Stranger Dimensionsby Sean Kavanagh (c) 2015
“What did you do?” yelled the shift supervisor running toward Joachim’s console.
“Nothing. I just followed the spec.” Joachim was new at the factory, so he didn’t have a point of reference, but the supervisor looked pretty furious.
“Does that look like nothing?” The supervisor said pointing to the bank of CCTV’s. On it, a giant Automata – that’s what they called the robots they made – was climbing up a ventilation shaft. The shaft was too small, but the vast Automata just broke through the rock anyway as it made its way to the surface. “Oh no, it’s going to make the surface. You must have done something!”
Joachim shrugged. “I did it by the book.” He proffered the book to his shift supervisor. The man seemed unable to take his eyes off the grainy monitor showing the giant machine climbing to the surface. Finally he turned to Joachim.
“OK, let’s see the specs then – “
“Right, Joachim. Bring up your screen. Let’s start with the 3D printing.” Joachim did as he was told and brought up the screen that instructed the factory to machine parts for the Automata. The supervisor looked at the folder and back at Joachim’s screen. Then he looked at Joachim and shook his head. “You tell me. “ He handed Joachim the folder. Joachim look back and forth between the specs and his entry. Where it read 50cm for the legs, he’d entered 50 metres. Where it read 40cms for the arms, he’d entered 40 metres. The factory didn’t care what you asked it to do, so it had merrily set about machining and assembling the parts. Tiny errors in data entry and he’d created the gargantuan thing in the air shaft.
“Oh no? I want to say I’m surprised, but strangely you didn’t invent the sloppy work culture at this factory.” The supervisor took the folder back.
“Can’t we turn it off? We can probably recycle most of it. “
“Too late, it’s reached the surface.”
Joachim pulled a puzzled face. “Why’s it too late?”
“Because you’re not the first idiot to do this. When it reaches the surface, it’ll realise it doesn’t fit the dimension of the world outside and go…nuts.”
“Doesn’t seem likely,” replied Joachim.
“It’s not likely, it’s certain. I know, because it’s happened before.” The shift supervisor picked up the phone and dialled a long number. “This is factory 3. We have a B.U.G about to make surface, request full response.” He nodded satisfied and put the phone down. Up on the monitor, a giant hand and head was emerging from the ravine.
“What’s a B.U.G?” asked Joachim.
“Big Unfriendly Giant.”
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