Tyler was emotionally exhausted as he completed the shift turnover checklist with his replacement and badged out of the cyber war room. He shuffled down the hallway, past the drone pilots’ war room and through the data center mantrap. The parking lot was dark as he beeped his remote to find his car and he honestly couldn’t tell if it was morning or night. For the last month he’d been pulling double shifts every other day (actually it makes more sense to refer to the time periods as every other 24 hours) and he had to stare at the military time display on his watch for several moments before his brain registered AM vs PM. It was PM, so he figured he could quaff a few drinks at the Pwn Shop Lounge on his way home. His start of week AM shifts were followed by PM shifts, but his 2nd PM shifts were followed by a free 12 hours. And the 2nd half of the week was the inverse. He couldn’t keep track of it any longer.
Once inside the Pwn Shop Lounge, Tyler immediately saw some of the SecIntel soldiers and joined them at their table. He ordered a cheeseburger and fries and poured himself a beer from the pitcher using an apparently extra glass. “Cheers comrades.” Tyler didn’t muster much excitement with the salute, it was more out of formality. He didn’t work on this crew’s shift, but he did work SecIntel every other night – the last being 12 hours earlier.
“Cheers Tyler.” This from Jane, the lone female cyber soldier in the crew. She wasn’t exactly unattractive. It was her voice, it had zero feminine qualities. But from the neck down, visually while she wasn’t speaking, she wore the blue skirt and white blouse uniform like a porn star. And Tyler was sitting next to her. “So how’s the ethical hack shift soldier? You fry some Choogles yet?”
Tyler thought “Choogles” was such a stupid term. It hadn’t really caught on (it refered to Chinese cyber warriors in the context of them trying to replicate the secintel of Google) but Jane was young and into the hacker speech style. “Not sure Jane. Google doesn’t confirm our kills for 7 days. Our black ice generally executes within 24 hours but it takes the Chinese a week to process the death record electronically. How you doin?”
Tyler’s burger arrived before Jane could reply and she waited while he responded to the server. “I’m good Tyler. Wednesdays are my Fridays. I’m ready to unwind. You got 12 hours?”
Tyler liked the sound of that. Hard to believe it wasn’t even a year since Google exited the Chinese market for search engines – which escalated into a full-blown cyber war – and he’d been laid only 3 times since. War is hell. “Let me finish this burger. You want some of my fries?”