Chapter 7: What the?


As the transporter speed toward the destination, several questions came to my mind. Why didn’t David contact me right after Brutus disappeared? I had received David’s message nearly 7 hours after David discovered Brutus had disappeared. That is awfully strange. That is not very David. I have known David since childhood. We went to school together and we even lived in the same neighborhood after we graduated. Now our kids are going to the same school. David is always very energetic and very quick to respond to myriads of emergency situations. But today, he waited several hours before contacting me. Could something else be wrong? Is there something that David did not mention? More and more questions comes to mind.

“Computer, time to destination please,” I asked the computer. “24 minutes and 20.5 seconds,” responded the on-board computer. “Sir, I am receiving a distress message right now. Do you want to activate it?” “Yes, right away, Computer.” The urgent message flashes in bright red and the pops open. But instead of a message, there was an large fruit icon with a smiley face on it. “Computer, is this a joke?” I ask the computer. But the computer did not respond. “Computer, what is this icon” Still no answer. All of the sudden, the entire com board shuts down. All the lights and screen on the board went dark.

The transporter was still zooming at emergency top speed. I know right then that my communication system has been compromised by some sort of computer virus. Luckily, the navigation control and the communication board are on two separate systems. But just in case, I tapped on the break a little to see if I still am in control of navigation. The transporter slowed down 1% as I tapped on the break. Good. I still can navigate. Then I tried perturbing the navigation wheel. No problem. With the course laid out and navigation system still working, I can still get to David’s house.

I opened the compartment under my seat, pulled out a com board analyzer box and plugged it into one of the outlets on the com board. I want to know what happened to my communication system. I flicked on the analyzer box and it automatically started running a diagnosis. Screens of hexadecimals flowed up the tiny screen on the box with occasional flashes of yellow indicating that something amiss has been found. When the analysis is done, I pressed the button for a summary report. Virus XFW30zyMrpD was found to have pervaded the system in record speed of 10.2 nano seconds.

The analyzer isolated the virus code and found an imprint of its maker “XF”. With no access to communication system I could not check what “XF” was. I have never heard of XF. Who is it and why did it tempered with my communication system at this dire moment? What the world is going on? What the?

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