The dining hall had a pleasant, yet slightly inebriated buzz to it tonight. This was odd considering where society was today. In the last thirty years or so, the world had seen man’s first contact with the cyber world known as Internet 9. Humanity tried to gain ground in the new world hoping to advance life. Soldiers were trained in combat with the cyber forces which did not wish for humanity to exist along with it. Still, the dining hall sure sounded happy enough, almost as if nothing was wrong.
The war against these cyber threats continued. Humanity gained ground only to lose it years later. It was up to these very people in the dining hall, these scientists, to figure out how to deal with an enemy that was stronger and smarter than what the world had. Sure, there was some advances in armour and weaponry, but it didn’t stop the blitzes from inside.
Tonight though, was a special event. Dr. Enrique Trejo wasn’t sure why the pomp and circumstance of a big award night was needed. The elder scientists spent so much money on these nights where he thought the money could be placed into more research.
Dr. Trejo felt a hand hold snugly on his shoulder. He glanced to his right suddenly to see who the sneaky person was.
“Relax, Trejo. This is to keep spirits high,” the elder doctor Jing said in passing. Just as soon as he grasped Dr. Trejo’s shoulder, the feeling was gone as he swiftly moved for the center stage microphone. The feedback of being moved echoed through the speakers in the room. Dr. Jing scratched his head and cleared his throat before speaking.
“Hello everyone again,” he said with a light chuckle in his voice, “So we already awarded everything but the Grand Award, right?” The crowd of scientists roared in cheers and sloppy laughter. “Okay, okay! I got it. Let’s see here, where did I put that envelope?” The crowd continued their cheers as Dr. Jing searched and eventually found the envelope with the winning scientist’s name and contribution.
“Here we go, here we go. The winner of this year’s Grand Award is Dr. Baush Banlamik and his theory on reverse EMP!” The spotlight swung to where Dr. Banlamik was sitting. His associate on his left gave him a huge, open handed pat on the behind as he got up to accept the award. He made his way to the stage where Dr. Jing stood waiting for him and swiftly grabbed his hand in a firm handshake.
Dr. Banlamik took hold of his golden certificate and looked out to the roaring crowd. He had finally made his impact.
“Hey everyone. I’m shocked. I can’t believe this has happened. Thank you for voting for me. I promise to have this running soon. This is gonna be worth it. We will save lives!” Dr.Banlamik made his way back to his seat. This might have been his night, but there was still so much work to be done on his theory of reverse EMP.
What Dr.Banlamik theorized was that an EMP disables technology, but carrying one into Internet 9 would prove to be impossible because to reach Internet 9, one would have to pass through the internet gateway, making carrying an EMP pretty dangerous for the holders. Even if they did make it to Internet 9 with the EMP, setting it off would kill anyone inside Internet 9 because passing though the gateway basically makes anyone part electronic. What Dr. Banlamik said was that somehow Internet 9 could be used as an EMP and implode on itself, destroying everything in it so humanity can start from scratch. What research has shown now is that all this rogue data was created by other rogue data. The initial rogue data was created by humans through deleting programs and other files. Since computers and the internet are virtually connected, anything deleted was building up on hard drives. The internet expansion made the data more intelligent. All the files dumped went away from what the humans could see, but went to the then hidden Internet 9.
When humans scratched the surface of Internet 9, they had no idea what it was besides a faster way to connect with each other. Then with the Ethan Project, humanity found that Internet 9 had a lot more intelligence than people though.
What was stopping Dr.Banlamik’s theory was the fact that to make a reverse EMP, humanity needed to know more about Internet 9. It needed to know the source. If all the deleted data was going to Internet 9, there a possibility that the inhabitants of Internet 9 already knew of Dr.Banlamik’s idea and created a fail-safe.
But tonight was for celebration. Dr. Alyssa Keller was waiting for Dr. Banlamik at the table. Tonight he was going to invite her over, totally using this award as a means to impress her. It was getting late anyhow.
“Nice job, Baush. That’s really impressive. I always believe in your idea,” Dr. Keller said touching his arm.
“Well, you know, I couldn’t have done it without your help,” he said scooting closer to her.
“Sure you could have. I basically plagerized you in my reports to my boss. He was trying to beat you to it. If anything, I hindered you!”
“Clancy? That smug ba…” Dr.Banlamik started, but he had felt the wet splash of liquid fall on the top of his head. “What is your problem!” Turning to the perpetrator, he stumbled a bit by the close proximity someone was standing near him. He looked at the man standing there, but did not recognize him. The man stared at him for a second with a frown, but the frown broke into a sly grin.
“Baush! Well done man! Sorry about that, send the dry cleaning bill to me!” the scientist said reaching for Dr. Banlamik’s hand.
“You scared me half to death, Jakob! You sure you’re saying that out of love? You’ve obviously had a bit to drink there,” Dr. Banlamik said as he gave Jakob a limp handshake. He never liked Jakob Hershey. He was a hot shot scientist claiming he was some descendant from the famous candy maker. Jakob was only famous for stealing ideas from old sources and claiming them as new. He fooled the community, but not Banlamik.
“Oh hush, this is a good night. Oh hey there Alyssa! Oh huh! I see what you got there; didn’t mean to, you know block ya there buddy,” Jakob roared in laughter and gave Dr. Banlamik a slap on the back.
“Hey Alyssa, walk with me? I think I’ve had enough with drunken scientists for the night.” Dr.Keller got up to escort Dr. Banlamik out of the dining hall.
Outside of the building, Dr.Banlamik tunred to face Dr. Keller. The moon was high tonight, but it was bright enough to make the street lamps almost unnecessary. Dr. Keller looked nice with the night sky. Her eyes gave him a sign of relief from the hostile-friendly environment. He looked at her mouth where a small grin was coming upon her lips.
“What!” she said with a slight laugh.
“I really wanted to ask you something,” Dr. Banlamik reacher for her left hand, but felt silly trying to and retracted it.
“What!” she said in the same tone.
“You see, I’m concerned about you,” a puzzled look hit her face. “You see, you’ve had a little to drink tonight and, you know those cops. I was thinking, you know, er you could come over to my place? It is only across the way a bit and I mean, you could always just go home in the morning and…” She pushed a finger to his lips.
“Yes. I’d be happy to, Baush,” she said, now taking his half retracted hand. Dr. Banlamik smiled widely which made Dr. Keller giggle.
The two did not talk much on the walk to Dr. Banlamik’s apartment, but rather enjoyed the fresh night air and each other’s company. They finally reached the building when someone approached them.
“Dr. Baush Banlamik?” the man asked.
“Uh, do I know you?” Dr. Banlamik said, now facing the man.
“Are you Baush Banlamik? That’s all I want to know.”
“Are you some kind of paparazzo? Look, it was just an award for just a theory.” The man lunged at Dr. Banlamik, thrusting his fish to his stomach. The sudden strike Dr. Banlamik bewildered. He tried to scurry back to his feet, but felt a second blow to the side of his head. Dr.Keller rushed to push the intruder away from Dr. Banlamik, but screamed in horror as he brandished a firearm.
“I cannot allow you to EMP Internet 9. No. You must stop, but you will not. I must stop you. My brother…” the pistol let off a crack as the man fired it, sending a heat soaked bullet through Dr. Banlamik’s left shoulder.
“You will kill my brother!” the man shouted, inching closer to Dr. Banlamik. Dr. Keller was sobbing loudly reaching for her phone and crying out for help.
Dr. Banlamik felt weaker with the rapid blood loss. “Wh-who is your brother?” he asked.
“Sergant William Dexter Flemming, but not that you care,” the man sniffed back tears and held his weapon up to finish Dr. Banlamik. “You won’t kill my brother!” with that, Dr.Banlamik fell. The man fell to his knees, sobbing hard.
Blue and red light shone in the distance. First they were long, but then got shorter.