A/N: This piece is solely the responsibility of Shadows-of-Realm, who gave me a very pointed prompt when I asked for one. So thank you for the evil idea and the beta. Don't hesitate to let me know what you think of this short piece.
John vs. Technology: The Not So Epic Battle
John was long overdue with several mission reports and Woolsey breathing down his neck did not help the situation. He could hear the man's voice saying "The Wraith ate my report" is not an excuse for a late report, even if the Wraith did eat it. The exhausted Sheppard wished he could just speak a command and the man could disappear as if he were a holographic projection. He made a mental note to speak to Rodney to see if it was a viable solution. It was well past midnight when the exhausted man sat in front of the computer in his office to start the work that had a final deadline of 0900 hours.
His eyes stung as the harsh light from the monitor pierced his bleary eyes. The reports would be semi-coherent at best, but at least they would be done and ever irritating Woolsey would move onto someone else to pester. John blindly clicked the Microsoft Word icon, not noticing anything was wrong. It took writing a whole page for John to realize something was amiss; everything was upside down. "Wha?" he rubbed his eyes to make sure that it was not a sleep-deprived hallucination. "You've got to be kidding me." Flipping the laptop upside down was not a solution, how was he to type upside down?
"McKay, come in," John tapped his headset. Rodney was the expert in all things technical and knew his friend could solve the problem in a second. Several calls to the scientist went unanswered and it only bought further frustration to the tired Colonel. By Rodney standards, it was too early to call it a night, but since the Canadian had been off active mission rotation for the past two months after fracturing his left foot and ankle he had been turning in earlier and earlier. He knew trying Jennifer's radio would yield the same results, but he tried on the off chance that she would answer. Silence from her as well.
John then had another idea, "Zelenka, I need your help."
This time there was a response, "What is it Colonel?"
"Everything is upside down on my computer."
"What about McKay? Can't he help with that?" Radek's voice was rushed as if he did not have the time for such a trivial problem.
John sighed, knowing his problem was not going to be fixed by morning, "He's not answering his radio and Keller is not answering her's either." He knew the two were together and it was not a shock when neither answered their radios.
The annoyed scientist sighed heavily, "I will look at it first thing in the morning. I'm dealing with a small problem with water pressure to some crew quarters."
"Thanks, Radek. I'll just deal with it," John's head hit his desk as his night got worse. He knew using another computer was against protocol and if he were to use the computer in his quarters, John knew the work would not get done and he would be asleep before the first paragraph was done.
It took three hours to finish reports that should have not taken longer than an hour. By now John was so worn out he was giddy and the most trivial thing made him laugh. "Emailed the Fearless Leader. Now to print them." John executed the print command and then mimicked Richard Woolsey perfectly, "Reports must be submitted by email and a hard copy. Font; Times New Roman 12 point size. Any deviations will have consequences." With no one to laugh at his imitation, John was forced to laugh at himself which quickly turned to a frown when nothing came out of the printer. "Let's try this again," he pressed control + p and was greeted by something unfamiliar.
"Please state your name and rank," a robotic voice came from the direction on the printer.
"Excuse me?" John scratched his head in confusion.
"Please state your name and rank," the voice repeated.
The tired Colonel was not in the mood for any more games and when he looked over at the annoying piece of machinery there was a notice about a voice control upgrade. John was too tired to question the usefulness of such an upgrade as he needed to print these reports so he could get some sleep. "John Sheppard, Lieutenant Colonel."
"I'm sorry, but that name is not recognized. Please state your name and rank."
"John Sheppard, Lieutenant Colonel." John said, getting ready to yell at the printer. Technology was not his friend tonight and it was obviously intent on making his life difficult.
"Good Morning, John. How may I service you?"
"Print the documents I sent to you."
"No pending documents to print. Please state the nature of service required."
"I sent five documents to be printed. How can they not be there?"
"Please lower your voice. I do not care for the manner in which you are speaking to me. Please retry your request in a more civil tone."
John could not believe that the printer was giving him an attitude. Could printers even give attitude? "I just need my reports printed. Can you do that for me?"
"Please select number of copies to be printed."
"Thank you. One copy."
"One hundred copies has been selected." The printer finally started to print.
"One. I said one copy," John's patience was gone.
"Printing has already begun. Job cannot be edited. Please try your request later."
"Cancel. Stop printing." John glared at the machine.
"I'm sorry John, I'm afraid I can't do that. Job cannot be cancelled once it has begun. Sorry. Have a pleasant day." The printer then began to play the Canadian National Anthem as it continued its work.
"Rodney!" John knew the sneaky man had to be nearby to watch his work unfold. "Fix this." He was not in the mood to be a pawn as a cure for McKay's boredom. When John got no response, he yelled again and was still met with silence. "McKay is dead," he grumbled to himself.
"Threats against the Creator will not be tolerated. Powering off." With a whir the printer shut itself off.
John could only sigh and mutter a multitude of curses under his breath. He was more than a little tempted to drag the scientist out of bed. The only thing left to do was to repeatedly hit his head against the desk and laugh like a crazy person at the absurdity of the situation.