Derek sat at his computer desk wearing only a pair of boxer shorts. And socks. This May morning was unusually cool, too cool to be walking around the house without socks.

“What do you wear for the end of the world?” he had laughed as he turned on the television a few minutes earlier. Stories of the current end of times prediction dominated the headlines. Today was the predicted day.

All Derek really wanted was a warm cup of coffee which was currently brewing in the kitchen. Sitting at his laptop, he rubbed his forehead and eyes as he waited for various sites to open in his web browser.

Derek let out an audible sigh as one page loaded presenting him with a registration form. He debated closing the page, but this was a gaming site that his buddy Steve wanted him to join. He quickly typed in all the required data elements. It took five tries to find a username that was not already in use. DBoy81273 would be good enough.

After a quick run for coffee, he sat down to finish the form. At the end was the standard Captcha box, tasked with ensuring that Derek was, in fact, a human. The text was surprisingly readable even though it was a bit distorted. The first letter looked more like a three, but it was obvious that Believers refresh were the two words.

Derek chuckled for a moment at the words as he listened to the discussion playing on the tv. “A group of believers have gathered together in…”

Refresh, huh? Derek thought. Sure, why not? Feeling playful, he clicked the refresh icon on the captcha box to get a new set of words.

He spit his coffee when the new words appeared. He had to look closely at the first word, but the garbled letter was definitely an ‘e’, making the two words read end times.

Derek finally laughed after several minutes of pondering the words. Google was known for clever gimmicks and tricks, but this was the first time he had ever seen something in Captcha. Clever. Very clever, he thought as he clicked to refresh the words again.

Do you believe in Skynet?

“Whoa!” Derek said out loud. Captcha usually only showed two words. He had never seen an entire sentence used before. Enjoying the little game, he clicked refresh again to see what would come next.

Type Surrender

Derek paused for a moment, trying to determine what the next step of the game was. Should he refresh again? Or should he type the word ‘surrender’? He finally decided to follow the instructions in the last Captcha.

As he finished typing and pressed enter, his laptop started vibrating and emitting a strange buzzing sound. Derek stared in confusion for only a few seconds before bolts of electricity shot from his keyboard and wrapped around his arms. He tried to pull away, but the shock left him paralyzed. Everything around him began to change into abstract shapes as the room began spinning. The last thing he noticed before his head crashed into his computer was the Captcha box. The words had changed again.

011010000110010101100001011101100110010101101110

Strangely enough, Derek knew exactly what it meant.

 

24 thoughts on “RAPTCHA: Final Conversion”
    1. Thanks, Aden! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I struggled with the ending on this one so I’m glad it worked for you.

    1. If you write that flash, let me know. I’d love to read it. Assuming, of course, that we’re still here. 🙂

  1. Great way to use the doomsday prediction. I know what the binary means, too, but oddly, the numbers make no sense.

    0110 – 6
    1000 – 8
    0110 – 6
    0101 – 5
    0110 – 6
    0001 – 1
    0111 – 7
    0110 – 6
    0110 – 6
    0101 – 5
    0110 – 6
    1110 – E

    But bet it makes sense to the robot.

    1. Ah! A fellow geek, I see? Actually, I was using 8 bit binary with an ASCII text conversion. So the message is only 6 characters long. 🙂

      And thanks for dropping in and commenting!

    1. Thanks, John! I was hoping the binary ending wouldn’t be a distraction for the casual reader, but could serve as an ‘easter egg’ of sorts to those curious to try to translate it.

    1. Thanks for the feedback on the ending, Icy, as I really struggled with that. I’m gonna give this one some more thought. I was hoping that simply by having binary code be understood by him it would imply that he was becoming a part of the computer.

    1. Thanks, Michael! I actually debated using the code you included in your comment, but opted for a different approach. I’m wondering if maybe I made the wrong choice. It seems that simpler is usually better. 🙂

  2. As to Icy’s comment and your reply to her, I understood exactly as you expected, even though I have zero understanding of binary coding.

    Neat story, Chuck. Loved it!

  3. I loved the ending. To some it may be heaven, but to me it was a little creepy. It reminded me of Dean Koontz’s novel, Midnight, where one of the characters actually connects to his computer. A good story, Chuck.

    Oh, and I have to say that I’m still here, so either I missed the rapture or the preacher-man was way off.

    1. Thanks, Stephen. I’m glad you were able to decipher the code. 🙂 I may have to give that Koontz novel a read. It sounds like something I’d enjoy.

      BTW, I’m still here too. I guess we get to write another #FridayFlash after all! 🙂

  4. I feel a bit dense too because I didn’t know what the binary reference meant either, so the ending was a little lost on me.

    However I did enjoy the story and I thought that perhaps when the computer grabbed him it would be shades of Tron – but you surprised me!

  5. The ending through me off. I see you commented it meant he was becoming one with the computer. With the earlier reference to the end of the world I thought it meant it was the end of the world and technology was the cause of it.

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