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TXT2 - Retrograde motion

Written by Chrysalid Zombie

 

The SWAT team moved closer to the house, moving between walls and other bits of cover to prevent being seen. The full moon was overhead and casting an eerie glow that makes one think of wolves and pointed teeth, although those would be preferred to the SWAT teams of 2010. Their two mottos were "Shoot first, after that why bother with the questions?" and "All suspects are guilty, if they weren't then they wouldn't be a suspect would they?". The leader waved his arm to suggest all was clear and spoke softly into his radio, they were totally silent except for some rustlings they made. The only reason they made the rustling was because they were so good at silence they could sometimes be detected by the noises that should have been heard. The call came on the radio. "Go go go".

Milligan_Rincewind (as he was known) woke up in a sweat again. He'd had the same dream two nights in a row after he found the file. 5 kilobytes of paranoid fear. Sure it also had about 500 high security IP addresses in it, so a fair trade many people would say. Not Milligan_Rincewind, a fair trade in his mind would have been the 500 addresses, a fortress overlooking steep cliffs and a squad of secret agents trained in all the assassin arts guarding him 24 hours a day, and that was the minimum he'd want out of it.

It would also feel safer if he knew no one else had it, but when he'd checked back to the file server it wasn't there anymore. Not just the file, but the entire server. Of course the timing of its disappearance was spookily close to a terrorist bombing in New York...

The Sun (the centre of this story if you remember) spread its 8 minute old light through the curtains of Milligan's room and warmed the air. Milligan rubbed his eyes and their accompanying bags, which were more like suitcases, and started to get up. "SWAT TEAM! FREEZE MOTHER F**KER!!!!!"

"AAHHH!!!... Oh. Another dream. That was odd."

"Are you okay Son? Nightmares again?"

"Fine Mum!"

He got out of bed, checking in the closet for armed mad-men and under the bed for either a crack squad of British commandoes or his socks, which ever he found first. The socks this time, although the week old sandwich could have concealed a hidden camera, but no, no material could withstand that without melting. Oh well, off to school then.

-------------

"The recovered logs show that someone else may have them"

"Are you sure? The memory was damaged in the explosion."

"We have traced the log back to a mainframe via internal service machines and Internic. It was Uplink."

"How do you know?"

"Only a low ranked Uplink agent would be stupid enough to use Internic..."

"A low ranked agent. Or a higher ranked one throwing us off the scent?"

"Yes, you must be right, who else could find the server? They must be a genius..."

"Find them and destroy them... All of them."

-------------

486Fiend (as he was known) sat in his office cubical typing up some report or other on the profit margins of several things he didn't know or care about. All he wanted to do was test some more of the IP addresses Milligan had found and given him. What could the next one reveal? Hopefully the way to get a more exciting job, or at least to kill his boss.

He looked at his windows 2010c operated monitor and sighed. How he longed to be back in the old days and using DOS and Windows 3.11. He thought things were much simpler then, slower and simpler. If only he'd have been experienced enough back then to hack, he could have avoided all of this boredom with one simple bank job. Granted it would have taken weeks to do on a 28K modem and a 100MHz processor, but he'd had this job for longer.

His screen blinked to black. The second time today his computer had crashed and he'd been at work for three minutes and twenty four seconds. Text began to appear on the screen.

******

If you want to live do what I say.
Goto the office to your left and hide for thirty seconds, then come back here for more instructions.

******

Just as he was about to dive sideways into another cubical two parcels arrived, with a free courier no less. He signed for them blushing at the fact he'd nearly knocked the poor guy over. Opening one he tipped out the contents and ripped the top off the other. They both rang. This was going to be a long day.

--------------

It is a well known fact that when you wait long enough for a bus two will come at once. Sometimes even three can turn up, one for the people, the other two for moral support; maybe the first bus is a new guy and it needs some pointers? Well in 2010 the transport system works much better and with greater efficiency, if failure is your target. In one incident every bus in a four mile radius gathered around one bus stop at the same time because of a large number of freak accidents, weather conditions and mechanical failures. The one man there had been waiting two hours and was heard to say "But where's the 77B?" before he died of old age and a heart attack brought on by the shock of 15 buses. A similar event was occurring around Milligan_Rincewind.

"I did not order fifteen pizzas! Especially with small fish on! I hate the small fish!"

"Anchovies sir, they're anchovies, and our logs clearly show your phone ordered these!"

"Well the logs are... wrong... Crap!"

Milligan slammed the door in the delivery boy's face and raced to his room. He'd heard about this before. No one knew why, but the pizza delivery system was somehow in tune with all the forces in the known universe. In freak hurricanes extra cheese would be given out for free, a stock market crash brought thicker crusts to those who ordered thin-base and more importantly, a big police operation somehow triggered anchovies; lots of them. He had precious little time.

"I'm going out for a few hours mum!"

"Okay dear, be back by half past five! It's pizza!"

He whispered to himself, "I'm going out now, I may be some time."

And then he closed the door and ran off to hide in a safe place... Or at least a safer one.

--------------

"Hello?" he asked into phone number one.

"Goto the office to your left and hide for thirty seconds"

486Fiend dived into the other cubicle as three robed figures walked by mumbling to his boss about a report they needed. 486 counted to thirty using the most accurate time keeping word ever invented: Elephant. Atomic clocks could be set by the number of elephants a person counted, unless he was drunk, in which case there would be too many. After thirty (a large herd) had passed he went back into his own area, the men had gone to look for him. He answered the other phone.

"Don't listen to the other guy, he's trying to trick you."

"Am not!"

"You are! You only told him to go inside this office because the other guy said to! You didn't really know!"

"What other guy?"

"The one on the screen divot!"

"Oh THAT guy!"

******

Please press any key to continue.

******

"See! He has no idea what he's on about! Don't trust him! OR him either! I'm the trustable one!"

486 pressed the any key (A recent addition to many keyboards) as the phones argued and read the screen.

******

Good. Throw away the other two, they are both evil. Then move along the corridor to your left, I'll meet you at the computer down the hallway.

******

"No! Go RIGHT! He's wrong too!" said Phone 1, the one that said what the screen said last time.

"Go left! Left is good!" Said Phone 2.

486 ran around the corner, and using democracy went right, as democracy never works. Phone 1 spoke up again.

"Shit! I meant left! LEFT! Shit shit shit!"

Although democracy doesn't work, three people saying the same thing usually does. 486 turned around and ran the other way to the unoccupied office at the end of the row. He closed the solid oak door behind him and looked at the computer screen there.

******

I bloody told you! But did you listen? NO! You need to get out of here and ditch the phones, they'll only be traced.

******

"Well you can be traced too you know! Log files!"

"Yeah smart guy! You can be traced too!"

"Stop just saying what the other guy says!"

"I aren't! I have original ideas too you know!"

The phone on the office desk rang, 486 picked it up just to shut it up.

"Sorry. Am I too late for the go left thing? You should really have gone left."

"He did go left!"

"Really? Oh good. You done the climb down the building bit yet? I was looking forward to that bit."

486 stepped in "What the f**k are you on about! I'm on the ground floor!"

"You are? Shit, wrong office. You aren't Neo are you?"

"No!"

"Shit... Trinity! Disconnect the line we've got the wrong..." The line went dead and 486 replaced the handset.

486: Tell me what is going on!

Phone 1: They all want to catch you! Trust me!

Phone 2: No! Trust me! He said go right when you wanted to go left!

Phone 1: Only because I got left and right mixed up!

******

Extra cheese? (Y/N) _

******

486: What? No!

486 pressed the 'n' key and the screen flickered for a second before bringing up a new message.

******

Climb out the window and run in 15 seconds time. And get rid of the damn phones.

******

486: You two agree on this one?

Phone 1: Fine by me. Except for the phone thing.

Phone 2: Whatever.

486: I hate my life... one elephant, two elephant...

----------------

Earthworm_Jim (Jim to his friends) walked down the street to his office. He owned a small firm that specialised in getting other small firms out of debt... By collecting it or any property at the premises of equivalent value. He didn't do the collecting, just accounts, a much better job for a sixty year old english gentleman as it involves less blood stains on the umbrella.

Just ahead five buses had caused a blockage in the road and the traffic was stood still, despite the amount of horns being used, as they should surely speed things up shouldn't they? Jim walked along on the pavement quietly smiling to himself at the fact he was walking faster than a 200Mph sports car he'd just past. Fools the lot of them, in 2010 the fastest way to get anywhere was on foot, you just needed to be able to protect yourself. Two pairs of hands dragged Jim into the back of a van from behind and closed the door.

The owner of one set of hands spoke first, "Drive man drive!"

The driver replied with something vulgar and relating to the fact five buses were infront of him.

"So... No high speed get away?"

"*$£^@!!"

"Right... Sorry about this sir."

The voice seemed to be talking to Jim. "Oh don't worry, I never liked fast cars anyway young man."

"Shut up Doug! I'm on the phone!"

"Sorry"

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds in the back of the van before 'Doug' spoke up again. "I'm really sorry about this, we had a plan and everything but it seems to be going a bit wrong."

The man on the phone yelled. "Shit! I meant left! LEFT! Shit shit shit!"

"I'm sure you're trying your hardest. Don't worry." said Jim, who was thinking how exciting and different it would be to get kidnapped compared to a normal office day.

"I aren't! I have original ideas too you know!" yelled the phone user. Who was getting annoyed at something. "Only because I got left and right mixed up!"

Jim and Doug looked at the bloke on the phone for a few seconds in silence.

"Fine by me. Except for the phone thing." That was the last thing Jim heard before a cloth was put across his face and he passed out.

-----------------

Why did Milligan_Rincewind get pizza? Who was on the phone to 486_Fiend? Do you still care!?!
Part 3 coming soon! Honest!

"Thou shalt not have more than 640k of useful memory!"
- The Commandments (Version 3.11), Bill Gates

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