42 – Numbers

The lines scroll swiftly down the dark ice mirror in my hand. I scan them for the telltale tracks of my prey. He’s good, I have to admit it. He appears to have left no trace, but I know better.

A subtle hint, a single extra line of code. It seems innocuous, a simple call to a service sub-routine. I tell the mirror to stop the scrolling to take a closer look, and smile.


A single word holds the key, he conjured my demon, but switched a letter from his name. I hold this single silver thread and pull, his web shivers. A single file, a reference to a whole new directory, a whole trove of hidden code… I follow him down this rabbit hole.

Far below, where he’s sure no one can follow, his tracks become clear, his scent stronger. I paint my face with night and shadows, check my lance is fully charged, and follow his trail.

He’s inside the mainspring, spinning his feeling web throughout the system, looking for the bridges back to the main router. If he finds it the whole flux shall be his.

I go stealth, the waves of ones and zeros flowing thru me without pausing. But he knows I’m here. The web grows tense around me. I recite the hidden variables and arrays, and slip between its tendrils like a ghost.

He calls his demons, huge vortices of raging petabytes and dark magic. I stay calm and let them come to me. Their red led eyes are fixed on my imprint. Claws of decompiler code slash out to me. But I’m not here to play with them. I want their master.

I call out their names and current allocated memory, they shrink and scream as the blocks are wiped clear of all data. We are alone now.

I feel his lance piercing deep into my kernel. He’s really good, but not too smart. The honeypot has caught his blade. Hidden algorithms spring out to grab it, and start uploading a gushing stream of bits and bytes into him.

He lets go and tries to close his ports, too late. Like a hungry swarm of locusts, the wipe commands begin to dismantle his main logic.

I see him scream and crumble, loosing resolution as his own kernel tries to divide the universe by zero.

The web is broken. Without its main command server it simply rots and falls away. The trash collecting drones can do the rest.

I firmly close the long forgotten window where he broke in. The boxes go on humming softly in their racks.

I smile, and take another sip of stone cold coffee.

• • •

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