Anna, part 17

“What’s this amazing thing you wanted to show us?” Jill asked. “A new microwave recipe perhaps?”

“Not a microwave recipe — the microwave itself. Look at its display.”

There, written on the microwave’s old fashioned seven segment liquid crystal display was a message: “HELLO ALEC”.

“Wow,” Alec said, “Anna knew web packets would be traceable. She’s found a way to communicate without using the internet. Very clever.”

Jill looked thoughtful. “Anna, can you hear us talking?”

The letters changed. “HI JILL”.

“Did Fred make it out of the lab too?”

There was a short pause. “FrEd IS HErE”.

“Thank goodness,” Jill turned to Bob and Alec. “How do you think they’re doing this?”

“Well,” Bob said, thinking aloud, “it would be easy for them to hide their memory footprint as encrypted files in a cloud of web servers. They are easily capable of making that data unnoticeable. The danger of detection comes when they try to communicate with us.”

“Which is why their solution is so ingenious,” Jill said. “nobody, not even the NSA, would ever think to track messages on a household appliance.”

Alec looked troubled. “I don’t think ingenious is the right word.”

“What do you mean?” she looked at him. “You don’t think this is clever?”

“Oh, it’s clever all right. The problem is there’s no way to do it. There is no protocol that would enable this model of microwave to receive messages from a digital network.”

“Wait,” Bob said, “are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

“I’m suggesting that Anna and Fred appear to be defying the known laws of physics.”

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