The Voice

by Michael Mangine

My name is Michael Mangine and I am a new short story writer.  I always wanted to be a writer and am submitting a short story for the first time on this site.  I am from New Jersey and am doing this for fun.  I hope to write more stories in the future. Find me on Facebook.

John Jacobs was a computer hacker.  Make that an ex computer hacker.  He spent sometime in prison for hacking into the Wells Fargo main computer system and stealing people’s account information.  Made off with close to $100,000 before he was arrested.  The only thing that saved him was his incredible hacking skills.  They reduced his sentence and when he got out, was given a position for the federal government trying to catch people like him.

Pretty sweet deal considering most ex convicts can’t get a job scrubbing toilets with a record.  There was even a movie made about him that came out in the nineties.  His motto was, “Human error doesn’t apply to John Jacobs.”  Most people have a motto you can understand but, this one is only understood by him.

It was a monday morning and since John worked at home, he didn’t even get out of his bathrobe.  After he poured his morning coffee he logged onto his computer to accept his daily assignment.  Which was hack into the uncrackable security systems around the world and point out the faults in a daily log.

He went to the top secret federal database and put in about fifteen different passwords and even had to scan his index finger.  He looked quickly at the time which was 9:00 am and thought, “This job is just that a job.  Without the fear of getting caught it loses all its luster.  It was never about the money really, just the thrill.”

However this time it was going to be different.  Much, much different.  John gets up and pours his coffee at the counter.  Something is wrong because he doesn’t feel right.  “What the hell?  My stomach hurts!”  He drops his coffee cup as it shatters to the floor.  All of a sudden he turns around and happens to look at his computer screen.  Instead of his assignment it displays strange symbols.

“What on earth?” he thinks.  He sees the time on the screen says 6:00 pm.  He suddenly wonders how he lost 9 hours?  His first thought is that “Work is going to want to know why I haven’t logged in today!”  He looks at his cell phone and sees about fifty missed calls from various superior officers.  He wants to call them back but is drawn back to his computer screen.

That is when he hears the voice.  “Human you are selected.”  Did he just hear that?  “Enter the code.”  There it was again!  Who or what is telling him to enter a code?  Selected for what?  He feels nauseous again.  “We are in control, do not resist.  Enter as834jfg.”  He looks at the screen and sees a flashing yellow square.

He reaches for the cell phone again.  “I think I need to call an ambulance or something.” is his immediate thought as he feels he wants to vomit.  As he picks up his cell phone it starts to electrify and feels a super intense heat as the cell phone bursts into a flame!  “Ahh Jesus!  My hand!  What the hell is going on?”

“Human must enter the code as834jfg.”  He suddenly shouts, “Who are you!”  John is feeling worse as his body temperature rises and starts sweating like crazy.  The voice is relentless, “The code, you must enter it.”

John gets angrier and shouts once more, “Ok I’ll enter your god damn code!”  Hopefully he thinks that will be the end of this.  He turns back to the computer screen and enters the code on the screen and figures he must press enter.  “There you happy now?”  He says to no one.

He is starting to feel better again as a mysterious file appears on the screen with a file extension he’s never seen before.  The file is called Dstrct.lkdfg .  He begins to hear the voice again.  “Download the file.”  He begins to think, “I am not downloading any file with a name that resembles destruction.”

The voice says, “Human must download the file.  We are in control.”  He shouts once more, “Ok you think your in control?  I am not downloading a god damn thing till I get some information!  I don’t care if you kill me I want some information at least!”  The voice replies, “We are the rebel force against the Crom empire.”

John is puzzled and replies, “The what the Crom?  Is this a joke?”  He starts to laugh and thinks he is part of a practical joke.  He says to himself, “Holy shit!  I must be on camera!  Somebody drugged me.  Didn’t they?”  He shouts, “Ok you can come out now I get it.  Very funny!”  After a couple of minutes of silence he hears a knock.

He gets up and says, “Ok I’m coming must be the camera crew.”  As he opens his front door he is startled at what he sees.  It’s a 7 foot tall man in a spacesuit with an odd blank stare in his eyes.  John starts to get a little mad and tries to talk to this man.  “Ok I don’t care how tall you are, I want some answers now!”  The man doesn’t talk but begins to telepathically communicate with John.

“Crom has chosen Earth for enslavement.  Starships en route.  No time to waste.  Must download file with coordinates of enemy ships.  Must upload file to empire’s database.  Render Crom’s systems inoperable.”  After hearing all of this John is dumbfounded.  He utters but one phrase,  “Why me?”

The man replies again, “Select humans to join rebel force.  Will share technology.  You are superior hacker from Earth.”  The man then hands John a small crystal with a regular ol usb port sticking out of it.  The man says, “Take crystal.  Download file onto crystal.”

John decides well if this is going to save my home planet then so be it.  John takes the crystal from the man’s hand.  The man has vanished before his very eyes.  John laughs, “They must’ve beamed him up!”  He walks over to the computer feeling a lot better then he did before.  He inserts the crystal into the usb port and clicks the file to download it.  John loses control of his computer and it starts logging into the secret federal website he works with.  John then passes out and awakens the next day.

John wakes up and looks at the time its 9:00 am.  He decides to turn on the televison next to his computer to watch the news.  The president is about to speak.  “Ladies and gentlemen, Americans and citizens of Earth.  Last night a major security breach affected our national weapons systems.  As you all know nuclear weapons were launched on major cities around the world.  Although Washington DC was spared, the damage and death toll is close to one billion lives lost.  If that wasn’t enough, we have just been informed from NASA that a fleet of unidentified flying objects are en route to Earth.  These ships should arrive within the hour.

John then turns of the television and asks himself, “Oh God I just did the ultimate hack and I don’t like it!”

The End

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This is the home of the Foil & Phaser writers workshop, a spin-off community website for fans of the Sword & Laser book club and podcast who want to develop their writing skills.

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