The Wrath of a Genius

He pulled out a laptop, powered it up, and placing it on a stand, started to type a short program.

“You really don’t tire of Shakespeare, do you?” he said, looking at her with an evil smile as he continued typing.

“Well, it just happens to be one of my many interests,” she replied uneasily, unsure where he was going with this.

He then examined the program, skimmed through the lines of code and executed it, watching it perform exactly what he expected it to do with the excitement of a little child with his new toy. He then opened another script, altered a few commands, compiled it, and with a final look, hit the ‘Enter’ key hard with his forefinger in a climactic fashion.

“Yes!” he exclaimed, rubbing his hands in glee. “Let’s call it the Tempest worm, shall we?”

“What do you mean?” she asked incredulously.

“I’m sure you know what a computer worm is,” he said with a mischievous glint.

“Of course,” she said uneasily as she began to get an idea what he was up to. “A self-replicating program that can multiply and spread without user intervention.”

“Exactly! Seemingly harmless little programs that no one notices, but which spread fast. I had just the kind of worm that will propagate to servers all over the world in no time,” he said. “Your little Shakespeare act gave me an idea. All I had to do was append it with text from Shakespeare I extracted with another little program, and unleash it into networks across the world.”

She stared at him in shock. “You can’t be serious!”

“Why would I be serious, Elizabeth?” he chuckled, enjoying himself. “I’m simply having fun! Mailboxes will soon be flooded with Romeos, Juliets, Macbeths, Hamlets, Prosperos, Othellos, Iagos and Desdamonas. Websites will be defaced and network traffic will be ground to a halt with a barrage of Shakespearean text! All the world’s a stage, is it not? Well, let it play according to my script!”

“You have gone mad!”

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t!”

She felt like strangling him.
 
“You’ve had a long day, Elizabeth,” he told her calmly as the doors slid open and two uniformed men stepped in. “Get some rest. These men will escort you to your room.”

The two men gripped her arms tightly as they walked to an elevator. “Ouch, you’re hurting me!” She cried, but they paid no attention.  She noticed six unmarked buttons. One of the men pressed the top left button and the elevator ascended, the doors chiming open as it reached the destination. They continued to walk in a long and dimly lit hallway.

All of a sudden, she heard a pair of soft thuds from behind coming almost in unison. In an instant, she felt the grip on her arms loosen, and almost immediately saw both men falling flat on the floor, knocked unconscious. Out of the dim light two figures emerged, whisking her to a corner.

"Shh..” a familiar voice whispered. “We’ll get you out of here.”

Just then lights flickered brightly and the alarms came alive.

“Quick, fire escape!” another voice said. “Follow me!”

They ran down the stairs to a level below. As light shone on them, she recognized their faces.

“You’re..” she muttered in disbelief.

“Yes, we're from the future. I’m Elizabeth from 2029,” the older of the two introduced herself with a smile and pointed to her younger counterpart. “And this is Elizabeth from 2019.”

“But how is that even possible?! How did two of you from..."

“We will explain later. Jason Petrovsky must be stopped, and all the smart ones must be saved before it is too late!”

“Jason Petrovsky? He is crazy! He just unleashed a computer worm because I showed him that he couldn’t understand Shakespeare!”

"Well, you should see him twenty years from now!”

“But weren’t you the one who came to me in that chamber just a while ago, trying to convince me to join the agency?” she asked, looking at the Elizabeth from 2019.

“Yes, I didn’t realize the folly then,” the 2019 Elizabeth sighed. “Hence I am, or we are here, back in the past, to set things right.”

“Great! Two Elizabeth Quinns from the future!” young Elizabeth said, still unsure if all this was a hallucination.

“Actually,” the 2019 Elizabeth replied, pointing to the Elizabeth from 2029. “She is Elizabeth Petrovsky.”

“What? I can’t believe it!” She shook her head, looking at the two of them. “You worked with him, and you married him, and now you both have come back in time to set things right?!”

“Shhh..”  2029 Elizabeth cautioned, looking around and listening intently. “Did you hear that? Footsteps.”

“From above,” 2019 Elizabeth replied.

"From below as well,” 2029 Elizabeth added. “They have found us.”

 "We’re trapped!” Young Elizabeth said, startled.

They were on the fourth floor, staring at a window. The oldest Elizabeth opened the window and looked outside. There was a mound of sand right below them. The perimeter was surrounded by a tall compound wall with electric fences.
 
 “Jump!” She commanded, shoving the startled young Elizabeth to the window.

“What.. you’re crazy!” young Elizabeth protested.

The footsteps were getting louder. Outside somewhere below, she heard another noise getting louder as well. Barking. Agitated and excited.  She had never liked dogs.

“This is the only way out!” the 2019 Elizabeth replied as she jumped, pulling the young Elizabeth with her.

The End

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