The Beginning of Armageddon

He looked at himself in the mirror and sighed. He was getting too old for this. Too old, he sighed, for going into computers checking for bugs and viruses, chasing cyber bad guys and for dodging cyber bullets. Mike sighed again. He was definitely getting too old.

The computer screen went blank and a skull and cross bones symbol appeared, filling up the whole screen. The dark figure in front of the computer smiled to himself behind his dark mask as he clicked the enter button to execute his plan and let loose the terror he had created.

The heat was unbearable. Mike removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Mike was a well-built man in his late thirties. He was in great physical condition and so he should be, seeing that he worked out every day for at least three hours. He loosened his belt and removed his gun from its holster. It was an old six shooter with rust all around the barrel. He loaded all the bullets into the gun and returned it to the holster. Mike sat down in the old wooden chair beside the bar.

Mike was now in the latest creation from his expert team. It was a virtual reality program in that it controls the player's brain waves and transmits back to the computer what the player is thinking. Mike was impressed. Damn clever thing making it so the player's brain is its own person.

Mike was now right in the program as he took a swig from the bottle of whisky on the table next to him. He could taste the whisky in his mouth even though it was the program telling his brain what the whisky tasted like, not his own taste. Damn ingenious invention.

Mike was using one of the program's many different scenarios. Each different scenario allows the user to go anywhere in the world or anywhere in time simply by sitting at their computer at home. That was one of the things Mike also liked. Mike has chosen an old western scenario like out of a western movie starring the Duke.

Mike sat the bottle back on the table and, as he did, a bullet came through the window shattering the bottle. Mike's reflexes took charge and he went for his gun as he dived to the ground. More bullets followed, the first destroying the saloon he was in. Mike returned fire, but only had six shots, so he ran out fast. This was obviously an attempt from a cyber bad guy to kill the head of the cyber police. Mike stayed low to the ground until after the bullets stopped. He ran to the large window of the saloon and caught a glimpse of an old Dodge Viper getting away into the distance. There must be a glitch in the programming, Mike thought, for the bad guys to be able to get that car in.
Mike had left his cyber world and returned to the office. His team of programmers was already waiting for him. Mike explained to them what had happened. After he had finished he waited for someone to speak.

'It just isn't possible for someone outside this corporation to be able to change the programming,' said Jim who was standing at the door.

'Then what is your explanation of what happened Jim?' Mike asked him with an inquisitive look.

Jim Collins was the one who designed and helped create the new virtual reality program. He was a close friend if Mike's and was only a couple of years younger.

'There must be someone from the inside transmitting a virus into the network leaving gaps in the programming for anyone smart enough to change. The spy has to be high enough in the company to have access to the network but not important enough to be discovered.'

Jim took a sip of water and continued. 'The virus they are using can't be detected, therefore it must be a ghost bug. This has a good and bad side to it. The good side is that it can easily be eliminated by using our new virtual reality program, but the bad side is that it may take some time to find.'

'How long do you need?' Mike asked, even though he knew it was impossible to calculate.

'About five weeks maximum,' Jim lied, knowing that they would have to be lucky to find the bug in that amount of time. But he didn't want the boss to think he couldn't handle it.

'Ok," Mike said, 'Get on to it immediately'

Mike sat down as he waited for everyone to leave. He planned to use the virtual reality program to find the glitch himself.

Meanwhile, the dark figure in front of the computer picked up the virtual reality head set from beside him on the desk. He loaded up his menace program and put on the head set. He was ready to control the demon he had created. He pressed the button to start the program and began to wreak havoc throughout the cyber world.

Mike had loaded up a different scenario than he had before. He had designed this one himself. It was set in the present time, in one of his favourite cities Sydney, Australia. He knew this scenario like the back of his hand and that is why he had decided to use it. He knew whoever had tried to kill him before would try again, but this time he was ready for them.

The dark figure in the virtual reality gear moved around the cyber world tracking his target. He smiled to himself when he finally found him. He broke through the scenario's defences and proceeded after him. It was a scenario of a city that the figure wasn't familiar with, he only knew of it as Sydney. He took off the headset and put a C.D into the computer. On the C.D was the virus he had created. He smiled as it finished up loading.

Mike stood on the ferry riding into Darling Harbour. He looked up at the Harbour Bridge and wondered what the real Harbour Bridge looked like. He had never been to Sydney but wished one day he could. He had only seen photos and videos. The ferry drove past the Opera House and docked at the wharf. Mike was dressed totally in black, looking like Keuno Reeves from The Matrix. He took his mobile phone out and dialled the number on the screen.

'Hello?' said the voice on the other end.

'Jim, its Mike are you in?'

'Yeah, I'm waiting in a restaurant on the wharf called the Ocean Child.'

Mike had asked for Jim's help, knowing that he needed all the help he could get. Jim could upload any thing into the scenario ranging from clothes to cars, even weapons, if needed. Jim connected to Mike's scenario using his own virtual reality gear. Jim was the only person Mike knew who could help him find the ghost bug and they were fast running out of time. They would have to be lucky to find it anytime soon.

'I'm on my way,' Mike said turning off his phone and proceeding to the restaurant.

The dark figure dropped a test tube with a green substance inside, out the window of his car. It shattered on the road, slipping the green substance inside. The green substance started to grow every second. The green substance became green slime. It was the virus the figure had created. The dark figure laughed to himself, knowing his was the ghost everyone was looking for and he had just unleashed the terror that was going to destroy the cyber world. The dark figure waited in his car then he saw a man walk into The Ocean Child. The man was Mike Hastings, the man he had tricked to come here and who he would now eliminate.

Mike sat down at a table in The Ocean Child, looking around for Jim. But he wasn't anywhere to be seen. Another employee of Mike's sat down at the same table. His name was Yoshimuto Xang, fresh from Japan. He had been sent out here to help them catch the ghost. Mike liked this young kid and often just called him Yoshi for short.

'Got any leads Yoshi?' Mike asked him when he was comfortable. 'We really have to get the ghost before it lets out a virus.'

'Well I was thinking about what happened to you in the Western scenario and I think it was the ghost trying to kill you.'

'What makes you think that?' Mike asked him.

'Well...,' Yoshi began, 'If they get rid of you who is there to stop them destroying the cyber world?'

'You may have a point,' Mike said moving around in his seat uncomfortable with the idea of being a target of an assassin. 'But that would mean he will try and get the job finished.'

'But this time we are ready,' Yoshi said standing up and removing his jacket. Strapped to his body were weapons of all sorts. He had grenades around his waist, ammo in a cross shape over his chest, four pistols tucked in his pants and two M16's over his shoulders. Mike gasped at the sight.

'Yeah, it looks like we are ready.'

The ghost stepped through the door and, with the automatic shotgun in his hands, started blasting away at Mike and Yoshi. Yoshi pulled the two M16s off his shoulders and threw one to Mike. They both returned fire and dived behind some tables they had turned on their sides. The ghost ran out of bullets and turned to run back to his car. Mike and Yoshi, also out of ammo, ran after him. Yoshi gave Mike two pistols and took two for himself. When they got out to the street the ghost was trying to start up his get-away car. Yoshi and Mike both started unloading clips at the car, both not stopping until their guns ran out.

The virus towered over the center point tower in the main part of Sydney. It was green and looked like a giant slug. Parts of its body dripped off landing on a nearby take away shop. It slithered its huge body of slimly ooze through the streets sliming every building it went past. Buildings crumbled as it's the slime touched. It was killing the program by spreading its slime. Suddenly the slime stopped. Bullets were flying into the virus's body spilling slime everywhere. Mike and Yoshi were shooting the last of their ammo at the virus but it didn't stop it. The virus moved forward towards the two determined to wipe them out. Yoshi unstrapped the two grenades from his belt and gave one to Mike.

'Make it count,' Yoshi told him.

The dark figure laughed to himself as his creation moved towards the two men trying to stop it. He was finally going to get rid of the boss of the cyber police and then nothing could stop him from taking over the cyber world and then, one-day, the real world. He knew that if his virus didn't succeed there would be no second chances of taking over the cyber world. For that very reason his virus couldn't fail.

The virus flung a piece of its slime at Yoshi and knocked him across the street. He was out cold. Mike dodged a piece that had come his way. He ran right under the virus. Being careful not to get squashed he pulled the pin out of the grenade and threw into the virus's chest region. It blew pieces of the virus all over the place. Mike picked himself up off the ground and walked over to Yoshi. Yoshi was just coming to so he helped him to his feet.

'What happened?' Yoshi asked still a little dazed.

'He blew his top,' Mike joked as they both sighed a sign of relief.

'We'd better get back to the real world now,' Mike said walking past the car they had shot up before the virus arrived. They both looked into the car looking for the body of the ghost but there wasn't anything there. The car had holes all over it but the ghost had gone. Whoever the ghost really was, he was still out there and he needed to be stopped.

The dark figure stumbled out of the shot-up car carrying an automatic pistol. He fired a shot at Mike but missed. Mike and Yoshi spun around but didn't have any guns left. Yoshi dove behind a parked car. Mike tried to follow but the dark figure shot again, just missing him.

'Stay were you are,' the dark figure yelled at him.

Mike stopped where he was and froze.

'Who are you?' Mike asked him.

The dark figure removed the dark mask and revealed his face.

Mike gasped at the sight. 'Jim you're the ghost?'

Mike couldn't believe it. He had known Jim for so long and trusted him always.

'Is that so impossible to believe?' Jim asked smiling. 'I've worked in your company for as long as you but haven't gotten the gratitude I deserve. Now is my time.'

'What do you want, Jim?' Mike asked, afraid of the answer.

'Well after I get rid of you I'll be head of the company and I'll finally get the gratitude I deserve.'

'How do you think you'll get away with this?' Mike said trying to stall him as Yoshi remembered about the grenade he had. 'Even if you get away with it now someone will uncover the truth and then you'll really be up shit creek.'

This made Jim very angry and he raised the pistol so it was aimed at Mike's head. Mike could see Yoshi out of the corner of his eye.

'You don't have the guts to kill me!' Mike yelled at him trying to catch him off guard.

'We'll see about that,' Jim said smiling.

Just as Jim pulled the trigger Mike dived behind the parked car and heard the grenade, which Yoshi had thrown, hit the ground. The grenade exploded blowing Jim all over the place. Mike stayed flat to the ground until Yoshi helped him to his feet.

'Lets go home,' Mike said as him and Yoshi walked up to the end of the street to return to the real world.
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