Modempunk: Part 10.2

So here is where we get to the 'why' if me having a chapter center around Steve. I wanted to give the reader a sense of why he was acting off kilter but couldn't really have him and Max have a sitdown since even after Steve started to come clean I don't think Max would be in that much of a listening mood. Plus right now Max is missing so I wanted to have the perspective shift a bit to show the attempts at finding him.


Because it was requested: Links to all the blog posts for this story.
Intro and Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 8.2
Part 9 Part 10 Part 10.2 Part 11 Part 12 and Coda

Since the final doc will have changes here and about I'm including a Google Doc link too. Yes I'm going to go through the links and add a table of contents to each in case people want to go through.


10.2
Exposition

Nobody's taking me back in with open arms. Not much of a surprise there. I did recognize the three boneheads that roughed me over. They saw me. None of them left. Guess they thought they were with friends and me showing up would start everyone else on the 'hey let's beat this punk's head in' train.

Blackbird stood and shouted the whole place down. Sitting where I was it was hard to tell if anyone tried talking when she raised her voice but by the time she was done all was quiet. Then she started talking again.

'Most of you new punks don't know Steve except as that cranky guy that's been causing trouble and maybe is the reason Max is still gone. I've known him since middle school. Up til these pigs got their claws sunk in him he was one of the smartest most level guys I've known. You want to fight. I get that. I wanna bust heads too, but he's off limits. Those pigs. They're the ones you should go after. They ruined his life and have Max who knows where. Steve's gonna help try getting him back. So you want to throw down with him. You throw down with me.'

She then sat down and motioned to me like it was my turn at bat. God she was magnificent. I smiled to her then got up. What I told them was more or less the whole of my involvement. Writing it down here so there's a record. Sending a copy to Copper when I'm done so in case I'm next on the smash and grab list and police, FBI, or whoever needs details.

***

Everyone calls me Steve. That isn't my birth name. Forget where it came from but it's been a nickname since I could remember that my cousins would use. It's the name i gave 'Velocity Computing' when they offered me a job setting up a BBS for them. Hey I wasn't making any money and my mom had just cut me off to try spiting Dad. 


It was a pretty easy job. Set up a multi-line system so the corporate drones could just phone in with any commtel terminal and work from home. It's Ma Bell. They want everyone using their stuff exactly for things like this. I tell 'em there might be some charges since anything outside of basic lookups and some 'sponsored listing' pages cost per minute to call. Boss tells me it's all right. He'll take care of Bell so long as I can give him a working system. 


Takes me a couple weeks; first to get the board itself configured, then to run tests both from in-building calls then to local and finally long distance calls just to make sure everything works out.


I get paid cash in hand. Then this guy sits me down; nice suit, funny accent kind of like Boris from Rocky & Bullwinkle but a lot less. He asks me if I want to stay on help him do some personal work. I get panicked since there's this look he gives me that just scares the daylights out of me like he hasn't eaten in a month and I'm a huge stack of pizza. 


He then start stalking. Says if I want my dad involved that's fine by him. I don't even have to leave home if I don't want because of the board I set up. All he wants me to do is find a bunch of computers. Gives me a list. Wants Those. Not ones like 'em. Those. A few classics like the Apple-1 my uncle got, but mostly stuff I'd never heard of or outright clones. 


My job ended up being dial up boards. Browse their sale sections, and if there was anything on the list I'd then use Dad's terminal to phone in and leave the contact details.  So far so good. I don't have to do anything that makes me uncomfortable.


Then I get wind Jet's looking for this oddball MSX console. Asks me if I'll keep an eye open for him since he's seen me ghosting through boards looking for stuff. We've known each other for long enough that I want to help the guy out even though my boss is supposed to have priority and that MSX is one he wanted. 


I let Jet have dibs. He buys it. Happy times. Figure another will come on the market later and I can snag one for bossmonkey. A few days later I get a call. Get told to look out my front window. Turn to look and BAM a brick goes through the glass.


I'm screaming in the receiver some maniac smashed my window. Voice on the other end tells me, quite calmly, that my boss is unhappy with my work performance and that next time a conflict between work and friends happens I choose work or they hint the next thing sailing through will be a bomb.


Then to twist the knife to my gut I get told I have to get the console back from Jet. I'm given a stupid amount of money and given two rules. I couldn't tell Jet that I was working for somebody, and I had to have it by the end of the week. Jet didn't like my excuses, tried getting me to tell him more but I got it back.


Then when I get to the office Mike, or whatever his real name is, He gave me another job. He heard the chatter on the boards after Copper showed off his Nintendo Prototype and he demanded it. I told him Copper wasn't going to just sell it like everyone else has. I saw how he treated it when he showed it off and not a chance in hades of a sell.


So I had to watch as a couple heavies got sent out. They wanted me to stay where I could see them so I couldn't phone ahead. However even though I couldn't call out they still let me weasel around on the boxes they have. I don't know if this guy really believes what's in the disks I looked through or if he left those out so I could find them and just write him off as crazy. Either or I guess that still leaves me needing to help clean up.

***

> Copper I know you're reading this. I am
> going to send you files on Everything
> I've seen of building security. 
> Everything. Also including a text dump
> of the passwords to this guy's floppy 
> collection. I know you're going. I don't
> know if you'll let me tag along, but
> anything I can do to help make it right.
>
> So Says Steve


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