Up until two months ago, Tom Wolf was just another mediocre programmer working for a company that he couldn’t give two shits about. The thirty-three-year-old was just a number to the company, that was always looking for ways to replace him with cheap alternatives from overseas or bots. He thought about quitting for a while, but this bullshit job was all he knew. It allowed him to pay the rent in the neighbourhood that he was embarrassed to call home. As usual, Wolf struggled to finish his portion of the project that was due in two days. With his less than desirable skill set as a programmer that he learnt in community college, he should’ve been fired a year ago. That’s what the management were planning to do when he somehow came to possession, a code that he’s never seen before. It resembled alien symbols that one might find in a comic book. He wasn’t sure if he found the code, or it found him.
On Christmas Eve, his supervisor gave him a choice, either finish the work or resign. He could never quite tie up the loose ends in his algorithms. He was already behind in rent. To be fired on Christmas Eve was an unthinkable notion. He stared out to the snow as he clenched his eyes shut, picturing himself sleeping out on a park bench. He had no friends and his plane Jane bitch of an ex-girlfriend wanted nothing to do with him. That when his phone seemed to have been infected by a virus. “Shit! Just Great! That’s all I needed right now!” His five-year-old Pear Mi-Phone that struggled to turn on most days, displayed two lines of code that saved him from becoming homeless that night. Over the next few days and weeks, the old phone gave him codes that not only saved his job but promoted him with the entire top floor as his office. Wolf couldn’t believe the sudden turn of events.
As usual, he was stuck. But he wasn’t worried. His old phone displayed symbols that no one could understand on Earth. As he waited for the code, so that he could finish the job and go home to his new apartment, the screen simply went blank. Slightly worried, Wolf picked up the phone and looked at it closer while tapping on the screen. Nothing. No response. All of his new life as the company’s golden child hinged on this old phone giving him the codes. He waited for few minutes when he noticed that the needed lines were already entered into the algorithm and the app was completed and fully operational. He picked up the phone that was now completely dead. A screen popped up on his computer monitor with a message, ‘Ditch the phone, you don’t need it anymore”. Wolf was tired from sitting at his desk since eight this morning. He was just glad that the contract was completed, and he’ll get to have few weeks off. He was now the star of his company. That’s when his life took a totally unexpected turn.
The cursor on the message screen kept on blinking. Then another message came on “In a moment two men will come through the door. They are here to kill you. Use the gun in your top drawer to shoot them” Wolf didn’t remember having a gun in his top drawer. He slowly opened the drawer. His cigarettes and car keys were replaced by a serious looking gun. Somehow, he knew exactly what to do with it. As if instinctively, Wolf picked up the pistol and checked that it was loaded. Full fourteen rounds of armour piercing rounds were in the magazine. He heard sounds of boots just outside his office. Wolf ducked behind his desk. As the message indicated, two men in tactical gear came in through his office door each pointing an automatic rifle and slowly positioning themselves.
Wolf took a deep breath.
Without hesitation, Wolf took four shots, two each for his guests. The military men stood for a second, motionless, as if to fight the inevitable death, then dropped to the floor with a heavy thud.
Wolf looked at his screen again.
“Now get down to the ground floor and get out of the building, take the stairs”