This story is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended for sale. It may be freely distributed providing that no alterations to the story are made.

The characters and incidents portrayed and the names in this story used herein are fictitious and any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental and unintentional (girlish laugh).

Now that deserves an Arbor Mist.


Final CS Fantasy: The Coder Within

-Author's Notes/Explanation-
The story below was written over IM to a friend on a whimsical request in 2002. Both of us were in the software engineering program in college, and struggling through the horrific databases course, taught by the worst professor in the department. Everything you see was written on the fly and pulled out of my butt, with some small edits for grammar's sake. Some of the characters are based on our professors, student sysadmins, and friends. If you'd like to see how any of these professors teach, visit and consult the professorperformance dot com in University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire under computer science. It shouldn't be too hard to extrapolate the names to their aliases. Some of the plot events are based on our past programs and projects that we have done, one of which was a semester long Fantasy Football Kit in Java. Fancy computer terminology and inside jokes are prevalent, but comical. It should be enjoyable even if you don't have a command of computer technology, past or present. Please feel free to email me with any questions or explanations of the content. Apologies to everyone and everything I ripped off. It's a homage. Please don't sue.

KwickSilver99: hey Juneau
theWallflower
: yes'm?
KwickSilver99: I'm bored! Tell me a story?
theWallflower
: Sure. Once upon a time there was a boy. His name was Nick. Nick loved computers, but this was in the 70's when computers were thought to be just a fad. But Nick continued to love computers and continued to work with them. But Nick was growing up, he was becoming a man and needed an apprenticeship. But since nobody in the village liked computers as much as he did, there were no apprenticeships in the town.

So he decided to go off into the world to make his fortune. Along his trip he met an old wise man named Koaru. Koaru was wise to the ways of nature and martial arts.

Now Nick wasn't much into martial arts but he had watched The Matrix several times, so he thought he knew what he was doing. Koaru was on his way to a martial arts torunament. Nick decided to tag along. At the martial arts tournament, the grand prize was a TX-990 supercomputer capable of 1 trillion FLOPs.

Koaru wasn't participating in the tournament, he was judging it, but since obviously Nick had his eye on the supercomputer, and thought he knew what he was doing from watching The Matrix more than was considered to be healthy, he signed up.

Unfortunately, no one told Nick that this martial arts tournament was special, because competitors were allowed to use geomancy, which is the magic of shapes.

KwickSilver99: how does that work?
theWallflower
: I'm telling the story here.

Nick's first opponent in the torunament, much to Nick's surprise, was a girl geometrist all the way from Mandarin China. She was very beautiful, and she was smart, smarter than most rocks. Her signature shape was the triangle, which is the second strongest basic shape and lethal due to its points.

Nick had no shapes with which to battle, until he realized that his laptop was in fact a rectangle. The geometrist, whose name was Julia, giggled slightly at this. "Rectangles are a beginner's weapon," she said.

Nick looked dumbfounded, given the fact that he had no idea how he was supposed to use his rectangle in a fighting manner. Julia swished her triangle around in figure 8's, demonstrating her prowess with it, and got into a battle stance. Julia came down on Nick with her triangle, but Nick held up his laptop to block it. In doing so he inadvertently opened it up. The light of the LCD screen surprised and blinded Julia for a second, when Nick clocked her on the side of the head with his rectangle. She fell back outside the ring.

Koaru, who was judging the match, yelled out "Winner: Nick!"

Julia looked up, rubbing the side of her face, saying "You truly are a geomancer."

Nick, since he was a nice guy, helped her up. "You're cute," he said shyly.

Julia said, "Truly, I would join you on your quest in search of... whatever it is you're searching for." Nick agreed. Koaru smiled and then went to the buffet table because he was hungry.

Nick continued to fight his way through the martial arts tournament, with the assistance of Julia and Koaru's sage advice, until he got to the tournament champion, Momotaru. Momotaru was an evil man, who would only waste the supercomputer's resources on Minesweeper and Microsoft products.

Upon seeing the shrimpy Nick, he declared "Wha ha ha ha, this puny mortal cannot dare defeat the likes of me. Not even with his sage advisor and intelligent, but also unconventionally beautiful sidekick, Julia."

Nick was sore afraid, but his comrades encouraged him, and Nick got in the ring with Momotaru. Momotaru's weapon was the septagon, undoubtedly one of the most difficult weapons to master, but easiest to get killed on.

Momotaru demonstrated his prowess with the septagon, swishing it back and forth, performing high kicks and fierce punches not even a character from Street Fighter could accomplish.

When he was done, Nick quickly began typing in his laptop. Momotaru, Julia, Koaru, and the audience leaned forward in confusion, eagerly anticipating what he could be doing.

Nick opened up his notebook to Momotaru and said, "This is what I'm going to do to you."

Momotaru squinted his eyes. "I can't see that."

"Here, get closer," Nick said.

"Why is the font size so small?" Momotaru said as he inched forward.

"Here, just get closer."

Momotaru moved closer until he was nose to nose with the screen. He read, "Got... you... sucker?"

Suddenly, Nicked slammed the laptop together like a sandwich repeatedly, smashing his head like a grape. Momotaru staggered back with those X's on his eyes you see on knocked-out characters and fell flat on his back.

The audience roared with glee as Nick was declared the champion. There was much celebration and the people did eat and drink and were merry, and Julia got too drunk and started dancing on top of the table.

In the presentation of the ceremony of the medal of honor for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence, Nick realized that the supercomputer was much bigger than he thought.

"How am I going to get this home?" he thought to himself, "I can't drag a multi-million dollar, multi-ton computer on a sled back home."

"PERHAPS I CAN ASSIST," came a voice from behind the computer. Nick peeked around the corner and saw a small cute robot leaning against the computer.

"Aww" everyone said.

"What's your name little guy?" Julia said.

"I AM UNIT N4-T3" he said.

"N4-T3? That's like hAxx0r for Nate!" Nick exclaimed.

"Nate, please join us in our quest for... uh, something." Julia said in her unconventionally beautiful manner as she flipped back a lock of her curly brown hair.

"IT WOULD BE MY PLEASURE." Nate replied.

And so the four of them, Nick, Nate, Julia, and Koaru all left the tournament happy and delicious as clams. Nate carried the supercomputer, Koaru dispensed sage advice to the two young'ns and Nick and Julia developed a romance subplot unnecessary to the rising action, so it shall be forwarded through.

They came upon the river Test Release. Test Release was dangerous in the land because of the numerous squishy bugs that hovered near its mouth.

The squishy bugs lived near a swamp near the only crossing point of the river which could freeze computers in its path. Nick looked from the river to his computer, trying to figure a way across.

"This river seems nigh impassible," Julia said.

"Fear is the path to the dark side," Koaru said for some reason, as he was watching the new Star Wars trailer at the time. Nick pondered and pondered.

"Of course," he jumped up exclaiming "The only way to solve Test Release is to do some debugging" (groan now).

Nick swiped back his laptop from Koaru who was upset because he was halfway through his download of the Serious Sam 2 demo, but Nick promised he'd make up for it.

Nick opened up the JUnit debugger, a mysterious piece of software which few have used and even fewer have used well, and even fewerer than that have even gotten to work, and even fewererer, well you get the idea.

Julia, Koaru, and N4-T3 (Nate) looked over his shoulder worriedly as Nick traversed the dangerous but crafty JUnit. The squishy bugs were zapped one at a time like asteroids in a game whose name escapes me at the moment.

The last bug was a green hornet, the worst kind (I assume, I don't have my software engineering notes with me). And Nate sorely tried to defeat it, but it was so deeply rooted in the Test Release that it seemed impossible to get without shutting down the river.
"Look!" Julia said, "That variable isn't initialized!" she exclaimed.

"Of course," Nick said happily. Just as the horned was about to crash into their system, Nick initialized the variable and quick ran the program.

The green hornet disappeared in a puff of flame.

"Hooray," they all said.

"NOW WE CAN CROSS THE RIVER" Nate mechanized. And he pulled the TX-999 supercomputer along with him across the stepping stones over the river. A grand time was had by all.

For some days they wandered the forest on the other side of the river, playing Quake and You Don't Know Jack to become familiar with the territory. But food was beginning to run out, and they couldn't subsist on the crappy notes their CS365 professor gave them.

Luckily they came to a village in a clearing and as they emerged from the brush, the four saw many cute little robots running around in straw huts.

"MY HOME" Nate declared with a tear in his eye. Nate then shorted out from the tear, but Nick was able to reset him, and then everything was okay.

Nate took them to the village elder, which had been running for three hours without a crash.

"I would take you to our village shaman", the elder said. "But he's in the middle of a defrag, so you'll have to spend the night in our quiet little village."

The four nodded their heads at this, and a lackey bot took them to a straw hut where they could spend the night. But first, Nate took them to meet his parents.

"MOMMY? DADDY?"

"SON!" Koaru, Nick, and Julia looked on with sappy smiles as the family reinterfaced.

"SON, YOU'VE INCREASED YOUR MEMORY CAPACITY,"

"HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING ALL YOUR SYSTEM MONITORS LIKE I TOLD YOU?"

"YES, MOM."

"EVEN THE DRIVESPACE?"

"YES, MOM. GUESS WHAT, MOM, I GOT UPGRADED, NOW I'M NATE 4.0."

"OH, SON, THAT'S GREAT NEWS"

"YOU'VE MADE OUR FAMILY PROUD, SON. OH, I'M SORRY," the father said as he saw the three others.

"THESE ARE MY NEW FRIENDS, THEY FOUND ME WHEN I WAS WORKING AS A LIFT-BOT."

"ANY FRIEND OF NATE 4.0'S IS A FRIEND OF OURS."

"PLEASE COME IN, WOULD YOU LIKE A BYTE TO EAT?" (again, groan now)

The family ate supper and then traded stories via RMI because it was familiar to them, and they didn't have to write a single-spaced report on it (woah, where did that come from).

Nick decided to step out for a minute and watch the fireflies come out. This seemed much like the city to him, when it was quiet at night. And the fireflies reminded him of the hallucinations he had at 5:00 in the morning when he drank 37 mountain dews when he was doing his requirements document which he didn't even get that good of a grade on anyway.

"Mind if I join you?" Julia said as she came up behind him.

"Not at all," Nick replied.

"It sure is beautiful out here,"

"Yep."

Nick was not much for conversation, as he had been a social outcast during his formative years, but Julia was a bright, young woman, full of love and hope.

"One day, I shall have to return to my village," Nick said. "I do not know whether our love will be requited there or not, for I am a social outcast amongst my peers."

"It doesn't matter," Julia replied. "For our love is too strong to be broken by the ties of those who would try to break us apart, or something. No obstacles will be enough to break our bond because you and I were meant for each other."

"This truth you have spoken has affected me deeply," Nick said, "Near, far, my heart will go on, I'll never let go,... oh wait a minute, that's Titanic. What I mean is, I will always be there for you, my love."

"And I you, my love," she said as they looked into each other's eyes.

And then the super computer fell on them and they died.

QuickSilver99: what???
theWallflower
: No wait a minute, that's not what happened.

The next morning they went to the village shaman who had finished up his defrag and was ready to see them.

QuickSilver99: oh
QuickSilver99
: sheesh
theWallflower
: The first thing the village shaman said was "Wow, that be one shweet-ass computer" upon noticing the TX-999 behind them.

"Bitches, y'all be up on me hear, yo?"

This computer shaman had grown up in the ghetto, hence the accent.

"What y'all be gettin' here is the bomb-diggity shiznit, get me? Be up in the mountains, there's gots to be us a village, that's all about the mad skillz of da Quake, da Unreal, and da Half-Life.

"So check it, be using your mFlops big time and get your ghetto azzes down up the mountain, be delivering the suped up comp to my g's and b's down in the hood, cause, yo, they be needin some mad lan party actizaction."

The four nodded like they understood a damn thing he was saying.

Nick quick researched a web page of "yo mama" jokes and came up with the quick translation that they had to bring the super computer up to a village in the mountains because they needed more power for their lan parties.

"Aite, check this", the shaman continued, "Be hip to the square of No-ledge. Road up the path be treacherous and easiness ain'ts gonna be all up on ya like a jimmy hat. There be tree tasks y'all's gots to be doin'. Aite? S'like you first must be facin' da wrath of da truest mad hAxx0r$ you ever be seein', aite? S'like this, yo, next there be the fi-hundred, fitty-five knights of RPG's. They all be having the mad stats so you best get your shiznit togetter before they pop you." He added in a hushed tone, "There really aren't fi-hundred fitty-five of dem, I just like saying the word 'fitty'.

"Last, it be tragic, yo', cause before you reach your goal, you gots to be facin' the three CS professors of cruelty - Moorus the Cruel and Incompetent, Wickus the Merciless, and Tanicles the unteachable. Be careful, that last one knows ju-jitsu, I hear. Be finishin' these tasks, yo, and you be flossin' and flyin' this mofo out, so all else be catching the vapors. Go, go, for the good of the city."

The four friends walked out of temple, where they would meet the weaponsmith who would furnish them with weapons they would need for their quest. Upon exiting the hut they crossed paths with the village elder.

"Hey, does he always talk like that," Julia asked.

"Like what?" the village elder peaked in the hut.

"Whaddup, B'?" the shaman declared.

"Aw, crap, someone set his language to EN-GH. Damn this internationalization."

And the village elder reset the shaman's language setting.

"Pip-pip, cheerio, and all that rot," he said in a snooty british accent.

"Aw, it'll do," the village elder said.

Meanwhile, the four were at the weaponsmiths. Nick handed him his laptop and said, "What can you do with this?"

The weapon smith took a look at the OS and system specs and said, "Hmm, well, I can upgrade it to the latest specs according to PC weekly, but it'll cost you 70 million woolongs."

"What's a woolong?" Julia asked.

"It's about 300 iles."

"What's an ile?"

"Around 5203 snoo."

"Snoo? What's snoo?"

"Nothing, what snoo with you?"

:-D

The four rolled their eyes, and got back to business. Nick got his laptop upgraded. Now it had a fine new silvery polish with a cool little symbol on top. The OS was a dual Linux/Windows 2000 package, 60 gig hard drive, CD-writer, DVD-rom, and other cool things.

Koaru was given a mighty weapon indeed, for it was a bola optical mouse which could first blind the enemy with its laser and ensnare the enemy.

Julia got a black hacker box with the only copy of a decrypter that had an algorithm to generate prime numbers. Plus it doubled as a staff. And also she got a big shield.

N4-T3 was situated in the chop shop for a while. While they waited, the three got some tea and scones because the shaman was busy filling his role as a snooty british millionaire.

When they came back, they found N4-T3 was furnished with the most coveted weapon any gamer would drool at – The BFG

But not just the BFG... the BFG's for every single game ever made, capable of blowing up entire worlds. Unfortunately, Nate had a 386, so it wasn't really as powerful as it could have been. But it was still pretty good.

"OH, WOE IS ME," Nate said, "FOR I CAN ONLY RUN DOSSHELL, ON MY PITIFUL 80 MEG HARD DRIVE."

"Don't fret, little Nate" Julia said in her caring, loving way that a creature of such beauteous feminity and charm could. "For even though you may only have dosshell, you are still a valued member of our team, and without you, no others could come after you. You will be the most important part of our party" -cough-foreshadowing-cough-