#ThursThreads Week 271 : You’re Not Needed In This

Being invisible, silent, and having no heat signature makes it simple to watch chaos break out, as it did when Freddy, the IT guy arrived at work. It started as a normal day. Freddy dropped everything on his desk, made his run to the men’s room, and fetched his cup of coffee.

And that’s when normal ended. He sat down at his desk, and turned on his computer, and nothing happened. It didn’t turn on. “What?” He checked the power connections, but they were good. He checked and the fans were blowing air through the unit, so it was getting power.

He turned it off, counted to 10, and turned it back on. It booted up, but it loaded a bright red screen, with big yellow letters, “This machine has been encrypted, using a 4096 bit key. The key has been destroyed. Bye-Bye…”

Freddy’s phone started ringing endlessly. Every computer in the office had that same message on it. Freddy tried booting a different system from a flash drive, but the computer encrypted the drive’s contents. He tried restoring a backup from an external drive, but the computer encrypted that too.

I laughed, “It’s the BIOS, Freddy. On every motherboard.”

By the time Freddy realized what had happened, he’d been fired. “You’re not needed in this. Clearly, you couldn’t stop it. We need someone else.”

Freddy got drunk then tried to drive home. The wreck made the news the next morning, and I sighed, “Some people shouldn’t drink.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 12 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 271 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 270 : You’re Too Sick To Play

That night, I visited what had been Michelle’s workplace once more. It was time to gather more information, this time from the director of the Information Technology department. I’d noticed the workstation Michelle used always seemed to be broken. It was time to learn why.

A quick scan of the computer storage media showed frequent changes to the computer’s configuration at strange hours, especially when she was at lunch, or right after she’d left for the day. Further investigation demonstrated the computer configuration was hacked during those times. Someone had made it so Michelle’s computer would fail. Frequently. Resulting in far too many problems.

That someone turned out to be the IT director. A check of his computer verified the repeating, endless problems Michelle had. Since I was awake anyway, I visited his home, and checked his computers, which provided endless evidence of his hatred of Michelle, and his efforts to get her fired. The man had a treasure trove of things to do to mess up someone’s computer.

“Little man. You’re too sick to play such games.” Hacked, broken computers. Armors knew how to do that better than anyone. “Hope you can find another job, little man. You and your sick mind.” I knew exactly what to do. I headed back to the workplace, to perform a bit of magic on workstations and servers throughout the company. “You’re going to need a drink tomorrow night.”

It was time to have some fun.

244 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 11 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 270 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 268: I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

As Tiffany sat on her front doorstep, watching the fire department extinguish the smoldering remains of her car, listening to her neighbors tell her how lucky she was not to have blown up with it, one of her phone calls to Harry went viral on social media. It was played over, and over again, millions of times.

As her neighbors asked who would do such a horrible thing to her, blowing up her car, the world watched Tiffany strip naked, one article of clothing at a time, as she begged Harry to take care of the Michelle problem. They watched as Tiffany proposed a meeting with Harry, where he could explore the real model, and not a video. “If you help with my problem, I’ll give you anything you ask.”

As the police spoke with her, and informed her they’d find the culprit behind these car bombings, countless men decided her naked ass made a good wallpaper for their smart phones. The perfect break from a bad day at work.

As Tiffany sat in her home that day, in shock that her life had not turned out at all like she wanted, the FBI filed warrants for her arrest, and posted a bulletin for the capture of Harry.

When federal agents appeared on her doorstep the next morning, Tiffany’s only response to their questions was, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Even after they showed her the viral video.

And I knew. This was just getting started.

248 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 10 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 268 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 264 : Aren’t You Going To Ask?

Ginger had placed a call to Tiffany when things hit the news. “How did they find out?”

I sent Tiffany’s number through the computer grid, and learned where she was, as I listened to the call, “I don’t know. I thought we covered everything. Went through all the untraceable channels.”

“Well someone found out!”

I recorded the conversation, then spent the evening tracking down Tiffany. I sat at her kitchen table the next morning as she made herself coffee. “Aren’t you going to ask? How did I know? How come you can’t see me? Or hear me?”

Tiffany placed three calls that morning. One to the chief of police. One to her father. One to a guy named Harry. I recorded all three conversations. I especially enjoyed her heated discussion with Harry. “I did what you said. I pretended I was its friend. Let it spend the night here, more than once. So you could meet it. And do your thing.”

“I told no one. No one knows. No one can know.”

I had fun exploring Tiffany’s finances for several hours. I found it amazing how money of any kind always left a trail. Especially if you knew where to look.

Tiffany and Harry learned how much no one knew when their entire conversation was on the evening news, along with the amount of money she’d paid him for something called pest control. And for some reason, Tiffany’s car exploded as she stepped off her front porch.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 9 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 264 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 260 : Are You Alright?

Ginger finished work at 1700 hours that afternoon, and she hopped in her car, and raced home. She was ready to have some fun. She didn’t know, of course, I was in the back seat. That’s the thing with being an Armor. We’re kind of invisible.

I followed her inside, and at 1800, I turned on her TV, and tuned it to the evening news. You can imagine her surprise when she saw her picture on the screen. “Ginger Magee, who lives in the local area, may have played a part in the recent murder of Michelle Harmon.” Ginger looked like her cat had just died. I managed not to laugh. The TV report displayed the actual message Ginger had sent, with the words boldly visible along the bottom, “Can someone please rid the world of this thing?”

She stood there, transfixed. “How?”

“The police have not responded to our questions about this new evidence in the murder, nor has the city attorney. But we will keep asking for further information, and we will provide that as it becomes available to us. We hope to have more on this unfolding story on the late news tonight.”

I smiled. It was fun to watch her stand there. “Are you alright?” I tried not to laugh. “No. I don’t think you are.”

On my way out, I stopped at her car, opened the gas cap, and slid a small high explosive into the tank. As I walked away, the car exploded.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 8 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 260 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

And as always. Thank you for keeping #ThursThreads alive, Siobhan.

#ThursThreads Week 258 : But It Is Too Late

If Ginger had a bad feeling, so did I. “Let’s see what you’re afraid of, little girl.” I paused, to think, and decided to gather information, and to do that, I needed connections. One empty office network jack later, and I could record every bit of every byte that Ginger’s office computer sent, or received. One dropped pencil on the carpet of the room, and I knew every word spoken. One quick link to the cell network and I knew everything that passed through the System On a Chip that made the phone work.

From there, of course, it was easy to drop background processes into memory, and have them forward every picture, every text message, every e-mail to me.

“So, you wanted someone to do something about the thing you worked with, did you?” She’d even gone off the network, into the world of isolated meshes. The world with no rules. No regulations.

I looked at the picture she’d posted on several of those meshes. Michelle. Pretty smile and all. And underneath the picture, “Can someone please rid the world of this thing?” There’d been no public responses, of course. Private responses were another matter, and her cell phone history showed that. She’d erased everything on the phone, of course. But it was all still there, safe in the computers of her service provider.

Phone calls from sources I knew. Sources I watched.

“Nice try, little girl. But it is too late.” And for Ginger, it clearly was.

249 words
@mysoulstears


This is part 7 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 258 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 253 : We Have To Move Fast

Finding Michelle’s desk was easy. It was the one people stopped by regularly, for opposing reasons. Bill stopped by when he got to work, and put a rose on what had been her desk. A pretty rose with canary yellow petals that had lipstick red edges.

Mary and Marvin stopped as they walked past. Mary shook her head. Marvin threw the rose in the waste can.

And so it went. Some people paused, quietly shook their heads. Others nodded. Thomas even whispered, “you got what you deserved.”

The people who worked in the desks around Michelle’s were just as two sided. Lilly, took two naproxen pills, washed them down with root beer, closed her eyes, and whispered, “I miss you. And I hate the way people are behaving.”

Becky took a photocopy of Michelle’s picture and stabbed holes in the eyes, until the eyes were gone. Then, she put the picture in a folder with other copies of the same picture, all of which were mutilated, and started to work.

Joey has a picture on his cube wall that said it all. A bar, with a woman at it, and a man. And the word bubble above the man read, “We should shoot all the transgender people. Problem solved.”

So it went. From desk to desk. Person to person. Except in the Human Resources office, where Ginger worked. She was on the phone. “We have to move fast. I have a bad feeling about this.”

(to be continued).

248 Words
I’m not on Twitter.


This is part 6 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 253 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.