Employee Handbook Section 12.5.27B

Work on Friday was better. Kyle loaded raw consumables into his spinning wheel, it cast its own spells under computer control, and it didn’t complain until it was out of materials. In fact, the basic magic held until afternoon. Even then it was a spell interaction he’d never seen before. The hours he spent debugging it were quite pleasant. In the end it turned out to be an interaction between two of the spells the wheel used. The power requirements of one had been really low when the system re-cast it.  The effect had extended too far overlapping with a second to make for some odd behavior.

The problem came from the basic design of the machine. It should have had sensors to measure how far spells were extending. When he dug into the computerized trigger events for those spells he found the problem spell was just being cast at a preset amount of energy. If that failed, it tried again at a higher power level across ten steps at which point the spell absolutely failed. That was both bad design and a huge waste of energy. He was busy writing up the problem when Ketan leaned on his cubical.

“Hello.  I’m pleased to see your face no longer matches the walls,” Ketan thumped the cubical for emphasis.

“I wasn’t that bad.”

“You weren’t great, your day’s going better I take it?”

Kyle grinned, “I haven’t had to hand cast a single spell today. I only had to drag the wheel out of a bad state once.  A spell took less energy then it should have, if you can believe it. I guess I was due for a good day eventually, but I keep thinking I’m going to wake up.”

“That is odd, spells are holding better for me as well. You don’t suppose it could have anything to do with the email, do you?”

“What e-mail?”

“The IP one from HR. You haven’t read it?”

Kyle shook his head, so Ketan had him pull up his email and showed him the message.

On Intellectual Property:

Like all firms employing magic, Magic Materials Inc. has the greatest respect for the intellectual property represented by the spells we work with. We are also committed to the expansion of the sum total of human magical knowledge. Remember, as per the intellectual property agreement you signed when you began working here (Employee Handbook Section 12.5.27B) you retain full rights to any new magical discoveries or inventions you should create during uncompensated time, on non-corporate projects, and without the use of corporate resources (except where otherwise expressly prohibited).

However, such magical work MAY NOT be pursued via the use of corporate resources. Employees of Magic Materials Inc. do not obtain usage rights to magical Intellectual Property held or leased by Magic Materials Inc. Magical IP is not for personal use.  Individuals using spells in any way not explicitly allowed by corporate policy will be considered in full violation of Magical IP law.

Unauthorized use, sale, dissemination, or experimentation with Magical IP carries with it possible penalties of: fine equal to 100,000 dollars per casting incident plus actual damages to the holder of the IP, incarceration, conventional arrest warrants, and IP bounty warrants issued against the violator.  The Registrar of the Magical Compact is empowered to take enforcement action in line with the Compact per international treaty.  Enforcement of the IP statutes is a serious concern at all levels of Magic Materials Inc. and we will work closely with all state, local, and private IP enforcement agencies to assure violators are caught and punished.

Rewards may be available to those who have information leading to the capture or conviction of IP violators.

Kyle scanned it then looked back to Ketan. “You think this is just ordinary corporate BS or is there something behind it?”

“Who the hell knows. How stupid would you have to be to rip off a magic IP license? Doing that: very bad business.”

Ketan nodded, “Could explain why the spells are so hard to cast if someone is ripping off the license.”

Kyle shrugged. “I guess. If that’s the case it would have to be someone on another shift. If they were on our shift then they’d be working for the company while we are so their effect on the ease of casting would already be accounted for, and I wouldn’t think it would be someone from third shift. They’d mostly be asleep during our work hours. Do your spells seem to hold longer in the early morning? If I had to work second shift, I’d probably sleep in.”

“Ha! Look at you Dr. Holms. You aiming for that reward or something?”

“I don’t know. If they want to get people excited about the reward they should probably list what it is they’re willing to pay out, but if someone’s been jacking up the power requirements for our spells for the last few months I want to see the jerk get what’s coming to him.”

Ketan frowned. “They might get a little more than what’s coming to them.”

Our hero's headache is vanquished
An Implausible Conspiracy is Introduced

For some reason I cannot adequately explain, even to myself, I'm trying to write and to write better. So if you like my story let me know. All feedback is appreciated.

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