Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)
TITLE: Wake-Up Call
By Linda Germain
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“Uh…who is this?” I manage to croak.
“Is that you, Boss? We got us a sure ‘nuff problem right here in River City.”
That master of mixed metaphors and movie lines can only be Buzzy. He’s my assistant at a major communications business where we track down and identify every kind of cyber glitch and virus imaginable. This can’t be good. He never calls when I’m so exhausted I’m forced to stay home and re-charge.
Darkness shrouds my room and the small lamp casts eerie shadows. I sit on the side of the bed and take a deep breath.
“Tell it to me slow and straight, Buzzy.”
“It’s big. It’s untraceable. It’s international. PLEASE, Hurry.”
I jump in yesterday’s clothes, grab my keys, and run. The motorcycle will be faster. I roll down the hill in neutral. When I’ve gone as far as I can with no power, I kick start the thing and throw it in gear.
I can see the lights of my work headquarters shining like a huge mother ship in the night. Most people do not realize there are alert, dedicated folks like us who work diligently to keep our fingers on the pulse of sophisticated cyber technology. It’s my life. Strange and threatening things have happened before, but this has the earmarks of an earth-shaking incident. I’m cold. Why didn’t I wear a jacket?
I press my palm on the hand-recognition pad. Steel doors slide open in silence. After a few more security hoops, I’m back in familiar territory. Buzzy looks strained and tired. He may be right about that River City thing.
There seems to be some kind of code on all our screens. I feel like I’m sweating question marks.
“Look at this, Boss…and we cannot break it.”
I hurry to my private office to make a call I have rehearsed in my head a million times.
“This is the Executive Officer of <i>Cyber Sense Security</i>. I must speak to the President on a matter of national security.”
A no-nonsense voice instructs me to hold. I’m thinking, <i>don’t worry Pal!</i>
In a matter of seconds the Chief is on the line. “Hello. <i>This</i> is the President.”
“Sorry to wake you, Sir. I have reason to believe there is a serious universal attack in progress on possibly all computers and communication terminals. From our sources around the world we have learned there will be a simple explanation of the coded message and it will happen simultaneously for all of us. We may have no time to respond.
The leader of the free world is quiet. He must be thinking from both sides of his brain.
I continue. “In about an hour, this major information will appear on all computers everywhere.”
He is decisive and blunt. “Keep me informed.”
He makes a few more top secret comments before I launch myself straight into a surreal event that seems to have crash landed in the middle of our smug little planet. I feel small and helpless.
The scary news blankets the world before the sun comes up. I speak to Mr. President so many times I feel like he should at least invite me for dinner. He makes numerous politico-babble announcements designed to reassure the panicked public, and says it’s probably only a satellite error and all be fine.
Then, with no warning, all television transmission and reception is gone. We seem to be sliding out of <i>rocket science</i> and back to <i>horse and buggydom</i> at the speed of sound, and no one can figure out why or what to do about it. For no clear reason, some phone systems are still working…but certainly nothing fancy. No apps. No texts.
At the midnight hour I am weary and bleary-eyed; totally at the mercy of the mystery hacker. I am beaten. Suddenly, there is a loud BONG-BONG-BONG. The cryptogram begins to rearrange itself into words in whatever language the reader understands.
<b>*“I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH ME.”</b>
Buzzy, a devoted fellow Christian, jumps up and yells, “ Woo-hoo! He’s even at the door! It’s time to go!”
“Amen!” I cry, arms lifted, knowing this is it.
“Come Lord, Jesus”.
<b>Ephesians 5:14</b> (NKJV)
Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
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