- SciLabs Lobby -

Paul entered the lobby, and walked straight to the reception desk. As soon as he got there, he took out his green PET and introduced himself to the receptionist before she'd had a chance to greet him. "Excuse me. I am Paul MacPearson, and I am here regarding a 9:30 interview for this posting." Paul pressed a button, and his generic Navigator obligingly transmitted the data to the receptionist's workstation without her ever having asked for it.

The receptionist gave Paul an old fashioned look, and mentally categorized him as more trouble than she really wanted to deal with so early in the morning. Instead of belatedly greeting him, or speaking at all, she processed his application. The printer whirred a moment later, and she handed Paul the printout. "I have to ask you to leave your PET here, Mr. MacPhearson. Follow the directions, and report to the room number on that printout."

Paul set his green PET on the counter, and accepted the sheet. "Thank you," he said as he turned and left.

- SciLabs Interview Office (?) -

Paul arrived at the entrance to the designated room, and knocked. He waited several seconds, but heard no response. Paul concluded the room was empty after repeating this once more, and decided to try opening the door. Discovering the door wasn't locked, he opened it slowly and gazed through the portal. The lights in the room were off, save for the glow of computer indicator lights.

Perhaps I'm meant to wait here?

Paul flipped on the lights, and discovered the room was a tiny office. It was furnished with nothing more than a single desk with built-in computer workstation set against and facing the right wall, and a chair to sit at it. There was nothing else in the room; no other chairs, no filing cabinets, no office supplies, nothing-- Except a PET laying on the desk and a sheet of paper laying next to it... with Paul's name printed at the top in big letters he could read all the way from the door.


Paul stepped into the room, and closed the door behind himself. He walked over to the desk and read the paper:

Quote (The paper in question.)

Paul Garret MacPhearson

You will now be tested.

Use the PET on the table to find and retrieve a marked file from the SciLabs Network. You have been provided with a minimum allotment of resources to complete this task. No additional resources or help will be offered. If more resources are required, it will be your responsibility to acquire them. You may leave the office room during the test, but you may not leave the Sci-Labs area until the test is over. You have 3 hours to complete this task, beginning when the PET connects to the Network.

Good luck.

"A test, huh." Paul mumbled to himself as he sat down in the office chair, and looked at the PET. "Very well." He picked up the PET, and switched it on. A few seconds later, the resident Navigator appeared on the screen. "So you are my test partner." Paul said absently as he looked the mechanical Navi over. They must have cobbled this one together in a hurry. It's probably only used for these tests. He pushed the thought aside and greeted the Navi. "Hello there. I'm Paul. I'll be your operator for the next few hours."

"Hi." The custom Navi said back in an adult male voice with a slight synthetic echo to it. "I am Voyager.EXE."

Paul raised an eyebrow at the Navigator's unexpectedly fluid speech. Surprise, surprise; and here I was expecting it to sound like a B-grade movie robot with a serial number for a name. Well, I still have time before I start the test clock, so I'll probe Navi for information. "Tell me, do you know anything about the test we are about to take?"

"Another test?" Voyager responded in ignorance. "I do not understand. I have completed all of my performance trials already."

What kind of answer is that? Paul wondered. "So, nobody told you that you would be looking for a marked file of some kind?"

"No." Voyager replied simply.

"No matter." Paul said as turned the PET's camera lens to face the sheet of paper. "These are the details of the test. Tell me when you are done reading them."

Less than three seconds later, Voyager said "done."

Paul turned the PET back around to face himself. However, before he could speak, Voyager said: "I feel I should inform you that the timer is running."

"What?!" Paul was unable to contain his outburst.

"I connected to the Network the moment the PET powered on." Voyager said simply.

"Why?" Paul asked without thinking.

"Why not?" Voyager countered with a shrug.

"Never mind." Paul said in an agitated tone as he adjusted his glasses. "If you're connected to the net, then get out there and start looking for that file!"

"Sure." Voyager vanished from the screen as he dove into the Net.

(Jack-in: SciLabNet)