HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 3

They fought their way through an army of bird-people to a shrine in the mouth of a volcano. As they approached the altar, a huge black dragon crawled from the lava and advanced toward them. Talon summoned a horde of zombies, slowing the beast down long enough for—

The computer crashed.

Angela stared at the blank screen for a long moment with her hand still gripping the mouse. She swallowed hard and pressed the power button. Nothing happened.

“Oh no,” she muttered. “No no no.”

She unplugged the power cable and plugged it back in. It made no difference. She pulled the battery out, blew on it, and reinserted it. Still nothing.

“This can’t be happening,” she said.

She glanced over at her clock; it was almost ten-thirty. She grabbed her phone and did a Google search for computer repair shops that were still open. She found one a few kilometers away, Jacobs Computing, so she packed up her laptop and headed out.

She half-walked, half-ran to the shop and arrived a little after eleven. The door jingled as she opened it, and a technician stepped out of a back room. Angela fixed her eyes on the floor.

“Evening,” the technician said, stifling a yawn. “How can I help you?”

Angela edged herself toward the counter.

“My computer won’t start,” she said.

“Is that so?” the technician said. “Well, let’s have a look and see what we’ve got.”

Angela set her bag down and opened it. The technician reached inside and pulled the computer out, turning it over in her hands.

“This is a nice machine,” she said, turning away and plugging it into the wall. “How long have you had it?”

“Couple years,” Angela replied.

She risked a glance up; the technician had a thick mop of curly brown hair, shaved around the back, and on her neck she had a tattoo of a computer chip. She was wearing a fitted black tank top with the tag poking out the top.