Battle of the Network Printers

By Yvonne Connell and Pam Jernigan

Rated: PG

Submitted Oct 2003

Summary: One is sweet-natured and trusting; the other is coldly calculating. They're vying for the attentions of the same woman. Will true love prevail? Read this wacky tale to find out.

By Yvonne Connell <yvonne@yconnell.fsnet.co.uk or yvonne@lcfanfic.com> and Pam Jernigan <chiefpam@nc.rr.com>

***

Written by Yvonne Connell (YCWeary, because it was late at night for her, so she was too tired to be sensible) as Hewlett, and Pam Jernigan (ChiefPam, who really has no excuse) as Lexmark. Guest starring Annette Ciotola (HGStudy) as the unwitting inspiration for it all.

IRC Log Segment:

<HGStudy> HP fanfic is bigger than us and I'd say x-files fanfic too

<YCWeary> HP? Hewlett Packard?

<HGStudy> Harry Potter

<YCWeary> Lol! Silly me.

<YCWeary> But I challenge anyone to write a Hewlett packard fanfic

<ChiefPam> lol Yvonne

<ChiefPam> It could be a duel between Hewlett Packard and Lexmark! <g>

<YCWeary> LOL!!!

Hewlett printed furiously, churning the pages out faster and faster, as he tried to beat the evil Lexmark.

But oh, no! He was running low on toner! His power was fading.

The Lexmark machine hummed evilly.

Hewlett eyed the Lexmark warily.

It seemed that the end of the contest was in no doubt, when, suddenly… paper-jam! Lexmark's processes ground to a halt.

Hewlett breathed a sigh of relief. Now if only he could stock up on more toner…

Lexmark wailed for someone, anyone, to clear the paper- jam… but soon found that he had no friends…

"Damn," he muttered. "If only I had some bloody *hands*!"

Hewlett brightened as a slim young woman walked past his desk. She looked like she was a woman who could give a printer some really *good* toner.

Lexmark cheered up. A woman? Here? His paper-jam problems would soon be history, then. All women adored him. He beeped for her attention.

Hewlett glared at the loud and brash Lexmark.

Attracted by Lexmark's siren song, the woman approached. "Dammit," she muttered. "Why are these things always jammed up when I need them?"

She thwacked Lexmark coldly, then walked away, leaving the poor printer stunned by the rejection.

Hewlett whined softly. "Please…I need toner…"

Lexmark began frantically thinking — could he possibly block the supply closet? Didn't the coffee machine owe him some favors?

Hewlett decided he needed to employ a different tactic to get his toner. Sending up a quick prayer to the printing gods, he switched himself into stand-by mode. He knew this was a gamble, a last-ditch attempt to gain attention, but surely a woman so clearly intelligent as that slim young woman would know how to re-activate a sleeping printer.

Lexmark thought fast. Blocking the supply closet seemed impossible at the moment… perhaps the coffee machine could be destroyed by a messy explosion! He calculated the possible debris trajectory. At least half the coffee should spill down onto Hewlett — that should give him something more to worry about than just low toner! Some of the debris might come his way, as well, but he decided it was an acceptable risk.

The coffee machine had served him well in the past… but minions were a dime a dozen.

"I printed it ages ago," the woman said. "What's the matter with this darned thing?"

Hewlett perked up, his stand-by light flashing frantically.

Lexmark concentrated his energies on overloading the coffee machine. That fool, Hewlett, had powered down, leaving Lexmark with more than enough electricity for the task. He would still be stymied by this paper-jam… but once he'd eliminated his rival, surely the repairmen would service him.

And if not… well, at least Hewlett wouldn't win. That would be entirely unacceptable.

"Okay, I have no idea what this button does, but anything's better than a half-dead printer."

Lexmark increased his power-channeling efforts. Almost there…

Hewlett flashed happily. Any minute now… Hewlett waited for the slim young woman's fingers to caress his buttons.

Lexmark paused for a microsecond, briefly distracted by the young woman. Apart from the fact that she'd hit him, she might possess potential…

Enough of this public-room network printing! He would soon be humming away in a private office… With the status and prestige he deserved.

The first touch was tentative. Then she pressed more firmly, and Hewlett nearly shut himself down with joy.

What!?!? The electricity Lexmark was channeling toward the coffee maker fluctuated wildly.

He poured one last effort into the job — the machine was very close to overloading…

Hewlett's lights flashed, his wheels began turning, his engine hummed…

…but apparently there were some previously-unrecognized safeguards in the system, and the excess power all snapped back at Lexmark, fatally shorting him out.

His last, fading thought was that at least he would not have to face the ignominy of losing…

"Please add toner? Okay…"

Hewlett beeped with joy. She truly was a wonderful woman, with oh-so-clever fingers.

Hewlett glanced over at the Lexmark as his toner bay was refilled. It was quite silent. Dead, perhaps?

Hewlett felt a pang of regret. He'd never trusted the Lexmark, but no printer ever deserved to meet its maker.

Especially a Lexmark!

Still, his toner was full, and his power was back on. What more could a printer do but print? Especially for such an attractive user.

Pages flowed smoothly from his paper tray, and the world was a safe place for printers once again.

THE END