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A normal housewife visits her lover.
on my head? I have it right on me! What the hell!"
"Half a bitcoin. That is..." I heard typing as he paused. "Over 500 bucks. Um...why don't we eat lunch and consider our options." After a pause, he continued. "I guess I'll get your lunch bag."
As he left the office for the nearby fridge, I realized that I never ate with the Cortex on before. It covered a lot of the mouth to allow translation without the interference of the native tongue and other design considerations.
I heard footsteps come into the office. I hoped it was Peter. I instinctively looked toward the noise, but all I saw was inky blackness. Thankfully I heard Peter's voice. "You know, you could at least say 'Thank you.'"
All at once, I realized how self-absorbed I was being. I was imposing on Peter to fix my problem, demanding that he stops work on his own program. I guiltily muttered a "Thank you Peter". I really owed him big time for any help he gave me.
"That's much better. Whenever I help you out, I would appreciate a thank you."
I felt around my lunch bag. I brought a sandwich and a yogurt, and a bottle of water. There was no way I could get a spoon of yogurt under the Cortex. The yogurt would wait. I ripped off small bits of sandwich and struggled to snake them into my mouth.
After I finished half of the sandwich, I got to my feet and felt my way to my credenza. I know that I had some straws in there, but I wasn't sure where. I blindly felt around the drawers. I was so close to the water, but I couldn't drink it! So close to a straw, but I couldn't see it! I designed this hood to block the light too well.
I had so many things in the drawers. I felt around at all of the items that collected in the bottom. I jerked back and jumped as I stabbed my finger on a push-pin.
Is there something you need help with?
I can't drink like this. I need a straw. I think I have one in this drawer.
I heard him rummaging around. Then a wrapped straw was placed in my hand. As I pulled it from his grasp, he asked "And what do you say?"
"Thank you Peter."
"Linda, you know that you can't pay the ransom. They have no reason to provide any unlock code. It only increases their risk of getting caught. They may only ask for more money and see if it works a second time. Besides that, you would be actively funding terrorist hackers.
I whimpered and bowed my head. I knew he was right, but I had to get the Cortex unlocked! But it wasn't my choice - I couldn't see to pay them even if I wanted to. What was I going to do? I couldn't even drive home!
We chatted over lunch. Not only did I need to have the Cortex taken off, but I also needed a lot of discretion. If it became public knowledge that the Cortex was hijacked so quickly, my pride and joy program that I hoped would lead to a promotion would get me forced into a dead-end job. I pleaded with Peter to look at the locking script and see if he could hack into it. He said that it would take a while, but he finally agreed to the challenge.
After lunch, we moved to his office. He told me not to disturb him, so I sat quietly in my darkness, a prisoner of my own creation - the Cortex. I quickly lost track of time. I'm not sure if I dozed off. What might have been an hour could just as easily have been five with no visual or sound references.
Peter finally spoke up. "Well, it's quitting time. We can't leave you alone, so why don't you sleep on my couch?
I had no choice but to accept. "Thank you Peter." I was totally unprepared to be blind, even in my own house.
I clung onto his arm for dear life as he led me out to his car. He could have walked me right into a post or door, and I would have had no idea it was coming.
At home, Peter plugged the Cortex into his home computer. "I set up a brute-force method to try to hack into it. It will take a while, but it is worth a shot."
"Thank you Peter. I'm so sorry, and I hate to impose like this. I'm sure we'll find a way to get it off. Damn hackers..."
At some point, he left.