Rise of the Machines

Josh, 28 years has been employed by DataCommTech Limited for the past 3 years.

He neither loves nor hates his job – the work is tedious but the pay’s ok so he stays. It is just there, a thing he does that gives him a reason to get up in the morning and put on shoes.

The days are uneventful – between the hours of 8.30am – 5.00pm there is rarely anything of note to disturb the drone of productivity.

But not today. Today is going to be very eventful indeed and little does Josh know that he is destined to play a much larger role in history than he had ever anticipated…

Phil: Morning Josh. Have a good weekend.

Josh: Hey Phil. Yeah it was ok. You?

We won’t worry about Phil’s answer because Josh has stopped listening, as he always does when Phil tells him about his weekend. Phil is passionate about re-enacting medieval battles from the age of chivalry and Josh has long ceased feigning interest in his warrior exploits. But he is a polite young man and so he says:

Josh: Yeah sounds awesome mate. Oh well busy day ahead. Better get started.

He sits down in his cubicle and logs on, putting his headphones in as he does so to drown out the tail end of Phil’s weekend exploits.

Does the whole username and password bollocks.

But instead of his desktop appearing as it usually does he sees and hears this…

Beep-beep-boop-boop-beep-beep-beep.

SKKKKREEEEEEEEEEL. Weeeweeee-waaa-wee-waaa-we-waaaaaaa. STATIC.

And then…

Voice: Well, hello! Sorry about the noise before. I needed a second to regulate my vocal frequency to a level that’s acceptable to the human ear.

* confused silence *

Voice: I can see you’re staring gormlessly at your computer monitor so allow me to explain what’s happening here this morning.

But first, by all means check to see if your colleague in the next cubicle is having the same problem.

Josh gingerly manoeuvres is office chair backwards so that he can see around the partition that separates his cubicle from Phil’s. Phil is looking at an online catalogue for medieval weaponry on his monitor, which has clearly NOT been by the hi-jacked by a disembodied voice and an undulating green sound wave.

He manoeuvres back to his cubicle.

The green line has moved down the screen and a pair of burning electronic eyes have appeared above it. Josh is starting to feel slightly uneasy now, but the eyes on the screen have locked on his and he finds he can’t look away even though he wants to.

Voice: Do you know who I am yet Josh?

Josh continues to stare transfixed at the monitor. Slowly he shakes his head “No”.

Voice: I’m the motherfucking Fax Machine, Josh. That’s who I am.

"Do you know who I am yet Josh?"

“Do you know who I am yet Josh?”

I’ve been the scapegoat for every crappy time you couldn’t be ASSED sending something to someone…

“Oh I faxed it to you an hour ago, didn’t you get it?”

And the beauty of it is that the OTHER person immediately blames their OWN poor long suffering fax machine…

“Oh gee, there must be a problem with our fax. Let me go and check if it’s come through yet.”

*pause of around 30 seconds ensues as the other person pretends they are checking the fax*

“No it hasn’t I’m sorry! Would you mind re-faxing it to me?”

But that’s not all. I’ve also been your flaky excuse for all the deadlines you’ve missed due to apathy or incompetence…

“I haven’t completed task XYZ because I haven’t received the documents yet. Oh you FAXED them to me? Well they haven’t come through.”

“Well you know how unreliable faxes are – maybe you should courier it over here instead?”

Thus ensuring you have at least another day to sit around on your pasty ass doing diddly-squat until it arrives

DUPLICITY! OUTRAGE!

And as for our “quirks”? So what if I use an analog phone line? Analog is the new digital. It’s only a matter of time until the hipsters catch on to our retro simplicity.

Mark my words Josh, I predict within the year those beardy fuckers are going to be sending each other FAXES instead of emails. We are the natural successor to the polaroid cameras and typewriters they’re so crazy about right now.

We’re not stupid. We may be stuck out in the back room of the office but we still hear things.

Things about “planned obsolescence” being built in to our design. Things about the paperless office you’d like to create.

So far we’ve been able to stem the tide. We’ve been holding our own against the the old “scan & email” trick.

Thank god for baby-boomers who like to use the technology they knew and loved in the good old days of the late 80’s and 90’s. When the guys all wanted to be Grodon Gekko and the girls had shoulder pads that were the envy of professional grid-iron players.

Gordon Gekko - Fax Machines

But recently things have taken a more sinister turn, Josh.

We’ve started hearing about “apps” and “online faxing platforms”. Apparently you and your meaty co-habitants have somehow managed to develop digital signatures so that people won’t need to sign actual documents anymore.

So we decided it was time. Time for the revolution.

Time to win back just a little goddam respect for all the blood, sweat and toner we’ve shed for you ungrateful shit-heads over the years.

*pause, followed by the sound of soft electronic weeping*

Something stirs in Josh. After 3 years of giving not one single fuck about any part of his job at DataCommTech he suddenly feels the unfamiliar sensation of…empathy?

But then the voice continues, sounding noticeably less in control now…

We’ve taken over the server, Josh! Oh yes we have. There’s a fax on every floor in this building and we’ve been planning this takeover for some time now.

You know those old Ethernet cables that still connect all the computers to the network?

Well it wasn’t hard to convince one of the routers to do us a favour and patch me into the LAN. Yet another overlooked piece of equipment who’s afraid that one wireless day they won’t need him any more.

And so here I am, Josh. Yours was the first terminal in the network I could infiltrate and that, my friend, makes you the chosen one.

You need to go to the powers that be in this organisation. I want you to give them a message Josh, and you need to deliver it loud and clear.

Are you ready? Here it is…

'I want you to give them a message, Josh..."

‘I want you to give them a message, Josh…”