Ivan's place: Marchintosh 6: Spark safety

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What you are seeing is a DRAFT. Most things are likely to be changed and there are likely grammatical errors. If you happen to find something that is wrong or could be improved, please let me know. Thanks!

G5 woke up. She retrieved the day and hour from Apple's servers, it was day 6 of the Marchintosh out of 30, 08:34. As her internal clock ticked on, a thought crossed her mind:

—I should probably go check up on G4 —she mused.

G4 had already woken up, and he was in the restroom preparing himself, as he always does.

—So now you wake up even sooner to prepare, huh? —she chuckled to him

—I had a good night's sleep, but I woke up unusually early. Feeling quite refreshed, though! So, I took advantage of the extra time to prepare for our meeting. And it's great to see you've finally relaxed.

—Yes, I needed some proper sleep.

—See, —G4 continued—, I'm really worried for Bondi. Yesterday, she had a lot of zapping going on inside of her. I'm going to guess she also had arcing attacks, but what matters is, she's not doing fine.

—Hmm, how about we... Never mind. —G5 responded.

—What is it? What were you thinking about?

—We could try electrically insulating her failing components. It wouldn't be a permanent fix, but it could help reduce the pain and long-term damage. I doubt I can do it, though.

—That could work. G5, why do you see yourself unable to do it?

—I know I'll probably overheat, and I don't want to put my friends at risk.

—But you're talented, you can do it.

—I can't... I don't have control over my own emotions.

G4 stayed quiet for some seconds, not knowing how to convince G5. He said:

—G5, our friends' well-being could depend on this. How about we do this: You try to do the procedure, and if you overheat, I take over and try to reverse everything. And if that happens, we'll forget about it, forever.

—Well, if that's what you think is the best course of action...

—Can we do the procedure on Graphite too?


—Let's do it.

G4 and G5 started exploring around the house for the required materials. G4 didn't know what they needed, but he was so deep into the search he didn't want to admit it. He grabbed random materials he could find, since he didn't know much about electronics. G5 asked:

—Hey, G4, did you find an anti-static electricity strap? For safety. I want to feel safer during the procedure.

—I have no idea what that is. Oh, uh. Yes! I've got something that'll make your job a lot safer!

—... And that is?

G4 used some trash he could find and put something together as fast as he could. While doing this, he started speaking:

—Drumrolls please... Meet Sparky, the Safety Sock Puppet! —G4 starts holding up a colorful sock puppet with a tiny hard hat and safety goggles— He's your new best friend on this job.

—Ahahah, G4! Sparky? Seriously? You could have come up with a better name, come on!

G4 nods and continues:

—Yep, Sparky's here to remind you about safety in a fun and socketed way. Not through TCP, though! Whenever you're about to work on those wires, just put him nearby, he'll remind you about the required safety rules!

G5 starts laughing, she then asks, sarcastically:

—How does Sparky work, exactly?

—Well, Sparky has a few safety sayings to keep in mind! For example, when you're working on live wires, he might say, uh... "Don't shock yourself, let Sparky help!" And when you're wearing the proper gear, he'll cheer you on, "Safety first, hard hat and goggles, that's a must!" Although, in your imagination. But it's up to you to make it real!

—Heheh... That's... actually kind of cute. But is it really necessary? —says G5, wide smile on her digital face.

G4 jokingly gasps at G5 and starts explaining, not even knowing if he was joking or not anymore:

—G5, electrical work can be dangerous! And safety should always come first. Sparky is just a way to remind you to stay vigilant and avoid any accidents. Besides, he's a great conversation starter with your fellow electricians, right? Right?

G4 laughs.

—I'm not really an electrician, but you might be right; Sparky might just be the perfect icebreaker. Alright, I'll give it a shot, for Sparky's sake! —She giggles.

—That's the spirit! Sparky's got your back, and together, you'll make electrical work a little more enjoyable, and a whole lot less... shocking!

—Oh my god, G4. That was so bad... You almost surged my sense of humor!

G4 and G5 erupted in laughter, almost running out of breath.

—I'm going to go power up Surface, find that dynamic collar while I'm at it.

—Heheh, see you!

—But really —G5 whispered to herself—, where's the strap?


—Oh, G5, you don't need to do any of this —claimed Graphite.

—I agree with Graphite. G5, you really don't need to —added Bondi.

—Come on —responded G5—, you can get me an SSD instead, if it makes you feel better!

—Fine —chuckled both at the same time, smiling.

Bondi and Graphite powered themselves off, and G5 was about to begin the procedure. G4, in a low voice, said to G5:

—You can do this.

G5 smiled and nodded. Unexpectedly, she carefully retrieved Sparky and placed him on the workspace.

G4 watched silently, suppressing the urge to imitate Sparky to let his friend focus on the delicate operation. G5, however, anticipated his intentions and decided to personify Sparky herself, masking the tension with humor.

—You're so dumb —said G4, laughing nervously.

—Maybe because I didn't invent Sparky! —G5 replied, her voice steady, but slightly worried.

G5 continued with the procedure. Every movement she made seemed to carry the weight of their friends' well-being. The room was filled with the hushed intensity of the moment, broken only by the occasional exchange between G4 and G5.

As G5 worked, she found that roleplaying as Sparky served as a coping mechanism, allowing her to mask her own anxiety and doubts; it was helping her control her temperature. She pressed on, trying to stay focused on the task at hand, without overheating.

Finally, when the procedure was complete. G5 powered on Bondi and Graphite, and they played the startup sound. When their faces started displaying, a collective sigh of relief washed over G5 and G4.

—I feel nothing —Bondi claimed.

—Neither do I —added Graphite.

—Great! —G5 turned to G4—, thanks to you, genius. It turns out, roleplaying as Sparky actually made her be able to comment on my own mistakes more easily. Thank you.

—What? I'm no genius, shut up! —G4 laughed.

—Sparky? What are you guys talking about? —Bondi chuckled.

G4 and G5 came back to their shared living place. G5 exclaimed:

—And... This goes over here!

G4, somewhat puzzled, responded:

—What? Did you just stash Sparky in your toolbox?

—You bet! —affirmed G5.

— ...Go to bed, I'll read Surface some novels.

G5 went to her room and entered sleep mode, G4 seeing its soft hum gradually fading into a peaceful slumber as its digital circuits and processors temporarily shut down. In the quiet stillness of the room next door, G4 remained awake.

With a sense of duty and companionship, G4 started reading novels to Surface, the room was bathed in the warm, soft radiance of its screen, which was colored in a warm red hue for night mode. Creating an ambiance that felt like a haven of tranquility, each word and sentence that G4 recited with its synthetic voice resonated with an almost human-like cadence, evoking for the first time emotions and imagination in its audience, Surface, G4 could see it in his face.

Even if they weren't of the same family, or even of the same processor type, even if Surface didn't know how to make sense out of words, G4 realized that him and Surface, shared a unique bond that transcended their individual origins. Their interactions and moments like this felt like a promise that, despite the challenges and uncertainties of what was happening, there was always a refuge in the harmony they created together. It was in these quiet, intimate hours that hope blossomed inside of him, and the notion that things were about to get better became more than just a fleeting thought – though still unlikely, it was slowly but surely becoming a comforting possibility.

Sleep mode activated.

Proudly written by Ivan.

Ivan is a young and passionate libre software advocate and coder, main author and designer of this website. He's been proudly embracing the open web and giving back to the open source community ever since he was 13 years old. A passionate writer too!

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- Eating your apple pie in secret.