All Nighter

By Leia Fee



Kimmy slapped the keyboard in frustration.

“We’re wasting our time!  We didn’t get enough of it.”

“There has to be something,” Langly was adamant, “Even just a file header.  Something.”

Kimmy shook his head and pushed the keyboard away.

“It’s two AM, Langly.  We’ve been at this for hours.  There’s no usable data here.”

“I’ve got a program we can try…”

Kimmy sighed.  “All right.  Half an hour though, then I’m going home.  You guys may be able to stay up all night.  I need my sleep.”


“Night, Kimmy.”  Langly unlocked the door to let him out. 

Another half hour, another program, another failure.

“Yeah.”  Kimmy paused in the doorway.  “Look.  Be careful all right?  This is serious shit this time, Langly.”

“Hey,” Langly gave him a tired smile, “I’m always careful.”

Kimmy gave him a sceptical look.  “Yeah right.”

“All right, all right.  I’ll be careful.  Jeez!”  The uncharacteristic seriousness in Kimmy’s tone had Langly worried and defensive and he frowned as he locked the door behind Kimmy and made his way back to his computer.

Still reluctant to concede defeat he pulled up the garbled file once more and started yet another analysis.


“Langly.”  Frohike gave the younger man’s shoulder a nudge and repeated more loudly, “Langly.” 

Frohike sighed and waved a hand between Langly’s face and the computer screen.  Langly muttered something incoherent and twisted to face him, his eyes red-rimmed with fatigue and too many hours staring at the screen.

Frohike swept aside a pile of printouts and empty mugs and slapped a plate of pizza and a fresh mug of coffee on the desk.

“Thanks.”  Langly turned back to the computer screen, typing one handed while stuffing pizza into his mouth with the other.

Frohike moved over to where Byers was still staring at the circuit board.


Byers glanced up.

“You going to eat something?”

Byers looked at the second plate of pizza in mild distaste.  “I’m fine.”

Frohike pushed aside the magnifier and put the plate on the table.  “No.  You’re not.”

Byers pulled the magnifier back towards him.  Frohike pushed it away.

“Eat something,” he repeated.  “If you don’t want pizza I can run up something else.”

“Hey, how come you offer to cook for him and I just get reheated pizza?”  Langly demanded from across the room.

“’Cause you’ll eat reheated pizza,” Frohike shot back.  “Some of us appreciate the finer things.”

“I’m fine.  Really,” Byers insisted, ignoring this byplay.

“Don’t make me start sounding like my mother,” Frohike warned.

“Hey if you don’t want it, Byers, hand it this way.”  Langly’s complaints of a moment before were apparently forgotten.

Byers surrendered and ate a token slice of pizza and gulped down the cup of coffee.


“Anyone else want coffee?”

Frohike picked himself up from the couch and headed to the kitchen.  He glanced over at the other two as he went.  Langly was pacing the length of the warehouse, waiting for a search to finish on the computer.  He stopped and stretched out long limbs before dropping back into his chair.

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Byers?”  Frohike prompted.

Byers glanced up.  “Coffee?  Thanks.”

Frohike sighed and continued on to the kitchen.  He watched the water boil and wondered if knowing when to quit was such a difficult thing.


Byers’ hands trembled as he typed.  He recognised the cause—too much caffeine and too little food.  He sighed, slid his chair away from the desk and looked around.  Further down the workbench Langly was doubled over, his head resting on his arms.  Byers watched him for a moment, wondering how he could possibly sleep like that without falling off the chair. 

“I swear that boy could sleep on a wire,” Frohike commented, startling him. 

“Mmm,” Byers agreed absently.

Frohike had catnapped throughout the night and was in consequently better shape than either Byers or Langly.

“Any joy?”  He gestured at the circuit board still resting on the desk.

Byers sighed and shook his head.

“You should give it a rest.  Look at it fresh in the morning.”


Still he made no move to leave it and eventually Frohike left him to it.


Langly stirred, half awake, then sleepily lifted his head from the worktop.

“What say we call it a night, Byers?”

“Oh it’s too late for that, the sun just came up.”  Frohike informed them.

Langly groaned and let his head fall forward again.


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