The Crazy Helpdesk by Tanja Peikert - HTML preview

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take an elevator up (if it was working), turn north, take a walk again, then turn around corner again and you were finally in the office just above yours.

Every so often there was no direct entrance to a building and you could only reach it by accessing it through still some other building, three or more afar.

One had to know shortcuts. If one knew them, on could spare hours of time. As you

will if you know how to ‘Add a Network Place’ in ‘My Computer’ of Windows XP. In

this labyrinth shortcuts were as precious to know as the highest officials. Almost as

good as too have a blood link to them. Things would just go faster if you knew them.

Shortcuts gave you as much power as if you were one of them. Shortcuts were kept

secret, you would share them only with your most precious colleagues, and more, if

they became to well know, they would be inevitably closed by security.

If you knew how to ‘Add a Network Place’’

you could reach a faraway destination, deeply nested at the bottom of a folder, in just

one click instead of maybe fifteen.

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The House was a maze, and visitors were never just explained the way in and out, they

were shown in and out, always accompanied. For instance a set of just three offices lay

in a corridor behind the main conference room of the House, the one which was shown

on TV and where the greatest of visitors were made to talk. To find those offices one

had to climb the stairs up to the visitors balcony, then find some exit/entrance

somewhere, go through it, turn left, and then right, and there were the three offices.

With just ordinary personnel there, that had nothing to do with the organisation of the

conference room. No one ever had managed to find them without help. Even great and

wise people, like Buddhist monks get lost here, and need help to find their way back.

The Minotaur, for sure, must be lurking about the place, though if someone had already

met him, it was in disguise. Maybe he dressed up as some data eating virus or so.

In fact the House is beautiful, all made of glass, a single Window made of thousands,

including elevators, doors, ceilings. We were living in a Window.

However if you haven’t been at the House or Bohatia yourself, you can never have

seen a picture or film of it, because the architect had drawn up a contract to keep all

reproduction rights for himself. Without his permissions no one could take a picture of

it nor film it. This was typical of the place.

The House also had a secret room. Wild theories ran about a picture there, a fresco.

One could have a glimpse of it from the outside, through the glass, but from there one

couldn’t really make it out. Whatever this picture represented was only a subject of

speculation. No one but very high ‘hierarchy’ was allowed to see it, and they kept

silent about it. Of course we all knew where it was, but before its entrance sat a guard, always the same; and since he seemed quite alert one had the impression of great

danger should he approach the chamber uninvited.

The House is almost self-sufficient. It hosts several banks, a post office, two

hairdressers, six newspaper shops, with magazines and books from the whole outside

world, a laundry, a not so small supermarket with excellent products from all our

countries, over a hundred or more, I don’t remember suddenly, how many exactly, a

souvenirs shop, for the visitors, with quite tasty items, a drugstore, a fitness centre with qualified personnel, where one could have massages, take Yoga and Karate courses, a

swimming pool, a medical centre, and of course big and small canteens and even bars

(lot’s of them), which were dealt out all over the place, so that you could pop into one just by turning a corner, and not knowing about it before.

You can find a basic plan of the House in the Glossary at the end of the manual.

You will now believe that whole Bohatia is made up of the House, but let’s rather say

whole Bohatia was making a living in or of the House. As mentioned just before, next

to goat keepers and goldsmiths Bohatia also has bakers, butchers, supermarkets,

fashion shops and movie houses, schools, nurseries, hospitals, drugstores, postmen and

fire wear men. Moreover all sorts of lobbies are circling around the House like planets

around a sun. All of them were doing well, a Bohatian postmen has more then the

highest average of salaries in other civilized countries.

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It was a cool life, we worked hard, and there was no astonishment, nothing unforeseen.

Until the day chaos came. At least it came for MOU XII.

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The day when chaos came

Chaos came in the form re-organisation: a move, a split and remerge of three of the

Main Organisational Units, MOU’s as the House affectionately calls them. We had

twenty-four of them at the House (This number can change later, don’t even wonder).

The split and move had been decided in order to meet the challenges of modern science

and was proclaimed to start in two weeks. Enthusiasm is a good thing; however,

considering what followed, the decision obviously lacked preparation and organisation,

and had been done in too much haste. Because from the first day on, we found

ourselves caught in a kind of fractal, a Mandelbrot or Julia set, which soon began to

look like a never ending story.

Basically, if only fractals were basic, you would think

that a fractal is a beautiful thing. But it is not, when you

live in one. It is dreadful.

Basically, a fractal is any pattern that reveals greater

complexity as it is enlarged. A fractal is a rough or

fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in

parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a

reduced-size copy of the whole. Alan Beck explains that

when we look very closely at patterns that are Euclidean,

the shapes look more and more like straight lines, but

that when you look at a fractal up close you see more

and more details3. The moment you think you have come to the bottom unit, to the last of the smallest structure needed, you would discover another. It is indeed a never

ending story.

As it happened, with the split, new services, WG’s, as we call them, for Workgroups, had been created, but without people in it. New services had been created but had yet

no names. Nor had they been delimited in any way. What now belonged to MOU old

and to MOU new? When people where asked to what MOU they now belonged many

of them couldn’t say. The problem was that a certain MOU X had been split into two.

The two parts had then been remerged in two new MOU’s, new MOU XI and new

MOU XII. One other MOU, MOU VII had been split into two also, and was to be

distributed half over new MOU XI and half over new MOU XII. However, the

previous MOU X was to become new MOU XI. The previous MOU XI was to become

the new MOU XII. And the old MOU XII would now be new MOU VII.

Got it? No? Don’t worry, no one did. Nor did anyone know what to do now. The whole

3 http://www.math.com/students/wonders/fractals.html

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new staff felt misplaced and at loss. People came and told me how much they feared

the consequences of the incomprehensible random made split. You may know of what

I am talking, this kind of reorganisation might have happened to you too.

Had they at least used the random formula in Excel, it would have been understandable

in at least some way. Like when one opens Excel and then choose ‘Insert - Function -

Rand())’ and one obtains something at least: a number. But do try to press F9 on the

same sheet and you will see it change forever.

Maybe the result was more of a circular reference, like when one’s cursor slid, and added a number to its own sum.

One got blocked in one’s own scheme.

Or it seemed as when one wants to switch the content of two variables in

programming, and put x into y and y into x. Like if you want to switch the contents of a glass filled with wine with another filled with milk. One would need a third glass or

variable, like z, but z hadn’t been provided for.

The IT Helpdesk had just been parted or put together in the same way. If the Helpdesk

didn’t know at least half of the users, they didn’t, at least partly, know each other very well either. They knew each others names, because they were informaticians, but not

much more. Two weeks ago they had gotten a letter informing them that they were to

work in the IT-Helpdesk of MOU XII from then on. Good to know.

Merely Nicolas, Leo and Lutgarde, and her only up to recently, had been at MOU XII

from the start. Johanna, Maurice and Hildegard came from old MOU XIII, Alexandra

and Sven from old MOU VII, the remaining part came from each a different of the

twenty-two MOU’s of the House. Alone Myra was freshly hired; she had arrived some

days before the split.

They felt at loss. What were they to do, if they were to give support under such

circumstances, not even knowing where they stood themselves, in all of this?

And if this was not enough they found themselves standing before yet another

challenge: all those users had to be given several new programmes. The general

configuration of Windows XP had to be revised. An Update from the MS Office

programmes, Excel, Word and Outlook had to be downloaded and installed. The users

had to be familiarised with the versions of the in-House made application programmes

Kaleidoscope and Elements 112. There would be a lot for them to do in the following

months.

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The new Helpdesk

Indeed, the IT team found themselves thrown together like if they had been dices. The

morning after the split the newborn team decided to have a meeting and sat down at a

symbolic round table with the intent to describe themselves to the others as well as

possible under the circumstances, and also to decide upon what each of them would be

doing.

They counted each other and found they were ten. Six women. Four men.

Johanna spoke first. “Call me Jo,” she said. She looked Finnish and was Finnish. Her

most distinctive feature was a long blond braid, falling to mid waist. She was

somewhere around forty, slender to the extreme, wore high heels that made her tall and

was dressed with a slightly outrageous elegance. She exuded an aura of intense,

warrior-like energy. After a long speech she said she felt she was here to organise the

battlefield, adding a slightly grim touch to the word, but to reassure them she added she had done this before. “The two persons who gave the support for the application

programmes Kaleidoscope and Elements 112 have been moved to another MOU. I

have been taking care of the development and follow-up and maintenance of

applications programmes for years. I would like to continue to do so.”

Everyone agreed and it was decided she should go on with it. Everyone also secretly

decided that she should be their virtual leader. She seemed bossy in a nice way; one felt she cared about organising people and people themselves.

‘Jo’ informed them that they would have 777 users and their programmes to take care

of. Windows, Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and all the other

stuff plus ten tailor-made programmes. She didn’t say were she had gotten that

information from. She kept on talking for some time, with a touch of passion.

To her right sat Maurice,”call me Momo and I kill you.” He appeared to be French,

somewhat close to forty, impressively tall, and had light brown eyes with golden

specks and smooth dark blond hair. He carried a slight limp with a touch of majesty.

With his fine features, somehow elusive elegance and presence he cut quite a fetching

figure, so that his limp was soon forgotten. Promptly it was decided that he was to take care of the servers and the park of PC’s in general. This made him the MOUSA, which

stands for ‘Main Organisation Unit’s System Administrator’.

Just as Johanna hadn’t actually said she was Finnish, Maurice didn’t say he was

French, none of the others would declare their nationality. This was just something the

people of the House knew, out of an every day habit.

As already mentioned, Maurice and Johanna knew each other from before. One felt a

great complicity between them, the kind of which comes from having been best

enemies for years. Both were diplomats, but of a very different kind.

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Alexandra came next. She was Slovene. Rather tiny, very blonde, stub-nosed with blue

eyes. ”Call me Lexi,” she said, and “I have been installing computer and printers for

ages. No hard disk, no toner, no modem can resist me.” She was not beautiful, but

pretty in a puzzling way, with an Oracle quality about her. Men might be calling her

just to see her, probably so that she could tell them their future. She wore comfortable but visibly expensive clothes. Armani jeans, a Kenzo T-Shirt and collar tight scarf. She had certainly spent a least an hour to apply her make-up and style her hair. One just

couldn’t imagine her carrying heavy PC’s around, but ok if she said so. Lexi and the

boy to her right were obviously just stepping into the first half of their thirty years. And now it was this boy’s turn:

“And I have done this with her, at MOU VII” said Sven. He was Swede, blond too,

tanned and had a set of sparkling blue eyes. He was not beautiful, but very good

looking. It was as if he wanted to be good looking mainly to do others (like girls) a

favour, and not even to take advantage of it but just as to be nice. This could be his

main trait: he was nice. But the nice in him was disguised in sexy. Sven was sexy, very

much so, but in a reassuring way. Just as if to be nice. The girls here would call him a lot too, if only for that.

Sven and Lexi made a pair. They looked alike, moved alike, they were like twins.

There was an obvious complicity between them, if of a different kind than the one

between Maurice and Johanna. Installing computers? Certainly this was something

very much needed. It was decided within a minute that they would continue doing it

together at MOU XII too.

Nicolas , ‘call me Nico’, a cute Spaniard, presented himself as a programmer. ”I know

C, C++, Java and JavaScript, Visual Basic, all of the Microsoft Office VBA and how to

link all this with Oracle, so that I can make nice relational databases,” he said. Of

medium height, he had a dark close fitting moustache and was somewhat around thirty-

five. He had dreamy eyes, like if he was far away in his thoughts. It was decided he

would go on programming, and help the users with their workflow by giving them nice

macros and other application programmes. They then all turned to look at Nico’s right,

at a man maybe some four years older.

Leo , call me Leonardo, he said, which was meant to be a joke, because his name was

really only Leo. He was the only one who said his nationality aloud: “Sono Italiano”.

He was somewhat taller than the average Italian, had a high forehead, jet black hair and beautiful hands, elegant, like those of a piano player or rather painter. He had an inborn elegance, feline like movements and was tastefully dressed. The whole picture was

slightly misbalanced by a long dark silky beard, which he however stroked with pride.

”I am to do the Web Pages, if you agree, not alone but with,” and he pointed at the girl to his right.

Lutgarde, my name is Lutgarde, she said. She obviously didn’t want the diminutive

Lut which could evoke something tiny or small. I am to help Leo with the Web Pages

and I have almost never done this before. But Leo has. Just stepping into her thirties,

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she had a look like on a very old Dutch or Flemish painting, fine blond hair, light blue eyes, a translucent skin, with almost the light around her to go with it.

Everyone agreed that Leo and Lut should do the Web Pages.

"I'm Martha. Call me Gwendoline ."

The new team looked at her, not quite understanding.

"Why Gwendoline? Is that your second name on the passport?"

"No. I just wanted to be called like that for a very long time now."

Gwendoline did not seem to have much in common with Martha, and moreover, she

was Argentinean, and who has ever heard of an Argentinean called Gwendoline?

But what was the CHD there for, if not to fulfil wishes, if it was feasible.

“And do you want to make nickname out of this too? Like ‘Gwen’?” asked Maurice.

But Martha shook her head firmly, smiled and said she’d really prefer Gwendoline.

So Gwendoline it would be.

Gwendoline wanted to do the Support for the Software Helpdesk. She was rather tiny,

stepping into her forties, but looked ten years younger, with a mop of dark curls and

some freckles. Her eyes had a look like if she could see through you. If not pretty, she was very attractive.

Since she someone had suggested she’d do the minutes of the meeting she had

formatted the Helpdesk names so that they could stand out by clicking on the border

icon

and then choosing ‘Format - Borders and Shading - and then the Shadow

Setting’’.

“And I will do the same,” said Hildegard , a tall and slightly heavy-boned Swiss, with

light green eyes and very straight long light brown hair. An ordinary colour, but in her it was striking. It shone, healthy, in one strait line, without a split, like washed with a mixture of ancient herbs. Just like her skin, which seemed translucent, rosy, healthy,

treated with mystery creams only known to even her. Would she share the formula?

She didn’t yet say ‘call me Hilde’, because the Swiss or Germans and such are rather

on the shy side for nicknames on first meetings. Everyone agreed that she too would be

doing User support but Maurice also suggested also she’d do the User management.

Putting them in databases and so. Her being Swiss would make sure that she was very

well organisiert. Hilde agreed to do the ‘Usermanaschement’. But this is unfair, because Hilde had no accent in ay of her five languages.

She wore light green pants, floating and large at the bottom. This was already some

kind of finery because apart from Johanna, none of the other girls present wore a skirt

or a dress.

But it was pants, not a dress, and otherwise everyone else at the Helpdesk dressed in a

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very casual way. It was Friday code the whole week. Jeans and T-Shirt were a uniform

for the IT people. It must not been forgotten that IT people had to crawl beneath a table several times a day to stick some network cable into its socket or that they had to carry heavy PC’s and screens around. A dress or high heals or suit would have been a serious

hindrance, and every single nice skirt would have gone to pieces soon. Also men would

maybe have taken some advantage out of this, and do everything they could to get an

IT girl into awkward situations.

Jo, Gwendoline and Hilde were also to take care of all the applications programmes,

the so called in-house or tailor made programmes. These were programmes so specific

to the House that not much will be said about them. Though if you knew them you

knew the House. They gave Johanna, Hilde and Gwendoline and their users a lot to do.

Elements 112 and Kaleidoscope II were two stories by itself, so they’ll just be

mentioned from time to time.

Then last but not least everyone looked at Myra , who felt very shy, because she was so

new. And very much the youngest. She could hardly be twenty-six. Moreover, she was

not an informatician, had not studied it nor been trained as such. Her career was one of those which often led to a Helpdesk: the one of a Super User. The Super User just had

to end up in a Helpdesk. He or she was condemned to. But Myra felt that she had not

much to offer to such a very experienced crowd. Except that soon it was decided she

should do the Central Helpdesk, taking all the calls from the users and then dispatching them to the right person. Myra was Czech or Slovakian and again very young. But her

dark grey eyes looked older, almost wise, like if the future or such things were no

secret to her. She was kind of pretty in a rather unconventional way. Raven black hair

falling almost to her waist, snowy white skin, pointed nose and traits. She wore a

lipstick a shade to red.

As number ten had spoken the door opened and with this a young men, who couldn’t

be much older than Myra, entered the room.

“Hi. I am Arthur. And I am to be your ... ,” he said, as if searching for the word. No

one knew Arthur, he was even newer to the House than Myra. And maybe her age or

just one year over. He was very slim, and reminded one of the princes in fairy-tales,

with a skin without blemish and the kind of fine white blond hair almost never found in

those above twelve years old. It floated around his face like sun rays made matter.

“Your....” he obviously didn’t know the word which the House used for this function at

the House. Johanna helped him

“You mean Manager, Administrator, etc. You can say Administrator. But the House

calls them C.L.A. Whatever this stands for. The initial wording has been lost, no joke.”

Arthur said he was sorry to come so late, but he had just been informed ten minutes

ago that he was to thus be their... CLA. He was still searching for the right word. This was the way of the House. He had then been sent direct to their offices, lost himself a

bit in the labyrinth of the House, than found them at their first meeting. The ten had

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thus had to repeat their presentations again, but since everything was decided already,

Arthur found himself before ten accomplished facts. What else could he do but to give

in. They grinned inwardly. Ok, maybe, there went Johanna as their virtual leader, but

Arthur would, they could feel that, be an good boss in his way too. As a good strategist he would let them take their own decisions. Arthur would be ideal for filling in, or not filling in, that missing ‘CLA’ concept. Because IT people don’t especially like to have

a boss, nor do they think to need one. Well, maybe sometimes they like to have one, for

instance one like Josepha Laperm. She could listen, analyse, and then decide for the

best. She felt the underlying need in every story told to her. Otherwise IT-people are a bit like children, and like to be left to play alone, unwatched by the grownups.

But pro forma, since he had had no say before, Arthur now asked what they were doing

with their free time.

After all declaring they had no free time, but were only living for the House, they gave in and told.

Johanna liked to play games. Society games, parlour games, role playing. From

Monopoly over Risk to Diplomacy, Stratego, Aquire, Colony and sometimes Dungeons

and Dragons, but really rather all strategy games. And she just loved to win.

Maurice said that he only loved two things in life, his computers and his wife, which of them more, he did not say.

Lexi said she loved to play around with machines, and repair defect ones, like HI-FI,

TV’s, Video-Recorders, Printers and PC’s. Yes and to invent new machines. Well that

was her job now. But as a hobby, she did Martial Arts. Karate, Kung-Fu, Bushido.

What a programme, this girl, but she would be great for Hardware, fighting naughty

printers and stubborn PC’s. What she didn’t say was that she had left Slovenia because

her very large family was getting on her nerves by asking too much of those repair

tours of her. They didn’t stop and nagged so much that she had been transformed into a

plumber, electrician and handy-maid for everything and everybody. This family had to

be something.

Sven crossed his arms over his muscular breast, thought for a moment, grinned, and

said nothing. Well hobbies are said to also stand for sublimation, and maybe this guy

didn’t need any, it could well be he was so balanced that he had not problem at all. But he finally remembered that he must have one: three horses. Well, his wife’s horses. He

helped her tend to them. Just to imagine him on a horseback, wow.

Nico loved to travel. So that was where the far-away look in his eyes came from.

Leo refused to answer, gently but firmly. This revealed a certain tendency for

obfuscation.

Lutgarde liked to be with her family. When she wasn’t with her family she liked to

sing. She didn’t say more but Leo betrayed her by explaining Lut was singing in a

Bohatian pop group. The group was awed, because Bohatians were great musicians and

shy about strangers, she must be very good. Later Leo explained to them that Lut had

really a good voice, not that he knew anything about it.

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Hilde talked about cooking, gardening and doing maths (how did the third go together

with the two first?).

Gwendoline just liked to be with her family and friends and see people, but one could

feel she was hiding something, the way she was saying SEE people. One felt one could

not lie to her. She looked too nice. And also a bit devious.

Myra, when asked, did not answer, but only went red in the face and Maurice said she

must be thinking about boys, which made her go scarlet.

Arthur, finally asked himself, first had to think about it a lot and finally said he liked to think... while juggling.

With how many balls they asked? Four he said.

But in truth it was five. Arthur did not know why he was not telling them the truth, and why he was keeping the fifth ball to himself. But he would think about it, while trying

for the sixth.

But I could imagine him juggling in secret with thinking of how to be a boss without

being one.

And maybe this notion of not wanting any boss at all was not so true after all. Again,

those who knew her, were putting great hopes in Josepha Laperm; who was to be their

Director, way up before Arthur in the hierarchy. She cared. She really assumed her

role. She would know how to put things right. She was the best Director in the House.

But even her, one of the few sound personalities maybe, seemed at loss. Many of the

staff supposed to be working in the new MOU XII just didn’t show up. How in the hell

should she organize all those new WG’s with no people in it?

As for the new Director, Jacques Owl, the eleven didn’t know him yet, but he had a

good reputation. Of course he would have to get used to his new MOU too.

And as what regards Myself I probably owned the very first PC that came on the

market (as soon as I could afford one). I immediately realised how important that little box would be for everyone in some years time, and that everyone at least in an office

would have to use one. I had imagined PC’s it would lighten up people’s life like it

does mine, make work easier, better organised, less chaotic, less painful, more

efficient. But as time has passed by the opposite seems to have happened and people

seem to spend one fifth to one quarter of their time to get their computer working

again, while their boss sits on their neck shouting after some bloody report which the

computer has swallowed and refuses to spit back out. I wanted to help people with this,

and I do. I’m very good, just like the whole Helpdesk is. I feel how good we are all.

And I might be one of them, one of the now eleven, or a user even, or I might not. To

give you a tip: I’m mostly consulted about Home PC’s.

But I can’t tell you who I am, and, just as for the name of the House, I would again ask the kind reader not to reveal my name, should she or he find out the truth. You all

know me; many of you see me almost everyday. I’m the first thing you might see when

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you arrive. You consult me a lot; I come to many of your offices once a day. Many of

you have told me their story. I keep all of this to me of course. So don’t betray me

either :o)

Half an hour later the freshly baked team got an Email from Johanna, enclosing an

Excel table she had pasted into the Email and which contained the structure of the

Helpdesk.

Name

Function

Myra Beloba

HelpDesk-Central

Hildegard Brandt

HD-Software

Alexandra Velma

HD-Hardware

Nicolas Biscotti

Programmer

Gwendoline Jaia

HD-Software

Johanna Salveson

IT Assistant

Leo Veneto

Webmaster

Lutgarde Sanger

Webmaster

Sven Schelmstorm

HD-Hardware

Arthur (last name not given)

CLA (Head of HelpDesk)

Maurice d'Escher

MOUSA

You can find the complete table with some more info in the Glossary at the end of the

manual.

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Chaos installs

We then moved, Myself included, seven hundred and seventy-seven of us, into a new

building. The building was in two parts really, one west, one east, joined by a little

footbridge with glass windows on each side (glass again) at its second floor. One of the many little rivers of ran just beneath the bridge. The Natural Sciences section of the

MOU would go West, the Human Sciences section would go East.

The drawing to the left has been quickly done in Word by

Gwendoline. She used  Insert-Picture- AutoShapes . Once

the three shapes were drawn she held down the Shift key,

clicked on each of them to select them all, then right-clicked,

and chose ‘Grouping - Group’ from the menu list.

The buildings wore the names of two famous scientists, because the House was all

about Science. Take whoever you like, the House chose Robert Koch and Marie Curie.

They should have taken Freud or Lacan as a name for the Curie building, to be logical,

but the House had a Freud building already. MOU VIII (responsible for the Buildings)

flatly refused to change the name on all the plans.

The IT Helpdesk was to go to the Curie. Of course some acronyms were found for the

buildings: APS and PSI, which made no sense, but those acronyms were bound anyway

to change at least five times that year, just so that IT Helpdesk could have some fun

and keep changing their user tables over and over again. And go crazy.

And great was everyone’s astonishment when they realized that nothing, but nothing in

the buildings was ready, completed, finished. Everything was just but in progress. And

the astonishment soon turned to bewilderment.

How could things so quickly deteriorate in a building

not much older than the Country. Offices were without

doors, cables lay open on the floors, walls had not been

painted anew and carried the dirt streaks of their

previous owner (not the “House”), carpets, far from

new, were dust ridden, office space was minimal and

some people had been installed in what previously had

obviously served as cupboards, the usual office desks

could not be accommodated, so people were given

improvised tables, coming from somewhere in the attics. Lightening was not working

in many offices, air conditioning was non existent, as was probably central heating.

Fortunately, it was springtime. But windows had to be opened in order to get some

aeration and with the opening of windows everything came in but fresh air. Carbon

toxic, noise, and more dust.

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If some offices were without doors, there were also people without offices, many

offices had no phone or no PC’s (ah those made the helpdesk happy for at least a while,

they wouldn’t call because they had no problem with their PC and couldn’t call

because they had no phone!) People were moved into new offices, just to hear five

minutes later that this move had been a mistake, and that their office was elsewhere.

People were moved into offices with their previous

occupant still in it, his move having been foreseen in

only a week. Offices, when finally having been

emptied of at least their owner, were not cleaned.

Cables lay still open on the floor, network seemed to

have fled into some long vacation, into a place far

away, unknown to itself. Sven went crazy running

around and trying to find out to which network or sub-

network a specific user belonged.

To make matters worse the footbridge you see on the drawing had been recently

closed, for no obvious reasons at all. Thus the users of the west part and the users of

the east part had to take a quite extraordinary detour: One couldn’t just leave the east building itself but one had first to go to another one still, cross it completely and then only find an exit at its other end. Even this was not easy, because in order to reach the first building one had to take the elevator to the second floor, the only one which

offered an opening between the two. When one had finally reached the exit it was first

necessary to cross the river on one side, then make all the way back to the east

building, take the path along the river to finally reach a second bridge which then

finally led to the west building.

The worst thing for half of its inhabitants was that there was no light. However was it

possible to have no light in a series of buildings all made out of glass. But the Curie

and Koch buildings didn’t. Both had their back side, the south wall, only a few meters

from a high mountain wall, which went up just to the level of the sixth floor. The west

side too, was partly hidden by another mountain which hid it from the sun just when it

shouldn’t have.

If was quite a scandal, for those of the House, who were used to being rather pampered.

The only nice offices and ready offices were those of the Director and his team, and

those of the Helpdesk, which showed the relative importance they were given. If not

high in hierarchy, they are sort of like scribes for the pharaohs, and are admired like

equals or free people for their knowledge of ‘hieroglyphs’.

IT team’s offices were larger, already provided with new carpets and freshly painted

walls. Moreover, they were located on the seventh floor, and the only ones with a lot of light on all sides, except of course those still one floor above, which were given to the Director and his team.

- 30 -

The Crazy HelpDesk

But for the rest of the seven hundred and seventy-seven, it seemed like a disgrace. An

impressive number of people suffered an allergy crisis and or asthma, others caught red

and white spots everywhere in the face, several people tripped on the many open laying

cables and strained an arm or an ankle. One girl got caught by a vicious network cable,

fell down, and was entwined in such manner that she could neither move nor call for

help. Since this happened in a faraway office, around the corner of a corner, she was

found only three hours later and had to be brought to the hospital by blue light.

Jack Owl, the new Director, who had been parachuted from the outside a few months

ago, was heard pestering about the buildings condition several times over the phone so

that the whole floor could hear it. But even hierarchy seems to have nothing to say

sometimes, because, as we would see, another entity had taken the power: Chaos.

It had broken out over the MOU in the way of a tidal wave, and menaced to swallow