Kristian stood on the deck of the USS Marianas, the sun in his face. The Marianas and her sister ship, the USS Abyssal Explorer, were a two-boat exploration team, scouring the Atlantic for oil deposits not yet tapped by offshore rigs. The sea rolled beneath him, far calmer than it had been the day before. It was a perfect day off the coast of Brazil in the south Atlantic.

So perfect, the satellite connection would be five by five to download all those patches that the Marianas urgently needed.

He reported to the toolpusher, Cameron, whose smiled revealed eerily perfect teeth against a greasy face. “Day off for the team, huh?” he shouted over the engines. “No other way to get those patches?”

“Well, the ship’s only got a 128 kilobit satellite connection,” Kristian said. “It’ll take hours just to download them all, and at least that much longer to run them all in sequence.”

“The Abyssal Explorer’s connection is 256 kilobits,” Cameron said. The Abyssal Explorer had their communications refitted a month prior. “You know, the boys would love a day off, but why can’t they download the patches? I mean, 256 is twice as fast as 128, right?”

“Of course!” Kristian would have hugged Cameron if the toolpusher weren’t 6’4” and covered in engine grease. “There’s a 2.4 gigabit ship-to-ship network, so they can send the files to us once they’ve been downloaded. It’ll cut the download time almost in half and give me time to run other maintenance, too. But, you know, your team will still have the morning off--”

Cameron had already grabbed the PA mic. “Boys, report immediately to the rec room for an all-hands mandatory meeting. We’re gonna be sitting around the whole morning, so someone better bring some movies!”

Some Rig Crew

Kristian’s counterpart on the Abyssal Explorer, Harris, had been in the field for only a few months. But Kristian thought he could handle a few downloads and a network transfer.

Kristian got on the radio. “Blue Boat Tech, this is Red Boat Tech.”

Harris’s nervous voice answered. “This is Blue Boat Tech. What’s going on, Kristian?”

“We need you to download the service patches over there on your computer and send them to us. You should also apply the updates there once they’ve been downloaded.”

“Say again, download patch files, install locally, and send them to you?”

“Correct, Blue Boat.”

“Okay, got it, Red Boat. The toolpusher will be happy to hear it over here. Blue Boat Tech, out.”

Kristian got to work on the other maintenance while the patches downloaded on the Abyssal Explorer’s computers. As he passed by the rec room, he noticed the rig crew gathered around an old VHS player. A stack of Police Academy tapes sat next to the TV, and Steve Gutenberg’s mug stared back at him from the TV.

The Drill Hits Shale

The crew were into the fourth entry in the Police Academy series when Kristian began to worry. He had organized the rat’s nest of wires behind the consoles, checked every faulty drop in the ship, and had even restrung some exposed cable that engineering couldn’t be bothered to cover. Surely Harris had had enough time to get those patches. He asked Harris over radio whether their connection had dropped.

“Negative, connection is 5 by 5,” Harris said. “The patches were downloaded, installed, and mailed to your address.”

“MAILED?!” Kristian’s shouting triggered feedback in the radio. “Mailed? Blue Boat, the point of you downloading those patches was so we could transfer the files over the ship-to-ship network.” Kristian made a mental note not to check his Outlook window for the company account so he didn’t tie up the 128 kilobit uplink. “Look, just send the files over the network.”

“Negative, Red Boat. Uh, I deleted the files once I finished mailing them.”

Kristian sighed. “Okay, Harris, you’ve done enough damage. We’ll be out the rest of the day here while we download the patches on our end. Red Boat Tech, out.”

Kristian began the download over the Marianas’s pitiful 128 kilobit satellite connection, then walked to the rec room, where Cameron was about to put in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach. “Those computers still tied up, Kristian?” Cameron asked.

“Afraid so, guys,” Kristian said. “Hey, are these movies any good?”

“Not after Gutenberg left,” Cameron replied.

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