Mark My Words
Out there on their own
Isolated on the English savannah
Fresh back from Africa
Feathers shiver in the wind
Haughty beaks and fierce eyes
The ospreys suffer their proud
alliance to feed their young.
Majestic we watch them on camera
Male and female aligned in mission.
Do they love? What do they love?
If someone brought them fish each day
What would they do?
“Try pinging it again.”
“Same response. It’s quick, but it’s only sending back one packet.”
Lucas sank his head into his hands in resignation. It had been 32 hours since he had been able to grab a power nap and still they were getting nowhere. He forced a swig of his cold brew.
“Did anyone know it was even possible to hack a ping response? Has anybody ever seen that before?”
Pinging a server to test the response time should be as straightforward as it gets, as simple as shouting in a cave and waiting for the echo.
“I’m seriously asking, has anybody ever seen that before because...”
Finishing the sentence required more effort than Lucas had left in him.
Across the room, a nervous looking intern raised his hand. Once the scale of the crisis had become apparent, the situation had changed to all hands on deck. Every qualified member of staff, regardless of experience, was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and pitch in. These were desperate times. Lucas gestured weakly for him to speak.
“It looks like the packet it’s sending back is larger than the ping sir.”
Lucas rubbed his eyes and squinted at his monitor. He could barely make it out:
pinging yangtze.shop with 32 bytes of data:
reply from 220.127.116.119: bytes=38 time<1ms TTL=127
ping statistics for 18.104.22.1689:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 1, Lost = 3 (75% loss)
The echo was longer than the shout.
This revelation prompted Lucas’s body to finally surrender its last shot of adrenaline.
“Fresh eyes eh? That’s a really good spot kid. Way too small to be malware, any chance we can take a look at the contents of that packet?”
Without a word, the room buzzed to life with the sound of keystrokes. Each coder and engineer driven by their curiosity, striving to restore some pride by completing this simple task first. Lucas pondered what they would find. 38 bytes was just enough for a line of text. It could be a signature, maybe a ransomware demand. It could also be nonsense. Lucas needed it to be a clue. They had inspected countless lines of code looking for an explanation, scoured the architecture of the entire site and found nothing. It defied all logic.
“It’s a URL sir. For a YouTube video.”
Lucas was impressed to note that the same intern had beaten his senior staff to the punch. He was about to respond when he was interrupted by a quiet, familiar voice.
“Cheer up Brian! You know what they say…”
He had heard this before, he was sure of it. His brain went into overdrive searching for the reference. He got there just before the video did. He couldn’t help but laugh as Eric Idol sang.
“Always look on the bright side of life.”
Some of the staff whistled along.
Macallum - 18 year old Triple cask whisky
Three times I’ve placed this order and three times you’ve sent a kid’s bike. I returned it once (at great inconvenience), refused to accept delivery on the second attempt, and on the third time of asking it was left behind my shed. I’m not sure how you mistake a bottle of whisky for a bike once, never mind three times! The incompetence is genuinely staggering. I will not be returning this again and I want a full refund. At least my son is happy.
Teagan & Co. - Milk Chocolate Brazil Nuts
Ordered these as a present for my GF. Sent a box of truffles instead. Turns out she is allergic to brazil nuts and the truffles were nice so thanks lol
A4 Lined Notebook, Wirebound
Thank You! (Whoever You Are)
I don’t know who was responsible for adding the textbook to my order but I owe you big time. It’s never in the library and I could never afford it. I don’t know how you did this but you’ve taken a huge weight off of my shoulders, thank you so much.
2011 Chateau Del Mar Bordeaux
I bought this (rather expensive) bottle of wine as a wedding gift for my daughter to make up for Covid. Sent the wrong bottle (1982!) but too late to do anything about it. Daughter says it’s the nicest bottle of wine she’s ever had. Really appreciate the free corkscrew (she couldn’t find hers!)
LM38624 LaserJet Toner Cartridge
I ordered this for my home office and it was delivered right on time. I thought the box was very heavy for toner so I opened it on my kitchen counter. Imagine my surprise when I found that I’d been sent a fire extinguisher instead.
I headed back to the office to type a sternly worded email, only to discover that my computer was on fire, and not a small one either! I ran back to the kitchen for the fire extinguisher and managed to put out the blaze.
My daughter’s room is above that office, I dread to think what might have happened. I’m not a religious person, but I’m not sure how else to explain that.
I know you probably won’t believe me but I swear to you it’s true.
Derby - Double Edge Razor Blades x 10
Dont want them now anyway
The robots are coming!
Turn off the radio
Turn it off
Go on, now
But we need to hear...
Turn it off.
You are not really there. You are talking, shouting, talking on and on – but I can just turn you off thus, closing the laptop lid, and running away to the hills. You are still talking but I am halfway to the hills, driving through quiet valleys, next to lakes, parking the car and walking, walking, running, skipping, gazing, breathing breathing, panting red endorphins rising from the heart to the brain infectious magic and I can take on the world because I can always do this. I always have a choice. I always have power.