“Closing Down”

Dustin Cidorowich

All rights reserved by the author

 

 

Prelude: In 1999, a computer virus named Melissa virus was created and was so powerful that it forced Microsoft and other large corporations to turn off their email systems completely.  This virus was the cause of billions of dollars in damage, which was required to return the computer world to normal.  A similar phenomenon occurred a year later when the ILOVEYOU virus surfaced.

 

            The room was dimly lit.  Several computers and other high tech equipment surrounded a sole figure typing feverishly on a computer.  Kurota suddenly looked up.  Something wasn’t right.  Nothing looked out of the ordinary, so he went back to his computer.  He was actually developing an extreme dangerous virus called Honey Twist, for testing new anti-virus software, and this virus was incredibly dangerous to the computer world if it fell into the wrong hands.  The machine he was working on, was specially formatted, and was using a personalized network that was so unique that the virus could only travel to other computers using the same network.  There were no other known systems, so the virus was relatively save in the hands of Kurota.  He heard a scuffle and looked up.  There, gleaming down at him, was a masked figure covered in nothing but black.

Meanwhile, in the not to distant past, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University began developing recovery-oriented computing (ROC) which is a new form of fighting the war against computer viruses.  The ROC was becoming one of the hottest products on the market.  Consumers were enjoying a system, which doesn’t eliminate the problems, but fixes them a lot faster than the current operating system.  People had heard rumors of a devastating virus spreading throughout cities in Europe, most likely the result of Al Qaeda terrorist groups.  A sudden need for computer security was demanded, and the ROC filled the need of the customers.  This made it one of the hottest products on the market.  The ROC had a component specifically for email systems, for filtering out and destroying viruses.  When an undetected virus infects a server, the operator does not know about it, however, there is an undo module, so all messages sent after the virus was created, or came into the system, will be unsent.  Then the operator installs a virus filter, and resends all the message that were unsent, filtering out all the virus infected ones, and destroying them and notifying the recipient that they were sent an infected piece of mail and it was destroyed.

 

            People were entering the room now.  It was bright and the day was young.  Yoshiko went around a desk and gasped as he saw Kurota lying there motionless.  A pool of blood surrounded him, and everyone gathered around him in small frantic movements.  They observed the scene, and looked on his computer to see what he had been doing.  Almost at once it became obvious what had happened.  Someone had broken in and stolen a copy of the virus Kurota had been working on, and were most likely planning on using it in the form of terrorism.  From the perspective of a normal, everyday working person, this may not have seemed very serious, but for those who knew the dangerousness and destructiveness of this computer virus knew that something must be done to stop it.  The problem was, it spreads though email, and automatically sends itself to other computers.  And it was undetectable by the anti-viruses, so the recipients of the virus will receive it not knowing it’s a virus unless something was done to change this.  The Japanese computer geniuses immediately began working with the virus and trying to find anti-virus software that would be thorough enough to detect this virus, not knowing that on the other side of the world, the solution was lying in the homes of millions of Americans.

            The Japanese workers were not making much progress when all the computers began flashing the same thing, “GIVE UP, ITS TOO LATE!”  The workers began looking around at each other puzzled and a chill arose in their spines.  Something about this message made the workers uptight and nervous.  A clinking noise came from the entrance to the room, and a faint hissing noise was barely noticeable in the now silent room.  Soon the workers began coughing.  The room was becoming filled with a cloudy substance.  Yoshiko was the first to realize what was going on.  The same terrorists who had stolen the virus were now getting rid of anything that stood in their way.  They were killing the people working on this project, and making the virus no longer accessible to anyone but themselves.  Some form of gas was slowly filling the room and killing the workers.  Yoshiko’s instincts took over, and he managed to escape before becoming suffocated by gas.  He hurried out of the building, and ran as fast as he could, expecting the building to blow up behind him.  Fortunately, no such thing happened, but all the research and test results were gone, and thirteen close friends who had all been involved in this project lay dead in the midst of a computer laboratory.

 

            Armando Fox was not the kind of person who likes to go out and risk damaging his mind for the benefit of a good time.  Unlike many of his peers in high school who would go out and get drunk or stoned on the weekends, he would much rather be sitting in front of his computer where he felt a lot more comfortable.  Fox was one of those kids who can sit down and play a video game, and a couple hours later have beaten the game.  As a matter of fact, Fox with the help of his colleague David Patterson were the leaders of the research going on in California revolving around the new ROC breakthrough technology.  Patterson could be described as a twin of Fox, it was as though they were separated at birth.  With the events that were taking place in Japan, and the Honey Twist virus copying itself and spreading in millions of computers in Europe and Asia, Fox and Patterson decided to take a trip across the Atlantic and see if they could produce some kind of system similar to what they had just done so successfully in America with slight modifications.  They wanted to see and work on the virus firsthand.  Their system was good for preventing the virus from spreading, but finding and destroying it was a completely different matter.

 

These computer geniuses spent almost a week averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night, and finally produced a program similar to an anti-virus program.  This program would find the virus only when it copied itself.  Over the next couple days, the virus was cut down and almost completely terminated throughout all systems.  The one flaw of Fox’s and Patterson’s creation was its inability to detect a virus that was just hibernating.  If the virus was inactive, it was still undetectable.  Three days after the mission to destroy the virus began, Fox and Patterson were satisfied with the job they had done and headed back to California.  Little did they know, the virus had stopped copying, and was lying dormant in several computers, and in this day in age, viruses have evolved to the point where they can change over time to slip by anti-viruses.

 

            The virus was forgotten, and Fox and Patterson were rewarded for there work.  Years passed when suddenly an outburst of the Honey Twist virus was reported in Germany.  The headlines read, “AUSTRIA ACCUSES AMERICAN SCIENTISTS OF HOAX!”  Two years after the Honey Twist virus was supposedly deleted, apparently it was not completely wiped out and had begun copying itself, and managed to sneak by the current firewalls and anti-virus protection.  The middle European countries, which were hit the hardest by the virus were accusing the USA of intentionally hiding the Honey Twist virus and fully blamed the Californian scientists for the return of this virus.  So after everything that has happened, the Al Qaeda terrorists were forgotten, and of course the Americans were now the bad guys.  This was becoming a global issue, and many countries were willing to jump to conclusions and follow the lead of some of the bigger countries such as Germany and China.  People began talking, and were worried about what might happen if this situation is blown out of proportion.  At this point some countries were suggesting war as a possibility, or rather a threat.  Nobody wanted another WWIII.  Something had to be done.

 

            By this point, the situation was out of Armando and David’s control.  They were no longer involved besides the statements they made of what really happened, but many people chose only to believe what they wanted rather than the truth.  Riots were occurring throughout Europe, even small areas in New York and Miami were rioting.

 

            A few months later war seemed inevitable.  A computer virus leading to war, seems absurd but it happened.  An alliance between some small countries bordering along Russia such as Lithuania and Belarus, and the front-runners such as Germany, Afghanistan, Serbia, China, and Austria had been formed.  They made the first move, and what a mistake that was.  Obviously they didn’t stand a chance against the US Army, and after their second demoralizing defeat, they suddenly stopped all attacks and cancelled all organized plans.  This is when the European rebels made their second mistake, which was costly to all living creatures.  They decided it would be smartest for them if they dropped a nuclear warhead on us.  The problem is with the number of nuclear weapons floating around today, when some land mass is attacked by one, a lot more than one are going to be somewhat affected and retaliate.  Within about five hours of the first nuclear warhead being launched, all civilizations were destroyed, and life as we knew it no longer exists. 

 

You’re wondering how I am writing this story, and the answer is simple.  I am not human or a mammal at all.  I am a machine, actually artificial intelligence, created by man to help man.

 

© 2003 by the author

All rights reserved