A portion of Zane’s head swiveled back into Herr Köhler’s office. “Sorry, one last thing? Line 3101,” the post-doc gangly American rasped from the entryway. “I’ll dig deeper next week, but I couldn’t map it to any existing—”
Köhler glanced up from one of the dozen or so reports strewn across his desk, his fingers fiddling on the edge of the paper. “I am familiar with 3101. Thank you for your attention to detail, Mr. Davis,” he said briskly. “But you need not concern yourself with investigating it further. Your time is valuable; that line’s purpose falls outside your purview for this particular project.”
A splash of disappointment danced across Zane’s face, and for a moment, Köhler remembered his own tenure as an information architect, a time when he spent the daylight hours tackling mysteries rather than photo opportunities. “Well…if you’re certain, sir. Have a great evening.”
“I will, Mr. Davis. You do the same.”
Köhler resumed reading the Applied Sciences summary in front of him, keeping one eye fixed on the CCTV cameras swooping the parking garage. When he witnessed Zane step into a battered 2004 silver Honda Accord, the CEO lightly tapped the side of his desk: two fingers, three beats. A second phone, dedicated and not connected to the official network, materialized.
“Davis bemerkte eine Diskrepanz im Code. Er stellte eine Frage zu Zeile 3101.” Köhler spoke softly, gently, like he was coaxing a baby bird into taking its first flight. “Ich glaube, ich habe die Angelegenheit geklärt, aber bitte stellen Sie sicher, dass er für den Rest der Woche überwacht wird. Sind wir uns einig?”
The person on the other end of the phone growled something, and the line died.
No one at Lemmonite Ltd. knew what Line 3101 actually did—they only knew that its command had been executed daily since March 23, 1985. Zane Davis’s possible intervention was unlikely to cause all the Earth’s salt to dissolve, or restore the rules of Ramses II, or create a tear in the fabric of reality.
But monitoring the situation, Köhler figured, never harmed anyone.
Based on a Twitter thread I stumbled upon one evening.