Friday, October 3, 2014

Adam, Be A Star

Adam, stardom is just a click away.
Adam stared at the computer screen, fingers trembling on the touchpad. Should he do it? He stroked the enter key. Louise had sent the link to him, recommended it even. But now that it came down to it, could he actually bring himself to accept?
He leaned back in his chair and screwed up his face. Being a star would solve a lot of problems, that was certain. Louise had only been a star for a week, and look at her: married to that famous singer, wealth pouring out her ears, fantastic mansion in the tropics – and of course, every night, she joined the Heavenly Host in their trek across the night sky.
Brilliant.
She hadn’t stopped smiling since.
And now, here, right in front of him, was an opportunity to do the same. He’d received one of the very precious, very limited invitations to stardom. And he was going to accept it.
Of course he was.
He hit enter, grinned broadly and stretched in satisfaction. The computer screen flashed silver then black as it processed his application. Stars began to dot the screen and within seconds the view zoomed through the universe, finding a place for Adam, the newest star.
He sighed and pushed his chair back to go grab a drink while the system found a place for him.

#

He’d have screamed, if he could – but in the daytime, no one would believe him and in the night time, no one could hear him as he circled the Earth thousands of light years away.
The computer virus had sucked him right into the machine, digitally editing his exterior before hurling him out into space, then creating a holographic substitute for him on earth. 
And then it had sent the email.

Every now and then Adam bumped into someone else who, like him, had become a star. He had to admit, the glow was lovely. But he’d have preferred it if there was altogether less glow and rather more conversation.
Another flare; another human shunted into space in a ball of flaming gases. The sky around him blazed. There couldn’t be many left to go.

#

Frank frowned as he peered at the computer screen. He leaned over to cross check what he saw in his high-powered, completely-legal telescope and frowned again. There were definitely more stars showing up in the online starmap than there should be.
He grabbed his phone and dialled. “Hi, Ben? Have you been messing about with the system again? I told you to leave it alo—“ He cut off at Ben’s earnest assurances that he hadn’t logged in since last week. “Yeah, yeah. Just make sure you don’t touch it anymore, okay? ...No, there’s nothing wrong. Go back to sleep.” 
He dropped the phone back on the desk, still staring at the screen. If Ben hadn’t been messing around, who had? 
Frank zoomed in. Louise Fischer? What kind of name was that for a star? And Steven Brayburn? Seriously? It was like whoever had hacked the starmap was trying to make it obvious or something. 
A word registered in his subconscious, but before he had time to figure out what it was, an email notification popped up. 
Adam. Hmm, was that the word he’d just seen? Absently, he scrolled across the starfield while the email loaded. Ah, there, just above star Louise on the screen: star Adam Litchfield. Frank grinned. Sneaky bugger. The email was probably him gloating.
Frank switched over to read the email. “Frank, be a star!” he said, reading the subject heading. “Oh, sure, Adam. I’d love to be a star. Nice one.”
He opened the email, found the link. Still grinning, Frank clicked.

#


The virus would have smiled, if viruses could. In fact, it probably would have licked its pointed fangs if it had had them. As it was, it had to settle for a quick zip up and down the nearest circuit. Very soon, those pesky humans would be off its planet for good, and all would be right in the world. It waited until Frank had been processed, then sent the next batch of emails from his account. 

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