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by Tim Pickl  
12/30/2011 / Short Stories


"This is Sherry, what's up?"

"We have a situation. All Homeland Security Information Technologies have been compromised by a multi-faceted systems virus attack."

"Wow! When did this happen, and how?"

"Within the last few minutes. It appears to be an inside upload job. We're calling it the UtterHavoc virus."

"So we need to execute Operation Revival?"

"Yes; but I need you to do one thing firsta counterattack."


"Download an infected file from the server address I am sending right now to your phone."

"An infected file? I'm not sure I can do that, my systems might get compromised"

"Use the Secure VirtualNet we set up on your backup server."

"Oh yes, thanks I forgot about that."

"Download the file, then immediately upload it to the central webserver farm in the Middle East. I will send the specific address to your phone."

"Okay I see the file. Downloading it now to VirtualNet.. Then what should I do?"

"Execute the file immediately on their server. Hit them with their own medicine. We would have done all this already, but they would see us coming a mile away, as our systems are all compromised."

"Only 40 more seconds. The secure connection is slower on the download."

"Do this as fast as you can. We're getting reportsfrom other agencies that UtterHavoc is shutting down their systems. We're operating blind right now."

"Okay I have the file. It's already trying to do somethingamazing."

"Yeah, it's a nasty one. Go ahead and upload it."

"Already on it."

"I knew you would be."

"Got past three firewalls. That wasn't too bad. I've hacked into their main webserver. Something is trying to stop me"

"Use the Counter Measures Software."

"Yep, already did that."


"It worked! I'm in. Uploading the file now."

"How long is it going to take?"

"Faster connection this time. 20 more seconds 15"

"We are sitting on the edge of our seats here in The Command Center."

"Done! Executing the file now."


"It must have worked. I lost connection..."

"Hold on Sherrywe're waiting for news from White House I.T. Supportthey were not compromised; but they were watching and waiting for the attack to spread there."


"Good news: they are reporting that it worked. No more attacks are coming from compromised Homeland Security Systems. Our I.T. Security folks are reporting now they're finished cleaning up the firewall mess on our end. We need you to execute Operation"

"Operation Revival is executed. Top Secret emergency data backups are being uploaded and restored now to all Homeland Security Systems."

"Estimated time of completion?"

"One hour, seventeen minutes. It's a lot of data. I'm glad you guys bought the extra storage over the summer."

"Not a problem. We needed your services, obviously."

"I can see that. This was one of those worst case scenarios we all feared?"

"Worst of the worst. Fortunately, whomever launched UtterHavoc didn't know about Sherry."

"Amen to that."

"In the mean time, we've thwarted several terrorist attacks which were launched to coincide with the UtterHavoc virus. Homeland Security officers in New York are reporting catching six homicide bomberswhen communications were restored, we caught their coordinated attack conversations. Similar terrorist attacks were going to happen in D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles."


"Because of your quick work, we're not only saved our systems, we've saved lives."

"Thank God Paul, can I ask you a question while we're waiting?"


"Why do they hate us so much? I wonder about that all the time. We spend so much time and money defending ourselves against the hatred."

"The only thing I've thought of over the years is hatred needs to be constantly fedit needs an object to hate. It's as if these people are programmed to constantly be angry and filled with hatred. The answer, I fear, will never be completely understood."

"What you say makes sense, though"

"It's kind of like trying to answer the question, 'Why does the United States rise up and support and defend countries around the world when we could easily just throw up the walls and live in our own little world here?' We do it oftentimes because it's the right thing to do. I suppose in some twisted way, terrorists think what they are doing is the right thing to do."

"Makes sense"

"Have a great day Sherry, your paycheck's been automatically deposited."

"Very funny."



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