== 2064: Atlanta Hackspace, Atlanta, GA, Earth
The door to the hackerspace opened, and Vince walked in and peeled off his leather jacket.
Maynard looked up. “Vince? Jesus, where’ve you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for two days.”
“Yeah – I’ve been busy. Lots of parties, lots of -”
Maynard shook his head. “Vince, that’s not cool. Seriously not cool. This ship is your project -”
Vince forced a smile through what looked to be a hang over. “And you’re doing a hell of a job supporting me on it. I appreciate that, Maynard, I really do.” He clapped a hand on Maynard’s shoulder.
Maynard put down the multimeter. “Vince, I appreciate that, but we need to install the rockets. We’ve got almost everything else done. The ship is down in the garage, and it’s ready to go – but we need the rockets.” He paused. “So where are they?”
Vince looked aside. “Well, there’s a problem.”
“What problem?” Maynard felt his voice on the edge of cracking. He’d been working so long and so hard on this, and everyone else in the hackerspace claimed that they were involved, and yet he was the only one who seemed to be doing any work. Vince, Jimbo, Little Steve – even his own girlfriend Carrie-Ann wasn’t around the place very often. Everyone else was spending their nights out drinking, having a sequence of “Bon Voyage” parties. But there wasn’t going to be a damned Bon Voyage if he didn’t get this shit done, and no one was helping him. He’d asked folks again and again, and everyone had laughed it off. Oh, sure, they showed up for the fun parts, like decorating the ship, or deciding what to name it. But for the grunt work? For the welding, for the grinding, for the endless hours of AG drive calibration?
Even Vince, who had been in this with him from the beginning, wasn’t showing up any more.
“Damn it Vince, what problem?”
Vince held up too hands. “Woah, Maynard, slow down. Not cool. Look, you just relax and we’ll get through this together, OK?”
Maynard crossed his arms and looked at Vince skeptically.”
“No, seriously, Maynard. Come on, that’s now way to be.” Vince smiled encouraginly. “Now uncross your arms…yeah, that’s right. Body language, man. So, are we going to work through this together?”
Maynard said nothing.
“Come on, are we?”
Grudgingly Maynard mumbled “Yes.”
“OK.” Vince blew out some air. “So I’ve got this problem with the rockets. The printer says that there’s a DRM flag on them, and it refuses to print them.”
Maynard exploded. “What? God damn it, the printer only updates the government prohibited items list once a month. The last weaponds-and-devices update was two weeks ago. You said that you were going to print out the rockets before that!”
Vince shrugged. “Yeah, and I meant to. I’m sorry, man. Shit came up. You know how it is.”
“No, I DON’T know how it is.”
“Look, Maynard, we can get through this together. There must be some way to print those rockets.”
Maynard wiped a hand over his face, and felt sweat on his forehead. “Yeah, there is.”
“I’ve got some five year old printer firmware.”
Maynard turned to Vince. “No, the problem is NOT solved. Installing that firmware is a FELONY, Vince. I could get serious jailtime for that.”
“Hey, look, this whole project -”
“No, this whole project is not a felony. Well, OK, yes, it is. …but it’s not the kind of felony that they’re prosecuting that much. Illegal firmware on a printer? That’s a BATFEEIN grade four offense. If anyone ever hears that I did this, I don’t get a letter in the mail and time to call my lawyer – I get a tactical team surrounding my apartment and flashbangs through the window.”
“Maynard, don’t be dramatic, you -”
“I’m not being dramatic. This shit is REAL.”
Vince paused. “OK, you’re right. I apologize. This shit is real, and I appreciate the risk you’re taking.”
Maynard breathed out, finally feeling the least bit vindicated. “OK. Thank you.”
“So you’re on it, then? You’ll print the rockets?”
“Damn it, Vince, I’m doing all the work!”
“I know, and -”
“If I print the rockets, you do all the plumbing.”
“OK, I will.”
“I promise.” Vince picked up his leather jacket from the back of the chair where he’d dropped it. “Thanks, M.”