Genius at Work
Willow was hunched over her laptop. She had scanned all of Ted's files and then hidden the originals. The only easily accessible copy was what she was perusing.
On her workstation screen she had the code for the programming of the Aquatomic Tracker displayed and occasionally she would compare the two.
"Not into microelectronics and computers. Tom Swift is a big fat liar!" she finally said.
She had started her new project by directly comparing the code that had got her into this mess; the selector's and Ted's android's. The reason the Tracker's code had seemed so similar is that had the ability to make use fuzzy logic to make 'judgment calls'. The android code held the same kind of patterns and both were brilliantly written, but obviously by different people. The selector's code was elegant, and the androids was an awful kludged together mess in many ways.
It was obvious when Willow checked who the selector's programmer was, "...Tom Swift jr." she muttered, "A big old liar!"
Fortunately for her, both the coders had obsessively documented and commented their programs. Ted had copious amounts of design notes as well, and soon the white board wall of the office was covered with notes comparing and contrasting the differences and similarities of the code.
Willow was standing looking pensive at a section of Ted's heuristic learning circuits. She was pretty sure now, that that was the location which had made the android go homicidal, and was trying to trace the fault path when there was a knock at the door.
"Huh? Oh! It's open!" Willow stammered and saw in relief it was Buffy and Phil.
"Will you sure you've only been here for six hours?" Buffy asked strangely.
"Uh, yeah! Haven't been messing with temporal frameshifts at all nosiree. That could be really bad."
Phil laughed, "It just seems like you've been here longer..." she pointed at the floor to ceiling scribblings on the white board and the stack of paper coffee cups.
"I needed my brain to be fully caffeinated to get the most oomph out of it...I think I'm oomphed out now though," she looked slightly sad. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Will, it's almost seven PM. We were wondering if you would ever get finished. Also we brought you an office-warming gift," Buffy presented her with a small terrarium which continued a Venus Fly trap plant.
"It's really that late? And thanks for the carnivorous plant."
"Yes it is," Phil replied, "and you're welcome. Buffy said all offices need a plant."
"It's pretty cute actually. I think I'll call it Guido," Willow examined the small case. "This is a pretty sophisticated terrarium, Buffy."
"We may have freed it and the plant from the botanical research section prison. Guido needed a new home," Buffy said proudly.
"That's one of the new chemically balanced environments. It moderates temperature, humidity and everything else to keep the plant happy. All Guido needs, is to eat some hamburger every day," Phil added.
"That's really sweet you guys...Oh god, it's really seven o'clock!?"
"Uh huh Will."
"I missed lunch and haven't started my homework and I'm going to miss dinner and..."
"Breath Will! Breath slowly!" Buffy shook her head as she calmed her friend down. "We're going to get dinner right now, the only homework you had was some reading which you finished on the van ride over from school, and you pigged out on my emergency doughnuts during the van ride."
"Oh? Oh yeah. Sorry for the minor freakage."
"So dinner?" Phil cut in.
"Oh yeah, let me shut this stuff down."
As Willow powered everything down the other two women looked at the web of scribbles on the whiteboard. Buffy jumped a little as Willow clicked a switch and the scribbled notes disappeared.
"All your work!"
"Take it easy Buffy. It's a smartboard with no markers needed. Think of it as a really big touchscreen. The projectors mounted on the edges let me do 3d stuff on it too."
"Have I ever mentioned how much I am not a high-tech Buffy?"
"No, because I've seen you in a glass cockpit and you're perfectly happy," Willow sounded smug.
"But all that stuff does things1"
"Stop whining Summers!" Phil ordered, "It's time for food."
The three laughing women left the Prototype building and walked over to Phil's SUV. Soon they were heading into Shopton proper. Phil drove down the main street and pulled up in front of 'Donnie's Steakhouse'.
"Are you psychic Phil?" Buffy asked.
"Nope, I just seem to remember you both liked this place last time you were here."
"Good thing to remember. Buffy likes her food barbaric," Willow cut in.
Dinner was delicious and as they finished up with dessert, they chatted about the last few months including the accidental explosion at the girl's old high school.
"A gas leak at graduation?"
"It could have been worse and destroyed the whole town," Willow said seriously.
"That's the kind of thing your Take Back the Night program couldn't help with," Phil replied.
Buffy mumbled something around her apple pie like, "You might be surprised..."
"Anyway Buffy, how is that program doing now that you're not there?"
"We got a new person in who's taken over my role Phil, her martial arts instructor knew mine. Small world huh?"
"Speaking of martial arts Buffy...." Phil said leadingly.
"Oh? You think you can take me with your command of giraffe-fu?" the blond cocked an eyebrow accusingly.
"Better than that aggravated mosquito style you do," Phil shot back. As she was six foot one and Buffy was only five foot two inches, the source of the jibes was obvious.
"Okay it's so on. Tomorrow at five! Main gym!"
"Deal, Willow, we'll need you there as a ref."
"But I have.."
"..to be there. Phil's right, attendance is mandatory for geniuses named Rosenberg."
Willow looked from one to the other of her friend's faces. The looked determined. She sighed, "All right I'll be there."
"Excellent Will! Now Phil if you could run us home, some of us still have to get our reading done," Buffy looked slightly guilty as she said that.
As Willow fell asleep the pieces of code she had been staring at, whirled around in her head forming new patterns and she started to get a glimpse of an idea.
Buffy had headed out for a run and to see 'what was the what', as she would put it. It was a warm night and she only ran into a little dust. Shopton's nightlife being nowhere near as hazardous as Sunnydale's.
Eventually her run took her close to the perimeter fence surrounding the SSI complex. In the shadows near the wire she saw two figures doing...something?
"Hi!" she said as she jogged up. "What's up?"
The closer one turned and pointing a strange looking pistol at her, pulled the trigger!