The Infinite Monkeys Protocol
by Lavie Tidhar
She chased him from one empty shell account to another, tracing phony netmail nodes, weaving through PABXs, through telephone exchanges, through backdoored commercial servers that shut down as she tried to pass through them, leaving the trail cold, forcing her to retrace her steps, to try again; but always he disappeared in the looping path that he had created for her through the networks, a path that seemed to spell out her name before at last it disappeared.
Sarita sat back in her chair and pressed her hands to her eyes. Her eyes felt loose in their sockets, like marbles made of biological tissue and left to float in a jar of formaldehyde.
She reached for her coffee. It was black and sugary and cold, and when she drank it, it was like being hit by a slow-moving tractorâ€”an unpleasant experience, perhaps, but one that jolted her into a more involved awareness. She put down the coffee and picked up a copy of the Mutation Engineâ€™s code. She had looked at that code every night now for the past four months and thirteen days, admiring the writingâ€”it was what computer programmers would call elegantâ€”but mostly she looked at one line of ASCII text which had been left there almost, one might say, unnecessarily.
It was not part of the code; it was a message. It said, â€˜To Sarita,
who wanted to have a virus named after her.â€™
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"The Infinite Monkeys Protocol" is roughly 2700 words.
Lavie Tidhar grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, lived in Israel and South Africa, travelled widely in Africa and Asia, and has lived in London for a number of years. He is the winner of the 2003 Clarke-Bradbury Prize (awarded by the European Space Agency), was the editor of "Michael Marshall Smith: The Annotated Bibliography" (PS Publishing, 2004) and the anthology "A Dick & Jane Primer for Adults" (The British Fantasy Society, 2006), and is the author of the novella "An Occupation of Angels" (Pendragon Press, 2005). His stories appear in SciFiction, ChiZine, Postscripts, Nemonymous, Infinity Plus, Ã†on, Book of Dark Wisdom, Fortean Bureau, and many others, and in translation in seven languages.