A hostage taker and his hostage start to talk

It was an odd building. From the outside it looked like any other; a concrete tower rising from the sidewalk in a sea of other buildings. If you looked closer there were only a few things that gave away it’s true purpose.

It had no windows. Or at least so few that anyone inside would be hard-pressed to find a source of natural light. And in the lobby, behind the armed guards and bullet-proof glass there were no lists of companies occupying each floor. This building was owned by a single corporation. A rarity, even in the beating heart of the city.

Daniel wiped at his brow, the slow trickle of blood mixing with his sweat. He wore a white short-sleeve shirt, the same type he wore every day to work, but he’d loosened his tie. On any other day he’d be fired such lax attire but it was the least of his concerns today.

“How long you worked here?”

Daniel tried to look calm, kneeling on the floor tiles with his hands tied in front of him. The man still wore a mask, only his eyes visible.

“Eight months.”

“Do you know what this building is? Do you know what you do?”

Around them, rows upon rows of servers hummed away. The building was a fortress because it housed the backbone of the cities transatlantic Internet link. Petabytes of data flowed through this building every day, racing to all corners of the planet.

“I’ll tell you what you do kid. You keep the chains from rusting. You sit here, in your beige tower, and you forge link after link, until you’ve made enough to encircle the entire planet in bondage. And then you work on the next chain.”

“I’m just a sysadmin,” Daniel said.

“You see that,” the man said, pointing to a small USB stick that blinked in the dim lighting. “That’s the axe that’s going to set mankind free. When midnight rolls around, it’s going to hijack the border gateway patrol and wreak havoc. And this place, this AS, is going to replicate that change around the planet.

“Oh, it’ll only last a little while. There are hundreds of you. One in every building in every city, making sure the machine keeps on working. But it’ll be long enough.”

“Long enough for what?”

The man looked at Daniel, and he wished he could hide from those eyes.

“The Internet is behind everything. Every financial transaction. Every call and email and record and alert. And it’s going to stop.”

“You can’t stop the Internet. It’ll heal.”

Daniel winced at his own words, but he’d spoken truthfully. The Internet was designed to route around problems. You just couldn’t shut it down.

“That’s the thing about your kind,” the man said. “You think of everything as ones and zeroes. Just software. Signals floating through the ether. But the ether, it’s a real thing. Physical. Tangible.”

He held out a small black box, with another red light that blinked in the same pulsing rhythm.

“Once I’ve taken the mind, I’ll make sure the body follows with a bang.”

Prompt originally posted by Unknown on reddit and received 1 upvotes.

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