Forgive me for not being faithful with the 10 What Ifs. Life became… busy. But fear not. I shall finish this project up. We’ve two more stories to go — this one and a final one which will wrap the series up. I hope you’re all still able to follow what’s going on. So here we go — Shutdown.
This can’t be. This isn’t happening. What’s wrong with this computer? What’s the matter with this browser? I try to hit refresh —
Oh wait. Let me copy this email’s body somewhere safe first.
Of all days. Of all possible hours. Of all the minutes in the world, it has to be now, when I’m smack in the middle of sending an important mail, that the Internet suddenly decides to go crazy.
Right click, new folder, drafts. Right click, new document, IMPORTANT. Ctrl+V, save.
I close my eyes and heave a sigh. That message was supposed to be for the President and his officials. I met up with a women rumored to be the President’s long lost wife this morning. The whole thing’s kinda crazy if you ask me. But as his PA, I had to find the girl, do some background and security check, and then I had to convince Miss What’s-her-name to come back to the President’s loving arms. So now I have to write a report about her and my morning’s findings.
I was doing just that. But looks like the connection has decided to go kaboom.
Perhaps I should kill time by catching up with the afternoon news. There should be a portable TV somewhere in these drawers.
I reach out for the handle of my top desk-drawer. Nothing.
Of course. All the important papers are there.
I reach out for the middle. Office supplies. Of course.
I reach out for the bottom one. My emergency supplies. Ahh, there it is.
I fumble through the controls. I haven’t used this in a while. I rely mostly on Twitter and YouTube for important news updates when I’m in the office or on the go.
The face of Selina Quezon, the station’s number one news anchorwoman, fills the screen.
“Beloved citizens, there is no need to be alarmed. As many of you have noticed, the Internet connection provided by Globalink has come to a shutdown as of 3:00 this afternoon. We have received reports from international sources that the machines in the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) headquarters have been obliterated, leading to this unfortunate event. We do not know when the machines will be brought back to their original state. Some organizations doubt if they can even be restored at all.”
What in Tim Berners-Lee’s name? An Internet shutdown? No, no, no, no! “No need to be alarmed,” the news anchorwoman said. Uhh, within the same breath as, “we do not know if the machines can be brought back to their original state or if they could be restored at all…?” How could anyone in their right mind keep calm and move on?
I do important transactions via the Internet. I connect with other offices through this medium. And I maintain the President’s Twitter and Facebook Page, posting notes and updates through the WWW for crying out loud!
And, on a more serious note, my two younger siblings’ livelihoods depend on the Net and its stability — they’re both web developers. So what will happen if the web never comes back?
Who’ll support them — and who’ll support our parents now?
I give the tiny machine a frantic shake, as if doing so would force Ms. Quezon to take back the piece of news she had just delivered.
She doesn’t do anything of the sort. Instead, the network flashes to a footage of the ICANN headquarters. A field reporter is on the bottom-left corner, adjusting the lapel microphone in his collar.
Suddenly, the queerest sight fills the screen. A little boy wearing bunny ears and a maroon waistcoat runs out of the building and collides with the reporter head on. The man tries to get up when a young woman running about in stilettos speeds by, pausing briefly to help him get up. She whispers something into his ear before she zooms away to the direction of the young boy.
The reporter straightens his shirt and speaks into his lapel. “Good afternoon, beloved citizens. Pardon me for that ungraceful opening but an undisclosed source has just revealed to us a shocking lead as to who may be responsible for this afternoon’s Internet shutdown.” He pauses.
“The prime suspect for this incident is none other than the Mad Hatter.”
I sit still and grip the portable TV in surprise.
What? The Mad Hatter?
Well I never.