Tell me a Secret
I am Victoria. I work as software engineer for one of the top companies in Vancouver. I have been in the company for almost 20 years.
My life was simple and boring – work and home. My friends described my life as “Treadmill” – moving but never actually moving. During weekdays, I woke up 7 AM in the morning and worked from 8-10 hours a day. I didn’t have a fancy social life when I started working in this company. Well, it was my choice. I guess I was just so timid being in a crowd of people who might think of me as a geek, the fact that I was really a geek. Yet, my colleagues never got tired of inviting me every Friday for a pizza and bowling night.
My daily routine after work was feeding my Persian cat Icee, having dinner after, and relaxing for bit by working on crossword puzzles.
Things were much different on weekends. Every Saturday, I did my laundry or went to the mall to check out electronic gadgets. On Sundays, I went to church. I didn’t mingle with the people from our church. They always invited me to watch movie or have dinner with them a couple of times but I had never tried. One Sunday, maybe they got tired, and they just stopped inviting me.
However, everything changed when something happened at engagement party of my best friend Lily.
Theo Schmidt is approximately six feet tall, with dark brown hair, and athletic type of body.
When he came through the front door, everybody was like Who is this guy? Apparently, nobody knew who he was. I even asked Lily and her fiancé, Ricky, who he was. No clue at all. He literally caught everybody’s attention.
He approached Lily who was standing beside me.
“Do you know where I could find Victoria Fabrez? I really need to talk to her. I’m sorry if I crashed into your party. It is somehow important. I’m Theo by the way. I’m a customer product representative for Sigma Software. She is expecting me, I believe.”
I introduced myself, “I’m Victoria. I can’t remember contacting Sigma Software. Anyway, maybe we can discuss this in private. If you don’t mind how did you know I’m here?”
“I contacted your assistant and gave me your schedule. It won’t take long, I promise. This is very important.”
We went to Ricky’s office which is located on the second floor of his mansion. Before opening the door, he handed me an envelope.
I opened the envelope and skimmed through the documents inside. Most of them were invoices and delivery orders under my name.
“I can’t remember ordering these things especially the ZLOCK software costing almost a million dollars. There must be some kind of mistake; maybe someone used my name and the company. However, it’s very interesting that they were actually delivered to our company and signed by our receptionist. I haven’t heard of RichCore Logistics. Expensive stuff like this could be couriered through FEDEX or UPS. I believe I need to discuss this with my manager.”
“Actually,” Theo interrupts, “Your manager called Sigma Software. Apparently, he wants to return all of these. However, our return policy is only applicable to corrupted software. They asked us to contact the person who ordered them which was obviously based on our records, it was you. Surprisingly, there were no references to your company’s purchase order which we normally require before processing the order. Anyway, I’ll leave them to you. We have photocopies of the original.”
“Sorry, but what should I do with these?” I wiped my forehead, trying to think of the right words to say. “I didn’t order these things. They are not even related to the program I’m developing right now or not even close to what I really need to make it work. Maybe it’s best if you drop by the office on Monday and let’s discuss this with your marketing department head and my manager. We are talking millions of dollars worth here.”
“I understand. Here’s my business card. Let me know when is the best available time you and you’re manager are available. Thank you for your time. Enjoy the party.”
We went back to the party. I escorted him to the door. Everyone was furious about what happened to us. Lily was upset that I missed her speech. She asked me what happened, but I decided not to tell her anything. I didn’t want to ruin her party with a work related mixed up.
I went to the corner to sit for a moment. As much I didn’t want to think about work, I couldn’t help but bother myself about it.
It was almost 3AM when the party was over.
When I got home, I checked the invoices again. I scanned through the items that were ordered and delivered. There was one interesting item that caught my eye with code #0272011 with description “Already encrypted”. I wanted to call Theo but it was almost 5 AM in the morning. I went to SigmaSofware.com and checked the products. There was no item with that code. As much as I wanted to search further, I realized it was already 6 in the morning. It was Sunday though, my day off.
That afternoon, Theo called.
“Good afternoon Theo. I’m sorry I missed your call. I slept late and lost track of time. Is there anything you need from me?”
“I’m sorry if I woke you up. I just want to confirm if you have invoice #221? That wasn’t for you. Though, it was under your name, technically, it was not actually delivered. Please disregard. If possible, shred it.”
“Okay. Thanks for informing me. I was actually wondering about that. I tried checking the products on your website and I couldn’t find it, would you know what it is, if you don’t’ mind?”
I could feel the hesitation to answer my question.
“I’m not really sure about that item. I was not the one who actually processed the order. I believe, he was fired by the company few months ago for invoicing your company for that item. I cannot disclose any further information. Do you have any questions? If none, have a nice Sunday and see you for the discussion tomorrow. I’ll call you. Bye”
I wasn’t able to say “Bye” at all. He hanged up.
I fixed myself to attend the church when I immediately remembered the note in the invoice. Already encrypted, what does it mean? I asked myself. I couldn’t stop thinking. I went to my office and searched for software encryptions related to Sigma Software. I even took the risk of logging in to our network to check our purchasing records, I found none.
I had one last option, to talk to my project partner, Philip Stansy. I can wait for tomorrow. I told myself.
I went early to work for our meeting with Theo and his marketing manager. On my way to my desk, Erik Eilers, my best office friend walked with me.
“My friend, you are in big trouble!” He told me.
“If this is about Tracy again, I can’t help you. She doesn’t like you so I can’t set you up.” I told Erik bluntly.
“Oh, it’s not about that. Should I be the one who should be quite grumpy? When did you stop telling me things, eh?”
“Erik, I’m in a rush right now. I don’t have time for this. Maybe we can talk later. I have a meeting in two minutes. Have you seen Philip?” I asked Erik, while pulling out the documents out of envelope. I saw Erik’s eyes lingered over the documents.
“I think he’s not here yet. Okay, okay. Just to let you know I deleted the logs. Good thing I got here first before my other colleagues, or else you are in trouble”. Erik whispered to me.
Shoot! I totally forgot about the logs. Whenever somebody accessed the network and looked into records, logs were recorded. I closed my eyes and turned to Erik with a child look.
“Okay. I owe you lunch. Thank you so much. I’ll tell you what I’m up to. For now, I’m heading to Room 301 for our meeting. See you later.”
Our office was like a maze. You needed to ask someone for directions if you were new. Well, I guessed it was my lucky day, the elevator was broken. I used the stairs up and to my surprise, I ran to Theo and his marketing manager.
Inside the meeting room, the Information System manager, Mr. Frederick Cleveland, was already there.
I introduced him to Theo and his boss, Rechin.
There was a brief introduction about the agenda of the meeting which was led by Theo. I arranged the invoices according to date ordered and purchased and put them on the table.
Rechin opened Sigma documentations on return policy and explained the rationale behind the policy. According to Rechin, it usually takes months and efforts for Technology experts to build software like ZLOCK which took more than 6 months to build excluding bug fixes and compatibility testing.
“I understand your policy Mr. Rechin, but as you noticed, most of these invoices do not have Purchase Order references. I do not remember requesting for these items too. I have copies of all Purchase requests I did in the past and these items were not there. I am very sure of that” I said.
“That would be your internal issues Ms….” Rechin paused.
“Victoria” I interrupted.
“Ms. Victoria” He continued. “We have exceptions to the purchase orders, especially that your company has been a long term customer of Sigma. The software is already contaminated and those items were specifically built for your project. Perhaps, with a loop hole in our process, we could settle into an agreement. Since, your company paid in full, we will refund you up to 30% but you won’t be able to return the items. As I said, they are already contaminated.”
How in the world? Who told him about our project? It is supposed to be a very confidential one. Is there something I don’t know? Contaminated? How can software be contaminated, the software is not installed yet? I thought.
“Anyway, Mr. Rechin, we will have the Finance department handle the refund documentations. We will keep the software. I have another meeting after this. Victoria can escort you.” Frederick said.
Frederick was almost near the door when he turned and said “Victoria, be in my office later at 2PM.”
That didn’t sound good. Yes, they would give us a refund but I had a hunch that the other 70% would be deducted to my salary which obviously was not enough. I almost fainted thinking about the cost.
I told Erik what happened. He advised me to hire a lawyer to defend myself at least. Carefully I analyzed the situation. There were no evidence and records in the system that I requested those items. Crap, if I tell them I accessed the system, then I have privacy violation, I thought.
It was already 2:05 PM when I went in Frederick’s office. Philip Stansy was there, sweating and really looked horrible. Philip was my partner. We have a project called Electronic Banking Application or EBA. He was one of the best software engineers I had ever met.
“This won’t take long. Your project will be put on hold. The project sponsors are still figuring out how to cope up with the investment loss and they are in the midst of studying whether this project would still be feasible and profitable. I won’t go into too many details.
Victoria, I also want to inform you that Philip filed his resignation effective today. He doesn’t have any pending contract with us so he can leave immediately. I already reported this to the Project Committee.“
“Philip, it is my regret to let you go but I’m glad with your decision to pursue your dreams. Please close the door as you leave. Victoria, please stay”. Frederick ordered.
Philip looked at me with fear in his eyes. I didn’t know what to do with him leaving me facing all this falsified orders.
Mr. Frederick explained the situation and to my surprise, the company will not deduct the losses we incurred with the ordered software. He asked me to leave but gave me a warning.
“Victoria, with Philip gone, you will be working double time.”
I couldn’t concentrate. I looked at Philip’s desk. The only thing left was the desktop computer and a piece of note with my name on it.
I read the note – “Victoria, quit as early as now! Password 221. Do not trust THEM.”
I dialed his phone but he cannot be reached anymore. I wanted to leave and look for him but I had a deadline to meet.
The next day, everybody looked so upset. Erik approached me and told me the news that Philip was found dead. He was murdered in his apartment. According to the news, the motive was probably robbery.
I went to Frederick’s office. Before I knocked on the door, I heard him talking to someone over the phone. His voice was somehow trembling. He asked me to come in. I sat down and saw the dismay in his eyes.
“There’s something I need to tell you. It was Philip who ordered that software. The investigators found a company folder with all the fake purchase orders. His girlfriend said his laptop was missing. Apparently, it was stolen. Did you know that he backed up all his work files? Erik gave me the report for the folders accessed for the last two weeks. He copied and deleted all the files a week ago. We are facing a big problem. I do not know where he saved them. I cannot ask the investigators to look for any drivers as this is a different case. This is high risk. The information on those files, if it falls to evil hands, we will all be in big trouble. I couldn’t explain to you but I hope I can trust you on this. Can you access his computer? The IT security hasn’t reformatted his computer. It is best if you check the files. I already asked them to reset the password. It’s AVA123.” Frederick said.
I just nodded. With all these events – murder, stolen files, and stolen laptop – I just felt overwhelmed.
I went to Philip’s desk and logged in. I checked on the folders and found EBA Project. There were no files.
Dang Philip! What have you done? I just murmured.
I tried to dig in to every single folder in his computer until I found a sub-folder named “DAYR”. DAYR is an acronym only Philip and I know. It meant Delete After You Read. We name our files with DAYR when we send through email.
I opened the folder and saw the program we were working on. I tried to open it but it was password protected. I tried all the passwords I could think of, until I remembered what was on the note. I typed 221. The program was the total opposite of what we were developing. Our program was supposed to be able to transact confidential banking transactions using a chip that will be attached to the parietal lobe of the brain. We didn’t know if this will work but according to a crazy neurologist, who invested so much money in this project, said it is possible that the information can be passed on to the chip.
Philip totally developed a completely different one. I wondered why. I copied and program and deleted. Even though he had done a lot of strange things lately, there was something inside that was telling me to check the program.
I told Frederick that all the files from Philip’s computer were deleted. He got frustrated and began to call people from the IT Security department.
At home, I tried to open the program Philip developed. I was right, it was totally different. There were comments in the program with my name, as if it was a note for me. I was confused on what he wanted to tell me. The first note he wrote was:
* Victoria: December 21, 2011 is your Day 1. I couldn’t explain. I was part of this. I deleted the conditions in this program. I want to save your life. EBA program is a hoax. Do not be deceived.
A hoax? A multi-million project is a fraud? I didn’t’ know what went in Philip’s mind. Philip had an emotional breakdown about more than month ago. His girlfriend said “No” to a wedding proposal that he couldn’t accept. He went for a psychiatric treatment. It was December 2011, the month he started coding his program. I decided not to think about it anymore. He might have been so emotionally crazy that he poured out all his stress in this program. Why? I asked myself.
It has been a week since the incident. The company hired a private investigator to check on the stolen files from our company. I was assigned to a different project since EBA was put on hold.
At lunch time, I was having a conversation with Erik when an unknown number called. I answered but all I heard was a two long beeping sound. It gave me a headache. It was a long streaming headache that I had to take 2 dosages of Tylenol.
With the project put hold, I only worked 8 hours or less. My officemates were so surprised that I was able to join their after work escapade.
One rainy night, I went with them to a Karaoke bar. I had fun. I didn’t know how to sing so I just stayed and had beer.
It was almost 12 midnight when we left the bar.
My house was about an hour drive from downtown. When I was about to turn right from King Edward St, there at the corner I saw Theo. I had a second look, it was really him.
I pulled over and asked him to get in. He did and stared at me then looked away.
He’s really weird. I told myself.
“What happened to you? Are you lost? Are you going somewhere?” I broke the silence.
“I’m actually on my way to your place. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to call you first. I was a bit distracted with things going on at work. There’s…”
“It’s okay. I was out anyway. Sorry, you were saying?” I interrupted.
“Ah, let’s talk when we get to your place. We are almost there right?”
I just nodded and asked myself how he knew my place? I had only invited people close to me.
My house wasn’t a luxurious one but above average. It had three bedrooms, an office, two living rooms, and a big island kitchen. The living room had a 57” inch flat wall screen TV, home theatre, expensive couch and some decorations. From the way Theo looked at the place, I could simply see he was fascinated by the interior.
“I’ll just get some towels so you can dry yourself up” I asked.
“Thank you. Actually, I’m good, I won’t be long. I just want to see you and say. Dang! I’m not good at this. ”
It was a silent two minutes then he finally talked again.
“I just want to say that I’m very meaning to ask you out. Don’t get me wrong but when I first saw you at that engagement party I felt the attraction between us. I hope I’m not making you uncomfortable.” Theo said.
Actually, I was. I never had a conversation like this in five years.
“Oh, not at all. Let me think about it and let you know if I want to go out or not. I’m not good at this kind of conversation either.” I told Theo and laughed.
He told me that he wanted to ask me out after the meeting but he hesitated knowing that I was worried about the invoices. I asked him why it took so long before he tried. Then He told me about his trip to Paris for four days. He was sent by Sigma for a conference. He said he didn’t expect that the company would send him considering he was just a part-time. He was notified the next day we met. He got into details about the conference, which bored me. I interrupted him with a question.
“What does “Already Encrypted” mean?”
He was silent for about 30 seconds. He was caught off-guard that I would ask something about the invoices.
He explained to me how they set status on the software they develop and sell. Already Encrypted means installed or decommissioned. He said that the invoice was mistakenly billed.
I know he was lying. When he was explaining things, he couldn’t look into my eyes. Aside from that, maybe he had forgotten that he was talking to a programmer. I always try to see the loopholes in a given statement and always find logic. I found none. He kept going and going when something came into my mind - I have to find out and there’s only one way to get details. I stopped him with a kiss. There were no repressions. I knew it was a bad idea but I had to. I needed information.
He went home in the morning. I let him sleep on my couch.
It was Saturday. I felt lazy to do my laundry or even go out. I stayed home and when I was about to throw the newspaper from last week, I remembered Philip’s program. I didn’t want to check but when I recalled the unacceptable explanations of Theo about the “Already Encrypted” status, I went to my workstation.
I opened the folder and while entering the password 221, I suddenly realized something.
What the heck?! Invoice 221, password 221. What’s the connection? I asked myself.
I ran through the codes in the program and copied the comments without reading the conditions inside the program. I pasted them on my notepad. Philip and I shared moments before he met his girlfriend. As geeky as it might sound, we wrote each other letters inside the program itself. Sometimes with syntax and codes that only the two of us knew. I decoded the comments.
When I was done, I had goose bumps. His notes for me revealed something. I was in a state of disbelief. I printed the letter and highlighted all the important information.
* Victoria: December 21, 2011 is your Day 1. I couldn’t explain. I was part of this. I deleted the conditions in this program. I want to save your life. EBA program is a hoax. Do not be deceived.
* Victoria: Sigma Software is the one actually working on the EBA program. We are just a front. On your Day 60, do not answer a call. It is the encryption. If you did answer, you are contaminated.
* Victoria: You have to finish this program and combine it with ZLOCK. I ordered that software to stop the infection. Day 90 will be the worst. You have 120 days.
* Victoria: They have found out. Be prepared. I may be dead before you knew about this program. I installed the copy of ZLOCK on my laptop. By this time, your countdown already began.
* Victoria: I am sorry. I didn’t betray you. I was contaminated to do it. I always loved you <end>
I remembered the call I received. I checked the call register on my phone. I received the call dated February 18. My brain counted the days faster than I ever thought, that was day 60. I received a call from an unknown caller, a call that gave me brutal headache. It registered to me. I got contaminated. Contaminated with what? Encrypted? I needed help. Philip was dead. The only person I could ask about all these things was Theo. I needed him to trust me to gather more information. Was this program an antidote for something even Philip didn’t explain?
I suddenly thought of the ZLOCK program copied on his laptop. The laptop was missing. It was stolen the night Philip was murdered. There was nothing left for me to do. I felt terrible thinking of the unsure, thinking I might end up like Philip – dead but not murdered – dead for unknown cause.
I phoned Theo. He didn’t answer.
I started calculating the days based on Philip’s notes. Day 90 will be the worst. Today was March 1. I still had 18 days to process all these things.
I phone Theo for the fourth time. He answered the phone this time.
I was trembling. I asked him to meet me at dinner at Bistro de la Carmen.
Tic-tac. The sound of the clock annoyed me. It gave me a panic thinking about what might happen to me 18 days from now.
I left the house at 7:45PM. I noticed there were two cars outside my house. I pretended I didn’t see. I started my engine but I didn’t drive right away. I wrote down the plate numbers. They were suspicious. There was a part of me wanting to report them to a police but I knew I had to be sure that I wasn’t just having panic attack.
I drove all the way to downtown. I was very cautious checking if they followed me. They didn’t.
I met Theo at the restaurant. He gave me flowers. I almost forgot. We were not officially together, but the kiss we had really meant something for him.
I didn’t know how to start to get him into telling me more information about the software. I knew Sigma Software had something to do with Philip, with me contaminated with something I still didn’t know.
“I am contaminated.” I interrupted the silence.
“You’re sick? I can get you home after dinner.”
“You know exactly what I am talking about. I have 18 days to prepare myself for the worst. I need you to help me.”
“How did you…..”
He wasn’t able to finish his question when suddenly two men started firing gun at us. I didn’t have a fast reflex but Theo was able to pull me under the table. They just left after firing all the bullets they must have.
Police responded to the attack. Nobody was hurt. They were not able to catch the gunmen.
Who were they? I was still in shock of what happened. Theo drove my car. I asked him to stay for the night.
The next day I went to work. Erik told me he heard the news about the shooting and told me he was glad I was OKAY. According to Erik, the police caught the two gunmen. They were hijackers from Seattle who wanted to terrorize people in Vancouver.
I saw two men were inside Frederick’s office. I was really curious about what they were talking about. I sneaked in to another room just beside his office. I locked the door and tried to lean my ear against the wall, tried to hear what they were talking about. It was not loud but I could hear clearly.
“EBA has to stop” The man said.
“I agree with you. What about the prototype? Should we destroy it?” The other man said.
“No, not until we figure out how to dispose it properly.”
“Victoria doesn’t know about the prototype. The project on our side is completely on hold” It was Frederick.
“Better control your people Rick. Things are getting out of our hands. Philip stole the files and we don’t even know where he saved those freaking files. I can take care of Theo. You take care of Victoria. Make sure she won’t continue working on the EBA program.”
I heard the door shut. I waited for five minutes before I went to Philip’s desk.
What am I looking for? I asked myself. I checked on every folder on his drawer and found a folder with a note “GIVE THIS TO THEO. HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO”. I looked around to make sure that no one was looking. I put the folder inside another folder. I put in my bag when Frederick appeared behind.
“Working from home, eh?”
“No Rick. I’m just trying to clean up my desk.”
“I heard that you and Theo are dating. Not that I mind your business, but you are aware that Sigma Software is our partner and you are part of a very confidential project. Please be careful with what you discuss with him. I trust that you know confidentiality and ethics. I’m just reminding you”
“I am very aware of that.”
I was relieved for a moment. I wasn’t sure if he noticed me checking on Philip’s desk.
Before I packed my stuff, I phoned Theo to meet me at my house. What I recently discovered should be discussed immediately. I still had 17 days left before the worst, at least I might be able to do something to prolong or stop whatever was going to happen.
There were two men at the park. The taller guy had a gun and told the other guy that he would kill the Prototype. He approached a man with three holes in his right arm, aimed the gun into his heart, and killed him. He inserted three pins into the man’s arm and pressed a button from his Palm touchpad. The man’s body liquefied.
“You’re having a bad dream”. Theo woke me up.
I told Theo about the dream. He was shaking his head.
“I am part of the project.” He started. “My only task is to make sure that all the software are installed properly or encrypted. I have no choice; otherwise they will deactivate my chip. And if they do, I will die. I went to your friend’s party to make sure that it was installed properly on you and that you are not yet contaminated. I purposely included invoice 221 as a warning that you might be able to ask Philip but it was too late. That encryption was for the first prototype, a poor 15 years old boy with IQ between 250 and 300. He died a month ago. Sigma used his intelligence to build powerful software for the government. ”
“What do you mean installed and how they install it? Are there any other prototypes? Is Rick part of this?”
“You’re the only activated one. Rick doesn’t know about that the prototypes are intelligent humans. He thinks they are super-computers like servers.”
“Installed? Philip and I were partners.” He continued. “About two years ago, just before the project was actually assigned to you, we,” he stopped for a moment and was very hesitant to tell me more information.
Theo told me that I underwent brain surgery. The specialists deleted that part of memory from my brain so I won’t remember. The chip was installed to my parietal lobe. My knowledge, my intelligence, and even my memories were being used in developing a program for Sigma. There are side effects which Philip and Theo discovered two months ago. Philip insisted for Sigma to stop the project but they didn’t want to that was the reason Philip started creating a program to stop or block. Philip forged my signature and teamed up with Theo to get the ZLOCK. Sigma figured out that Philip was developing this program. They killed Philip.
“Then the laptop is with Sigma?” I asked Theo.
“No. It is with me. The company didn’t know that I was working with Philip. Before he went home, he gave me the laptop where he installed ZLOCK. They know we see each other. As I said, one of my tasks is to take care of the installed software and you are owned by Sigma in a sense.”
“So what do we do now?”
“We actually do not know what you will experience on Day 90. Part of the program is to deactivate the chip after certain duration after they have extracted or accessed all the necessary information. Your chip is infected with the virus that will contaminate the whole chip within 120 days. If the chip is infected, your brain is infected, the effects are not known. We have to work double time on the program Philip was working on. I will bring the laptop tomorrow. You have to rest. You look exhausted.”
Beep. Recording: One day before Day 90:
We haven’t finished the program. We tried to combine the software with ZLOCK with Philip’s program. What I am experiencing might not have a solution at all. For the last five days, I am vomiting every night. My headache is becoming more severe as Day 90 approaches. I am on sick leave for 5 days now. Tomorrow is my Day 90. I am scared. Theo plugged a wire into my brain. Yes, I have a hole in my head that I am not aware of. He tried to run the antidote software even though it wasn’t finished at all. I am really scared if I will still be able to see the morning.
Day 90 approached. When I woke up that morning, I felt well as if nothing happened for the last few days. I embraced my pillow and cried – tears of joy that I was still alive.
Theo practically lived in my place. I approached him and embraced him. I told him that Sigma might have failed to encrypt the virus properly on my chip. But he was very sure that I was contaminated based on the symptoms he knew happened to the first prototype. I sighed but what else could I do. I had 30 days left before the final wave.
I went to work that day. Everyone was glad I was back. Rick was not at work. Apparently, he took 2 months vacation and went to Brazil.
Theo called before I even reached my workstation.
“You have to act like you don’t know anything. I heard that they are suspecting that you already know. They will dispose you anytime. By the way, Rick is dead. Pretend you don’t know”
I was shocked. Philip and Rick were dead. Who would be next? This had to stop!
I booted my computer and logged in to our network. I rested my eyes for the moment but there was a sudden flash of event. I was in a cube with a computer in front of me. I wasn’t typing at all but I could see the letters, numbers and symbols being typed on the monitor. I opened my eyes; I was still on my workstation. I called Theo.
“It was not hallucination. Philip was smart. His program allows you to see what you’re brain is working on with Sigma. That cube is your workstation. You’re chip is connected to the main server of Sigma. How you can access it anytime, I do not know. You have to try and work on how you can control. If you will be able to control it, you will be able to stop or destroy the program or disconnect your chip.” Theo explained.
“I will try to figure out”
I closed and opened my eyes from time to time, taking the chance that I might be able to connect to my Sigma workstation. I failed.
I left work early that day. When I got home, Theo and I worked on how to access the Cube. We hooked the wire into my chip. It was so uncomfortable seeing a wire connecting my brain and the laptop. He tried to run the program over and over until I felt exhausted.
I felt hopeless. Only 15 days left before 120th and still we haven’t figured out how to connect to the Cube. I tried to remember what I did the time I was able to access.
It was almost 3AM. I insisted Theo to drive me to work. I booted my computer and logged in to the network then closed my eyes.
That was the trigger. My computer was connected to my chip. When I boot, it connected me to the Cube.
I didn’t open my eyes until I was able to check what Sigma was working on. That was the longest time I ever closed my eyes except when sleeping. Within two hours, I was able to figure out what they were working on.
I explained to Theo what the program they were working on. It was highly classified virus that would infect all the banking applications worldwide. The virus would be launched on July 1 when people are busy celebrating Canada day. If this won’t be stopped, it would be worldwide catastrophe. The virus would automatically transfer government money from selected countries to countries belonging third world. The program was sponsored by an underground organization which was not classified.
“We have to stop this. I just need more time to figure out how to control the program”. I told Theo.
“I will try to install this to you. This is from Philip’s folder. We have to go home now.”
When we went home, he immediately followed the instructions from Philip. I totally forgot about the folder I found from his desk. I tried to remotely access my computer and worked from home.
I only had 3 days left before the 120th.
….Connecting….Connected….In Control: REMOTE…. This flashed on the monitor of the computer.
At last, I was able to connect remotely to the Cube workstation. I completely deleted the program and changed it. On my 120th day, my video would play on all monitors of Sigma. The people would know what they were working on. The copy of the software would be automatically sent to government authorities. The people from Sigma were brilliant. They were using my brain to develop this virus without me knowing it.
I had severe nosebleed after five hours of working. When I got home, Theo was just sitting on the couch looking so pale.
“What’s wrong? I have good news for you.” I said.
“I knew you will be able to access it. I don’t know how to stop the virus on your chip. You cannot disconnect yourself from the Sigma server. I don’t want to see you die. Victoria, for the past 4 months, I fell in love with you. I won’t give up on you. I will still try to fix things. I’m a mess. I am part of this.”
I saw the tears in his eyes.
“I don’t want to see you cry, please don’t love me. The most painful experience is to see the one you cared about leave you. I do not want to die too. I still want to get married, have kids, and travel the world. It is not your fault. You are somehow a part of a game you didn’t choose, a game you were forced to play.”
He just hugged me tight.
I sat in front of the video camera. The red light was flashing. I began my speech
I am Victoria. I am a prototype. A chip was installed into my brain. Sigma is developing a virus using my intelligence. This virus will create a worldwide disaster. I disabled the program. The evidence will be sent out to the government authorities. This won’t be a secret anymore. You will be exposed. Nothing can be kept a secret.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Dianne Obviar.
Published on e-Stories.org on 05/24/2012.