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Shen
01-26-2008, 09:39 AM
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The glow of the computer screen was all that offered any light in the apartment on the third floor of the building. From the outside, it seemed to be silent at first, but if one listened closely enough, the furious typing of a keyboard could be heard. This would seem odd for someone at three in the morning…unless you happened to be nineteen-year-old Hector Serinae.

His eyes could not be seen beneath his glasses, but one could still see his manic expression as he typed one command code after another onto his desktop computer. Behind him, his bedroom was hidden by deep darkness where the light from his monitor did not penetrate. He was really excited now; sweat dripped slowly from his head, where usually straight, shoulder-length brown hair stuck out at odd angles. He wiped his forehead with the back of his left sleeve on his wrist before continuing his typing.

The door of his bedroom creaked a little, and a Jolteon padded in slowly. She looked up at him with emerald eyes full of concern, her head tilted to the side in slight curiosity. She walked up to him and rubbed her head on his thigh on the chair; the rest of his leg was beneath the desk he sat at. Still typing, Hector reached a hand down and scratched behind her ears comfortingly before continuing his work. Nothing was said between the two, but the Jolteon sat at his side and gazed up at the computer screen.

For another hour, nothing changed, save for the length of the command code of the computer. Hector drank from the water bottle he had set on the desk beside him whenever he grew thirsty. As time went on, Hector slowly grew more and more excited. He was getting so very near his goal.

Finally, a couple seconds after three thirty, he typed three more keys to finish it up. He almost had to force himself to stop, his hands so used to typing for the past few hours on end. Readjusting his glasses, Hector stared with wide black eyes at the computer screen before him. He looked through a couple bits of the code again, and grinned. “I…I think I did it, Sura…” he muttered to his Jolteon, “Lemme…lemme activate it and see…” He moved his right hand t the mouse and clicked twice.

As the monitor lit up more, his grin could only widen. “Yes…Yes!” He had to keep himself from shouting; if he woke up the other tenants of the apartment building, he’d be kicked out, and he had no idea where else he’d live. The college dorms were too expensive, so he couldn’t allow himself to screw up now. He scooted the chair back and hopped up, causing Sura to stumble back in surprise. Hector pumped a fist in the air triumphantly in the glee his success brought him. However, as soon as he did so, his eyelids drooped. Yawning, he saved his commands onto a disk and had his computer shut down. He then turned to his bed, walked to the end, and collapsed down onto it.

Sura padded over quickly and jumped lightly onto the bed, lying by his side gently. Hector laid his arm over her and smiled. “We’ll go see Professor Turman in the morning, and see if I really did succeed this time…” he whispered to her before closing his eyes. Sura nodded her head and laid it on her paws with a smile.

Sleep covered them like a thick blanket…

The next morning, the two awoke to Hector’s blaring alarm. The clock said ten thirty in the morning, but they knew that it was actually ten; Hector had a habit of setting the clock ahead a half-hour. He said it was to make sure he wasn’t late, because even if he was late according to his clock, he still had time in reality. Hector got out of bed quickly and headed for the shower with the day’s set of clothes in his arms, while Sura yawned wide and lay her head down on her paws, wanting five more minutes of rest. Hector sped through his morning activities as usual, not because he was late, but he always liked to be ready quickly. Only fifteen minutes later, he was shouldering his book bag in his room, Sura getting off his bed with another yawn. Hector smiled as he grabbed the disk and put it in a CD case and slipped it in his pocket.

With a nod between the two and a smile, they headed for the front room and out the door, Hector locking it behind them, and quickly walking for the stairs.

Canalave University campus was only a short walk from his apartment building, just across the great drawbridge that spanned across the river’s widest point at the northern part of town. There was a huge oil tanker just arriving, so the bridge had started rising as Hector and Sura arrived at their side of the bridge. “Aw, crap, just our luck…” Hector muttered, “Well, looks like we’ll actually be a little late today…”

The two waited impatiently on their side of the bridge as the tanker slowly made it’s way into port. Hector’s irritation grew when the tanker got stuck in the shallow water, and a tugboat had to be summoned to pull it through to the proper dock. The bridge lowered slowly, and Hector and Sura were allowed to pass finally, but now they were very late. “I really wish that there was a faster way to get to the university from our apartment…” Hector groaned.

Another five minutes later, Hector dashed into his Computer Programming class, already fifteen minutes late. He sat down quickly at his computer and listen to the instructor, who, as usual, plowed on with his instructions as if he’d never barged in and interrupted the lecture. He looked around sheepishly at the stares of a couple other students before starting his work. He hoped Sura would be safe where she waited for him outside; he never put her in her Pokeball, except in certain situations, and Pokemon weren’t allowed out in the classroom, unless the need called for it.

Despite being fifteen minutes tardy, Hector caught up quickly and set himself to work, getting a substantial amount of his course work finished. As the class began filing out at the end of the lesson, Hector stayed behind, toying with the disk in his coat pocket. He was a little nervous, after all, but he was determined to get Professor Jorin’s opinion of his work…

When all other students had left, Professor Jorin looked up from his computer to see Hector still in the classroom, looking towards him and fidgeting slightly. Taking his glasses off and standing up, Jorin walked over to him by the door. He ran his fingers through his short blonde hair and said, “Look, Hector, you don’t have to apologize every time you’re late. I know about the oil tanker, so it’s fine.”

”No, it’s not that sir, it’s…” Hector gulped nervously and brought out the disk case. “I, er…I finished it last night. I wanted you to check through the program and commands to see how tight it is…”

Jorin looked at the CD case, carefully taking it in his hand. He turned it over in his hand and looked back to Hector. “So, you really finished it, then?” he asked, “The Virus Protection program you had been trying to make for a year now…?”

Hesitantly, Hector nodded. “Y-yes, Professor. I…I was wondering if you would be willing to check it out for me. I would appreciate it if you were to test the program.”

Jorin smiled. “For my favorite pupil, of course. I hope this works, Hector; I’ve rather looked forward to see your best work for some time now.” He put it in his pack on his chair. “However, it’ll have to wait until I’m at home tonight, since I’m rather busy today. Enjoy your other classes today, Hector.” Afterwards, Jorin sat at his computer and resumed his typing.

Satisfied and hopeful, Hector left the classroom to finish his last class of his day’s schedule. He breezed through his work and went back home to enjoy his night. His anticipation for Jorin’s review of his antivirus program he’d been working on for the better part of the past year. His life’s work went into that. Always skeptical of himself, Hector wasn’t too positive this one would be much better than his other works. However, subconsciously, he really believed he had something great there, deserving of a big pat on the back. He was too modest to admit this, though.

Sleep can easily to him that night, surprisingly; with how anxious he was, he expected to be up for hours. His dreams were jumbled, indecipherable images, but it didn’t matter to him, since he only cared for the morning to come quickly.

When he awoke at eight thirty the next morning, Hector didn’t waste any time and blazed though his morning activities. He didn’t waste time, getting quickly through his shower and gathering his materials; he even nearly choked on his cereal when he tried to scarf it down. When he recovered, washed his teeth, and put on his shoes, he bolted out the door, forgetting to lock it. In the process, he closed it in Sura’s face. When he finally remembered to lock the door, he ran up the two flights of stairs and got to his door, opening it when he heard Sura scratching at it for him. He apologized several times before they both ran back down the stairs and towards Canalave University.

Despite his hurry to hear what Professor Jorin had to say about his project, he was too polite to just barge into his office, so he knocked on the door and waited for him, albeit twitchy and impatient.

When Jorin opened the door and looked upon his pupil twitching around, he raised an eyebrow. “Shall I point you to the bathroom, boy…?”

Hector immediately stood stock-still and laughed nervously. “Oh, no, no, sir. I’m just…I’m just a little jittery to know what you have to say about-“

“Ah, yes, your antivirus program,” Jorin said with a nod. He turned around and looked back at Hector. “Come on in.”

Hector hesitated at first, but after Sura nudged his leg and walked in first, he nodded and followed, shutting the door behind him. He looked around the office for what could’ve been the hundredth time. There wasn’t much in the room, merely a couple bookcases lined with books about computer hardware and software, a desk with both a desktop computer and a laptop (the latter of which was currently closed), and two wooden chairs. Jorin occupied one, and the other was empty, for Hector. With a gesture from his Professor, Hector took his seat.

Jorin was only silent for a few seconds before removing his glasses and sighing. Hector grew wary; he was afraid Jorin's sigh meant bad news was coming. However, these fears were alleviated when Jorin cracked a smile and chuckled. “Hector…I am very impressed with you, my lad. It’s not everyday someone as young as you can know enough about computer commands and sequences of these commands to be able to make an antivirus program that did as intended, albeit at a low quality…but this program of yours…” Jorin held up the CD, out of the case, and chuckled again. “I found very few flaws in it, and these flaws are extremely hard to find and exploit. Hector, I must say, you are a child prodigy, and in my own field…”

Hector’s face lit up bright at his mentor’s praise; he’d said some nice things about him before, but this, he didn’t quite expect. He stood up and bowed low before him in a show of great respect. “Thank you, Professor Jorin, thank you!” he said loudly, “You have no idea how much this means to me, I-“

He was stopped as Jorin put a hand on his chin and raised him up with a laugh. “Bowing, Hector? This isn’t the Middle Ages or the Feudal Era, so there’s no call for that! A simple handshake will suffice.”

Hector scratched the back of his head in an embarrassed way, taking a hold of Jorin’s outstretched hand and shaking it vigorously. “Yes, of course. Again, thank you, Professor.” He shook his hand a little more before finally releasing it and grinning up at him.

Jorin patted Hector’s shoulder. “Now then…you should go to the major software industries that you can, and call the others you cannot, and show them what you have to offer. I’m positive this will put someone ahead of the game. Oh, and take my report on it,” he said as he handed Hector several papers in a clear folder, “That should answer any questions that someone would have about it.”

Hector took the papers and tucked them carefully under his arm. He then thought of something. “Um…sir, how am I supposed to call these software companies without good numbers? It’s not as if I’d be able to reach someone worthwhile in them with the numbers in the phonebooks, and-“ he stopped as Jorin held out a smaller slip of paper.

“You don’t think I wouldn’t have thought of that, now, did you?” Jorin teased, “Now, I know you have just my class today, so I’m going to give you the day off; this was enough to give you an A for the day, if I must say. Now, go home, and try to get someone to listen to what you have to offer, Hector.”

Hector grinned, if possible, even wider, and nodded several times at his teacher. “Yes, sir! Thanks again!” With that, he gestured to Sura, turned around, walked to the door and opened it. Waving to Jorin, he left after his Jolteon exited, and closed the door behind him.

Not that it would have stopped him at this point, but Hector was lucky the drawbridge was down at that moment, because he bolted home as fast as he could so he could call as many numbers as he could. He rushed in his door and closed the door, barely missing shutting Sura outside. As soon as he was in, he sat on his small couch, grabbed the phone from the cradle on the table next to the couch, and dialed the first number on the list. He eagerly awaited the other line to pick up. He could hardly sit still, since he was so giddy.

After the line rang seventeen times, Hector was a little irritated, but he kept his cool. Finally, after three more rings, someone picked up. “Saffron Intel Software Industry, Research and Development Offices, how may I direct your call?” a cool female voice said.

“Um…” Hector realized he had no idea who to ask for, so he glanced at the slip of paper Professor Jorin handed him again. Next to the first number, there were words written, instructing him on whom to ask for. “Can you please connect me to Mr….” He looked at the paper once more. “John Sian, please?”

“Please wait one moment for your call to be connected, please.” She responded before the line clicked, followed by silence. Hector, again, kept his patience, hoping it’d pay off.

Luckily for him, the wait for another person to answer wasn’t more than a couple minutes. It was a male that answered this time. “Hello, this is John Sian. How may I help you?”

“Yes, this is Hector Serinae,” he introduced himself, “And I’d like to talk to you about an antivirus program I think you’d be interested in.”

It was a few seconds before John responded. “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t think we’re interested. We can’t just take in new program ideas made by random people.”

“Wait, but…” Hector was dumbfounded; how did they get new employees, or new program ideas, if they keep whomever they accept ideas from so limited? “I really think you would be interested in this. I even have a review from Professor Thomas Jorin explaining-“

“I’m sorry, sir, but we aren’t interested, even at this time of year,” John interrupted, “Have a nice day.”

“No, waitamin-“ Hector blurted out, but he was too late to stop John from hanging up. Sighing, he pressed the button to hang up the phone and sat back in the couch. He looked over to his Jolteon. “Let’s hope that I have more luck with one of these other numbers…”

Sura cooed in encouragement.

Unfortunately for Hector, he wasn’t fated to have any more luck with a single other number. For the next two days, he tried hard to reach these companies. Some didn’t even pick up for hours at a time, but every time he did get through, he was told they weren’t interested, and wouldn’t even give him a chance to explain what he had to offer. He grew more and more frustrated, but he kept his cool while he was talking. That wasn’t exactly the case when off the phone, especially after he was cut off from the last place on his list…

“Damn it!” Hector yelled, shutting off the phone and slamming it on the cradle. Sighing heavily, he slumped back into the couch and put a hand on his forehead, massaging his temple. “Every damn number…these people are too high and mighty for their own good…”

Sura, trying to comfort her owner, nuzzled his leg gently, looking up at him with her large emerald eyes. He smiled down at her and scratched her head behind the ears with his other hand, making her purr gently. She hopped up on the couch with him and lay down next to Hector, her warmth against his side comforting.

They jumped when the phone rang suddenly. He grabbed the phone quickly, hopeful that one of the companies had decided to call him back. He pressed the “Talk” button and said into the receiver, “Hello, this is Hector Serinae. May I ask who’s calling?”

“Hector, it’s Professor Jorin,” the other line answered. Hector sighed in slight disappointment as he slumped back into the couch again. “Have you had any success yet?”

Hector sighed again, “No, Professor…they’re all unwilling to even listen to me. A few of them were even real asses to me…Oh, sorry…” he said sheepishly; he never means to cuss to his teacher, but it happens every now and then.

“That’s perfectly alright, Hector. I understand,” Jorin said calmly, “I was afraid of this happening…luckily for you, I have already set up an appointment for you with a software company, and in Canalave, too. You think you can be there by seven tonight?”

Hector glanced at the clock to check the time. “It’s four in the afternoon, so I imagine I can. How did you get me an appointment with a company on a Sunday?”

There was a chuckle on the other line. “I have my connections, my boy. How else do you think I got where I am today, when there were so many others, some even younger and possibly more capable than I?”

He gave Hector an address to a company named Spirited. They were a new, small software company that was having a hard time getting anywhere, since it was the holidays and all the bigwigs were battling it out in the market. Hector made sure to make himself very presentable for the next hour and a half, preening himself with a critical eye. Finally, he was ready, and he and Sura walked out into the cold dark of the December evening to find where Spirited was. Hector remembered to take his large winter jacket, since nights at this time a year for Canalave can be rather frigid.

After only an hour of looking, Hector came upon a rather small building for a software company. After rechecking the address and looking at the name on the building, he was sure it was the right place. With a look to Sura, he walked in the front door. A small reception room greeted him. The walls and carpet were red, there was a single light above that provided a friendly glow to the room, and behind a mahogany desk sat a young woman with long, curly brunette hair and a bright face.

She looked up as the bell rang when Hector opened the door, and smiled at him. “Welcome to the Spirited Software Industry. How may I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m here for an appointment at seven tonight, I think…am I too early?” Hector asked.

The receptionist shook her head lightly. “No, no, you’re just fine. Why don’t you take a seat, and-“

“So, you’re Hector!” a robust voice boomed into the small room suddenly, cutting the receptionist off. A man, nearing his late forties, by the looks of it, walked in energetically. He sported a simple, crisp, black-and-white suit, his brown eyes sparkled in a friendly way, and his graying hair was combed back smoothly. As he approached Hector, he held out a hand. “Tom told me plenty about you. So, you have an antivirus program you made that we may be interested in?” Hector, astounded by how quickly this man came out, merely nodded. “Fantastic! I hope you aren’t expecting a king’s ransom for it, unfortunately; the more successful companies overshadow us, for now…”

[End of Ch. 1]