Lock & Load
sonofgomez709 at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 1 03:04:22 PDT 2020
The room started to spin, and Jonathan put his hand on the edge of his desk, to steady himself. He realized that he had stopped breathing, and he inhaled mightily, causing the room to spin even more. After a few moments, the room stopped spinning, but Jonathan's mind continued to remain enmeshed in a conflicting whirl of old memories and new fears-all engendered by the receipt of a simple CyberPost.
A CyberPost from the past. A hundred years in the past.
A CyberPost which had shown up on his personal GraphiCube this morning, a century after being sent via an antiquated communications mode which the Masters of Antiquity called email. A CyberPost addressed to an anarchist organization that had been outlawed for over a hundred years-the CypherPunks.
Jonathan had immediately, instinctively, hit the illegal kill-switch on his ground-connection and booted his Telsa Snarf Barrier.
He had needed time to stop the room-and his mind-from spinning. But how long had he been sitting here, motionless? GlobeNet Security would be re-establishing his ground-connection in a matter of minutes and he would have to have an answer ready for his cutting of the ground-link to Headquarters.
Jonathan hastily saved the CyberPost to a disposable HydroCube that he could swallow, if need be. He pulled an Insta-Log chip of his own making out from under his seat and placed it online, booting down the Telsa Snarf Barrier at the same time, just as the GraphiCube launched an overlay of the Day Monitor, Rabin.
Rabin did not look happy.
"Third time this week, Jonathan, what's going on?", Rabin's frown twitched with impatience. "If I have to put you on report, I can guarantee that you can kiss your HomeWork Privileges goodbye."
"I'm still working on that InfoWar Scrambler Mechanism for GS-7, Rabin." Jonathan thought quickly, knowing that he was skirting the edge of disaster. "Those damn wanna-be programmers that you assholes keep hiring to keep your relatives happy don't know the difference between a Test-Boot and a Transmit-Boot."
Jonathan paused, then added, "I don't need my head on a chopping block because Headquarters thinks that I'm launching my own Channel Revolution."
"Then file for Offline Work Authorization." Rabin snapped.
"Every goddamn time I work on this crap they feed me?" Jonathan snapped right back at him. "I'm not supposed to need to work off-line on this project. It's supposed to arrive at my station in Test mode, Rabin, not in Nuke Headquarters mode. Do you want me to run this shit from your HomeStation, instead?"
Rabin laughed, for the first time, and glanced down at Jonathan's Log File once again, confirming that he had killed a transmission from the InfoWar Scrambler Mechanism.
"OK, Jonathan, I'll kill the report, but try to work on that stuff during someone else's shift, pal. The brass is running us ragged on one of their interminable pet projects and we've got to account for every millisecond of CPU use. They've got a full-court press on this one, and we're having trouble keeping our GelMem from overheating."
Jonathan paused for a second, his mind working swiftly, and then made a giant leap forward toward a destination that was only now beginning to take shape in his subconscious mind.
"I could get you some spare cycles, Rabin, if you're really that desperate."
Rabin began to speak, then stopped, obviously wondering what this generosity on Jonathan's part was going to 'cost' him, in the long run.
"Look, Rabin," Jonathan continued, filling in the empty space, "I don't want to lose my HomeWork Privileges, and I know that you can't keep burying my ground-connection kills, so I might as well shut down for the day and spend some time at Headquarters getting this shit straight. That will free up eighteen GelMem units at GS-7 for you, and you can steal my HomeWork cycles until the end of your shift."
Rabin looked thoughtfully at Jonathan, decided that Jonathan was working in his own self-interest and thus would not expect to extract future concessions for this gratuitous offering, and nodded agreement.
"Done." said Jonathan as he shut down his Headquarters programs.
"Besides," he said with a wink, "I need to restock my liquor cabinet and the Headquarters commissary is a damn-sight cheaper than what these local-yokels are gouging for a good bottle of booze around here."
Rabin's face faded from the screen, as Jonathan kicked in Privacy Mode and fell back into his chair with relief. He realized that he was shaking slightly, and his thoughts returned to the CyberPost which was now sitting in the HydroCube at the back of his desk.
Mere mention of the name in public came with a gold-plated guarantee of a visit from GlobeNet Security. Even when speaking of them in private conversation, it was advisable to do so only in historically proper context, referring to them as the villainous instigators of Channel War II.
Jonathan avoided discussing the CypherPunks, even privately, because of the mixed emotions of fear, shame, and curiosity that the name aroused in him.
His grandfather had been a CypherPunk, and had been executed at the close of Channel War II.
Jonathan had vague memories of late-night visits by strangers whose spirited discussions were so curiously enlivening that he would often creep into his grandfather's study to listen, though he was far too young to understand exactly what it was that they were discussing.
Then came the sound of jackboots on the door, and his grandfather handing him down to his father and mother in the cellar. The muffled shots that rang out as he was carried to the waiting RoboShuttle. The wetness of his mother's tears falling from her cheeks to his as she clutched him closely in their flight to obscurity. The graveled roughness of his father's voice as he prepared his family for the harsh changes ahead in a life where their heritage and their history must be hidden from one and all.=20
The CypherPunks had ruined Jonathan's life.
Now, it looked like they might be about to do it again. Somehow, his past had caught up to him. Someone, somewhere, had targeted him for exposure as being genetically linked to one of the historical monsters of Channel War II.
Jonathan threw the HydroCube on the InstaScanner and read the beginnings of the message header, once again.
>From - Sat Feb 01 7:09:00 1997
Return-Path: <owner-cypherpunks at toad.com>
Received from toad.com([220.127.116.11]) by mercury.grill.sk.ca for <HumanGus-Peter at grill.sk.ca>
Received (from majordomo at localhost) by toad.com (8.7.5/8.7.3) id IAA20555;
Message-Id:<199702011555.IAA20555 at toad.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 08:40:04-800
To: cypherpunks at toad.com
>From "Timothy C. May<tcmay at got.net>
Subject: To Whom It 'May' Concern
Reply-To: "Timothy C. May"<tcmay at got.net>
Sender: owner-cypherpunks at toad.com
"We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Just say "No" to "Big Brother Inside"
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money
tcmay at got.net | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets
Higher Power: 2^1398269 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway.
The 'Mark of the Toad'.
That's what the Channel Government's news releases had called his grandfather's tattoo when they had displayed it in 3D color on GraphiCubes around the world. Jonathan's grandfather had the tattoo done in an era when there was little danger associated with being a member of the loosely-knit crypto-anarchists group known as the CypherPunks.
Even after the beginning stages of InfoWar stirred its ugly head, Jonathan's grandfather refused to have his tattoo removed, as did most of the original CypherPunks list members. He considered it a badge of honor. For Jonathan, however, the Mark of the Toad had remained a mark of disgrace, forcing his family to flee for their lives and change their identities.
Jonathan had managed to rise above all of this and put it behind him, becoming a normal, accepted member of the society around him. Now, however, his life of normality was being threatened.
The original home of the CypherPunks mailing list.
CJ Parker #05987-196 Proud To Be A Felon In AMERI A
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