Epic Quest

Tell me, O muse, of the ingenious heroine who travelled far and wide after graduating from university. Many methods did she write, and many were the design patterns with whose contents and use she was acquainted; moreover she suffered much by C, while trying to malloc her own memory, and the memory of the processes around her, but do what she might, she could not overcome the kernel security, and so they perished. Tell me about all her adventures, O daughter of Linus, from whatsoever source you may know them.


It is customary for the acolytes of the Couchicus-to-10Kysus to rise before the sun and begin the Ritual of the Run Really Far And Get Really Tired, and so it was today, for the heroine Foddysseus, with the quiet whispers of the Androidicus nymphs, “Start running for 10 minutes. You are on run one of four.”

With the Running God appeased, Foddysseus returns to her abode to clean up and prepare for the day, as the Programmers’ Guild stipulates that a guild representative must maintain high standards of hygiene at all times. The squid ink begins to fade from the sky, a signal from the Gods that it is time for our heroine to begin the journey to The Office.

It is a dangerous journey, and there are not many who have tried it and lived to tell the tale. I shall spare you the details, lest it cause you to lose sleep at night, but fear not, as our brave heroine arrives in one piece, still possessing her wallet, and more importantly, her breakfast.

“Top o’ the morning to ya,” says Lennistos, second in command of the Kleisthenes Development Team. Foddysseus regards him strangely. For some reason he is Irish today, and she can’t work out why. She files away this mystery as something to be solved later. She accompanies Lennistos to their work station and eats breakfast while reading the overnight messenger pigeons. There is a message from the Business Analysts’ Guild. She saves this nice, plump pigeon for lunch.

Just before she is able to begin work, she is approached by her rival, Apollo. He taunts her about the last battle they had together, a musical challenge, at which she lost dismally. Then reminds her of their upcoming battle, a defense of the ancient gods, focusing his icy blue eyes boring into her. “I hope you are prepared to lose again.” Foddysseus remains silent, as she is unsure of what to say. He takes this as a sign of submission, and continues the onslaught of taunts. However, none of this perturbs her, as she is of the Programmers’ Guild, and as everyone knows, programmers are part machine and have no emotions. Eventually, Apollo gives up and returns to his lair.

The Prophet of Kleisthenes had assigned Foddysseus the task of automating the import of trade data from the Dwarves of Mount Olympus. The materials for the second step of the sacrifice had been prepared, there was only one step left. Unfortunately for Foddysseus, the instructions for this step were written by the Temple of Kleisthenes, which meant they were virtually unintelligible.

Lennistos directed Foddysseus towards the writings of Nikostratos – gems of code sprinkled throughout the repository, that the great scribes have strived to maintain. She poured through lines and lines of perfect code, but when she tried to reproduce it for herself, she received NullPointerExceptionicus after NullPointerExceptionicus. The Priests of Kleisthenes were unable to offer assistance, as they were preparing to sell the next Big Upgrade.

Thus she prepared for the great voyage to see Elder Nevonis.

You must understand that the journey to see Elder Nevonis was filled with peril. One may not simply approach Elder Nevonis for advice. Some say the ever-wise Nikostratos himself descended from the heavens to impart the knowledge of Kleisthenes development to Elder Nevonis, and so only the most worthy of questions were allowed to reach his attention. A series of trials were in place to filter out the uninitiated.

Firstly, the trial of the crusader. One must debate, in front of a forum of philosophers, whether spaces or tabs are the better choice.

Secondly, the trial of the rapids. One must tail the application log file and identify all of the erroneous incoming messages on the first pass.

Lastly, the trial of the binding. One must merge long-running feature branch into master and solve all merge conflicts without a diff tool.

Exhausted by her time in the Library of Nikostratos, Foddysseus sought some reprieve at the local inn to recover her spirits before the Great Journey. She ordered a dish of bland chicken and broccoli from Chef Microwavus and sat down.

“WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!” Foddysseus looked up to see Sir Tomas of the Business Analysts’ Guild. He was looking at a large, brown cardboard box, his perfectly coifed hair framing a perplexed look. It was unusual to see a Business Analyst look puzzled by something, but there’s a first time for everything.

“It appears to be a cupcake, ” she stated, after a preliminary examination.


“I am uncertain, but it is not likely.” she replied.

“WELL GOOD. I SHALL RETURN AND WE CAN DISCUSS THIS CUPCAKE FURTHER.” Sir Tomas spun around on his perfectly polished black boot and left the inn, without a single hair on his head shifting.

Foddysseus finished her hot meal when she was struck by inspiration. Elder Nevonis had a particular preference for sweet foods, perhaps a cupcake would put him in a good enough mood to skip the three trials. She raced up the rocky mountain, glad for all the Couchicus-to-10Kysus training, and reached inside the cardboard box. She recoiled in horror as she found that the box was empty.


“Alas no, Sir Tomas. The cupcake is gone!”

For the first time in the history of The Office, one of Sir Tomas’ hairs slipped out of place. “GONE, YOU SAY? FODDYSSEUS, YOU MUST FIND OUT WHO TOOK IT.”

Foddysseus was an avid student of the policing arts, and had read extensively on the science of fingerprinting and DNA analysis. She divided the village into a grid and began her search, searching for the telltale signs of purple icing. She interrogated the villagers, most of them intimidated by her raw determination to find the missing cupcake. She had narrowed her search down to two suspects.

However, she was reminded that the Programmers’ Guild did not like their representatives dabbling in the arts of detection, and that she should probably return to her duties. Sadly, she agreed that it must be so, but the case of the missing cupcake was not forgotten.

She still needed the help of Elder Nevonis, but opted to resort to bribing him with a chocolate reindeer instead. She described her problem to him, and he stroked his beard thoughtfully.

“NullPointerExceptionicus, hmmm?” he mused. “I encountered the same thing back in the Battle of the Fire Oxen. If I recall correctly, the solution is to become the oxen.”

Foddysseus began to meditate over the Riddle of Elder Nevonis. It was a task made more difficult by the sound of Elder Nevonis munching on the chocolate reindeer and chuckling to himself. “I jest, young Foddysseus. Here is what you should do.” Elder Nevonis began to part the sea of knowledge and the two of them crossed together, Foddysseus with her mouth open in awe at his power.

With the three sacrifices prepared, all that was left was assembling them and beginning the ritual, which would have to wait for sunrise the next day. So Foddysseus decided to call it a day and begin the trek home, eager to work on the case of the missing cupcake.

During the journey, she encountered a djinn. “What is it you seek, young programmer?” he asked.

“I seek knowledge,” she responded, both curious and distrustful.

His green eyes twinkled with mischief. “I can help you gain knowledge. But in exchange, you must write about your day.” Foddysseus sighed with relief, finally something easy to do. “But you must write it in the style of an epic.”

“But, but, but-” she stammered.

“One who is afraid to look for knowledge will never find it.” he says mysteriously, before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

Upon reaching home, there was a messenger pigeon awaiting her, informing her that the daily practice for ancient defense would be underway soon. She quickly acquired sustenance, debated the finer points of endorphins with Seleukos, and sat down to practice, images of Apollo’s cocky stare fuelling her desire to win.

The first battle featured a strong warrior, whose abilities allowed him to grow stronger with each enemy soul harvested. Unfortunately, the enemy magi were far stronger, killing Foddysseus many times to reclaim the harvested souls.

The second battle featured a master of alternate dimensions, who could steal the intelligence of enemies. Carried forward by her allies Pharmicus and redbeanporkles, she managed to not die as much as she did in the first battle, and Pharmicus and redbeanporkles managed to secure a victory.

Foddysseus stumbles into bed with the knowledge that her chances of defeating Apollo are not as high as she thought, and there is a long way to go.


Another attempt at something different, redbeanpork had asked me to describe what it is I do at work exactly, and I didn’t want to write about a day where I was busy filming videos, so I wanted to wait a bit. Michael gave me the challenge of a different writing style, and I tried to emulate Homer’s Odyssey, but I don’t think I quite pulled it off, as there really was no sense of danger, no sense of adventure.

Maybe it’s because my life is pretty boring, but if I do ever want to write a novel, I need to include some kind of conflict – otherwise it’s just people doing stuff. I guess there’s the Dota 2 challenge against D, which seems to be scheduled for Friday, but that’s probably the closest thing to a challenge I have in my life right now. Perhaps I should have waiting for a more exciting day.

I still want to know who took the last cupcake though. It wasn’t stolen, as food left in the kitchen is fair game, but I’m curious, and I don’t like unsolved mysteries.

Perhaps I should try this style again, but with a different story, not my own life.

I would like to add that Nev is lovely, and is always super willing to help out, no matter how stupid the question I ask him. I really don’t know why Lenny became Irish in this story.

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