Kevin’s big test.

“Kevin?” Charles said as he walked into Kevin’s office. “The network’s down.”

“Okay, so do your usual troubleshooting and fix it.”

“Actually, it’s YOUR turn now,” Charles countered. “Let’s see what you can do. After all, you’re the super-awesome director you keep saying you are. Prove it or I’ll prove to Oscar you’re really a phony.”

Kevin felt a surge of panic. Once again there was that persistent mood of suspicion regarding Kevin’s qualifications and ability to lead the Information Systems department overseeing the mission-critical operation of the network servicing the rest of the hospital. Time and time again he had to summon all his ingenuity to allay these suspicions but they kept returning. And this time was no different.

“Kevin?” Charles repeated. “The network’s down. Go fix it.”

Kevin nervously rose from his seat and walked out of his office to the cabinet where the keys to the closet where stored. Charles stood silently, watching Kevin’s every move as he left the office to check the closet where the network switches were in operation.

A few minutes later Kevin arrived at the closet down the hall from the office and used the keys to unlock the door. Once inside, he made sure the door was locked and then walked to the shelves next to the rack of network switches on which rested computer disks, manuals and spare computer peripherals. With some effort he pushed the shelves away from the wall to uncover the section of floor in the closet he needed to reach. With this section of floor now visible, Kevin used his fingertips to remove several tiles and move them out of the way to reveal a ladder descending to a dark space below the floor. Wasting no time, Kevin began his descent into the dark space below.

At the foot of the ladder was a door guarded by a biometric scanner. Kevin put his thumb on the scanner and a loud click of the door’s deadbolt confirmed his identity. Kevin opened the door and quickly entered the office where numerous agents worked at their computers. This office was part of a vast underground office building where Kevin worked as an agent. It too had been using the hospital network for their top-secret operations. Kevin hastily walked to the senior agent’s office at the other end of the floor.

“I need your help, Sadarg,” Kevin panted as he entered the small office.

“Let me guess, are they suspicious again?” Sadarg replied.

“Yes, the network’s down and they sent me to fix it. I don’t know what to do!”

“Kevdor, the first thing you must do is calm down. I can run a network scan from my terminal and see what’s going on.” Sadarg sat down at his desk and began to work. Kevdor too sat down to continue catching his breath and watched Sadarg work at his computer to run the scan.

“Ah, yes,” Sadarg confirmed. “There’s a small segment of the network that doesn’t seem to be functioning. None of the network switches or hubs are even communicating.”

“Are they all broken?” Kevdor asked in mounting panic.

“No, it’s very unlikely for them to all to stop working at the same time.”

Suddenly Sadarg’s eyes lit up.

“For you to be sent to fix this problem means they’re testing you again. They couldn’t wait for a more serious problem to occur, so they made up one of their own.”

“So this is intentional?”

“Yes. When you go back to the closet, check the power to the switches. And when you go back to the office, you need to express your annoyance with these constant suspicions and tests to confirm who you really say you are. And above all, stop acting so nervous. That’s what keeps them suspicious. Now go back and get this network up and running.”

Kevdor thanked Sadarg and returned to the ladder to return to the closet at the surface. After pushing the shelves back in place, Kevdor checked the network switches and found the power cord to the hub resting on the floor next to the outlet. After plugging the power back in, the switches came back to life and the network was once again operational.

“Kevin!” Charles shouted as Kevin re-entered the office. “You fixed the network!”

“Charles,” Kevin replied in a tone of great annoyance, “In my office. NOW.”

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