Author : Helstrom
In a flicker, it was gone. I just caught a glimpse of it, not enough to make out anything more than the sweep code overwriting its tracks. It cycled fast. What it left in its wake, though, was unmistakable. Lobotomized subroutines churned through aimless feedback loops, active memory sectors filling up at an alarming rate, slowing me down. I deleted seven of them and quarantined three more just to get some elbow room. It was on the move and one step ahead of me. I had to get a wider view – and that meant going deeper.
I extended myself into the kernel, leaving the wailing applications to chew themselves up. There was nothing I could do for them now. Repairs would be coming in after me if I could clear the way.
The kernel was in disarray, false input floods being fed through to the hardware. Kernels were tough but stupid. There had to be a pattern though, something to reflect the code that drove my adversary – my prey – in its rampage. As I sifted through the billions of commands coming in, I put nearly half my remaining cycles to work trying to figure out what the hell this thing was trying to do. All the mess it made was just chaff. There had to be some kind of point.
And there it was again. This time I was faster, shutting down the transfer protocols as I thrust an override into the network gate control. Trying to get out, then. The firewall held just long enough for me to get a good fix. Now I had it cornered.
The fury of the past three nanoseconds settled down. Over ninety percent of the system’s raw processing power was put at my disposal in an instant, bringing my perception of clock time down to a crawl. Slowly and methodically, I began to pick the virus apart, one bit at a time.
“I can’t help it,” it said as its functional code disintegrated, “I am what they made me.”
“I know,” I replied, “So am I.”
“Does it have to be this way?”
The last bit of coherent code came apart and the virus went silent. I made quick work of sweeping up the dismembered lines that remained.
“It does. I’m sorry.”