by Dantzel Cherry
Welcome to the Doomsday Device Helpdesk! My name is Damien. What seems to be the problem?
Yes sir, I apologize for the hold times. They’re—
Yes, sixteen years is a long time to—
—Well, I know who you are now, Dr. Dreadful. Let’s run a few tests to try to improve your device’s performance. First, have you synced your doomsday device to your smartphone’s bluetooth?
Well, some people prefer the in-person experience over remote access.
Of course you’re not the first person to bring about an apocalypse, sir. We’re an intergalactic, multiverse company.
Right. Well, let’s start with a soft reset.
Yes sir, slide the screen over. Let me know when the screen comes back on.
Excellent, now click Submit Request again.
Still no apocalypse? Try closing all background applications on your smartphone.
Yes, including Twitter. I apologize, but it’s not compatible with our software at this time. Thank you, sir. Please click Submit Request again.
Please, sir, there is no need to yell; there’s plenty of other options to try. Is your smartphone fully charged?
Excellent, sir. And what about the doomsday device?
I understand you’re not on the planet at the moment, but you must have a minion you could spare.
Yes, I’ll hold.
Is he there now?
I apologize for the inconvenience, but doomsday devices at forty percent charge can’t carry out their function.
… Yes, I can see how it wouldn’t hold its charge after sixteen years. Regardless, I strongly recommend charging your device with the energy of another nearby star.
Yes, sir, I’ll hold.
I’m here. Is it charged?
Great, thanks for your patience. Let’s give this another shot.
I’d be pretty mad too, sir. We’re not done yet, though! Using your remote access, go to your device’s Settings, then click on General. Now click on Software. Do you see a series of numbers? Read those to me.
Okay, I heard 666.1837.6409. Is that correct?
Well, you’re up to date with your software, so that’s good. While we’re looking at your settings, let’s check that you have the correct world and dimension. Click on Region.
… Excellent. Now Dimension?
Oooooo that explains it. But that’s an easy fix – sir? Are those police sirens? Sir?
Hello, Officer Metalton. My name is Damien, a Doomsday Device Helpdesk technician. Which parallel universe did you say he was attempting to detonate?
Oh, the Alloy Configuration! Cool, I have a coworker from there.
Sorry, officer. Yes, I did hear of Dr. Dreadful’s plans, but I’m certainly not an accessory to attempted genocide.
You’ll have to come down here and take that up with my supervisor. In the meantime, I applaud your department’s swift actions. You have an anti-Doomsday Device on hand, don’t you?
Yes sir, that’s our sister company.
I wouldn’t call it a conflict of interest. We keep each other in business, after all.
Thank you. Would you be willing to take a short fifteen minute survey to—Of course. Have a good day, officer.
Dantzel Cherry’s stories have appeared in Fireside, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Galaxy’s Edge.
Reminded me of Connie Willis! (And that’s good, btw.)