After a morning of taking the quizzes, Erin finally stepped out of the amphitheater. The buffet had been cleaned up and sandwiches and pizzas were used instead of croissants. She found Phyl there, who had already got a head start on the meal.

- “How did it go for you? Erin asked.

“Okay, not too bad I would say,” Phyl replied. And for you ?

- I think it should. I don’t know what you think about it, but I didn’t find computer issues that much difficult.

- I agree. The algorithmic questions were classic: calculating a GCD, deciphering a ROT13 … They were almost the same as in school.

- Yes, she added. Even on the network side it was not very original. Ask us to define the addressing plan for a network …

Phyl grabbed another slice of pizza and continued.

- Personally, I had a harder time with questions afterwards. It looked like the logic stuff you find in magazines.

- Yes. It reminded me of psychometric tests … But for me, those were the weirdest last questions.

“Absolutely,” Phyl replied. What the hell was that? “

Come to think of it, that explained why Phyl had seemed particularly stressed at this point. Erin had chosen to sit at the back of the amphitheater because she really enjoyed taking breaks during the tests. From the back, you can take the opportunity to take a step back and observe the rest of the room.

As much as nothing exciting had happened during the first two rounds, the third had been more interesting. Some had started rocking in their seats, others were nibbling their pens, but Phyl was holding the pom pom …

“There were some really tough ones in those,” Phyl added. You know, the question with the nine dots on three lines there. Did you manage to connect them with only 4 lines?

“I did something, but I don’t know if that’s what they expected,” Erin said.

- What did you do ?

- Well, I went over the edge. I did some great broad strokes and spilled over into the next questions… I really don’t know if they’re going to count me right. “

Erin grabbed a sandwich while Phyl grabbed two more pizza slices and they moved to sit a little further.

- “What would you take to a desert island with you, frankly?” Besides, I really don’t see the connection to IT, Phyl continued.

“I said a backup radio system, so I can be found and picked up quickly,” Erin said.

- Smart, I hadn’t thought of that! Me, I stuck to basic things, like a fire starter.

“Yes, that’s useful too,” she replied with a wink.

Apparently having finished with the pizzas, Phyl headed for the desserts. Hesitating between the dark chocolate or coffee éclairs, he resolved to take one of each.

- “Come to think of it, I think there were two types of questions this morning,” Erin said.

- Is that so ?

- Yes, the first tested our knowledge in computer science but the following ones were clearly used to draw up a psychological profile.

‘Possible,’ Phyl replied. But they know how to receive, you should try these lightning bolts, it’s a killer …

- Sure … Anyway, I wonder what they’re going to do with it. “

To finish the meal, Erin had chosen a black coffee and she had been only half astonished to see Phyl lengthen hers with hot chocolate until the moment when, God only knows how, he had stumbled upon a bottle of whipped cream and concentrated not to overflow his cup …

An organizer then announced that the afternoon races could begin. The participants had been divided into small groups and they had been separated. Following her group through the maze of IRISA, Erin entered a classroom.

The tables had been pushed back against the walls and each supported a computer and virtual reality headsets. On the ground, markings separated different areas.

They were asked to take a helmet and to distribute themselves in the various huts on the ground. Instructions would be given to them inside.

Damn ! She had never touched such material before. Erin was worried that she would be ridiculous with this helmet, not to know how to use it.

After a tiny hesitation, she put on her helmet …