These are the voyages of the StarVAX ENTERP::, it's five-year mission: to explore strange new nodes, to seek

out new protocols, new hardwareto boldly address where no call-request packet has been addressed before! "Captain's Log - Etherdate 0B-00-0D-7B-EF-A8 The StarVAX ENTERP:: is in standard orbit around a strange, hostile, barren system. Previous Federation scouting missions have disappeared without trace and the we have been sent to find out what happened. The only reference the ships computer has is an alien symbol transmitted back to VAXbase by a previous expedition before it disappeared - "/usr/etc/planet". What can it mean?" System Programmer Spock leaned over his OPA0: and tried to penetrate the dense shell surrounding this barren rock, but even photon protocols were being deflected. "Spock, what do you think?" inquired Kirk from his command chair. "It's illogical, Captain" he toned in his level Vulcan manner. "I've tried communicating in every protocol known to VAXfleet in every combination. I have tried DDCMP, X.25, SNA, BSC, IPARS, ASYNC, SYNC, ASCII, EBCDIC, EBCD even BAUDOT and MORSE! Nothing registers!" Kirk's communicator warbled for attention. He pressed the RET button. "Kirk here" "Scott here Captain. I dinnae think the Etherdrives will hold out on the journey back to VAXbase. We need fresh, empty packets. ETA0: is down to 20% free and ETA1: is nearly at 0%! We've detected natural ethercables down on the planet. Our only chance is to try to interface to that thing with an Etherbridge!" "Impossible, Scotty" replied Kirk. "No-one has managed to interface to a system like that - I've never come across this before - but I have a feeling ... it's a Unix" A hush decended on the bridge. Operator Sulu did not have to be told: he declared Red Alert. Sirens echoed around the ship, as audit alarms were enabled. "A Unix, Captain?" inquired NetManager Uhura. "What's that?" "A Unix - Unnatural Network Interface eXtended - they were outlawed by the CCITT (Committee for the Continuation of Intergalactic Thankless Tasks at their last meeting on Regulus IV. You know, the one where the Institute for Badly-made Machines finally declared an end their fruitless research into a Tokenring warpdrive after two centuries. But I never thought I'd actually see one. "Scotty, we have no choice - we'll have to PAD down. Could you break that shell just long enough for the TRA0: to open a virtual channel?" "Aye, Cap'n" replied Scotty. "If we fire enough RTLLCUAs (Random two-letter lower-case unintelligible acronyms) at it theres a chance we can crash it's shell. But we could also zap our own root and I dinnae think the engines'l take that!" "OK, Scotty, we'll have to risk it. Spock, join me in the PAD room with a portable Etherbridge. I'll also want a team of Security ACLs. Let's go!" Kirk and Spock stood on the PAD. "Set your PHA0:s for high-water marking" Kirk ordered. "We're taking no chances. Anything that attacks us will get zeroed AND erased. Energise!" Scotty threw the Fast Select switch and Kirk, Spock and the ACLs were dispatched to the surface of the hostile ball of electronic hell.

They reassembled on a barren wasteland. Kirk had to shout to be heard above the noise. "Remember STOP/ID first and find out the process-name later!" A voice boomed out. "su ; grep /user/vaxling/* | rm" (roughly translated: load your guns and find the vaxlings, and when you do, destroy them). Kirk and his party dived for cover. "I AM CAPTAIN KIRK OF THE STARVAX ENTERP::. WE ARE HERE ON A PEACEFUL MISSION!" The creature took no notice whatsoever. "Captain", Spock interjected. "I seem to recall that the Unix only speaks in lower-case." "Uh, right, thanks Spock". Kirk turned to the creature again. "i am captain kirk of the starvax enterp::. we are here on a peaceful mission." A shadow of recognition and what might pass for intelligence registered on the creatures face. But then it began roaring "urm star!" over and over again. It approached menacingly. "Spock, try some SMTP on him" Kirk shouted. "Every half-intelligent system in the Galaxy can converse in SMTP!" Spock: Creature: Spock: Creature: helo unix "helo: not found" mail from: spock@enterp.vaxfleet.earth.sol.milkyway "Usage: mail [user] [-pxhduytbnc]"

Spock shouted. "Captain, try giving it some vowels. It seems to be somewhat lacking in those!" Kirk took out his VAXfleet Alien eXtended Gift Pack for eXtraterrestrials (VAXgpx) and slowly showed the vowels to the creature. "Here, Creature. These are good, logical, vowels. See - SHOW TIME, DIRECTORY, COPY even ANALYZE/ERROR/SINCE=TODAY!" "CAPTAIN!! They're not in lower-case!!!" Spock warned. At the sight of the logical, case-independant vowels, the creature seemed to get very annoyed and began to bear down on the landing party. "Take cover!", Kirk shouted, "Spock, try to locate his process ID, I'll see if I can stun him with a Force Exit System Service". Spock pointed his Tricorder and expertly searched for the creatures PID. "Urm star!" the creature kept roaring. Suddenly, a burst of electrical energy erupted from the creatures talons and a plasma deletion-asterisk lanced toward the party. An ACL wasn't quick enough and the asterisk caught him full in the chest. He was instantly transformed into a symbolic stack dump. "$REPLY/TO=SYSTEM 'PID found Captain. It's 2CF!'" shouted Spock. "$PHASER = 2CF (= Set phasers to kill)" "$STOP/ID =''PHASER' (= Fire!)" The Super-User crashed to the ground in the midst of a core dump as the entire landing party opened multiple input channels from their PHA0:s. Kirk walked over to the remains of the entity. "A core dump is always an ugly sight!" "Looks like the shell is disintegrating also, Captain" said Spock. Kirk agreed. "Let's get our Etherdrive packets then PAD back to the ENTERP::. I've had enough of this Unix. There's a natural ethercable over there. System Programmer Spock, attach the etherbridge, enable NETMBX and send up the packets"

Spock attached the H4005 and plugged the AUI cable into the etherbridge. He flipped opened his communicator. "FTP ENTERP" %I-TRYCONN-Attempting to connect to ENTERP 220 USS Enterprise, go ahead landing party. "Login Spock" 331 Please verify identification. "UHURA-HAS-A-CUTE-BUM" 230 Password correct, proceed. "SEND ETHERPACKETS" 200 Port 42,1701,1,1,138,80 Okay 125 Packets are present - sending contents. 226 closing connection. %I-FTP-GONE-Transferred 1008700 bytes in 4 s. "Exit" 221 closing connection, may the Force be with you "Smart ass FTP server", mumbled Spock. "15 recoverable media errors on device TRA0, captain". "OK, Spock. let's get out of here", answered Kirk. Kirk pressed the RET button on his communicator. "Kirk to ENTERP::" Static hiss answered. Spock held up his tricorder. The words "Unexpected System Service Exception" lit up on the display. "Captain, we appear to have lost our connection to the ENTERP:: Tricorder indicates Network Partner Exited". "%F-COMMAND-EXPLETIV-Damn it Spock, we're stranded -- and it's at least 50 parsecs to the nearest Inode" "%I-OPCOM-RESPONSE-Captain, I suggest we take cover among that pile of free blocks to the east, until we can regain contact with the ENTERP::" The Free Blocks turned out to be the remains of a small inode which had been wiped out by a recent plague. From the remains of several log files, they tried to deduce what had happened, but the only clue was the cryptic message scrawled in blood on a nearby struct which said "remember to relink it nodebug before you distribute it!". By that monument to Secure Software Distribution they set their translation attributes to Concealed and entered a HIB state. ***** Field Service Engineer Scott was worried as he sat in the console chair. The Enterprise had lost contact with the landing party. The etherdrives were replenished and had passed all the diagnostic tests, but the ethernet was a different story. Well, in fact, it's really part of this story, so we'll tell you anyway. Somebody was jabbering. The whole ether, presumably as far as the Andromeda Repeater was jammed by a continuous burst of noise from the planet below. "If we cannae get this sorted oot, it'll be back to the Async drives",

he said to the hushed bridge, "and that'll mean nearly five years to get to the nearest Router, assuming no data overruns, of course." McCoy, the Diagnostic Supervisor, was in no better mood. "It's all that pointy-eared programmers fault", he said, "why couldn't he leave it to remote diagnostics ?" "Mr Scott", said Operator Uhura, "message coming in on Port 25 from the planet. Switching to Bridge relay". "attn aln spccrft", intoned the voice, "y wll srrndr yr shp immdtly, r y wll b blstd by r plntry dfns systms" WHAT WILL WILL DOES IS THIS LATEST THREAT TO THE BRAVE CREW OF THE STARVAX ENTERP::? KIRK AND SPOCK SURVIVE ON THE DESOLATE /usr/planet? SCOTTY BE ABLE BREAK THE ETHERBABBLE? UHURA HAVE A CUTE BUM?

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