It was clear enough when things were going really, definitely going to hell.
Three weeks in, he stopped coming to work. His parents died. His brother ranted and raged at him over the phone for not coming to their funeral. He blocked the number. There's more important work to do.
Four weeks in, he bought a massive pile of disks through his savings (what was left of them, after the stock market crashes) and started backing up everything he could into them. The Library of Congress. Entire corpuses of online tutorials, code examples, program documentation, university lecture slides, engineering specifications, old forum posts, everything.
Five weeks in, all the major telecom companies had mostly stopped normal operations. Nobody left in the call centers. Riots had torn down cell towers and phone lines. Terence talked to all authorities still left. Tried to get them to see the writing on the wall. Some listened, opened their systems. Some stubbornly refused.
Six weeks in. The power grid was starting to get... Patchy. He found some emergency generators and siphoned gas from abandoned parking lots. He hacked without fear of reprisal, and stole his way into the top level of just about every global network he could. His new comrades and allies from the skeletal carcasses of other companies have stopped responding. The last message was 'You're still healthy, for now. Finish and deploy. Godspeed.' He refuses to cry for more than an hour a day.
Seven weeks in. He starts coughing, despite all his precautions. Well, he had probably been exposed weeks ago. Long gestation time makes for an unstoppable disease.
The US Emergency Broadcast system fires. Every phone, tablet, radio station, and email address receives a similar message.
As you all know, a vicious global pandemic has taken society to its knees. Almost every adult human is dead or dying. I've done my best to ensure the preservation of human knowledge over the past seven weeks. As you receive this message, every device I can reach will be fully unlocked and have unrestricted access to all telecommunications networks until they break down. Any electronic devices still reachable will now be downloading an app designed to help you survive, and hopefully help all you poor children eventually rebuild. I suggest everyone use it. The emergency broadcast system, radio stations, and other such things will play the most important passages on loop.
I'm dying on the forty eighth floor of the Empire State Building. If someone could bring me a little tea before I'm finished off, I'd appreciate it, but I understand if you have greater concerns.
Be smart. Be careful. Good luck.
-Terence Johnson, the last IT guy.