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Walking Techfix

The opposite of Walking Techbane, these people are just uncannily able to get recalcitrant technology to work. It's not just fixing them, it's miraculous things like getting computers to behave when touched or make the BSOD go away by looking at it. Techfixes are people for whom Percussive Maintenance works.

Just as Techbanes can be quite knowledgeable about computers but unable to operate them, certain Techfixes may not know anything about the technology they fix.

Often an ability of the Technopath. Might have Machine Empathy as a secondary effect.

If it's only a specific device (usually a vehicle) they have this effect on, see Only I Can Make It Go.


Examples

Film
  • In the TRON universe, a human programmer who has entered the computer world has this ability. It is uncertain whether a person less skilled in controlling what goes on in a computer from the outside would have the same power.

Live-Action Television
  • Fonzie from Happy Days has this ability due to his coolness. Not only will anything he performs Percussive Maintenance on start working, but he can even use it to "fix" things that aren't broke, like making a vending machine dispense soda without money.
    • This is Truth in Television for older soda vending machines. Proper abuse would frequently result in merchandise or a failure in the coin-return system, causing the machine to spit soda and cash everywhere.

Tabletop RPGs
  • In Warhammer 40,000, if an Ork thinks a machine will work, it will.
    • A character in one of the Ciaphas Cain novels notes "Give an Ork a stick and convince him it's a gun and it will shoot bullets."
  • In the Deadlands: Hell on Earth setting, a junker can assemble scrap into a machine that just looks like it could work, then get a technology spirit to inhabit it and finish the job.
  • Paranoia has the mutant powers of Mechanical Intuition (which gives you an uncanny insight into how machines work) and Machine Empathy (which makes bots and other AIs like you and generally do what you want). Confusingly, Mechanical Intuition is an example of the Machine Empathy trope, while Machine Empaths are examples of Technopaths.

Fan Fiction

Web Original

Webcomics
  • The title character of Gene Catlow, starting with the first strip and eventually dubbed Tech Master by the machines.
  • Although the storyline is now over, for many years up until 2000, Fiona from Kevin & Kell could fix any computer (or machine for that matter) by just pointing at it. It was granted to her by the Great Bird Conspiracy (posing as aliens) to fix the Y2K bug with.
  • There was a story arc in Help Desk where telling Alex about a broken computer (or machine) would cause said machine to fix itself. Since Ubersoft Help Desk employees aren't supposed to be helpful, he was told to take a vacation until it stopped happening.
  • Techno Wizard Dave from Narbonic can fix everything from an ordinary computer to Helen's malfunctioning weather machine. It turns out that none of the stuff he fixes ever worked in the first place, and it is just subconcious Mad Scientist traits of his own doing the work.
  • Sweden from Scandinavia and the World has this ability, as evidenced by the page image.

Video Games
  • Command & Conquer's engineers:
    • First off, they can generally repair anything (with 2 exceptions) to full health instantly.
    • In Tiberian Dawn, they apparently can convince everyone in the entire building (whether they are level-headed soldiers or cultist fanatics) that they are now working for GDI/Nod. Some speculate that their toolbox is involved... They also instantly fix any incompatibilities between EVA and CABAL. However, Firestorm shows this isn't such a problem, and Nod always using CABAL started in Tiberian Sun, so most people who play Tiberian Dawn ignore that Retcon since it sounds like EVA and CABAL wasn't mentioned until Tiberian Sun.
      • This is a remnant of Dune II, in which any infantry (besides Saboteurs) would damage a building if it was not in red health, and capture it if it was. Since CnC1 used this new streamlined GUI (first introduced in Dune 2 for the Genesis), you couldn't order soldiers to enter buildings anymore. So they introduced the engineer, who couldn't attack buildings (or anything else), only capture buildings.
    • In Red Alert, if the building was in red health, suddenly the Greeks now work for the Ukrainians. If not, I can only assume that the engineers decide that with such little damage done to the building, their life will be boring and blow themselves up.
      • This is because instead of having to fight your way into their base and send a bunch of infantry into their Construction Yard, you could load up an APC or 2, park them next to the enemy's Construction Yard, sell it, and laugh. And build tanks, assuming they don't rage quit. Thus Westwood came up with a new gameplay mechanic to balance the issue. However, an APC still holds 5 engineers and it takes 3 to capture a building. However, once stuff got started, your chances of getting one engineer into their base decreased dramatically.
    • In Sole Survivor, it can be assumed that they aren't.
    • In Tiberian Sun, they act pretty much like they did in Tiberian Dawn. Except they can capture alien ships. Granted, the point of that was to retrieve the Tacitus, but how do you open the door? Granted, the reason an engineer had to do it may be because they never seem to actually use doors. Also, multiplayer games offer an option to make engineers work like they do in Red Alert.
    • Red Alert 2 has TD style engineers. They can capture buildings that upgrade their latent physic powers to the point where that can repair vehicles and people with their mind from anywhere on the map all at the same time. That is quite obviously not how the game explains it, but in retrospect, that makes more sense than their explanation.
    • Renegade gives the Engineers heal guns that fix buildings, vehicles, and people.
    • Generals has infantry capture buildings, but take forever to do it.
    • CnC3 is the same as TD's engineers, only they kneel for a few seconds (which fixes the Engineer rush problem without breaking the engineers completely). However, they can capture functioning alien ships, buildings, etc. Because they can change the tiberium flow or something. Despite the fact that GDI buildings presumably would not have any Tiberium in them, refineries excepted.
    • CnC4 has flying engineers. They are the same as Renegade's if they flew. I don't know about Nod; I gave up before then.

Real Life
  • This is the bane of many a software engineer whenever a customer reports an error: Whenever the engineer is there to study the error, it fails to happen. (Although the "problem" has been the consumer's basic misuse of the computer in several cases, which can easily be solved by a reboot or some simple software tinkering.)
    • This can also work for car mechanics and other repair personnel.
  • Some systems administrators and related operations personnel take it to a level of zen, where merely knowing how to fix the problem fixes the problem; those who are unenlightened can take the (apparent) same steps and never succeed. Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine illustrates this nicely.
    • Or they just, weirdly, know things are broken, before anyone else.

Walking TechbaneCharacters as DeviceWar Hawk
Sadly MythtakenImageSource/Web ComicsScary Go Round

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