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Words of the dead

I wound up spending the evening with a certain Figment. We watched The Wizard of Speed and Time and then In the Beginning. The order was deliberate -- I'll always have the motivation to watch B5 at some point, but I'll be less eager to stay up dreadfully late to see something I'm not already sure of wanting to see.

The movie left both of us in a slightly pensive mood. There are certain things that put me ever so slightly on edge, and contemplation of the twilight of an empire (human, Centauri, what have you) is one of them. It probably didn't help that Figment's place still has the cold stone echo reminiscent of Ariane Emory the Elder's outer rooms, the shade of a dead woman not yet nor ever gone, in every inch of the place.

Figment's computer had been on the entire time -- he'd been trying to defragment, but that wasn't going so well. His computing situation is getting to be somewhat dire: he's working with 98 on a dreadfully old box, his e-mail account is set to evaporate at any moment, he has access to his wife's AOL e-mail account because the password was saved on the machine ... he can't change it to something he'll know, of course, because he never knew the password, and one needs the old password to set the new. He needs a computer overhaul, because it shouldn't take 6+ hours to scandisk. He needs a new e-mail address. He needs serious Geek Help, in other words.

He showed me his Dread Box of Electronics. I exclaimed in delight over a few of the finds -- one of the things was what looked to be a near-new Latitude CPt (sans power adapter, battery, CD/floppy, and HD) -- and in Sheer Geek over some of the other things. One of the things was a flamed-out hard drive. Since I was giggling over that, Figment decided to dig up the report from the Professional Geeks on the thing, and I read over the notes.

Seems that a few of the outlets in the house had been wired backwards. Figment had plugged their old computer into one, and havoc ensued. According to the notes, they'd brought it in and fired it up to test it, and as it was starting the POST, flames shot out of the HD, and the company's test power supply got blown as well. (Figment had been cherishing the hope that perhaps some data could be salvaged from the thing. I was skeptical, and pointed out exactly what a bad sign ACTUAL FLAMES tend to be.) Geek humor, what can you say...

I caught my breath with a gasp as I glanced over the front page of the report again. "Figment, look at this," I said, and pointed. "What?" he asked, and lit on the wrong thing.

"No," I said. "Her password." As part of the information on the case report for fixing the dead computer, the professional computer repair company had collected Figment's wife's username and password for her AOL account.

The words of the dead can be found in some of the most unexpected places.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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