Charlotte's Web2.0

rating: +31+x

It was way past the time when Peter was supposed to get off work and head home, but he was spending another anxiety-filled night working overtime, staring at a brightly lit computer terminal in an otherwise dark and empty room.

When his friend said he knew a place that was 'under the radar' and 'paid a fuckload', Peter hadn't been expecting an enormous secret organization that was housing monsters and phenomena straight out of horror movies. Furthermore, he was clearly underqualified for the position. This was hardly a good place for an entry level programmer, and it seems that some unfortunate, unspecified circumstance led to the complete termination of the last programming team at this site.

Peter had been told it had something to do with an infestation, and that he didn't need to worry because it 'should all be taken care of now'.

That meant that right now, it was just him and a tech lead working in their department, and that tech lead couldn't remember what they were doing half the time because of some weird ass pills he had to take for some reason. Whenever Peter asked about it, he was told he didn't have the security clearance to know, so he decided to just let it be and focus on the work at hand.

What that did mean, however, was that he was essentially running an entire programming division for a work site all by himself, and the stakes were much higher than trying to reach a corporation's growth goals for a quarter. If he fucked up, people could die.

He could die.

Or at least, that's what he'd been told during orientation.

So there he sat, scrolling through an enormous python file, trying to figure out why this data collection software wasn't running the way it was supposed to. He'd been at it for hours already, and was just about at his mental limit, when something made its way out from the upper left corner of the screen.

It was hard to make out at first, but it appeared to be some sort of…8-bit spider?

"What the hell?" he muttered to himself, moving his cursor over to the thing and clicking it a few times. The spider seemed to scramble about on the computer in response, as if it were being tickled.

"Cute," he mused, putting a hand to his chin and taking a minute to examine the thing.

Once he stopped pestering it with his cursor, the spider began to move around and construct a small, 8-bit web in the top left corner of the screen. It wasn't invasive enough to block the code, so Peter decided to let it do its thing. Maybe it was some sort of cutesy screensaver? But if that were the case, it would've stopped when he moved his cursor around.

Before he could ponder the matter too long, he noticed something written inside the web.


It was difficult to tell at first because of the pattern of the web, but he was almost certain that the little creature had drawn a pound symbol. After a few seconds, a spark of recognition dawned on the fledgling programmer's face.


Quickly, he scrolled through the long file again, this time carefully paying attention to the color of the text and the left side of the screen.

Sure enough, a vital function had been left in as a comment rather than a proper line of code. He removed the pound symbol from the front of the line, and crossing his fingers, ran the program. To his relief, it finally ran the way it was supposed to.

"You are my true mentor, my guiding fucking moonlight!" he cheered at the digital creature before realizing how weird it was to be talking to something that wasn't real. Thankfully, nobody else was around the area at this time of night.

As if responding to his cheers, the 8-bit spider did a little pixelated dance, bobbing up and down on a string of web and shaking its arms and legs. Peter figured this thing must be some sort of Clippy-esque assistant that he hadn't been told about yet. He wasn't sure why it had only popped up now, but he sure as hell wasn't complaining.

Over the next few weeks, Peter's digital pal helped him with about a dozen different programming fixes, to a point where even his tech lead was praising him for his work.

"Keep it up and you'll get a nice bonus" his lead had told him.

Of course, Peter did feel guilty at times. He still didn't feel like he really knew enough to work at a place like this, or at least not without any guidance or fellow coworkers to help him out. Still, the Foundation likely designed that spider assistant for a reason. He'd tell himself that he shouldn't feel bad for making use of a resource he'd been given.

Eventually, he found himself with another real stumper of a case. Apparently, he'd earned enough trust to work on something real dangerous. He'd been told that some containment cell was glitching out every now and then, and the higher-ups were worried it could lead to a full blown breach if the error wasn't patched out.

Peter was anxious as hell, obviously, but he steeled himself and spent another long night working overtime, going over the enormous sea of code his predecessors had left behind.

It was then that his little spider friend came to the rescue once more, this time poking its head out when he was reading over an if statement.

"Thank God you're here little buddy" Peter sighed in relief, no longer embarrassed to speak out loud to his digital savior when they were alone. "All this code looks fine to me, I don't know what the hell the problem is!"

As always, the 8-bit arachnid quickly got to work with writing out another bit of code.


"Wait…what? I think that'll mess up the processing for the variable" he asserted, surprised that the spider seemed to be giving bad advice for once. Still, the spider insisted, circling around its web a few times before tapping what it had written again.

Well…he'd been relying on the little assistant thus far and it had worked out. Worst comes to worst, he could just quickly switch the code back and fix it later if it turned out to be an error.

He added the written symbols in front of the variable as instructed and took a deep breath.

"Here goes nothing…"

As soon as he hit the run key, he immediately heard an electronic lock disengage and a door opening down the hall, a guttural screech emanating from the same place shortly after.

"Oh fuck, fuck FUCK!" he shouted, quickly trying to change the code back and run it again, but he could already hear something huge skittering down the hallway, rapidly closing in on him.

By the time Peter got out of his seat to try and run, he was met with a freakishly large, 8-legged, 8-eyed monster perched in the doorway. It stuck two legs in, prying the walls apart to make a bigger hole for itself with ease.

As Peter froze in horror, his eyes slowly drifted back towards his screen, where his so called 'pal' had already written something new.

Mommy! :D

That little 8-bit dance was the last thing he saw as he was devoured in a matter of seconds.

It had been a rough night for the site director. The alarm got tripped at two in the morning, and he had to call in an MTF squad to deal with the anomaly and get it back in containment. Thankfully, the breach's consequences had been minimal- just some collateral damage and a single casualty.

He stood beside the tech lead for their programming department, letting out a frustrated sigh. "I thought you said this issue had been taken care of already. You know how expensive it is to hire on new programmers" he griped, seeming more annoyed than worried.

The tech lead shrugged, staring down at what little bits of meat remained from the new hire. "What can I say? We're still working out the bugs."

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