LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!
Non-personsI arrived in London with no passport, unable to use my accounts for fear that even pulling cash for later use would tip off my location, and still not quite sure if I was being kidnapped or rescued. Fear crept into my system when Tanya drove me into the countryside. Her demeanor had changed from friendly and willing to talk to distant and silent.
Her silence kept my mouth shut, because I had no idea what was going on, and was afraid I’d stepped in it big time. I didn’t notice details like how well furnished our supposed safe-house was, or that it had not one, but several broadband connections, and that I wasn’t the only refugee/abductee there. My mind, by that point, was convinced I had been kidnapped and all this was just part of the window dressing to keep me quiet before who-knows-what happened.
Miko looked at me oddly, “You’re telling us stuff we already know.”
“Well look at it this way.” I gave her a level look in return. They kept insisting they were almost ready, just a little longer. Well It’s been a week since I’ve left America, and five of those days had been spent here. I was getting tired and snippy, and if this was all some sort of game. Plus I’d burned through my vacation time at work, and I wasn’t looking forward to having to hunt for a new job when this was over. “You get to see how scared out of my mind before all of this went downhill, as opposed to how much I distrust you now that I’m at the bottom of that hill and see no good way out.” “Fine. Lay it on me.”
Let me elaborate on this portion of my travels since you just don’t seem to understand the absolute terror I’d worked myself into. I hadn’t simply left home or the state. I had left the country following a militant seeming woman that claimed it was for my own protection. I was in a strange land with little money, no knowledge of local workings, and no support system at hand. Yes I was allowed to call home, assure everyone I was fine, but either Tanya or somebody else was always within earshot, so I didn’t want to voice my suspicions out loud lest they be proven true.
You know about the house I was taken to don’t you? The one that had eight or a dozen other people milling about. If it weren’t for the fact I was sinking into my own fears I would have actually liked the place. Everyone there was somehow, like myself, a wayward sort; be it someone from the ‘blogosphere’ that had twigged some sort of nerve that caused guys in black uniforms and big guns to bust their door in, hackers and other ner-do-wells such as myself, or just those that were looking for a safe shelter from the storm all this was causing. That hadn’t eased my worry, but it did comfort me that for the moment I wasn’t alone.
Introductions were made; each of us giving our favored on-line handles rather than birth names. It felt somewhat strange doing this in meat-space, but nowhere near as strange as it might have for a newbie. You were there Miko, so was Sekmet and Bast. You know, I always thought those two would be socially inept thirteen year-olds that could have graduated college and they turned out to both be fully tenured university professors somewhere in their mid forties. There were others, some I had heard whispers of, and others I’d bumped into here and there. None of them seemed to really notice me, after all why should anyone? I’ve kept mostly to myself, try not to brag too much about my targets, and unlike Mikhail I withdraw from crowds rather than try being the center of attention.
All of us, so I thought at the time, were brought here for similar reasons, and I suppose you would tell me that assumption is correct. We asked ourselves, and each-other what those reasons were. It didn’t take long for me to rule out everyone having a quantum computer, because when I brought up the idea it was quickly dismissed. I wonder how many thought I was out of my gourd when I told them about Deep Six. A quick demonstration was in order to bring them around. Just glad everyone had laptops on them so they could play along.
Bast and a couple others leaned over me while I set myself up. I told everyone to buzz off because they were in my space, and even if I generally tune out what’s going on around me when I’m getting down to business I never have and likely never will put up with people getting in my face while I’m trying to work my mojo. Reluctantly most took a few steps back, but you, Miko, you kept close. Though from my perspective since you had gotten outside arm’s reach, you didn’t existent. So as far as I was concerned. I simply couldn’t spare the attention for any of you because of my demonstration run.
“Break into Haven!” The first request came from someone dressed in a mix of late nineteenth century fashion and though it looked good the effect was spoiled by the rumpled slept in nature of the man himself.
Haven. He gave me the full address. My first trick was rattling off every security feature the site was running, length of password, ports open, and likeliest services running on those ports. I know, you were there, but I still felt more than a bit satisfied at the reaction, especially when I tore the site to ribbons. Let everyone gather closer so they could look at the screen, go back to confirm the site’s status via their own boxes just to make sure I wasn’t running some kind of smoke and mirrors trick.
Next request was a rival’s blog. Boring. I broke in just to prove I could, then checked the local network to try finding the requestee’s box. Get more creative sister. I’m not your personal attack dog, so your box has now become a paperweight. Have fun reinstalling everything after you get a new drive.
Miko broke my narrative with her laughter, “I remember, that’s when you gave your ‘poor wittle piwate.’ tirade.” After a moment or two of thought she shook her head. “No, that came after Dos asked you to break into that network so he could clone all their movies.”
My eyes rolled at the thought of the guy. Fat, unkempt even when compared the fact everyone else had been several days without a bath. “Please, don’t remind me. Kid needs to get out, run a few miles, or something. S’pathetic.” Sure, I had my own complaints about how the copyright system in America works, but giving it the middle finger isn’t going to fix anything, at least not by itself.
There were other requests in those first hours. Some I’d gladly stepped up to. Others, mostly ones representing personal vendetta or acts entirely too showy, I refused. Seriously. Yes I’d like to knock the RIAA down about eight or twelve pegs, but defacing their servers are neither a challenge, nor would it help cause a positive shift in how the system works. Miko and I talked of my time in that house for what felt like hours. That run let me forget my troubles for a little while and let me feel at peace, even when I was practically screaming at another of the attendee’s about why I wouldn’t hop to when they wanted me to break into something for them.
After that we had to sleep. Girls in one room, boys split amongst two others, and there were four of your people as guards over all of us. It wasn’t a comfortable weekend, but up until we had been split up it was almost as if it could have been preparations for a con, or just an impromptu gathering to talk shop and swap dares. Even though I have my reservations about you and your people Miko, I’m glad you kept Bast and Sekmet together.
“It was never our intent to split them up.” Miko paused to look at her phone. “Story time over Skippy. They’re giving your computer back.” You have no idea whatsoever how happy that makes me.