Des O'Neill | January 21, 2019
We don’t see much of Old Herb and his missus; Myrtle. They wander into town from their home, somewhere out in the sticks, for “essential supplies, the stuff we can’t grow,” as they say.
Herbs arrival at the bar of Ravenshoe pub one Saturday afternoon took us locals surprise. His place at the bar was normally reserved for quiet listening of country news, while Myrtle had a cuppa at the Popular Café. The old fella usually has nothing much to say. It took us by surprise when he suddenly began telling about a strange arrival at their property out in the sticks.
“Had a strange arrival the other week at our place,” Herb announced to no-one in particular, “damned if I know what to make of it.”
Those of us regulars knew a momentous occasion now beckoned our ears for attention.
“Was out in the yard just looking over things, then I see this mango sized thing floating about the trees.” He had our full attention. “It was blinking and humming when I took it into show Myrtle.” He tugged at that long white beard of his as he spoke, in deep thought.
He recounted the morning events to our anxious ears of outback drama. How the device or thing hovered over their phone when he released it inside. How Myrtle was busy at the typewriter doing a story, even her words about his latest find; “So your morning meandering has reaped yet another rewarding relic for the collection dear, how nice!” Is how he recollected the conversation.
“But its blinking darling and it floats.” He had tried to entice her attention away from the typewriter keys.
“Really Herbert! You should leave the dramatics for me to write.”
For an old fella I think Herb did well to remember and reconstruct events accurately. I never doubted a word of his story, because I had heard a Government conversation over the CB, following in the same path as his story.
The time of which he spoke coincided with the arrival of three Federal Police vehicles in town. As an ambulance driver I have direct access to the network, and access to the airwave of CB talk. A private plane had landed at Atherton from Adelaide, with officials from Federal Space Surveillance aboard, it was met by three car loads of Federal Police up from Cairns.
The airwaves spoke of a Dorb, Ailidourus Dorb they called it, and it had come to rest over an elderly couples’ phone. These people seemed to have access to very private information for they knew the exact address and how to find it, their names, dates of birth and even their children’s names.
“We have success, Ailidourus Dorb has tracked down hackers and scammers of the internet,” a Sandressa woman had announced triumphantly, “proceed, there are only two on the premises, don’t be fooled, they can be very cunning, I will report directly to Minister Dutton of our find. The Minister will be pleased of the success of our network of spy satellites we released over Australia as successful.”
“Should we draw our weapons Sandressa?” came a concerned reply from an overprepared, but cautious Federal Police officer, “I mean its looks very harmless and peaceful, they are just two old people, it could be a mistake.”
“Proceed as ordered Sergeant, do not take any risks. Our Satellite Dorbs do not make mistakes. We are the latest in Space technology and our agency with Government funding has the very latest, up to the second observation and surveillance available, this can’t be a mistake. Remember who we represent sergeant, Australia Border Protection against Terrorism.”
That little mango old Herb found had released some strange events and people into our peaceful community of Ravenshoe.
I asked old Herb how it all finished up.
“The stupid thing was a mistake, and that Government girl admitted so. She gave us something called a memory stick, a little plastic thing. Said there was some sort of compensation money on it, called it bits of coin or somethin’.”
“Bitcoins, they are a new currency on the internet, big money Herb. How many did she say?”
“Ahh about 10 or so, pretty measly compensation I reckoned. Anyway, Myrtle wanted to save her story somewhere so she wiped that plastic stick clean on her computer somehow, and saved her story on it. All this modern jargon, I don’t follow it.”