A man called Coyote on Christmas morning. “I NEED HELP!“ he cried, “IT'S URGENT!“ “OK, said Coyote, “How can I help you?“
“I cannot tell you,“ said the man, “Meet me for Thai food.“
So Coyote went and met the man at a Thai restaurant on Christmas. The man had a stack of papers. They were an NDA. They were many pages long, and said things on them like “NASA“ and “Los Alamos National Labs.“ Coyote sniffed them and then signed them. A nice waiter brought their food.
“I have a really big problem,“ the man said, “I hired Rat to write the computer code for my rocket payload. I have paid the Amazon man a million dollars to deliver this payload into space, so we can test our communication system. But Rat is LITERALLY holding the payload hostage. He has lost his mind, and says that I must give him half of my company if I want my payload back.“
Coyote was excited. “What does this computer code need to do?“ he asked the man.
“Nothing too complicated,“ said the man, “the computer code just needs to...
the magic of the NDA spell makes this part of the story disappear! See how NDAs work?
... do you think you can do all that?“ “That actually sounds pretty easy,“ said Coyote.
So Coyote called up his friend Raccoon, who at that time worked at LinkedIn. “Do you want to help do this thing?“ asked Coyote. “DO I!“ Raccoon is a space nut and loves space. He was in.
The man went to the police and they went to Rat's house and got the payload back. Coyote and Raccoon got to work. Coyote looked at the code already on the payload. Rat had had the payload for three months, but had only done two things to it. 1) He had installed Node.js. 2) He had downloaded some script that said, in the comments, “THIS SCRIPT IS EXPEREMENTAL AND PARTS OF IT DON'T WORK! DON'T USE IT IN PRODUCTION!“ Rat had written some other code to try to use this script to do NDA MAGIC POOF things.
No, seriously, Coyote is not making that part up.
Coyote and Raccoon deleted Node.js. They wrote some code in some other programming languages. Then they went back to the man. “It does NDA MAGIC POOF!“ “Hooray!“ said the man.
“We have a little more time!“ said Coyote. “Do you want to make it tweet?“ “That's a great idea!“ said the man.
So Coyote and Raccoon made the payload tweet at the world. They went to Texas with the man, and went to the Amazon man's ranch, and watched his rocket take off. The payload went above the earth's atmosphere. While it was up there, it sang a song.
Coyote was very proud. And the man even gave Coyote and Raccoon some of his company.
A year later, the man called Coyote. “Our payload was the first commercial WiFi hotspot in space,“ the man said excitedly, “Now the Smithsonian museum wants it!“
Coyote was very proud indeed.
Here are some pictures of my signature on the Schmitt Space Communicator (I can't show too much of that plate, because there's a bunch of components that are protected by the NDA MAGIC POOF spell) and of the Deed of Gift from the Smithsonian Air and Space collection.