Prototype 2.0

By the end of the first day, half of the engineers were gone. A few people from upper management had camped out in one of the conference rooms to strategize, but most of them had slipped out, along with the HR department and most of Finance. Engineering was still well-represented, along with the design and data teams, clustered together like mice. Survival instincts seemed to follow some kind of inverse bell curve, favoring the socially-adjusted and the people whom video games had granted an inflated sense of their own abilities.

George was too logical to have any illusions about his chances down on the smoke-filled streets. He had an engineer’s skinny limbs and soft middle, not to mention terrible eyesight. Besides, there was a several-day supply of fruit snacks and packaged nuts in the storage closet, and a building that size probably had a thousand gallons of potable water in the toilets alone. Leaving the office now would be like deploying a new service without even building a prototype, just a breathless jumble of code shipped on a prayer.

Instead, he went to the storage closet and started sorting the snacks by caloric density. They all had different serving sizes, which meant converting between grams and ounces and dividing to find the total number of calories per ounce. The calculation was engrossing without being challenging, and the closet was warm and dim and smelled like artificial fruit. He’d sorted four different kinds of granola bars, and was tracing long-division on his knee when Alice from the data team opened the door and yelped.

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