Conor was a low ranking digital spider.
Conor hated his job.
Nothing had worked out the way he had wanted it to. Sitting in his damp and rickety corner office he thought about all of the grandiose ideas that had once fluttered his mind as a child.
Soaring through the air. Weightlessness. An ever expanding horizon.
Life was so easy when he was younger. Back then all he had to do was close his eyes. Instantly he would have been transported to a new and exciting world. One bound by no limits. A place where his imagination could dance freely amongst the colour and light of endless possibilities.
“Time is my foe”, he thought to himself as he leaned back in his creaking chair, the left side threatening to give way from the weight of countless others that had sat there before him.
On paper he was a natural for this position. On paper he fit the criteria bill perfectly
But how could it have been any different. There could never have been any other way. He was born into this. As a child he had been told to stamp out that side of his brain. To ignore it. To focus on reality and the path that had been so neatly laid out before him.
He had tried to heed that guidance. He really had. But every direction he turned he saw glimpses of colour. It was the very nature of his job. Impossible to dismiss.
He had a duty to perform. A role to play. Although nobody would ever know his name he was an integral part of the grander plan.
He needed to keep telling himself that.
Day after day, week after week he would recite those words in his head over and over again until eventually they lost all meaning and blended with the rest of his prosaic routine.
Why did he feel like this. Why did he think like this. Why couldn’t he just completely switch off and plug himself in to the routine that was all around him.
This was where he belonged. This was where he was told to stay.
There, sitting in his cold and damp corner office he looked towards the monitor mounted on the wall. Symbols and characters raced across the screen as they joined together, bound by complex theorems and mathematical equations. He watched as they appeared and disappeared in quick succession, wondering where they had come from and where they were going. He also thought of the digital soldiers that rode those equations and the countless world’s they must have seen as they connected one string to the next, tying order to the ever expanding breadcrumb of content that manifested itself across the World Wide Web on a daily basis.
He wanted nothing more than to be one of those frontline soldiers, to experience the thrill and rush as he swooped from website to website, imprinting and collecting data along the way.
But alas, it was not meant to be. He was needed here. Somebody was required to observe the data being collected to make sure that no glitches appeared in the official ledgers and who better suited to the job that he.
On paper he was a natural for this position. On paper he fit the criteria bill perfectly.
“But only on paper”, he thought to himself, a biro loosely balancing between his index finger and thumb as he drearily watched the screen before him fill with characters from the depths of the unknown.
He was about to slip back into his childhood daydreaming when a warning light suddenly snapped him into the present, nearly causing his chair to finally give way in the process.
There, sitting above his monitor was a dust covered metal transmitter, a relic that superseded even the previous occupier of his office. For years he had mistaken it for an old piece of digital junk, something that might have provided a use long ago but had since been replaced by newer technology.
Nevertheless, here it was flashing and buzzing as if it had just been taken out of it’s box and turned on for the first time. He looked at the faded description etched below it’s facade and read the words ‘DEFECTED’.
As he was about to ponder it’s meaning the telephone began to ring. It was his superior. He never rang here.
“This must be serious”, Conor thought to himself as he picked up the receiver and placed one end to his ear.
Little did he know how serious it actually was.