I swapped some of the chapters so that my .5 chapters will always be after a chapter with a 5 in the end. I blame it on my self-diagnosed OCD :P
Aewyn went out for lunch as usual. In the little time we had before she came back, we prepared everything for the celebration. When we saw Aewyn walked out of the elevator and into the lobby, we threw confetti all over the place. With bits of colorful paper floating in the air, Aewyn gasped in astonishment and confusion.
“What is this…?”
. She stopped talking as soon as she saw her husband, Elashor, in the crowd. Immediately she knew what the. Holding a bouquet of colorful flower in his hand, he walked towards her and gently placed it in her hands. Overwhelmed with emotions, she covered her mouth and eyes starts to flow with tears.
“Yes, the exam results came back. We passed the exam, and we are licenced to adopt a child. We are going to be parents soon.”
Elves are practically immortal. Barring accidental deaths and diseases, we can live forever in our youths. Our immortality is a double-edged sword, though. Our birth rates are abysmal. Even if a couple stays together for thousands of years, they still might not be able to sire a single child. That is why there is an insatiable demand for adopting a child. Unlike in Project: Earth, the orphanages in the real world are nothing but an administrative office. There were simply no need for living quarters for the orphans. The demand for orphans is so high that they are sent out to their adoptive parents as soon as they are registered. The process to adopt a child is both lengthy and expensive. To make sure the orphans get a suitable home where they will be taken care of properly, exams are given to the parents before they are licenced to adopt. Prospective parents are scrutinized under an extensive background check. All of the administrative works are paid for by the parents. Compared to Project: Earth, everyone was horrified when we found out how children were treated in orphanages. The simulation showed us the huge gap in society that could be caused by life expectancy and birth rates.
Everyone lined up, shook their hands and congratulated the couple. When it was my turn, I decided to tease them a little about their future child.
“Congratulations, Wyn. When you get the child, make sure you don’t infect them with your weirdness.”
Sniffling and wiping away her tears of joy, she answered with the brightest smile that I have ever seen.
“No way, Val. I am definitely going to teach them all the wonderful things from Project: Earth.”
“I call shenanigans. There is no way they let someone as weird as you pass the exam. Did you pay them off?”
“Yes, I did. I bribed the director of the orphanage by offering to set up a blind date between you and him.”
Everyone in the room had a good laugh at the joke. We decided to move our celebration into the pantry where we prepared a cake for the occasion. It was Aewyn’s favorite chocolate mousse cake. Aewyn took charge of cutting and distributing the cake to everyone. Since I was the boss, she offered me the first and biggest slice of cake, as a thank you for allowing everyone to take a break and organizing the party. Seeing everyone was having fun, I decided to let everyone stay in the pantry and take a longer break than usual. I turned to Elashor for a small chat to kill some time.
“Say, Elashor. How long is the waiting list? Did the orphanage told you?”
“It’s not that long. They said that if the admission rate stays the same, it would be our turn by next century.”
“So you have about a hundred years to prepare for the new child, huh?”
“Not exactly. We were told that we need to keep ourselves prepared to take in an orphan at any time. There might be a disaster that causes a sudden increase in the number of children that are orphaned.”
“Have you decided what to name the child yet?”
“We are planning to let the child keep their original name. We feel that we should let the child keep the last bit of connection between them and their real parents. Of course, if the child wants to change their name, we would let them.”
I felt a sudden tap on the shoulder. When I turned around, I saw Aewyn looking around with a paper plate in her hand. On top of the paper plate were a slice of cake and a plastic fork.
“Val, I don’t see Tecon around. Everyone had their cake already. This slice is his share. Did he came to work today?”
“He is probably still busy in the server room. Here, let me take this to him. You stay here and enjoy the party.”
Aewyn passed the paper plate to me, and I headed towards the server room. I walked down the quiet hallway which was devoid of anybody. Everyone in was in the pantry celebrating with Aewyn. Soon I reached a plain grey door at the end of the hallway. With the piece of cake still in my hand, I carefully put on the jacket that was hanging next to the door, making sure that I don’t accidentally drop the cake onto the floor. Due to the heat generated by the servers, the server room is heavily air conditioned. The temperature in the room is kept at a constant negative five degrees Celsius to keep the servers running optimally. After I had put on the jacket, I put my hands on the scanner to authorize my entrance to the server room. As soon as I entered, I could hear a low hum from the servers, radiating in the chamber. Between maze of the servers, I called out to Tecon.
“TECON! ARE YOU IN HERE?”
As I yelled, I could see my breath in the form of a small puff of cloud due to the cold.
I slowly walked towards Tecon’s voice. When I reached the back, I could see him wedged in between two servers, connecting wires in between them. After he had finished, he struggled a bit before he released himself from the jaws of the servers. He wiped his sweat on his forehead using his jacket's sleeves before taking the plate of cake from me.
“Here’s your slice.”
“No, thank you, for staying behind to make sure everything runs smoothly. So how are the new quantum computer servers?”
He raised his hand, admitting his defeat.
“I can tell you is that if something goes wrong inside the quantum servers, you would have to call in the manufacturer to fix it. I don't even know where to begin. All I know what to do is to hook it up as though as it was a regular computer. If you want me to repair the quantum servers, you would have to sponsor me to study in the field of quantum mechanics. Then, maybe, in ten or twenty years, I could fix it for you. Right now, I don’t even dare open the case to the computers. I’m afraid that a cat will pop out or I will find a dead cat in there. Are you sure we have to upgrade the server? It wasn't that long ago that we did an upgrade.”
“After we settle everything, we can integrate the west and east coast server into a single server. We will have a lot more control over everything. Not to mention, I won’t have to pay the expensive rent to house the west coast server at another location.”
“Well, I just hope nothing goes wrong because I wouldn’t want to be the one to fix it.”