Daren hung up the phone and actually smiled.  When something like this happens, it’s better to be on the boss’s side and in no way affiliated with the cause of the problem.  Better still, he had  been entrusted with the task of calling Phil.  He didn’t even know Phil personally, Briana trusted him enough to call Skytech when she could just as easily asked for the number, if she didn’t have it with her, so she could call.  Daren was really becoming a part of the team.

But he still had to dial the phone.  At this hour.  To deliver bad news.  To someone he doesn’t really know yet.  Not a great way to say hi.  Swallowing and reminding himself of his own admonitions that it really was ok to call, Daren looked up the number in the computer and called.

Phil answered on the third ring.  “Skytech, how can I help you?”  His voice was thick but he was clearly on duty.

“Hi, Phil?  It’s Daren.  Daren at MediaPerfect.  I’m so sorry to bother you.”

“Well, hello, Daren.  Nice to meet you.  Briana and Mike mentioned you joined the team last time I was out but I don’t think we had a chance to speak.”  Phil woke up quick.  “Anyway, it’s no bother.  MediaPerfect has a 24/7 support contract.  It would have gone directly to voicemail and I’d have heard the message in the morning if you didn’t.  And it must be big for you to call—you guys have never done this before.  What’s up?”

Daren let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.  What had he been worried about, exactly?  Phil was clearly not scary.  “It’s the server room.  There’s something wrong with the AC and the building manager can’t get anyone in here until Monday at the earliest.  I know that’s not your problem, but if we don’t do something it will be.  Do you have any suggestions for us?”

“How hot is it in there?”

“I’d be guessing, but over 80, I’d say.”

“Ouch.  Glad you called.  Step one, I don’t care how noisy it is, open the door and get some air in there.  I’ll hold.  While you’re in there, I want you to check and see if there are any red lights, blinking lights, weird noises, or anything that stands out, ok?”

Daren returned quickly.  “Door’s open, everything is humming loudly but just humming, and the lights look like normal.”

“Fan-tastic!  Daren, you caught it in time!  Since the equipment is fine, I’m not coming out right now, but if things go sideways at all please call me as soon as you notice something—we want to catch things early if we can.”

Daren beamed.  “So that’s it?  Open the door?”

“Ideally, no, but we’re working with what we have.  If you can get a box fan—just the type that cools a room will work, and place it so that it sucks the hot air out of the server room and blows it into the hallway, that will help a lot.”

“We had one of those a few minutes ago,” Daren started, but opted not to share the idiotic details.  “It died.”

“Good news is that Walmart is always open.  I’m going to check the system every few hours from here to make sure it’s clocking correctly and nothing looks odd from the software side, you contact me the moment something changes on the hardware, and with any luck we’ll make it to Monday unscathed. I think we’re going to be ok.”

Daren sighed.  “Nice to meet you, Phil.”

Phil laughed.  “Likewise.  I hope to see you at my next quarterly visit.  I hope I don’t see you sooner because that would mean there’s a problem, but if there is one, I’ll see you then.”

“Whenever it is, can I buy you a drink?  We really appreciate you.  I mean, I was starting too panic, and I can’t tell you how much better I feel.”

Phil chuckled.  “I’m glad.  But that’s what I do—you have me so that you don’t have that stress.  Next time, skip the stress part and call first.   I promise I’ll tell you if it’s time to panic.”

“And when is it time to panic?”

“Pretty much never.  Never helps.  So if you’re waiting for me to tell you it’s ok to panic, you are officially cured forever.”  He added, “at least as far as your tech is concerned anyway.  I have nothing to do with the rest of it.  But panic never helps anything, so it’s still good advice.”

“It certainly is.”  Daren smiled.  “So, do I owe you for the additional counseling or is that also included in the contract?”

“Nah.  It’s included in the friendship.  And don’t get me wrong—you can totally buy me a drink, just not because I helped you.  That part’s on the house.”

Daren called Briana and updated her on the status, and she thanked him up one side and down the other for being willing to buy fans in the middle of the night.  Maybe Phil would even tell her that this likely saved the system.  That couldn’t hurt the new guy reputation.  Or the next vacation request.  

“I guess the moral of the story,” Daren thought, “is that there are often hidden benefits to working hard, regardless of the schedule.”  He cringed at how cheesy it sounded, even in his head.  He thought about the brainy attempt to balance the fan when just knowing where to put it would have made all the difference.  “Or that true genius isn’t knowing everything, it’s knowing how to find someone that knows what you need to know, and calling them without doing anything stupid just to avoid having to admit you don’t know.  And keeping the important numbers on speed-dial.”

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