Freedom. I had that once. Just ordinary, boring freedom
. no had
something more. Much, much more.
The Oxford Popular
Dictionary defines Freedom as:
"Freedom n. being free; independence; frankness;
Unrestricted use; honorary citizenship"
However, I am no longer so. 5 Years ago, I worked for the legendary Uplink
A hacker framed me. Ever since, I have been working hard on a plan to
escape the island prison on which I am currently planning on executing
tomorrow night, when the hacker I managed to hire with years of credits.
Gained the hard way: No Laptop gets onto or off this island without blowing
up and killing whoever carries it. An ingenious security system utilizing
Magnetic Resonance plus Hard drive access and reading technology that
can gain remote entry to your hard drive even if it is totally Stand-Alone.
He will cause havoc here, and turn the turrets on all the guards.
In the confusion, all I have to do is slip out through an underground
pipe; the only exit with no security whatsoever. Except for one solitary
guard. Who will, of course, be dead; I have only a few minutes though,
before I lose consciousness and die. One shot. One chance. One opportunity.
The next day
9:00 am. My last
breakfast in this hellhole prison. I look over at the guard pacing up
and down the mess hall. Little does he know what awaits him at precisely
midnight tonight. As I walk down the hall, I snigger at the maintenance
guy in his blackened overalls fixing the Automated Turret.
Stupid fool. Might
as well walk off a cliff.
After I get out;
I will track down and kill whoever got me. I will find them
Part 2: Escape
23;00: One hour to go.
I begin to pack what I can carry of my personal possessions into a small
rucksack. I can get the rest on the way out, so I don't worry.
Half an hour to go now, and all but a few guards are sound asleep in their
barracks. Should make life easier for me so all the better. I pop a few
wake up pills and wait
The minutes tick
by on my digital watch. Slowly, the numbers change. Slow as hell. 11:
59. One minute. I put the rucksack on my back. And wait
The alarm. It rings
in my ears like a church bell amplified a thousand times over and sent
through Dolby Digital speakers on full blast
I make a run for the cell door. It opens. As I run through the doors and
endless corridors, I see all the turrets begin to jump into life and train
their sights on the guards. Screams all around me, I keep running for
the hatch leading to the pipe. The corridor seems to almost stretch endlessly
in front of my eyes, and fatigue begins to set in. After what seems like
an eternity, the hatch appears in the middle of the floor.
I dart down It like
an over- charged Energizer Bunny and sprint along holding my breath. My
lungs screaming for air, I leap out of the ventilation shaft and into
the sea. I drag myself onto a passing cargo boat and lay down to rest.
I silently thanks the hacker for his courage. Had he been caught, he would
have been the one imprisoned and executed, not me.
Part 3: Meeting
3 Days Later,
As the boat docks, I go to the hacker who saved me. I start walking to
21st street and the apartments there.
As I walk along
it seems to change in a matter of seconds. The pathway slowly vanishes
before my eyes and turns into a derelict street, seemingly neglected for
Cans trodden on. To my left, a field full of tangled, tall, amiable weeds.
To my right, a large apartment block. I head towards it.
As I buzz the Intercom for Room 8, a croaky voice answers.
"Hang on while I buzz you in
I walk through the
old, graffiti-laden door and down a long corridor. The carpet covering
the floor is the most horrible mix of red and brown you ever saw. A rat
crawls from a small hole in the wall, and disappears into another. Faded
and peeling peach wallpaper covers the old, crumbling walls. Room 8. I
knock 3 times. Latches and locks are opened, and I am allowed to enter.
What greets me is a shock. An old friend from my High-School days is stood
before me. Of course I didn't realise, hackers never use their real names
when orchestrating a 'business' deal.
He has changed. He is wearing thin-rimmed black sunglasses and a long
leather overcoat with black leather boots. Kind of like Morpeus' outfit
from The Matrix. Much different to the old plain school uniform we had
to wear. I guess there was more behind that shy and secretive face than
I ever knew back then.
After about an hour
of catch up; we discover to our surprise that we are - or should I say,
where Agents of Uplink Corporation. He shows me round his apartment. It
is surprisingly tidy, for a Hacker. Most are always a mess. It is a wonder
how he finds the time to do it all: His apartment is the biggest in the
"This is what you've been waiting for"
He walks over to
a bookshelf and takes out War and Peace. He opens it and pushes a switch
inside the cutout shell.
From the other sidewall,
a hatch opens, and a platform slides out. A laptop computer opens out
and switches on. He walks over.
Welcome To Access Terminal
Ø exit -c
The screen goes blank. A few seconds later, a command prompt appears.
:> open Verify.exe
A touch screen appears
out of the hatch. He presses his finger against it.
:> Data received.
:>System Access Granted
up. Hydraulics whirr, and the bookshelf slides out of position with a
blast of steam. A previously unseen, huge room filled with neon lights
fills my sight. Huge holes in the floor open up, and several top-notch
computers rise into position, along with many flat plasma-screen monitors
lowering into position above the computers. The room is almost full now,
apart from a single swivelling chair in the centre of the room.
"This is my
hole. Cool, no?"
I stand in awe, silent
as the darkest night.
The hacker takes me for a tour around his computer system. The best I
have ever seen. It has everything. So many linked processors you could
defrag all the computers at once and still use them all with not a bit
of slowdown. Same with the entire roomful of linked ghost modems. Technical
wizardry at its finest. Plus about 3 screens worth of fileservers and
all the memory on the computers, plus software from the world over. Wow.
After a good meal, a fresh outfit matching his, and a few bank hacks;
I left thanking him with about a million credits in my accounts all over
the world. I could tell he would be a lasting ally throughout my quest
to find the guy who destroyed my life.
Part 4: Backlog
Feeling awake and refreshed; I head out of the apartments and down towards
Uplink corporations offices in the area. As I get closer, I can make out
a huge skyscraper in the distance: the Uplink office where I used to work.
When I finally arrive, I walk through the security checkpoint only to
be ambushed by security guards in black suits with sharp ties and sunglasses
that you could do your hair in should you be close enough. They handcuffed
me and took me into a large room with a mirror covering one wall. The
security guards moved into another room on the other side.
"if you are
who you say you are, then you can do this"
"What the hell
are you on about?" I said.
"It's a simple
test. That's all. However, should you fail, you will be killed"
I was cut off by
the sound of hydraulics' going off. It was deafening.
A computer rose from
a hatch in the floor. It switched on and booted up.
Zaibatsu 12000 Series Personal Computer
Serial no: 145-00129-561-592699#
Checking System Integrity
Chipset Goruna Pro-Logic 251 System (OK)
Cloaked STeALTH Chip System (ACTIVE)
Broadband InterLink System (OK)
System OS (XP v234.8)
OS Status (RUNNING)
I thought. An opportunity to dust off my skills. How Wrong I Was
What I was presented with was sheer horror.
All those years in
prison, I had forgotten one, very important thing: Times change.
I frantically began
looking around the file system for anything that would help me.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
It was hopeless. I felt like crying. I shut it down, and it went back
into the floor. I went onto it in a heap. The guards who had been watching
me walked over and put a gun to my head.
I closed my eyes.
The gun going off was the last thing I heard. Or so I thought. I heard
a dull thud. I looked up cautiously, and standing over me was my friend.
'Where the hell have you been?'
'No time for that
now, we gotta get out o' here. Get his suit.'
We left the room
and building and went back to his house. It was going to be a long night.