Cold Call: Part 1

Find Inspiration
Where you Can.
My mind is an odd place when it comes to- Wait what am I saying? My mind is a strange place no mater how you slice it. Anyone that's seen more than two posts on this blog, especially the story-oriented stuff, should know that by now.

At any rate I'd tried coming up with something yesterday for the morning post and, obviously, fell flat on my face. So I decided to go to one of several 'I don't exactly like how incomplete the thought is, but if I can flesh it out' concepts I tend to have floating around.

As I've mentioned in a couple posts I'm a fan of the anime bloc Cartoon Network had/has revived and have had it on the brain lately. Trouble is it sometimes takes me awhile to take inspirational concept and make something readable out of it.

Here's the one sentence description for the following story:
A starship built for communications has been stranded in the galactic backwaters and needs a little local help so it can resume it's mission.

This is being written more or less Right Now with little to no editing and I'm just going to run with whatever and wherever the typing starts. I hadn't wanted to run with this because, along with other problems, I wanted to keep the perspective character from seeming too important to a situation they would have too little knowledge to be little more than an errand boy on. That and I don't like writing a blatant proxy of Myself in stuff. Oh well let's see where this one goes.

Cold Call


Out of the seven or so billion people on earth it seems at first strange that any one person would be more valued than another. Then again most of those sevenish billion are too busy trying to simply survive in one form or another to bother with things that aren't directly relevant to the day to day of their lives.

We're going to follow one William S. Lions. Will here is, like many in the so-called first world, between jobs. The last five or six have been check-to-check month-to month situations or simple cash-and-carry work. This sort of living has made him have to strip out most everything from his life that isn't survival oriented.

And the internet. Then again since at least half of his cash-and-go work has come from one classified section or another he has been using the justification that it's for work rather than entertainment to keep from feeling guilty about the expense with only marginal success.

We're dropping in on Mr. William's life right as he's landed an honest-to-fsm job; the kind that pays every two weeks, nine to five, and the only down-side is he's doing call center work.

Let's go there now.

Will was just coming home and started pulling clothes off to get ready for a shower because the air conditioning at work had gone out and he felt like something you'd find under your shoe. At first he didn't hear the phone ring. In fact it wasn't until it rang again after he'd gotten showered and changed that he'd answered.

"Hello?" The number came up all zero's on his ID, which to him meant call-center.

"Hello. Please stay on the line and-" Artificial voice was cut off by his hanging the phone up. He wouldn't have done that to a person because he knew from first hand experience that affected their call stats, and to a cog in the pit of phones stats were Everything. You continued working or were looking for a new job based on things like call resolution, customer satisfaction, and you only had to have a couple bad weeks before you were shipped out and replaced with a new person needing a paycheck. There were, after all, hundreds in any given area that wouldn't mind the work and you had to compete with India somehow.

Will's thoughts dwelled on these things as he got a soda from the fridge and was interrupted when the phone rang again. ID flashed a string of Nine's. Another Call Center. Well it was an election year. He picked up the phone again. "Hello?"

"We have a very import-" Recorded female voice this time. He could tell it was recorded and pieced back together from having heard it often enough. He also thought his work used the same recording for their own foot-in-the-door calls. 

Will's grip on the receiver tightened. "If it was you wouldn't have a machine call me." The phone made a satisfying sound when he hung up. He got maybe two steps from the phone when it rang again. When he snatched the receiver off the cradle he was more than a little annoyed. Three calls in maybe five minutes? "Hello!" 

"That was rude." Same recorded sounding voice from the last call. The words though definitely weren't in any sort of script he's seen call-drones have to follow.

"Excuse me?" He wobbled then steadied himself. Call Centers had scripts everyone had to follow. Sure there were variations, but you had to follow the script, or else it was points off.

The voice held no emotion, just that neutral 'this is a recording' neutral tone it held before. "I'm well aware you're just getting off work Mister Lions. I'm also aware You know how these calls are supposed to go. Do I have your attention?"

"Uh... yes?" Will was still waiting for the pitch to come in. Some sort of attempt at getting him to change how he voted, or maybe a time-share offer, or one of a thousand thousand things out there that he himself had to try pitching over the last month.

There was laughter on the other end of the line, or at least an approximation of laughter that tickled at the alarm-bells in the back of Will's mind. "Good. I've put a transfer request in with your supervisors and wanted to have some time to talk before your new job started."

"Wait what?" The conservation had started to get just a touch strange and he was starting to think it was a joke. After all he'd gotten pranked often for being the serious guy in the cubical farm. He just didn't want to lose the first real job he's had since the economy went down the drain.

"I assure you this is no joke Mister Lions. Go login and check your status. Don't worry I'll wait."

Curious on how this would turn out Will logged into his job's site and apparently the voice on the phone wasn't lying. "Public Relations? I didn't know we even had a public relations." While he was at the computer he started sorting through mail. Junk. Discount offers if only he'd just go to this site, probably get infected, and give out his address for harvesters. Facebook updates. Junk. All of it.

"Well it sounded better than 'step and fetchit'." The person on the other end somehow managed to sound defensive. "What I need is someone to act as as Proxy for deals that need to be made."

"Alright Miss. Details would be nice." Will still had his doubts about the situation, but best go with the flow and see where it went. He had nothing better to do over the weekend.

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