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Bay 11 was down again, and by the time someone thought to call him, the company had lost fifteen bale's worth of production. Not that the operators cared, their bonus for the month was already shot. A few had started turning dials on the factory's cybernetics and injecting hormones into its blood supply – a homeopathic approach to an exact science. By the time the lead operator returned from break and decided to call Marco out, it was too late to save the day's production goal.
Marco ran a hand through his hair, reminding himself that yelling at Servelan, the cryptovet tech, would do no good. “No, the reason it's doing that is because your summoning circle's ley lines are in parallel with the servo cables,” Marco said.
“Well, they have to run that way, or they won't latch up to the syphon,” Servelan said, folding his arms.
“No, they could have gone over there,” Marco said pointing several meters to the outer wall. That's where they were last week.”
“They're a bitch to maintain over there.”
“Yeah, I know because every year, some green cryptomancer re-writes the ley lines over during new moon, then shrug when the induced noise raises hell with the feedback cables.”
“Marco, I keep telling you we don't raise scrubbies from hell," Servelan said, referring to the symbiotes used to keep the factory's toxins from leeching into the final product.
“Figure of speech, Servelan. The bottom line is that the cybernetics won't run right until we get those ley lines feeds put back the way they were.”
“The 'mancers won't like it.”
“They get paid to be on call just like I do. Get them over here.”
There was grousing and grumping when the artificers and cryptomancers made it to the floor. They always dragged their feet when having to work bay 11 with its surly operators, anachronistic machines, and the fossilized engineer that made things damned inconvenient for them. Marco didn't care.
He was one of the few people left that understood the machines fused into the living factory, he was in fact part of the last graduating class before the university's engineering department closed. At the same time, the factory had an accident requiring a pulmonary system overhaul for Bay 11 and the accountants had decided to install a cybernetics suite rather than take the old beast down for a year of grafting and recovery. He thought himself lucky to have landed a real job when his classmates either went to work for museums or put their degrees on the shelf to pursue other careers. Some just raised kids or took to lamenting in the local coffee houses with unemployed philosophy majors. Twenty years later, another twenty short of retirement, he wondered what had happened to them all.
After the ley lines were reset, Marco spent the next two hours re-tuning the servo drives: tight enough to follow the factory's vegetable-brain commands, but loose enough not to overreact to the psychic interference brought on by lunar cycles, Jupiter's orbit, or the solstices. He shouted down to the lead operator, who started the production organ back up. The motors whined to life, shafts turned, and soon the humming of production resumed. His mind felt fried, but he held a glow in his heart. Tuning servos was something only a handful of people in the world could do, and he did it well.
On his way out, he saw Yolanda standing in bay's main orifice. It wasn't often the boss left her office to come to the production organs, unless she was navigating a shortcut between meeting rooms.
“Got a minute?” she said.