The Day the Internet Went Down

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Sometimes even the largest crimes have unexpected reasons, but this one tops them all.

Submitted: May 30, 2018

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Submitted: May 30, 2018

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The Day the Internet Went Down

 

The attack started when the world’s largest search engine went down.  Or at least that’s what we thought.  We later learned that we lived in a world where 17 data centers could be physically obliterated completely unnoticed; at least until the website they served stopped operating.  The absolute panic and the giant mess caused by the physical damage to major infrastructure would have been more than enough torment for one day.  However, what people remember the most about the attack was the data breach that followed.  Usually when bad things happen the people who aren’t directly affected can get away with “offering their thoughts and prayers”.That’s hard to do when your bank tells you that all your money suddenly went missing, and your cell phone company says that someone on your behalf cancelled your account.  Even those luckily enough to somehow gain internet access found nothing but a barren wasteland.  It wasn’t like someone stole your e-mail, the entire network communication fundamentals of the internet were no longer operating.  Like a passenger on the Titanic, we were all fooled into thinking that something so enormous couldn’t possibly fail.  We didn’t even have any life boats this time. 

When something of this magnitude happens you expect that the culprit responsible must be someone who knew they wouldn’t be affected by the aftermath. At least you should hope so.  Otherwise you are dealing with an enemy whose motivation and drive can’t be disabled by offers of a better life.  This kind of an enemy is immune to rational conversations, bargaining strategies, and offers of peace.  In a world filled with criminals who are only seeking to gain something, I suppose an alien like this was bound to emerge.  When dealing with someone like this, trying to figure out their motive is pointless.  The strategy was immediately clear:  locate and destroy the target.  Plans like this one are executed routinely by our government.  However, this time was different.  Without being able to actively track and spy on real-time communications, we quickly realized that everyone’s training regarding this particular part of the investigation was useless. 

It didn’t matter how many new problems existed, the investigation began.  We started with the data center logs.  When the logs led to nothing, we realized this wasn’t going to be solved from the end of a keyboard.  We ending up finding out that the alien was old school, an analog guy.  Someone physically on-site removed hardware responsible for the system’s climate control.  The heat generated from serving millions of customers every second obliterated all of the devices.  While the panel the alien would of had to open to remove the climate control hardware was being dusted for prints, the only thing we were paying attention to was the smiley face that was spray painted on it.  After the fingerprint guys shook their heads and left, we all kicked the shit out of that panel.  I ended up breaking my foot in 3 places.

About a month into the case this old man who was clearly in a state of panic walked in trying to keep his cool.  After two hours of calming him down he finally told us that before the attacks he was at a rather high stakes poker game.  He said these two men who were obviously friends did something weird when one of them ran out of chips but they both wanted to continue playing.  One of the men gave a stack of chips to his defeated friend on the condition that he “would unplug the internet if he didn’t repay what he borrowed within the week.” They were both well dressed and appeared to be rich, thus apparently what most would have considered to be a sarcastic statement was actually a serious one, and it was about his sense of honor.  The casino footage also showed that both the men left in a white van at the end of the night.  We were shocked when the footage was able to capture the van’s license plate.

I knew everyone was angry, but I have never seen officers beat down a door like that.  When the search warrant was served, everyone on the force was hungry for blood.  After all, we were hunting for some rich prick that had everything in world, including a sense of honor that was worth destroying anything he imagined.  No one was home, but a bunch of documents were collected.  While we were cooling down we heard a noise.  The alien was escaping though a self cut passage leading to the apartment next to him.  We immediately existed and entered the neighboring apartment, but we shouldn’t have.  The first thing that ran through your mind was that there couldn’t possibly be this many explosive devices on the planet, let alone in this room.  Then you thought about how the alien didn’t value anything, which meant you.  He began what seemed like a prepared speech.

“I’m glad the driving instructions on the back of your invitation cards weren’t too confusing.  As you have probably already figured out, you are not safe.  In fact, you never were.  As my friend Ryan once said “safety is a story, it’s something we teach our children so they can sleep at night, but we know that it’s not real.” 

The local news later reported an explosion in the area.

 

 

By Ken Wojcicki

 


© Copyright 2018 Ken Wojcicki. All rights reserved.

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