There was not enough caffeine in the world to deal with this.
Two in the morning. It was supposed to be his off day. As such, Heinrich had spent the evening in the traditional way: getting well and truly smashed. The kind of binge that didn’t lead to morning hangovers because you were still drunk when you woke up. Unfortunately, this time he was woken up only an hour into his blackout by an urgent support call. The kind that absolutely could not wait and that absolutely needed his particular expertise.
Heinrich sometimes liked the prestige and certainty that came from being the expert in server ward maintenance. This was not one of those times.
“So you’re sure there’s no debris on the primary containment rune?” Heinrich asked for the second time. Maybe third?
“Yes, Heinrich,” Michel replied. “We swept everything down before we even called in.”
“Just making sure,” Heinrich said, struggling to keep the slur from his voice. “It’s a common issue. Most likely cause of an internal containment failure.”
“We know,” Michel said. His voice was calm, patient, and kind, as always. “Can we skip through the obvious things? This isn’t exactly our first ward collapse over here.”
“Sure, sure,” Heinrich said. He struggled to think past the basic steps. They seriously needed his expertise here. And if the sounds in the background were any indication, the demon would not wait for him to sleep it off. “Alright Look at the secondary support ring. The one with the little… um…”
“The void accents, right?” Michel finished.
“Right, those. Count them. There should be a prime number of them.” Heinrich waited for the response. It seemed to take ages, but his sense of time had long since passed out.
“I’m only counting fifteen.”
“Well there’s your problem,” Heinrich said. “Maintenance needs to be more regular on that set. Those things burn out if they’re not fed regularly.” Without waiting for an answer, Heinrich slashed the contact closed and fell onto the couch.