigacorp CEO Elliott Quik onto their feet.

“I wonder what went wrong?” pondered Elliott.

“I wonder what went wrong?’ pondered Pushka Buttonov, People’s Executive Officer, Commucorp. She leaned back in her chair and turned to the Commissar of Personal Freedom, Fiftig Zevenchev, and thought out loud, “You’re telling me that all of their warheads and all of our warheads failed to detonate? I can understand their warheads failing, but not ours. Not Commucorp warheads.”

“We feel we have traced the failure to a conspiracy,” answered Fiftig, twirling his handlebar mustache. “Our field engineers are a part of a complex plot to express their grievances and show their united power.”

“What grievances?”

“They say they all want 100% raises and free company cruisers. We have detained most of them. A few have escaped to the Tree Kremlin and should be rounded up by Freepols within the week. Almost all of those who have detained had this book in their possession.” He laid the book on Pushka’s desk, opened to the page on which was printed:

So what can we, the field engineers of the world, do to loosen the techno-noose? Nothing! That’s right, nothing! We can do nothing! We can have a birthday party for George Orwell. On the anniversary of his birth, four years from now, I propose that we, as a whole, close up our toolbags and call in sick. I propose that we continue to call in sick for two months and do nothing. Let the printer ribbons shred. Let the disc heads crash. Let the terminals go blank. We will do only what we can, nothing. The date of Orwell’s 100th birthday is October 13, 1991. “Mark it on your calendar. Remember that date. That is the date we will take our rightful place in history and get the raises we all deserve. Now, for a successful birthday celebration, it is important that a few birthday candles be blown out before the festivities commence. Be sure your silo PM’s are scheduled before October 13. Replacement canisters containing oxygen and nitrogen will be available from your cubical-cluster’s parts depot. Simply remove the offensive warhead and replace it with the gas canister. When the warhead detonates the gases should mix with the purple atmosphere, starting a chemical reaction that may or may not cleanse and restore it. At the very least the warheads will pose no further threat to our party because they will be in our hands. For complete success, it is imperative each one does his part; one warhead could ruin the whole celebration. Remember, there is no Gigacorp, there is no Commucorp, there is only us and them. The control of Compol during the operation is of…

“The Field Engineer’s Manifesto – 1987,” Buttonov read from the cover. “Who is this Buck Wheat?” she asked, handing the book back to Fiftig.

“We’re not sure. He is possibly a disgruntled Gigacorp field engineer or diagnostic programmer who did a lot of writing on the side. Our data is sketchy at best.”

“Find out more and report back to me.”

“Da! Madame Premier!” Zevenchev said, clicking his heels together, saluting, and goose-stepping through the tall walnut doors of the PEO’s office.

Pushka reached for the red telephone on her desk, picked up the handset, and dialed the operator. It was busy. She would try later.

“Oogity Boogity! It’s full of stars!” thought Bommbahloombah the Baboon as he looked out one of the portholes of the cargo starship Blutomo as its ion drive engines drove it toward the asteroid belt separating Mars and Jupiter.

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