“Keea?” The guy said with a smile as he reached out to take her hand.
“Actually, it’s Kya.” She said with a grin. “Like ‘Hyah!'” and she made a chopping gesture with her hand. She waited for him to laugh, “but with a K” she continued when he didn’t. “And, you’re Keen, right?”
“Actually, it’s Ken.”
Kya closed her eyes and took a deep breath, she knew at that moment that she was in for a long night.
The computerized beeping startled Kya as they echoed through the darkened room and Kya opened her eyes and stretched.
“Right… Work.” She said to the empty room. Slowly, she rotated her chair to look at the large bank of drives behind her. A wall of hard drives filled a large drive bay, and each one had a little LED light alerting the world of their status. Many of the drive bays blinked orange as they signalled the need for a new blank drive.
“So…” Ken had said with a long sigh the night before, swirling his red wine to let it breathe, and leaning on the table over his bloody steak. The red of the meat was almost enough to turn Kya’s stomach, her own steak was a wonderful medium-well and definitely cooked while his looked like it had just stopped ‘mooing’. “What do you do for a living, Kya?”
She cringed a bit as he spat her name out, putting too much emphasis on the ‘ah’. “I’m…” She cleared her throat. “I’m a robotic arm.” She took a breath before continuing.
“Oh! That’s so cool!” Ken cut in, his whole face coming alive for the first time that night. “You get to program robotics, then?”
“Um, no.” She said, picking up her knife and fork and turning her attention to her meal. “I work shift work at Starlife Technologies”
“You work for SLT?” He grinned wider and put down his drink. “Do you know Don Georgetown personally?”
“Well, he is my boss.”
“I hear he’s got four Supers now.”
“I’ve only seen two.” Kya wished she had said something simple like ‘this and that’ in response to his first work question, rather than admitting the truth. “Anyways, I manage the data backup systems there, mostly doing overnights.” She tried to push the conversation along. “I remove the full hard drives and replace them with blank ones, so that the company can continue to back-up its data. It doesn’t take long to do, and it’s not hard. Most companies have long since switched to a robotic system to swap out hard drives and I could easily be replaced by a robotic arm tomorrow.”
Ken slumped back in his chair, his eyes glazing over again.
“What do you do?” She asked him, with about as much enthusiasm as she put into a shift at work.
“I market Supers to people like your boss.”
Kya struggled to lift her stiff, but average sized frame from the black task chair where she spent twelve hours a day.
“What I wouldn’t give for a Super.” She mumbled as she pulled the first full hard drive and swapped it for the first blank one she had already set out at the start of her shift. The office was empty, as it always was during her overnight shifts, and every sound bounced off the empty cubicles of her peers.
“Evenin’ Miss Roberts.” Jeff, the security guard on patrol, said as he opened the big metal door behind her.
She turned and nodded with a smile. Jeff smiled in return and walked leisurely through the large, dimly lit room. She enjoyed the solitary time, as other than the odd nod to Jeff she was left to her own devices, with no one to report to but the machines she tended.
She counted out the forty drives she had to replace, making sure to label each one that she took out before setting them aside. With millions of files being archived on each one, Kya was cautious with the drives, though not as careful as her employers probably would have wanted, as she scooped them all into a large basket before tossing them into slots on long floor to ceiling rack storage shelves.
Her phone vibrated in her back pocket of her jeans and Kya grabbed it while continuing to toss drives in their proper spots along the wall. “Mattie, what are you doing up so late?” she said, reading a text from her friend.
>How was it? Were you out all night? Was he as awesome as his profile? Was he hot? Too many questions?
Kya rolled her eyes and responded.
>Sheesh, woman! I thought the world had ended! You’re awake at 12:30am?!
>Meh. It’s Friday night and Rory has some friends over for beer and video games… I can’t sleep. NOW tell me about your date!
Kya looked around at the drives, she knew full well that none would need to be changed for at least four hours, but she still searched for an orange flash before responding. All green, signalling they were ready to go.
>It was… He called me Keea.
>Ouch! Never a good start. Guess that answers question 2.
>Another early night for yours truly.
And his profile made me think he had a personality! This dude… Nah. I think he had a bigger crush on old Donnie than me!
Was he as hot as his pics though?
Kya twirled around in her chair for a moment and thought about that. She had had such little time to take in Ken’s appearance before the date hit the iceberg.
>I don’t know… The date went the way of the Titanic so quick, I barely had time to notice.
>Well, my dear, as they say… Plenty more fish in the sea.
>Well, Mattea, the sea of online dating can keep it’s fish.
Kya clenched her teeth for a moment and took a long drawn out breath. “Don’t feel sorry for me. Why is it so terrible to be single!” She said to the dark.
>Not :( I’m cool with being single.
>You know I just want you to be as happy as I am.
“Yeah texting me about my dates while your hubby drinks beer and plays video games with his friends… sounds happy.”
Kya’s thumbs hovered above her keypad, ready to type a response when Mattie sent her final message:
>Oh! Rory and his bro’s are done. I’m going to bed. Nighty night.
Kya replaced her phone in her pocket without responding and the long wait set in. Donning her headphones, Kya fell into her chair, spun it back towards the status monitors and began to listen to the most energetic tracks available on her SongFeed station.