Three years ago, an elite group of computer hackers were brought together by the Australian government. The aim: to use their amazing technical skills to assist in combating the increasing threat of terrorism.
Agent’s Log: DAY A1#7
I skulled my energy drink and slammed down the empty can. My everyday routine to kick start the morning at Haxerz HQ. I double clicked my online email device and was halfway through deleting the spam when Type called me over.
“Captain Boss is coming through on a satellite communication message, XY,” he informed me.
“Probably gonna give us a lecture for going over our broadband limit on that Wellington case, ha ha,” I replied.
The boys and G1 (our female member) laughed. They appreciated my humour.
Little did we know that this was no time for laughter.
Captain Boss gave it to us bluntly: “The online terrorist organisation known as OTO have hacked into the Australian Government’s Main Computer System, boys and G1. This is very bad.”
“Argh!” Tommy Boy smashed his laptop into the wall. “I hate terrorists!”
“Well, you’re in the right job then, Tommy Boy,” I replied and threw him a backup notebook. “Get clicking.”
Captain Boss online faxed us through the full details: OTO had managed to get through the government’s state of the art firewall by using the top secret password, only known to elite members of the government. We at Haxerz were lucky enough to know it, excluding n00b, the newest member of the crew.
“These guys are good,” I addressed the assembled team. “They’ve managed to hack into the minor computer system and get the password, which they’ve then used to hack into the main computer system.”
“What are we gonna do XY?” Type asked.
“Well for starters we better do the usual shit,” I sighed, and opened up a packet of Cheese Octagons. “Type, start accessing the terrorist database. G1, analyse the tracings Captain Boss sent through. n00b, you think you can handle a system attack scan?”
“Yeah, sure, I think so sir.”
“Call me XY, n00b. Sir is my Dad’s name. And…I don’t like being compared to him…”
“Oh, sorry sir. I mean XY. Won’t happen again.”
“Just get started on that attack scan n00b. Tommy Boy, keep checking out the error transfers and give us constant updates.”
“Pft, what am I, a woman?” Tommy Boy spat.
“Hey! Watch your sexism!” I yelled. “G1 is present. Sorry you had to hear that G1.”
“Bahhh,” Tommy Boy waved his hand and continued typing.
“The rest of you,” I said to the few other members who were unimportant. “Surf the net.”
We didn’t have much time. Every second the terrorists were closer and closer to unlocking government secrets. Everybody sat in the room, furiously opening windows, downloading add ons and wearing out keyboards. All in the name of justice.
Then the worst occurred. The major overdrive went blank.
“What the hell’s going on, damn it?!” screamed Tommy Boy.
“XY! XY! All the mainframe systems are down! What’s going on? What are we gonna do?” Type yelled, sweating.
“Snap out of it. We can’t panic OK?” I addressed the troops. “G1? Remember how you de-fragulated that fire wire port the other week?”
“No buts! Do what you did then but at double the velocity, you got that?”
“n00b, go help her. Experience is everything. The rest of you, keep hitting your resets.”
“How the hell can you be so Goddamn calm, XY? Those freakin’ terrorists are chipping away at our governments computers and you’re being all Mr. Hippie!”
“Tommy Boy, if you dare act out of line once more I will send you to Computer Lab 9 to uncheck options on the PC/Mac compatibility registry it’ll make you wish you’d been a carpenter!! You got that?” I yelled.
Tommy Boy silently nodded. As he walked away, he turned around, smiled and said “That’s the XY I know and love,” then began pressing his control panel.
I shook my head in bewilderment as I opened up my battery pocket phone. I had received several mobile message alerts from Captain Boss.
“XY! Come in XY!”
“XY coming atcha, Captain Boss.”
“XY, what the hell is going on?!”
“We’re working on it.”
And with that all the mainframes lit up.
“It’s been worked on.”
I threw the miniature device into the nearest waste-modem basket and opened up the mega-screen to see Captain Boss’s image.
“Bigger is better,” I remarked dryly.
“Enough with the jokes, XY. What was that? Huh?”
“I’m not quite sure. G1, run an immediate history check.”
“Already on it, X’,” she shot back and slumped down on her wheelie chair, exhausted.
“That’s my girl. n00b, how was she?”
“She was amazing!” n00b announced. “The way she configured the backup system as if it were a simple fire wire port. Simply amazing.”
“Hey! What the hell is this? Pat on the back camp with benefits?” Captain Boss hollered.
“Huh?” I replied.
“Look, XY. OTO just downloaded the Front Page File.”
“Oh Jesus!” Type gasped.
“Argghh!” Tommy Boy tried to contain himself, snapping a USB stick with his fist in the process.
“Are you sure it was Front Page?” I asked Captain Boss.
“Of course I am! Now do I have to explain what that means?”
“Of course not,” I spat back. “Look, we’ll do our best. Keep us updated, sir.”
I closed the screen and cut off his vocalised temper. Things were going from dangerous to way dangerous. The Front Page File was the final lock blocking off the nation’s online secrets. It was a difficult program to bust, but if OTO had gotten this far so quickly, then God knows when they could crack it.
“Alright team, drastic times call for drastic measures. We need to get faster and we need to take risks.”
“XY, we’ve been going as fast as we can and I’ve been taking risks like no tomorrow,” Tommy Boy announced.
“Are you everyone, Tommy Boy? No. Now…if my training many years ago taught me anything it’s that evil super villains always follow the same patterns, which means we can eliminate half of the RAM duplication options.”
As I said the “half” in that statement I casually kicked over a computer tower, which caused several others to fall like dominoes.
“And we know these guys must, I mean they MUST, have access to a mobile input surveillor,” I added, and switched off the power to half of the information screens which had been displaying now irrelevant process data.
“Now—we just need some more downloaded results, damn it, and we’re so close.”
“Well, I just got triple results on my system attack scan, XY,” n00b informed me.
“And heres a complete print out of the error transfers, buddy,” Tommy Boy added and tossed the report to me.
“And I just completed analysing the tracings, XY,” G1 piped up.
“Wow. Looks like OTO won’t know what hit them, huh guys? I seriously believe we can do this,” I said confidently as the unimportant members turned their monitors to show me their helpful assessments.
As I scanned through the data we had managed to achieve, and put it through the de-briefer, I shouted “Type, you’re quiet. We quickly need those results from the terrorist database and we might just have unlocked the puzzle before OTO unlock the Front Page File.”
I looked up, expecting to see my companion smiling at my wit. Instead I saw an empty chair.
“Shit!” G1 swore. “XY, I’m sorry. I thought it must have been a typo caused by the mirroring based bug that’s been sticking around. I should have spoken out sooner. I just didn’t think…”
“G1, compose yourself and tell me what’s up!”
“Type is a traitor!” she yelled.
“What?!” I replied, taken aback.
“Shit-damn it! I never trusted that little slime sucker! We gotta find him!” Tommy Boy shouted.
“I am confused but I agree,” I announced. “G1 and Tommy Boy, let’s run and talk. n00b, you’re in charge while we’re gone. Try and update Captain Boss if you can.”
“Yes sir! I mean XY!”
“Now hold on a second here!” came a voice from the back corner of ‘unimportants.’ “I’ve been with this team since the beginning and I’ve worked my arse off. I do not see why this young man that’s been with us for—”
But before what’s-his-name could finish his rant, a hard drive hit him in the head.
“Less blah, more Winrar!” Tommy Boy yelled, satisfied with his throw, as we exited the main action room and made our journey through the corridors of Haxerz HQ’s first and only floor.
As we entered labs, their doors kicked open by Tommy Boy, G1 explained: her tracings had brought up an interesting result. There were high levels of illegal activity coming from Type’s designated data space. She had also noticed the packaging of his favourite candy, Snackahumphries, next to the system override area, while she was bringing back our major overdrive power. She had thought nothing of it but now realised that Type must be a secret member of OTO and was bringing down the government from the inside.
He was within the very technological heart itself and he was going to bust an artery. I explained this metaphor to G1 and Tommy Boy. They either didn’t get it or were too preoccupied to tell me how original it was but no matter. We had to perform a triple bypass. They didn’t comment on that either.
“It all makes so much sense how OTO have been able to do what they’ve been doing, now!” G1 sighed angrily.
“Yeah, it makes sense technically, but damn it, that guy was like a cousin to me. I trusted him,” I said back.
“For God’s sake, you two. This ain’t tree hugging hour with the greenies. This is find Type and bust a cap in his ass time! Argh!” Tommy Boy threw a chair. “This is the last lab, where the frig’ is that little coward?”
“I don’t get the tree hugging reference but hang on, I’m getting an emergency email from the main room.” I got out my GPS earpiece and spoke into its mic port. “n00b, what’s up?”
“XY! I managed to articulate the cursor recode manipulator!”
“Speak English, Poindexter…” Tommy boy interrupted.
“Shush Tommy Boy, I think I get what he’s saying! n00b, have you…”
“Worked out how far OTO are in breaking through Front Page? Yes,” he replied.
“n00b, that’s damn impressive. You’re upgraded to newbie. Now break it to us, what are the figures?”
“88.77? But…it’s only possible to break through a high tech system like Front Page at intervals of .2! Unless….you were to use…”
“The device it was created on…” G1 and Tommy Boy said in unison.
“Oh my gods!” I sped out of the room and my posse followed. “Type’s doing it right now! And in the one area we didn’t expect or inspect! The handicapped bathroom!”
“That SCUM! It’s bad enough that faeces-munger sold us out to the terrorists! Its even freaking worse we now discover the urinal cake of sorrow is actually doing it all by himself under our very roof! But for that undignified little weed with no soul to infiltrate the sacred room where Dr. Stephen Stephens himself invented the Front Page File Co-ordinator after he’d been diagnosed with limp stomach…well, I feel like vomiting. Right in his fudged up face.”
“Settle down, Tommy Boy.” And with that I kicked down the handicapped bathroom’s door and punched the traitor that was Type right in the arm.
“Now you belong in here,” I muttered as he clutched into his soon to be bruised limb in pain.
“So…you’re a freakin’ terrorist. The man I shared a sharing folder with,” Tommy Boy growled.
“You’re not a friend, you’re not a colleague, you’re nothing to us,” spat G1.
“Enough of the formalities. Cancel the process, Type,” I ordered.
Type smiled. “You can defeat me. But you can’t defeat my online buddies in the online world.”
And before we could respond with even the slightest vein pulsation, he clicked his mouse, stuck his head in the toilet bowl and flushed.
“No!” we screamed.
I checked his body. He was dead. G1 inspected Type’s laptop and sighed.
“He sent his progress to OTO?” I asked.
“Looks like it. No traces of it left here. Damn, he was fast.”
“That’s why he’s a member of Haxerz. Or was….” I trailed off.
“Good riddance to bad fuckups,” sighed Tommy Boy, “Now come on, let’s get back to the main room before another one of those idiots betrays us.”
“Bring the computer G1, we might still be able to—”
The computer exploded before I could complete my request. Luckily G1 had recognised the trigger sound right before the device blew into shards and had thrown it into the toilet bowl. Type’s head was no more.
“OK, now he really belongs here,” quipped Tommy Boy. “Now hurry the damn up!”
We ran back to the main room. I filled in n00b and the others and we sat down to assess the situation.
“OK, we’ve gotta—”
“Incoming video download communication from Captain Boss, XY,” G1 informed me of the irritating news, as Type usually would.
I filled Captain Boss in as well, and sighed in frustration as he screamed.
“But if they were on 86.77 then how far into discovering the government’s secrets are they now then?! In the bloody 90s?” he cried.
“98.8%,” n00b announced.
Captain Boss fainted.
“Alright, gang,” I stated. “I’ll say this quick, fast and only once. We don’t have the necessary data from the terrorist database that we thought Type was downloading. And all his plans were on that laptop of his, which exploded.”
“And blew up his head,” Tommy Boy added.
“Yes…anyway there’s obviously no time to get any additional info now so we have no choice but to do one thing.”
“What thing is there possibly to do in the space of—”
The numerical bar on n00b’s screen read 99.4%.
“—less than a minute?!” G1 cried.
“Gentlemen and lady, are you all familiar with a little procedure known as…a terabyte transfer?” I asked.
The group stared at me like I was crazy. And so they should have. There had been only three recorded cases of a terabyte transfer since computers had been invented and only 1.5 of those cases had been partially successful. But if we attempted one— and if it were successful—then we would be able to save the world.
“A terabyte transfer? XY, that’s suicide,” G1 finally uttered after one second of stunned silence, as I quickly prepared the operation on the nearest online computering device machine.
“Sometime’s suicide’s our only option,” I replied.
And with that I pressed “enter.”
Time seemed to stand still.
Then…Captain Boss’ voice came through over our speaker system.
“Haxerz…the Online Terrorist Organisation has stopped hacking through the government’s main computer system. I don’t know what you did but…YOU BLOODY DID IT!!!”
We erupted with joyous exclamation. n00b danced around the room; Tommy Boy screamed the f-word followed by a “yeah”, punching the air violently; and I passionately kissed G1. She didn’t even slap me. The other unimportant members seemed pretty chuffed too.
“Guys, have an extra week of internet downloads on me. You’ve earned it,” Captain Boss said, pouring himself a glass of chardonnay.
“Thanks, but we’ve still got some work to do,” I said. “Guys, let’s locate OTO’s whereabouts. Those sons of bitches don’t almost bring down my nation and get away with it that easy.”
Two minutes later, we’d found out where they were. Belgium. And we’d informed the proper authorities. The next mouse those amateurs were going to see was one that had crawled into their cell. I told the team this and they laughed wholeheartedly.
I love this job.