Mallory was dead: to begin with. Bob knew he was dead, and nobody liked Bob, he was the security guy, nobody likes the security guy.
“Merry Christmas Bob!” said Alice. “Bah humbug!” was the reply. Bob had to work over Christmas protecting the network, he had no reason to be merry. As Bob opened the door to the server room he noticed the door knocker looked like Mallory, which was odd as the server room door didn’t have a knocker. A closer inspection led Bob to believe his mind was playing tricks on him.
Bob sat down at the terminal and heard the door slam shut. This is of course impossible as the door has a slow closer on it so this sort of thing couldn’t happen. As Bob peeked around the side of the terminal he saw the ghost of Mallory.
“How now!” said Bob, “What do you want with me?”
“Much!” said Mallory.
“Tonight you will be visited by 3 spirits, they will guide you in hopes that you can avoid my path.”
Mallory walked backwards, hit his head on the door, fell down, then stood up, looked around, and snuck out as best as one can after running into a door and falling down.
“Still an idiot” thought Bob. “I can’t imagine any of this is real.”
Later that night while reading Alice’s mail instead of checking the IDS logs, Bob heard a sound that made him look up quickly. There standing before him was a woman with a ghostly appearance.
“I am the ghost of cyber past” whispered the spirit. “The … what, wait, what? This stupid thing is real?” “I’m here to show you how you used to be, the shadows of things that once were.”
Instantly Bob was transported to the server room ten years ago. He was speaking with the lead architect about how to secure the infrastructure.
“I remember him” recalled Bob. “He should have been fired for incompetence.” “You weren’t always like this” said the spirit “You once had hope you could change things and help them.” “Well, I was a foolish youth, these people are beyond help now” Bob recalled.
The Spirit gazed at the youthful Bob. “We should create a security policy that will help keep the network secure, it’s important not to get in the way too much, I have no doubt we can do this if we work together!”
Just then the scene faded and they were returned to the server room of today, a drab place that had no joy or good ideas anywhere you looked.
“Sigh, there are going to be two more of these bozos who come tonight I suppose. I probably won’t get anything done. This will be worse than end of quarter.”
The clock struck one, which was odd given there isn’t a clock in the server room. “Now why is that even needed” yelled Bob.
Bob looked up and saw another Spirit. “You’re the one who will show me nobody likes me right!” The spirit looked at him and sighed. “This is why nobody likes you Bob, let’s go.”
The first stop was a party where Alice is talking to some friends. “Then he actually said bah humbug. I mean, who even does that. The guy is totally mental.” Bob shouted “It’s not like you’re any better!” “She can’t hear you” said the Spirit. Bob grumbled something foul to himself.
“I had hoped to show you more, but this is the only person I could find who even talked about you, seriously Bob, you need to be nicer to, well, anyone.”
The scene changed to Bob’s apartment. It was a disheveled room with clutter everywhere. The computer chair was the only place that didn’t have a mess on it. “I have friends in World of Warcraft!” “That’s a lie and you know it!” said the Spirit. “They kicked you out of the guild because you treat them all horribly.”
“Really Bob, I’ve been doing this a long time, you’re without a doubt the most unlikable person I’ve seen, you need to be nicer.” “Maybe if they were nice to me!” “It really doesn’t work that way. Stop being such a jerk.” Bob looked at the Spirit “Aren’t you supposed to be all mysterious and not tell me what to do?” “I’ve made an exception. Also, clean up this dump when you get home.”
With that the room vanished and Bob was again in the server room.
“What a waste of time” he sighed. “That guy was dumber than the people I have to work with.”
The last Spirit was waiting for Bob as soon as he arrived. “This one is supposed to scare me” thought Bob. He looked up and saw one of his sales reps. “Oh FOR …” “Hi Bob, shall we get going?” “I always knew there was something up with you, you actually are the devil!” “Spirit Bob, I’m a spirit.” “Oh whatever, look, I’m busy, can we just assume you show me a terrible future so I can finish up?”
The server room was suddenly much brighter, it was clearly daytime at some point in the future. There were two people talking. “Will you miss him?” said the first person, Bob didn’t recognize them. “Absolutely not” said the second person. “That guy was horrible. Nobody liked him, I’m amazed it took so long to fire him, what a pain”. “You can’t just be a tyrant, security is important, we need someone who can help, not just tell us ‘no’ anytime a question is asked.” “Hah, that’s true, all Bob ever did was say no and yell. Thank goodness they fired him.”
“They fire me!” asked Bob. “They had no choice” said the Spirit. “You weren’t actually helping, you just made problems worse really. Remember this is but the future that could be if you don’t change your ways. There is still hope for you Bob, you can make things better instead of just being part of the problem. Tonight was all about showing you the error of your ways so you can become the security person you once thought you could be. The security person the world needs, it’s important. It’s time to go now, you’ve seen enough. I’ll call you on Monday, I think your firewall it out of compliance.”
With that the server room scene changed back to the present, it was dark outside and Bob was alone in the room. He shivered, it was suddenly chilly.
Bob took a deep breath, what a night. He looked up at the clock, it was almost time to head home. The future Bob saw made him nervous. “That’s not how I want to go out, I’m smart enough to make things right” he thought. Bob leaned back in his chair. After thinking about what to do Bob decided he had to change things. That’s not the future he wanted he had to build a new future. A great future, a future he deserves!
Bob grinned, grabbed a scrap of paper and started writing something down. He taped it to the door. The note read “Merry Christmas everyone, Love Bob.”
“This will be a Christmas to remember” Bob said out loud.
He then shut off the power to the whole server room and left. His phone started ringing immediately and he ignored it as he walked to his car. “Nobody fires me!” he thought to himself. “I wonder if the guild will let me back in?”