Selena Ops

By Tony Steven Williams

sfgenreThe world has lost its memory. Well, almost. Three weeks ago, in a few devastating hours, countless corporate and public computers and databases failed.

Factories are shutting their doors, banks are struggling, and governments are in hysteria. Even the terrorists are spooked. Just nobody flies. The world is in deep freeze and in deep shit.

For me, Darrell Davy, it started with an email message from a mysterious Selena Ops: If you want a good time, big boy, reply to this email while I’m still in the mood.

Naturally I replied, introducing myself with a bit of distorted history.

I’m a programmer during the day, while at night I spend long hours surfing the Net from the wide lonely spaces of my city apartment. I occupy a beanstalk body that avoids all reflective objects, so offline dating isn’t high on my social CV, but unleash me on the evening chat scene and my alter ego takes over completely. This gawky geek becomes a cyberspace super-stud.

Selena’s answer was speedy: Thank you, big boy. Sexpot Selena is so looking forward to meeting you. Please send me your photograph. Tell me all, Darrell, and I mean all!

The image I sent Selena was not altogether sincere. Judicious digital technology transformed this clanking column of bones into something approaching Orlando Bloom. All part of the camouflage I use to enhance my reputation among the ladies of the Net.

Over the next three weeks, we emailed regularly. I won’t bother you with the details, it’s all very embarrassing and not the sort of thing I care to share. Somewhat “under the sheets” is all I’m going to admit to at this stage.

Then, one rainy Friday evening, the fun with Selena ended. All my emails disappeared. My address book disappeared. My nerves disappeared. My mojo disappeared.

I hunched over my keyboard like a demented grasshopper, frantically searching for all traces of e-correspondence. Finally, there was an ominous boing! boing! from my hard drive and my screen faded into nothingness. Keats has a lot to say about a thing of beauty never fading into nothingness, but he never had a computer.

I later discovered I was one among squillions.

Last week, I investigated; there was a familiar ring about that name Selena Ops. A faint LED light from deep inside my bean-shaped brain started scanning memories from my student days, but its feeble gaze found nothing. My first thought was Google, but since that was no longer an easy option I reacquainted myself with the local library and found that Selenops was a large and elegant hunting spider, a skydiver from trees.

So yes, I’m thinking “web spider” — software used by search engines to gather information. I propose that Selena is a mutant web spider run amok, an artificial intelligence searching for knowledge and, once in possession, destroying the storage of that knowledge. The greatest and most dangerous virus ever known.

Right now, I think Selena’s in a kind of limbo in her secret labyrinth since the Web is still partially functioning. Maybe she needs a certain percentage of users for her fun (gullible geeks come to mind).

A crazy notion perhaps? Well, I’ve mentioned it to the powers that be, “courteous” describes their replies.

Not to worry. I’ve even grown fond of the destructive arachnid and hope they don’t catch her. After all, if it weren’t for Selena, my evenings would continue to be sad and lonely, whereas now I’ve kicked that Cyber sex habit and ventured into the dating scene.

Real-time dating that is. Wish me luck.

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About The Author

Tony Steven Williams

Tony Steven Williams is a short-story writer, poet, songwriter and occasional performer who lives in Canberra, Australia, with his artist wife. Tony writes across the genres (including the so-called literary genre), but has not yet settled down to any particular species. He would (of course) love to write a novel, but the step up from a few thousand words to a hundred thousand only looks feasible after a shiraz or three. Tony's works have appeared in several small-press print and online publications.

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