by Robert Smat
In the midst of a rigorous workday at the Viterbi School of Engineering, three unsuspecting computer science majors stumbled upon a startling new discovery: a previously unnoticed singular room that was just adjacent to the men’s restroom in the Salvatori Computer Science Center.
Andrew Li, a freshman in Viterbi’s computer science program, discovered the room while heading back to work after a bathroom break. He attributes the discovery to delaying use of his cellphone just long enough to look where he was going.
“On the door was something like the symbol on the men’s room, but with an isosceles triangle shape near the midsection. I considered going inside, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time at USC, it’s that you shouldn’t randomly barge into rooms. People could be smoking weed anywhere.”
Mr. Li immediately called this to the attention of Adu Bellari and Mike Smith, two juniors in the comp sci major, who had been busily creating code for a new app.
(This reporter promised he would advertise the application, which “increases search engine optimization visibility by maximizing the prominence of social media capabilities.” At press time, the application had totaled six downloads.)
Bellari and Smith immediately dropped what they were doing, picked it all back up, and yelled at Li for startling them so badly. Then, they followed him to investigate the mysterious sighting.
Upon reaching the door of the room again, Mr. Smith suggested a simple knock before entry. But the three doubted that this was necessary, nor that anyone was inside, as a thin layer of dust indicated that the door had gone untouched since the day it was installed.
When the door was cautiously opened, the boys were met with a pitch black room that smelled faintly of roses.
“It was weird,” said Mr. Bellari, “and we really had no idea what to do. So we just obeyed the only thing we’ve learned in computer science: Turn everything off and on until it works.”
Once the room was lit, Mr. Smith described a strange sight: “At first I thought we had just stepped into the men’s room again by mistake, but then I realized it wasn’t exactly like the men’s room. There were only stalls, and there were no urinals, zero. And there was a funny-looking vending machine on one of the walls.”
The students chose to leave the vending machine untouched, as none of them had carried actual change in over a decade.
“I felt like we had discovered pharaoh’s tomb,” reported Mr. Li, “but with every tomb comes a curse, and I could feel within a few seconds that we weren’t welcome in this forbidden place.”
The three students departed as quickly as they had arrived and debated their next steps. Despite plans to revisit the site, watch the room for extended periods of time, and extrapolate the room’s use with the help of a quantum computing algorithm, the group realized that an answer could still take years to nail down:
“These kinds of things take time. And if there’s one thing that comp sci majors don’t have, it’s time. So we’ll document our discovery, and leave the research for the generations that come after us,” said Mr. Bellari.
Mr. Li returned to the men’s room for another bathroom break while Mr. Bellari and Mr. Smith returned to their work station. At press time, both of their unsecured laptops were still reported stolen.