Carl sat at his computer. He'd been online for less than five minutes and had connected straight to the website he had book-marked in the hopes that if not 'Tracker' then someone else would show up, maybe even with a solution to the problem of this virus.
Oddsox: Anyone out there?
His message remained unanswered, but at least it would, hopefully, be seen if anyone else did show up. All he could do was wait. It was 10.30 pm. He had no idea what the time difference was between the United Kingdom and the United States. For all he knew he could be ahead of them and they could all be in bed, or he could be behind them and they could all be at work. 'Tracker' had said, "same time tomorrow." Well, it was tomorrow and here he was. Where was 'Tracker'?
In fact, 'Tracker' was taking a shower. He'd just arrived home after a long day at the office and was feeling particularly disgruntled. He hated his job. He hated his apartment and he hated the town he found himself living in. He had no social life, he had no friends and he had nothing here, nothing except his computer and the Internet. Work commitments had even put paid to his being able to chat online with his friends back home, his hours varied and he found it difficult to catch them online at a reasonable hour. He felt isolated and frustrated.
The computer was already active when Allan walked into the living area, having turned it on before going to take his shower. He draped the towel with which he had been drying his hair around his neck, as he reached out to click the connection that would take him to the website he had visited the previous evening.
Oddsox: Anyone out there?
The message was the only one showing and Allan smiled.
Tracker: Hello, Oddsox.
He waited. Maybe he was too late. Maybe 'Oddsox' had given up. He checked the clock in the corner of his screen and realised that he was later than he had said he would be.
Tracker: Oddsox, are you there?
Allan sighed. He knew he should have gotten there sooner, but there had been no way that he could have done, short of foregoing his shower and he needed that.
Oddsox: I'm here! Hi, Tracker.
Tracker: Hi. Sorry for being late, got held up in traffic.
Oddsox: That's okay.
Tracker: Been on long?
Oddsox: About twenty minutes, but don't worry.
Tracker: No problems so far?
Oddsox: Not yet.
Oddsox: But it doesn't kick in until almost an hour.
Oddsox: You figured the problem out?
Tracker. Not yet.
Tracker: I've had a couple of ideas, though.
Oddsox: Anything at all would be worth trying.
Tracker: I guess so.
Oddsox: What do I have to do?
Allan knew what he wanted him to do, so the question wasn't unreasonable. The question was really whether 'Oddsox' would trust him.
Oddsox: You still there? What do I have to do?
Tracker: Yes, I'm still here.
Tracker: I can't really help you on here.
Tracker: I really need to be able to chat to you off this website.
Tracker: You don't have to, but I've got a program I think might help.
Oddsox: What kind of programme?
Tracker: A program that might locate the file that's causing the problem
Oddsox: The file?
Oddsox: What do you want?
Tracker: Do you use an IM service?
Tracker: Cool. If you let me add you to my buddies list, we can talk privately and I can try and solve this problem.
Tracker: Only if you want to.
In response to that, Allan was presented with an ID for an Instant Messenger service, which he quickly accepted and, in return, sent his own.
Tracker: Okay, that's going to make it easier. Log out of this website and we can chat there, okay?
Allan quickly exited the website and glanced at the buddy list that he had called up to the side of his computer screen. He waited until he saw a small, yellow, smiley face appear against the name 'Oddsox' and then sent a message.
Tracker: Okay, let me just tell you that my name is Allan.
Oddsox: Cool. I'm Carl.
Tracker: Cool, pleased to meet you, Carl.
Allan swiftly found the personal information section that came along with 'Oddsox' being added to his buddy list and changed 'Oddsox' to 'Carl'. Now he felt as though he was talking to a real person. On the other side of the 'pond', Carl had the same idea and had done a similar thing by changing 'Tracker' to 'Allan'.
Carl: So what's this programme you were talking about?
Allan: It's a programme that will help find if there's a virus on your computer. You'll need to install and run it.
Allan: Did you say you had Ice-It?
Allan: Okay, did you do a scan?
Carl: Not today.
Allan: Okay, do one now. If that fails to identify anything I'll send you the other program, okay?
Carl opened the programme from his desktop and clicked the button that would start it scanning. It was fast and in no time at all he was presented with the results.
Carl: It found 257 things it didn't seem to like.
Allan: That's not many.
Carl: So it quarantined them.
Carl: I saw the list.
Allan: You didn't need me. Hehehe.
Allan: On that first page there is a place to upgrade the search info.
Carl: There is?
Allan: It says "check for updates now".
Allan: It will get you the most up-to-date search info for the program and then run it again, and it will find more spyware.
Carl: Okay, if you say so. Configure or connect?
There was no reply.
Carl: Okay. I thought you'd gone.
Allan: No, I had to look at mine to make sure.
Carl: You do realise, of course, that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, or what it is doing?
Allan: You're removing small programs from you computer that sends information about your Internet habits back to the company that wants your info.
Carl: Okay. Thanks. Well, it did whatever it was doing. I clicked finish like it said.
Carl: Okay can I scan again?
Allan: Is everything ticked that can be?
Carl: I think so.
Allan: Okay, proceed.
Carl: Preparing system scans. Sounds like a Star Trek movie.
Carl: Activate in-depth scan (Recommended)
Carl: Is scanning now.
Carl: I hope this doesn't take too long.
Allan: Oh, man, I didn't see the time.
Carl: It's not that, I'm just worried that it comes back before it's done.
Carl The 257 it found before it held in the system so I deleted them.
Allan: That's what I do. I run this once a week, updating it first.
Carl: Thanks for your help with this.
Allan: I hope it got the bugger is all.
Carl: I hope it clears the problem. Oh, shit one new object found.
Allan: It's found 14 on mine since last week. You have the new updates so it will find some.
Carl: Found one on mine since I last scanned, which was only ten minutes ago.
Carl: 6 now
Carl: 15, this is going to be worse than ever.
Allan: No, not really, you scanned with the default version, now your using the new search criteria.
Carl: Okay. What if it finds something I don't think should be deleted?
Allan: Don't tick it.
Carl: How will I know what it is?
Allan: Yours automatically ticks them?
Carl: Did last time. It's searching my OOBE now.
Allan: Damn, you must have a newer version than me. I might have to uninstall and reinstall the program.
Carl: My MUI is a big file. Whatever it is.
Carl: My OOBE wasn't as big
Allan: I've never seen those on mine; wonder if your version searches more stuff.
Allan: Ah. Maybe I have seen that, mine hasn't gotten that far yet.
Carl: It's scanning a lot of objects.
Allan: It should be scanning everything now.
Carl: Still only found 15.
Allan: Good, that means the first scan got most of them.
Carl: Oh, now it's checking all my document folders. We'll be here all night.
Allan: You should be close to done.
Carl: Oh, it's back to OOBE.
Allan: Won't be much longer, I guess.
Carl: Oh, it just belched at me.
Allan: Yours is done.
Carl: It says scan complete. My machine's making noises?
Allan waited, but there was no response.
Still nothing. It seemed Carl had gone
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