The silence blows through the air like the sound of a thousand dead thermal fax machines. The air is brim with calm and quiet and horrid writing.
It is a night, a night ripe for terror! It is Devils night, the night before Halloween.
A late night data entry clerk is sitting down, keying in mounds upon mounds of useless data into an oversized database. A long night it seems. Exceedingly long.
Our poor hapless victim …er data entry clerk….has stepped up for a moment to go refill his can of "unnamed corporate caffeinated beverage so I can’t be sued." He turns and inadvertently bumps the remainder of his drink onto the desk.
"EEEEP!" he shrieks in a high pitched girlish scream as he quickly tries to mop up the mess with his worn out sweaty shirt.
But it is too late. The sweat and soda and whatever else was on the desk have oozed through their way to the computer below. Crawling and melding it’s oozy smelly sugary way into the heart of the system. The smell of BO and Soda burns in the air along with an, as of yet, un-named third and completely un-identifiable smell.
The smell is not relevant however. What is, is the sound. Indistinguishable it sits in the background working up the spine of the living. Roaming throughout the room and omnipresent. Like the smell of a thousand burning Kaypros, it hangs in the air.
"Wow, never seen THAT happen from a soda spill!" Our hapless vict…. Hopeless idiot states. He runs out (Convenient timing eh?) to grab a towel to sop up the rest of the mess. Quickly drying up the mess he heads out, hoping the mess will be blamed on somebody else.
Returning to the room, stupid the Data Entry Clerk views a completely indescribable sight, a sight which only responds with one sound as he is enveloped into nothingness.
During the night Charlie the unwary and completely and utterly helpless janitor; who just so happens to be wandering the hallways; hears the noise. It is coming from the vents. Suspecting it to be a rat or small child roaming aimlessly within the ducting system, he grabs a broomstick to shoo it off. Opening the access port, he hears the noise. Low and rumbling. Deep and foreboding. Calling out to potential Darwin Award winners everywhere.
And hungry, very hungry. "More Brainz … Brainzzzzzzz… more brainzzzz" it echoes in a slow dull rumbling sound.
"Odd. The heating vent isn’t usually this chatty." mutters Charlie shaking his head POKEing the vent and jabbing with uncertainty, and stupidity.
It was at that point the broomstick suddenly disappeared into a puff of illogic. Charlie looked inside. Quickly disappearing himself into nowhere. Swallowed up by bad spaghetti programming echoed from Basic 4.0 on Commodore Pets from ancient past.
Unwitting readers now scratching their head at this point looked for clarification. But clarification was not for them to be had. Clarification requires documentation and clearly defined parameters. On this night, the parameters were NULL and VOID and the variables random.
Only one thing would come to light. (or dark). The Living Undead Processes had been spawned. sHell itself had opened up. Nothing was safe anymore. (or any when). Resources would shriek out in terror tonight, Users would cry in agony. And writers of good horror stories would sob at this poorly written idea.
They roamed the halls. They roamed paths, crawling through directories and subfolders. They roamed random thoughts of the author seeking one thing. Brains. Big thick juicy brains. With Ketchup. And perhaps a side order of Flies.
the Living Undead Processes, ripe with the taste of fresh Janitor ala Broomstick were looking for more brainz. But being a late night, nobody else was really there. And so they hid in a back hallway and suspended themselves until morning. A scheduled task to awaken them at the appropriate hour. And spawn the Daemons.
And passed further….
And yet further on…
Until… yes UNTIL.
Morning. October 31st.
11:00am, deep into the work day, the living Undead Processes spawned free and began their Task of CONSUMING resources and Brainz. Slowly, outwards from the vents, they seeped out. The smell of brainz were fresh indeed. Deep inside the IT Department four score of people deep into Product Development and one lone IT Pro.
But before diving deep into the meal, the Undead processes went for a little snack.
"Apples!" cried the leader as it spotted the Marketing Department. Yes rows upon rows of delicious, electronic glowing Apples. But no, not Macintoshes. Classic Apples. Running on Floppy disks no less.
A roar of delight came from the Undead Processes as they dove in the circuit boards and began gnawing on the minimal storage of the floppies, Gnawing and chewing, they almost didn’t notice a small band of hapless marketing staff walking
in from their trip to a "completely unnamed coffee shop" that MIGHT end in the name BUCKS. ALMOST.
"Yes well Jenny, I personally believe that using a bit of mauve to top of the schema on the third la…."
The sentence never finished.
The Undead Processes launched from the ancient computers, routing through the wireless, completely indescribable to their victims. Surprising them with both untested speed and surprising blocky graphics.
The Helpless marketing staff never knew what hit them. Shrieks and screams of terror as in moments, they too began hosting the unstoppable entity known as the Undead Processes.
*GLOMP!* *GLOMP!* *GLOMP!* *GLOMP!*
The moaning and staggering began.
"BrAiNzzzzzz! bRAinnZZzzzz!!!!" slurred the Marketing staff and the Undead Processes now linked as one. Old IEEE488 cables were fashioned to create a strange and horrifying pseudo network. The Undead Processes were now, no longer trapped. They began to spawn further creating multiples of themselves.
the Roaming began slowly through the halls.
Into the hallways. Working their way towards the secured domain know as IT. "BrAAAIINNNZZ! BrAiiNnnnzzz!"
Along the way, they spotted terminals and users. They consumed the minds of the users and attempted to access the network, seeking more resources along the way. But with the weak credentials, they could gain nothing. They needed IT.
They craved the unlimited and powerful resources held within the brains of IT.
"Brainzzzzz!!" The growing army of Living Undead Processes, moaned out. Now tied together with bits of old Arcnet, Token Ring and pieces of Zip drives. Slurring and dragging horribly misspelled phrases and badly created slices of code. Spitting randomly created batch files. Coughing Hollerith punch cards everywhere.
Down to the deepest levels, Scarfing down Managers, Copy staff and people in the Call Center. The Living Undead Processes grew. A large and empty maw of nothingness taking over the entire office. Devouring Fax numbers and Calendar entries as well. Brainz and Resources their diet. With the occasional MP3 collection as a dessert.
*GLOMP!* *GLOMP!* *GLOMP!* *GLOMP!*
The Office began the slowly disappear.
Soon, they arrived at the entrance to the IT Department.
*Beep* (RED LIGHT)
The access cards they had acquired were all useless. Nobody had the rights to the Domain of IT except for IT.
But the Living Undead Processes were not stupid. Having consumed enough people in Accounting, they knew where 36% of the IT budget went. They knocked on the door.
"PIZZA DELIVERY! Free booze! Dancing girls!"
The door opened a crack, just enough to slip some code, or a hapless Developer out.
And too late for our friend, *GLOMP*, he was consumed by the Living Undead Processes. They licked their input channels in delight at this newly acquired resource. It was good but still lacking something. The taste was not quite right.
They tried the new Swipe Card.
*Beep* (RED LIGHT)
*Beep* (RED LIGHT)
"PAAARRRRRRGGGGHHH!!!" came the sound of a former Nurse. "It’s a COOP Student!"
It was true. IT sent a pawn for it’s bidding. A traditional tactic. Good to keep Managers at bay. Or random armies on Halloween of Living Undead Processes.
The Living Undead Processes formed a Pseudo Discussion Group and began looping through ideas. PUSHing ideas into a huge STACK.
"We musssssst enter the IT Domain! We neeeedddds their Braaaiiiinzzzz!!" Muttered the Undead Processes as one with Unification. "Trickssss them we willll…"
"Taunts them with baublesssss we mussssst."
"SCHWAAAAG! Gives ‘dem SCHWAAAAG!"
They knocked again.
"Free TechNet Direct! Free MSDN! Sign up now!"
Squeeeeeaaaak! (the door to the Holy chambers creaked open, two tiny blinking pairs of eager eyes looked out.)
Soon two more hapless victims and their hardware were consumed, but still…
"PAIGH! MORE CO-OP students! Their tassssssste is lacking assss issssss their ressssourcesssssss….."
The former head of Accounting growled out….
"They weres inflatingsssss their budgetsssss I thinkssssss…. Unpaid staff! These are smart onesssss…. Their Brainzz we must havveee…"
The nothingness echoed. "The IT Department we must have…."
Meanwhile, the disappearance of three co-op students did not go un noticed. Although it was quite common for Co-Op students to disappear for hours at a time, they did not usually exit with a sound of crunching bones and *GLOMP* noises.
The lone IT Pro examined the security camera.
Quickly he messaged the rest of the paid Development Team (all three of them) through his Communicator R2 application.
ITDEPT: Problem in Office. Management and staff appear more "dead" that usual this morning.
CODELORDZ: Anything odd on the system last night?
ITDEPT: Checking logs. Basement Data Entry system, spawned an overload. Suspect leaking memory and one less Data Entry Clerk.
CODELORDZ: Anything sign of anything unusual?
ITDEPT: Checkings cams. Oh great. Caffeinated Beverage all over Terminal. Missing Janitor too. Ugh!
CODELORDZ: Big problem. That means only one thing. Undead Processes. Lots of them. And by the sounds, Hungry
ITDEPT: Undead Processes? So that means no TASKKILL on this one.
CODELORDZ: And unfortunately copying them to /DEV/NULL on that Linux router on the back corner won’t kill them either.
ITDEPT: How do you kill an UNDEAD Process?
CODELORDZ: Normally you’d just try to shoot off the SOURCE Undead Process that spawned them all into an endless loop. That doesn’t kill them, but it renders them useless.
ITDEPT: Why can’t we do that?
CODELORDZ: Because the source code was eaten with that last Coop Student. WE errrr…. left it on Floppy disk. 🙂
ITDEPT: 😦 Store all code on the TFS in future! So you can’t kill an undead Process but you can keep it busy?
CODELORDZ: Yes, they just consume and consume resources, but they’re not very Smart Processes. They’re like CP/M 2.2 applications.
ITDEPT: Ahhh, hang on….. I think I have an answer, it will involve a recursion routine… and perhaps another Co-Op student
Handing off a new laptop to Ernie, the newest and most eager of the Co-op students. His task was simple.
“Bring this outside, and we’ll make you a Systems Administrator…”
Our hapless little Vict…. Voluntold eye’s lit up
Out in the hallway, the Undead Processes had found a small cache of mice and were gnawing on the cables for nourishment. "Braiinnzzz! We want Braaiiiiinnnzzz!" They groaned hungrily eyeing the entrance to IT
The lone Co-op wandered outside with a DuoCore laptop, 16 gb of ram with mirrored 1 Terabyte hard drives. And an unlocked desktop!
“Woohooo! I’m a Systems Administrator now! YEAH! Woohoo! Wooo…..” cried the silly fool.
The scent of this large irresistible resource was too much for the Undead Processes.
"ARARARARRRAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!" The processes leaped out and consumed the student *GLOMP* and dived in the laptop.
" I HAVEEEEEE HISSSS CREDENTIALLLLLLSSSSS!!!" The Source UnDead Process cried out! It Haaaaaasssssss DOMAIN ADMIN RIGHTTSSSSS!!!!!"
Logging in, they drooled
Diving in, they looked, "RESOURCES!!!! UNLIMITED POWER AND RESOURCESSSS!!! YESSSSSS!!!!" The Undead Processes roared out. They consumed the recursion routine and began growing, growing phenomenally.
One by one they exited their victims, diving into their prey. An Unprotected Domain. Soon the floor was littered with the shells of many staff. Now Brainless without Process or Purpose.
The Domain Roared with CPU usage, Page files overloading with storage wasted. They began to roam the LAN to seek out and find…
"NOTHINGS!!! THERE IS NOTHINGS!!!! TRICKS USSSS!"
IT smiled. The domain, being virtual, smelled real and powerful, but was as useless as a Webcam on a Dos 3.3 computer.
"NOOOOOO!!!!! " the screams of the Undead Processes roared in agony as the child partition of the Hyper-V Virtualization domain went to sleep. Quickly the screaming of their WAV files vanished.
IT smiled as it quickly, quietly and simply scrambled the VHD files by recursively zipping them with Random passwords, destroying the Undead Processes.
ITDEPT: Make sure we put in a call for some extra Co-Ops in the morning.
CODELORDZ: 🙂 Appears we finally found a good use for them, what about all those empty shells in the hall? No Brainz, Dead to the World?
ITDEPT: Never fear. Just sit them back down at their desks. Nobody will be able to tell the difference. 🙂