by Alan Sadowsky
TPF, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterback. Her 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds. To boldly go where no man has gone before.
While on a routine supply mission from Starbase 6, we've intercepted a distress call from the Developer colony on Danbury, a small class-M planet in the New England sector.
Danbury: "Enterback, we're being attacked by some sort of computer virus. Something has broken through our CIPHER shields, and we're streaming Control Ones. Can you assist?"
Kirk: "Danbury, this is Enterback. We're on our way. Mr. CheckData, plot a course for Danbury. Mr. SLU_LU ahead MIP factor 10."
(In a matter of hours, the Starship is in orbit over the planet.)
Kirk: "Mr. LOCK, your assessment."
LOCK: "Curious, Captain. I've run a data collection to scan the Danbury operating system, but there appears to be RACF protection blocking my scans."
Kirk: "How can that be LOCK? TPF doesn't use RACF?"
LOCK: "I'm well aware of that fact Captain. The data I have available is insufficient for me to draw any conclusions. I've attempted to capture the Danbury database, but the file formats appear to be incompatible with our control program."
Kirk: "Lt. OoWhoAreYou, open a channel to Danbury. Danbury, this is Enterback, come in."
OoWhoAreYou: "There's no response on any channel Captain. Their network seems to be down."
Kirk: "Mr. SLU_LU go to yellow alert. Mr. LOCK, have Dr. McCoy join us in the transporter room. We're going down for a look."
(Moments later on the planet surface, the landing party materializes in the Danbury Computer Room. The room is empty except for a lone operator sprawled across the console. )
Kirk: "Phasers on stun! Mr. LOCK see what you can find out. Bones, see to the operator. I've got a bad feeling about this."
McCoy: "He's dead Jim. I can't explain what caused it, but every process in his body seems to have been slowed down to the point where he died of boredom. The only other thing I found was this copy of ACPÈTPF Today clutched in his hand. It was opened to the Career Corner section. Jim, this man died looking for a job."
Kirk: "Oh, get real McCoy. There's a technological reason for all of this, and I want some answers."
McCoy: "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a systems programmer".
LOCK: "Captain, I'm afraid I must agree with the good doctor. My tricorder readings indicate an alien presence in this room. I'm picking up traces of what appear to be UNIX programs.
Kirk: "What are you saying LOCK, That the CLNKC_ONs have crossed the neutral zone?"
LOCK: "On the contrary Captain. UNIX has already been reported at the Hyatt colony on New Chicago, and there are reports of symptoms appearing in other Starfleet sectors as well. It would appear that Danbury has been infected with the same thing."
McCoy: "LOCK is right Jim. I'll need to run a few more tests back on board, but this man's employment definitely stopped just before he died."
Kirk: "If you're right Bones, we're all in great danger. We can't let this thing spread. If this thing makes it's way to the big colonies, we're all going to be looking for work. This could be the end of civilization as we know it. Any chance of counteracting the disease?"
McCoy: "I won't know until I get these samples back to the lab."
Scotty: "Scott to Captain Kirk."
Kirk: "Kirk here."
Scotty: "Captain, something is playing havoc with my mainframes. Our CPU loops are degrading, and my 381's are down to 20 percent."
Kirk: "Go to red alert. We're on our way. Transporter room, three to beam up."
(Back on the Enterback)
Kirk: "Mr. Scott, report."
Scotty: "All of the I-streams are offline except the main I-stream. I've already lost half of my dupe modules, and I can't mount any standby tapes. If we don't have a fix for this in the next 15 minutes, the whole bloody system will shut itself down."
Kirk: "I need that 15 minutes Scotty. We're fighting a UNIX virus. Bones is working on a patch."
Scotty: "Dammit Jim, he's a doctor, not a systems programmer!"
LOCK: "Captain, I believe that I may have a solution for the problem. Rather than attack the virus directly, we may be able to provide the host with a more appealing source of energy. By introducing a second alternative to the service processor, there is a 2,677,481 to 1 probability that the service processor will be so busy that the UNIX virus will be forced to give up control."
Kirk: "What alternative LOCK?"
LOCK: "I recall from my days at Starfleet Academy a discussion on a lesser know program developed somewhere in the U.K. cluster of planets. If memory serves, it was referred to as the Adequate Little Computer System, or ALCS. With Dr. McCoy's assistance, I believe we can implement ALCS and remove the UNIX virus from our system."
CheckData: "Dammit LOCK, he's a doctor, not a systems programmer."
LOCK: "Quite true Mr. CheckData, but the doctor is the only one who can provide us with the formula for Yorkshire pudding and Guinness ale, two of the prerequisites specified in the ALCS installation manual."
Kirk: "LOCK, we've only got a few minutes. You get down to Engineering with Bones. Mr. SLU_LU, divert all ECB's to the Recoup routines, and execute a ZDUMP ALL. Lt. OoWhoAreYou, notify Starfleet of our intentions. I'm going to update my resume, just in case."
(Tense minutes pass.)
Scotty: "Captain, we've IPL'd the ALCS control program. The LPAR is operating at peak efficiency, and the UNIX program has exited the mainframe. All auxiliary systems are back online."
Kirk: "Good work Mr. Scott. Cancel red alert and get me a damage control report."
LOCK: "All systems returning to normal Captain. C/370 is operational, and the DF subroutines are operational as well."
Kirk: "Thank you Mr. LOCK. That was a close call.
LOCK: "I am still somewhat puzzled at Danbury's past reluctance to make ALCS available to the entire Federation. It would appear to be the logical choice for those planets requiring a sophisticated operating system without many of the headaches TPF is noted for."
Kirk: "You're right of course Mr. LOCK. Now that Danbury has dropped the barriers on ALCS, I think we'll be seeing many planets turning to ALCS instead of UNIX. And speaking of headaches, this whole episode has given me one of the all-time great migraines."
OoWhoAreYou: "Shall I call Dr. McCoy to the bridge Captain?"
Kirk: "Whatever for?"
Entire Crew: "Dammit Jim, he's a doctor!