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TXT

Written by Chrysalid Zombie

 

The Text file. Strange isn't it? To think a collection of plain, uncompressed, barely formatted binary bytes strung together could have any relevence when placed next to 200 GHz processors, Wireless networking and Voice Analysis software that just 10 years earlier the Secret service would have literally killed for... But a text file can be worth more than its HDD space in platinum, or IP addresses if you trade in them.

Milligan_Rincewind, as he was known, had only seen a few text files in his life. Most software companies abandoned them in 2003, and before then he'd not really noticed computers at all. Of course he was 17 now, so a lot had happened since he was 10, especially to computers. Milligan_Rincewind was a hacker for Uplink, you probably wouldn't read on if he wasn't, after all this is meant to be all about Uplink, being in the Uplink universe and all. However, he wasn't a very good one... He'd been stuck around the 50th rank mark for about three months, and there was no changing that. He just wasn't a nutural hacker, much to the laughter of his online gits... I mean friends.

Once, as a joke of course, 486Fiend (as he was known) had hacked into his home PC to see what he could find... And promptly downloaded and deleted his... erm... erotic art archives. All 4 Gigabytes of it, which took two years to gather with a slow modem and newsgroups that never seemed to work whenever he was online. Git.

But that's another, less exciting story that doesn't have as many explosions, screams or even a decent amount of funny bits. Better luck next time you erotic art lover. This story revolves around something, the sun, as due to Newton's law of gravity, every action has an equal and opposite re-action, which leads naturally on to seeing the sun as the center of the story. The sun (which is the center of this story) was shining as usual, in it's hydrogen combusting way, over Milligan's house. He called it Base, due to a lack of erotic art that had affected his brain adversely. By sheer coincidence he also wore glasses...
Milligan looked up through his bedroom window and wondered why the Sun couldn't just go off and die. It was causing glare on his monitor, and a strange skin colourisation, which was simply not on.

Having lost the battle of wills with the sun (which is the center of this story) he drew the blinds, threw the pathetic doodle in the bin and closed the curtains. His computer spoke: "You've got Mail and poor security on your computer system." It was 486Fiend again, saying hello in the only way he knew how... Git. Milligan went to check the Email.

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TO: Milligan_Rincewind@Uplink.com
Subject: 486s are da bomb

Greetings my less able hacking counter-part. I hope this note finds you angry and confused by your poor password protection and proxy. Anyway, I've found a little something you may enjoy more than ranting at your monitor. Head over to 108.659.125.111 and browse the goodies. I particularly like the Blonde in file 15698 if you get the idea ;)
-486Fiend

"The 486 did not die, it just stopped getting so many error messages."

--------

Milligan smirked at the signature, it changed every time and he still hadn't run out of things to say about the old, decaying computers he kept in his room. Oh well, time to start filling up the 4 Gb of extra empty space on his hard drive again.

Milligan dutifully connected to the internet and browsed on over, typing in the IP in Internet Explorer's address bar. Nothing but "Error 1258915464 - No page. Please contact someone who gives a crap". Microsoft had got fed up in their old age and because of a distinct lack of competition just mocked you with error messages. The Blue screen of death no longer had stupid numbers that no one understood... It just stated rather (un)subtly - "You've not had an error for a few seconds, just seeing if you're still there"... Gits.

Milligan now understood what the Email was actually about. By "browse" 486Fiend meant Hack, and by Blonde... God Milligan hoped it still meant Blonde. He connected to his Uplink Gateway. It bleeped at him as he connected, it didn't mean anything to the average person, but Milligan knew that tone of tone... It was sulking about a lack of memory again. "Too bad" he thought and carried on.

He bounced the signal around a bit, using some of the half decent IP addresses he'd got hold of, that meant one mainframe and then a few million internal service machines, but starting at his own personal bouncing favourite. Only he and his circle of friends used it, and only they would bother to be honest. 486Fiend had taken some of his prime stock of salvaged computers from Pre-2005 junkpiles and made a delightful AMD K6 III-500 MHz that acted as bouncing point for them. It formatted itself every two days, re-loaded from a network Ghost image and then carried on. It was hidden under the floorboards at 486Fiends house, even if it was traced no one would find it without a full search. For letting him use it Milligan had traded him the mainframe IP, which he'd actually had to work for. Git.

The computer conencted with the sound of beeps, blops and the odd 'thump' noise which Milligan assumed was secret code for blip that only his defunked speakers used. No password screen, no decryption routines required, the file server just came up. It looked to be someone's personal server, much like 486Fiend's bouncer creation. Only... It had lots of files on. All kinds of files, including the ever famous ".jpg" file. Milligan liked the old fashioned style of picture, as they took up less space, shame about them only being 2D, but you can't have everything. He took a sample originally called "5598716.jpg" and looked... Thank God, he did mean blonde! He selected all of it and started downloading directly to his home PC, dangerous, but only if he was actually being traced. The tracer program remained quiet...

The day passed, the sun (which is the center of our story) stayed still whilest the Earth rotated an extra 90 degrees, making it night time in Milligan_Rincewind's time zone. After so many hours of downloading he'd recovered about 1 Gigabyte of art, amazing progress can be made when not using unreliable newsgroups. The cataloging started as Milligan divided the art into varous sub-folders like "Fakes" or "Huge" and deleted the ones he felt weren't up to scratch. 10 minutes later he saw an odd little file. It only took up 5K, which wasn't a very good picture... If it was one.

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TO: 486Fiend@Uplink.com
Subject: RE: 486s are not da bomb (They suck)

Now then you poor excuse for a human being. Nice collection btw, I'll try and find an IP to make up for it. Anyidea what a ".txt" file is? None of my decrypters or file expansion progs will have it and the thing is only 5K! What the hell can be 5K and not be compressed or something?

Laters,
-Milligan_Rincewind

"I'd think of a signature, but my titanic brain is pondering more vital things"

>Greetings my less able hacking counter-part. I hope this note finds you angry and confused by >your poor password protection and proxy. Anyway, I've found a little something you may enjoy >more than ranting at your monitor. Head over to 108.659.125.111 and browse the goodies. I >particularly like the Blonde in file 15698 if you get the idea ;)
>-486Fiend
>
>"The 486 did not die, it just stopped getting so many error messages."

--------

486Fiend smirked, he'd always used that signature, for three years! Then he smirked some more at his dumbass friend, who was woefully uneducated in pre-2005 computer science, despite his trying.

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TO: Milligan_Rincewind@Uplink.com
Subject: 486s ARE da bomb (They don't suck, so there)

You're welcome on the 'collection', I found it running an automated IP testing bot, just walked right into it :). As for the IP, I doubt you've got anything I'd want, I am the one after all that acquired the local supermarket's IP, and what could you get to top that little man? ;)
The ".txt" thingy is an old file type from the 486 days (!) they stopped using about 2004-ish. I think Microsoft have something called 'Notepad' to use them. Have a look on their "Your computer is Crap and Old" support pages.
-486Fiend

"All your 486 are belong to us"

--------

Again, Milligan smirked att he signature... It made no sense but again it was original. Git. But at least he'd got an answer to the .TXT question. He looked at "legacy.txt" and pondered about what truesures it may hold... Maybe an even bigger erotic archive than his! Best check it out quickly!

~~~ An hour later ~~~

After fighting through Microsoft's mocking for having a system not running "Windows 2010C" and having to fix broken links himself he'd found it. "Notepad.EXE", on his desktop and ready for use... Double click? Oh, it must mean like those pointing thingies they used in the old days... After a quick bit of "Mouse (?) emulation" he opened the file with Notepad.He read a bit, he blinked, he screamed.

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TO: 486Fiend@Uplink.com
Subject: Bloody god damn holy mother

of god! I've foubd somerthingsa aso b ig I can't type too wellllllllllll......... the text file was a lidtn of UP adfressds""""" BIG ONES!


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TO: Milligan_Rincewind@Uplink.com
Subject: ???

I'll be brief: wtf?

--------

--------

TO: 486fiend@Uplink.com
Subject: ARGH!

The text file! It has IP's in! Biog azz ones! I'll meet you in the chat room!

--------

486Fiend opened mIRC and went to the usual place he and the others chatted at. When he got there Milligan_Rincewind was already blabbering to XComtrooper in a strange, totally alien gibberish.

--------

Milligan: And then it had in ti all thses number sand things and they joook likf IO addressed!
Xcomtrooper: wtf?
Milligan: 486 said that too...

-486fiend has logged in-

Milligan: Tell him 486! Tell him waat I fund!
486: You found you're own arse with both hands in the dark?
Xcomtrooper: LOL!!!
Milligan: No! the txt file!
Xcomtrooper: Txt? That's just a .ttt file with a spelling mistake right?
486: Apparently not... Milligan here can't type for somereason. I think its because one of his hands is doing something it shouldn't, but I dunno.
Milligan: Git! The file has stuff in! IP addys! LOADS of the things! And big ones too by the look of it. I tried one and it worked! Have it:
Milligan: 108.548.238.168
Milligan: Copied and pasted, and I think its more than enough payment for the artwork 486.
486: My gateway is decrypting something rightnnow, you try Xcom.
Xcomtrooper: You got it, but if this is one of your jokes I'll hack your arms off in the hardware sense... Using something blunt yet damaging.
Milligan: No joke!
486: You ok there Mill? You're more psychotic than usual.
Milligan: Git!!!!!
486: Doing well then I take it ;)
Xcomtrooper: lkiyugawwoje %$^&%$£$D RXCF
486: The disease is spreading! Head for the hills!
Milligan: See!
Xcomtrooper: Hell yed I sww!!!
Xcomtrooper: see*
486: See what?
Xcomtrooper: The IP works alright! Bloody hell it works! The thing is not possible!
486: wtf?
Xcomtrooper: Its for the Epson Mainframe! The fppking MAINFRAME!!!!!!
486: !!!!!!!!
Milligan: c!
Xcomtrooper: What else is there?
Milligan: Hundreds! And some text at the bottom... Maybe you know what it is:
Milligan: "My Legacy this is! For the good it must be used yes? People get Yoda, Yoda get people! The Darkside is strong, but the light stronger yes? The force be with you Uplink, you will need it."
486: F!!!!!!!!!!
Milligan: wtf?
486: That's from Yoda!
Milligan: He isn't real 486... he was in a fiiiiiiilm, not reeeaaaaal.
486: Not the CGI Yoda, the hacker Yoda! He was cuaght a month back by ARC for getting their Mainframe and sent to jail. He must have put that txt file there for someone to find!
Xcomtrooper: Blimey! How Rare! I'm off to get Jim!

-Xcomtrooper has logged off (Quit:)-

Milligan: Who?
486: Yoda!
Milligan: No. I mean, who SHOULD ahve found it?
486: Ah... Didn't think about that.

-Xcomtrooper has Logged on-

Xcomtrooper: Jim's coming.
486: Good, he knows about the hacker honour code crap, he'l know what to do about it.
Xcomtrooper: About what?
Milligan: The file was obviously meant FOR someone... not us.
Xcomtrooper: ah.

-EarthwormJim has logged on-

Jim: Good day to you gentlemen. What seems to be the trouble? :)
486: We found a file... left by Yoda! What the hell do we do with it!?!
Jim: Ah.
Milligan: Well?
Xcomtrooper: Well?
486: Well?
Jim: *ponders* Yoda you say? Any directions in it?
Milligan: "My Legacy this is! For the good it must be used yes? People get Yoda, Yoda get people! The Darkside is strong, but the light stronger yes? The force be with you Uplink, you will need it."
Jim: Hhmm... Yoda always makes these bloody cryptic things... Git. I shall have to consult my notes for previous examples of this.

-EarthwormJim has logged off (Quit)-

Xcomtrooper: What other IPs are there?
Milligan: Erm... Loads, but without names, they're just listed numbers. You could try some if you want...
486: It's finished decrypting! I want in this time!
Xcomtrooper: And me again!
Milligan: Ok. 486, you can take this one becasue of your name: 158.486.964.258
Milligan: Xcom, try this one 887.642.323.482
486: Right!
Xcomtrooper: Great!

-Jim has logged on-

Jim: You keep it and don't tell anyone else.
Milligan: Huh?
Jim: That's what everyone else does if they find another hacker's cache of... anything. They keep it, and don't tell anyone for a few months at least.
Milligan: Great! Just us four! We're rich! Mwahahahaha!
Jim: Unless someone else finds it too.
Milligan: ARGH! You always find the problem! I'm gonna make sure its deleted!
Jim: So... How you doing 486? Still crazy?
Jim: Hello? Anyone there?
Jim: ... Gits.

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What will happen to the four inept nutters? Who is/was Yoda? Why did I even bother writing this?
Only time and a psychiatrist will tell!

-Chrysalid Zombie

"486 users do it slowly..."

 

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