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by Lucas "TOR" Garczewski


I looked out the window. The night was iluminated by numerous neons and other artificial lights. Up in the sky, above all this, above the city that never slept, above the people that didn't care about it anymore, was the Moon. The times when Luna astonished men with her silvery light were long gone. Every night looked the same now. But there were some lunatics who did care even now. Men who still looked up into the night sky, who saw hope in the silver stars above when none was left down on earth. Outcasts. People like me...
I saw nothing in the streets outside. No black car, no men dressed in black. That was good. Very good. This was my third night at this place. I should have moved the night before but I found that I was to tired to even think. That night, for the first time in a week, I had slept. Now that I thought about it, it seemed idiotic. I had risked my god damn life for a few hours of sleep. But the day before it had been the most normal thing to do.
I closed the blinds again, left the window, the full moon and the empty streets and I got back to work. The dim blue light of the computer screen was the only light source in the room. And although total darkness surounded me, I felt safe, wrapped in that soothing blue glow.
My fingers played a quick staccatto on the keyboard and, in notime, I was in. Now all I had to do was wait. A man gets used to this type of existence. All senses are dimmed, the mind is clear. You see only the numbers changing on the screen and you hear only the occasional beeps telling you that, though all is calm, the storm is coming toards you. I knew that. Someone, somewhere was working hard to catch me this very second. You are never alone on the net. Ever.
My eyes noted a change on the screen. The digits and letters finally made sense. I had him. The bastard was all mine. The hunt has begun. I disconnected from the machine letting some tired admin somewhere rest. The roles have turned - now I was a hunter, insted of a prey.
There is this funny expression i found most accurate in that case. It was a jungle out there. With tall oak tree mainframes and vine-like connections between them. Jumping from one server to another as a predator jumps from tree to tree I waited for the right time to strike. I did all this almost unconciously. Preparations took a lot of time, but they paid off. I knew all the passwords by heart hence my mind was free. I had time to think about all those people who called themselves hackers. Ten years ago they wouldn't even know how to open a simple home PC but now... Now any idiot with an internet connection could become a registered(sic!) hacker. And all this because of this damn Uplink Corporation. Who would've thought it - hackers working for corporations.
I had to stop wondering about all this. The hunt was nearing it's end. I slowly approached the unsuspecting prey. I was runing what is called a passive trace. But do not let the name fool you. This, at least in my book, had nothing to do with being passive. such an investigation, as you may or may not know, normally requiers the full cooperation of the admins of all the servers our little hacker uses as bounce points. My version was much faster. And much more illegal of course. I just got in, took the information I needed and left. Fight fire with fire. I managed to trace the guy back to his gateway. Now all I had to do was keep him from doing anything until some idiots from the FBI (or whatever) moved their butts and seized his box. This was the easy part.
I could've just locked his poor PC up with some virus or something like that but the dope would probably phone his ISP and it just so happened that I knew the guy he would phone. In fact, I even liked that guy. So I decided to play an open hand. I sent him an e-mail...

To: Agent Orion <>
Subject: a brief description of what's going to happen to ya...
From: YWN <>

Greetings Agent.
As you probably know a few of Uplink's top agents have been caught recently. You also probably know, that they have all been handed out to the police by an unknown hacker.
Well, guess what... I'm that unknown hacker ;)
And you are... next.

You have a few more seconds to say goodbye to your precious gateway and a few more minutes before the police come knocking.

Have a nice life.

Yours truly

YWN (Your Worse Nightmare)

After I sent the letter I slowly counted to ten. Then I started setting up my little suprise. I wrote the program myself. Well, to tell you the truth I wrote all of my software. Back in the old days we hackers used to write our own programs. Nobody thought about buying them anywhere. After all - they were illegal. Not only did we write them, we also shared them with the others. Now things were different. Sure, I had lots of software i could share. But i had no one I could share it with. I was alone. A relic, a dinosaur. While all the others kept crawling at the feet of corporations and goverments, I still had ideals. And I stood up for them. I was the last man standing...
I stared at the black hole that was my computer's screen. In the top left corner of it was a small dolar symbol followed by a blinking cursor. Graphical interfaces are for idiots. I typed the program's name in...

$ bye_bye

The click of a pressed enter key filled the room. Numerous IP addresses appeared on the screen and the program started pinging my victim's computer from about a hundred sources at the same time. It had been all coordinated nicely, different trassmision times had been calculated and the effect was very deadly. All the packets reached their destination exactly at the same time cloging the line and occupying the CPU. It was very simple. And it was also very old. But that didn't matter becouse, after all those years, it still worked perfectly.
To be honest, giving him up to the police didn't satisfy me at all. I wasn't a superhero of the computer age. And the things I did drew me dangerously close to Batman or some other guy wearing stockings and a cape. I wasn't doing this as a favor to society - I simply hated all those Uplink lamers. And this one was a classic case. He was a grade A agent. He thought he was SO though...
He caught my attention last week, when he toyed a little with a criminal database and had some other hacker arrested... Trust me, I'd rather have his computer blow right up in his damn face so that his remains would have to be scraped off the walls of his apratament instead of turning him in. But, unfortunately, I couldn't do that. Not in real life - this happened only in some of those movies I used to watch when I was a kid.
I looked at my watch. It was a fine piece of swiss work. And, imagine that, it had no digits on it's dial, only two pointy arrows. They didn't make them like that anymore. Well, nevermind. According to the watch my fellow agent's gateway was already secured by the authorities by now. My work was done. I notified my employer, logged off and left. As I faded into the night I knew, that a few thousand credits would appear shortly on my account at the Uplink International Bank and the change of my Uplink Rating would be noted.
Yes I hated them. But I had to make a living, didn't I?


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