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Will & Jordan: Cyberhunt - The Will to Live

Will & Jordan: Cyberhunt - The Will to Live

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Will & Jordan: Cyberhunt - The Will to Live

Length:
108 pages
1 hour
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 1, 2020
ISBN:
9781005303679
Format:
Book

Description

Fifteen- year-old Jordan is a loser.
Until his computer is infected by Will, a rogue artificial intelligence. After that, things start to change. But will Jordan be able to save his new digital friend from being destroyed by the Initializers that patrol the internet?
And will he be able to finish his homework in time to satisfy the revolting Grumpet? Or find courage to rap for the unreachable Simone Pritchard, age sixteen, or even just get his hair turboed for the summer holidays?
And what about Sean, with his bullying ways?

Jordan added things up: v'gent, the words on-screen... 'Whoa, a virtual music marketing agent'. “A beat sales bot, right? What you doing?”
“Only making it full AI.”
“Like, a person? No way! No one’s ever done real artificial intelligence. Where’s your Nobel prize then?”
“Yeah they have,” Sean growled back. “Just no one's saying...” His fingers rattled on the keyboard, typing:

‘I am, because I am.’

With a flourish, he finished: c:unity.exe

“What’s that for?”
“Something for the v'gent to think about – a stimulus, like. Dunno how it will turn out, but it could be quirky.”
“And that’s going to turn it into an AI?” gawped Jordan.
“Nooo. Twit! I already said not. Mostly they just freeze and die. Junk code’s all that’s left. But sometimes...” Sean tilted his head for emphasis. “Sometimes, they come out drooling idiots, like. When that happens it’s a laugh.”

Written with gentle humour as well as seat-edge thrills, this novella will suit older as well as younger readers.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 1, 2020
ISBN:
9781005303679
Format:
Book

About the author

Paul spent many years working as a nightclub saxophonist. Then as a London school-teacher. And then, an urban missionary to a South African township. He came to writing late: there were stories struggling inside him, relentlessly, fighting to get out.He has an MPhil in Instrumental and Vocal Composition.When he’s not writing, he gardens, or fixes up the house, or plays piano and sings to himself and anyone who will listen.


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Will & Jordan - Paul Du Preez

Will and Jordan: Cyberhunt – The Will to Live

Copyright 2020 Paul du Preez

Published by Paul du Preez at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favourite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Will & Jordan: Cyberhunt - The Will to Live is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are the product of Paul du Preez’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights are reserved, including without limitation, the right to reproduce Will & Jordan: Cyberhunt - The Will to Live, or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Paul du Preez.

Table of Contents

Title

Acknowledgements

Prologue – Cybertack

1 – Turbo Rapper

2 – Spider in a Jar

3 – In, or Out?

4 – Humanoid

5 – Trending

6 – Gross Grumpet

7 – Rendezvous la Pouf!

8 – Volition

9 – Taking Over

10 – First Contach

11 – Sleeping

12 – Tick-Tock

13 – Dark Pixel

14 – Under the Knife

15 – Steganographics

16 – Portal?

Epilogue – Cyber-Dreaming

About Paul du Preez

Connect with Paul du Preez

Other books by Paul du Preez

Sample chapters – Syblings

Sample chapters – Shikara

Cover Image Credits

Acknowledgements

In memory of Pimlico School, 2006, and the wonderful students and staff I met there.

...Truth really is more extraordinary than fiction.

Prologue – Cybertack

In virtual reality, Spacebook’s firewall loomed over him, a shimmering cliff-face that towered to infinity.

On the other side of the firewall, Spacebook’s secrets. On this side, public-access data, tumbled like rocks at the feet of his team-mate’s crawler-bots. Above and to the rear, their leader’s dragonflier hovered, hanging back, inspecting the data entry port – a vast, leathery throat that pierced the firewall.

Their way in.

But protected. The throat was ringed with shark-like teeth and fringed with restless, swivelling eyes. And inside it grew tongues: a wheel of six, reaching towards the centre like spokes, their pink and slimy tips entwining. And, behind the first tongue, another, and then another, six ranks deep – they would digest anything that made it past the teeth.

Behind him, drifting closer above a silent, virtual sea of data were membranes – they reminded him of empty crisp packets blowing ashore at Brighton Beach, floating above grey, shushing waves.

Fluttering towards him in the breeze, in slo-mo.

The membranes were software coded to blind the eyes to their approach. It seemed to take forever before they reached their target, crumpling softly over the moist and bloodshot eyes, snagging on the jagged, triangular teeth which tore through them, anchoring them in place.

Hiding him and the team from Spacebook.

On command – text only – the team boosted their crawlers, leaping for the throat. Past the teeth, the first bot scuttled for the tongues on centipede legs. The first tongue dipped, feather soft, and tasted its carapace, and whipped its tentacle tip around the scrabbling crawler, hardening, retracting, snatching it to destruction; the base and breadth of the tongue enfolding its dissolving prey as it curled in on itself, clenching tight. The second crawler scrambled over the digesting mess and into the clutch of the tongue behind.

His crawler was number six: when all six tongues in line were busy, the leader’s dragonflier would flit through the passage cleared and deliver its virus payload – an infiltration package that would burrow deep into Spacebook’s crypto-currency vaults and crack open a back-door for them to plunder its billions.

But, before he could steer his crawler down the throat, a red icon began to flash.

Threat!

Motion at the edge of his screen.

A pack of metallic dinosaurs racing towards him, fast, their movements glitching as his state-of-the-art gaming PC struggled to keep up. Perspective twisted and bent as they bounded closer, razor claws scarring the tumbled data blocks beneath their thrusting feet.

Velociraptors? Or Giant tyrannosaurs? he had time to wonder. But only just…

The dragonflier – hovering above him at the mouth of the throat – tried to gain altitude.

Too late!

The leading raptor, light and wiry, leapt, its talons wind-milling, raking. Its jaws snapped shut and one of the dragonflier’s glittering wings exploded, shattering into glassy fragments. Clawing in, locking together, raptor and flier tumbled – wings, crystal eyes, jewelled tail disintegrating as the remnants of the dragonflier blew and vanished like smoke. The raptor fell heavily to the rocks. And howled with rage.

All around him the snarls and roars of dinosaurs became suddenly audible. Someone…something had switched on the sound!

Sod this! he yelped, and instinctively tried to steer his crawler away, leap from the throat to the rocks below. Escape!

And found himself tossed and tumbling, hooked claws grappling his underbelly, piercing, grasping, lifting him. Above, a gaping reptile mouth grinned its vicious welcome, teeth glinting.

Then, as he waited for its jaws to rip into him, a text message scrolled across his monitors, giant red script glaring.

‘ABORT. SHUT DOWN. NOW! TRACKERS INCOMING.’

And, in that split second, over the tyrannosaur’s shoulder he glimpsed deformed hounds: Trackers. They would trace the attack back to its source. Back to the team’s coordinating server. And from there, back to the individual team members.

To him, in his bedroom, in front of his PC and his twin monitors.

In the flesh.

But, before he could do anything: before he could log off, or hit the reset button; even before the tyrannosaur gripping him could slam its jaws shut, shearing through carapace, muscle, tendons and viscera…

Blue-screen!

His monitors went blank – an unbroken, unchanging blue, calm as death.

The team’s mission controller had shut down their attack, hard.

Somewhere an incendiary device had detonated instantly burning out the server the attack had been routed through. Within seconds the net-trackers reached the burnt-out server, but could pass no further. Milliseconds later,

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