HAKKER: dispatches

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Hakker, Dispatch 014:
February 2004


Funny, how things you didn't understand while living an "ordinary" life, suddenly become crystal-clear when you find yourself on the outside of society.

Like sex, for instance.

Before I was deleted, I never understood why some people had to go through weird, embarrassing or even painful rituals to allow themselves to enjoy sex. It never worked for me, anyway. My preferences were and are old-fashioned.

But now, watching the world like I'm standing outside a restaurant window, I see the pattern - and it's all about money. Money and sex are connected, and all fetishes are elaborate ways of concealing the connection. A person's social background - that is, if he or she comes from a rich or poor background - will determine the person's sexual hang-ups.

You never, ever see poor people paying to get humiliated by a dominatrix or a whip-cracking jerk in a rubber mask. And why should they? They have enough humiliation in their daily lives, and they hate every moment of it. It is the well-to-do and the rich, the (supposedly) powerful who pay to act out fantasies of being powerless "slaves." To them it's a luxurious thrill, plus the added bonus of subtly mocking the poor.

"Oooo, look at me, I'm powerless and oppressed! A little further to the right, please. Remember who's paying you." Assholes.

Let me tell you about this rich, childless couple who paid me to pretend-stalk them. Really. I swear I'm not making this up. It was a one-time offer. The husband was a French software tycoon who'd heard the rumors about "a hakker" who took on dirty work. Let's say his name was... "Henri Game." He sent out word through various channels, and asked "A Hakker" to contact his representative on the Web.

Of course, my first suspicion was that EYE was baiting me again. But I made a few check-ups, sent a letter to Henri Game, and it checked out. I called him on the phone and accpeted the money he offered, to be delivered in a secluded location. And then they presented this "contract." The "contract" demanded that I make threatening anonymous phonecalls to his wife, vandalized his car and sent them both obscene e-mails. If they were satisfied, he explained in that insufferable snotty accent, "maybe later I'll hire you to kidnap my wife and give her a real good scare, eh?"

Henri Game and his wife were sadomasochists. He took care to explain that he and she liked to play games about being threatened and stalked. Sometimes he disguised himself as a burglar and broke into her bedroom. Other times, she pretended to kidnap him for a ransom. But they got bored. It didn't feel dangerous enough. He found my web journal, and thought: This guy does anything for money.

And after he and the wife had got each other worked up about it, he got in touch...

Sadomasochists are control freaks. They love to write "contracts" and make outrageous, rigorous "rules" and "demands." They are also rich or upper-to-middle-class. They pretend to squirm before their paid "masters" but are completely safe in the knowledge that their money and connections will protect them against any real harm.

That rich couple thought so too. You know: "We can buy this guy. We own him." Which is exactly why I chose to give them the real deal, and not the act. So at once I had the first payment - nothing worth bragging about, but adequate - I hacked their bank accounts and scattered their bank assets among a million other accounts. (It's easy, when you don't have to bother about getting at the money, just spoil it...)

Then, before the couple understood what had hit them, I mailed an envelope of money to a bunch of hoods in the Paris suburbs - I don't know them, but I know where to find them - with a letter: Go to the address of Henri Game (ADDRESS HERE), wait until they leave the house, and throw Molotov-cocktails through the windows. They have no kids. You will be paid more after the job is done.

So their expensive house was burned to the ground... nobody was hurt, except financially. Then I posted orders for a million dollar's worth of guns, explosives and other contraband... to be sent to the couple's address... in their names.

As the icing on the cake, I posted false messages on the Web under Henri Game's name and address, where "he" praised suicide bombings and made anti-Semitic statements. The French police finally took notice and arrested the couple under suspicion of terrorism. Now they're in jail... and I hope they get to suffer some very real "submission."

I feel no pity for them, I really don't. They thought their money could "control" me, that I was interested in their "rules." My only rule is survival.


Inti Fatah had no money to offer, when she approached me two weeks ago and asked for a favor. In fact, she refused my sexual advances just to make the point that she doesn't sell her body for any purpose. We went for a walk.

An hour later: "H.," she said over coffee, starting to ask for something. She blinked and stared at me. "What are you pulling those faces for? Stop that."

I was twisting my face - look, no hands! - in ways that would've caused her laugh in other circumstances. We were sitting in a very small kebab shop.

"Just trying out a new trick," I said, and showed her the concealed camcorder in the bag at my feet. "Testing if I can fool the facial-recognition software I just stole. I'm taping images of my face so I can run them through -"

She raised her hand as if she wanted to slap my face, and I put away the camera. "Okay, I'm listening."

"You haven't talked to the other girls in my gang?"

"No." (Did I detect jealousy in her question? I was telling her the truth.)

"Many of them cut off their ties to their families. For various reasons."

"I can imagine."

"Some of them changed identity to get away from dangerous relatives or forced marriages." She was getting tense, looking at me, then down, as if her request-to-come was too embarrassing. "But one of my sisters..." Inti didn't mean a biological relative. "Her father and brothers found her. And now she's being threatened by them. If she won't agree to marry an older man she can't stand, they will personally kill her. It's the usual 'honor' thing."

"You mean an old man with a lot of money, and the girl's father has no other daughters to sell him." She smiled, cynically. "So why tell me this? I've seen your 'sisters' run over a bunch of Eastern European gangstas, and those are bad muthas. Let your gang beat the shit out of her relatives."

"No, we can't do that. It could start a feud. And my gang can't risk getting that kind of reputation in the Arab community. Some of our sponsors won't like it."

"Does the 'Arab community' know that you're sleeping with me?"

Her eyes look so good when she's angry. "What we need is an outsider. Someone who's not related to other Arabs, and can't be traced."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when did Arabs get squeamish about killing their own? Last I heard, is that terror bombings in Iraq killed 50 to 70 Iraqis."

She just looked at me in that smoldering way. Angelina Jolie, eat your heart out.

I sighed. "Where do they live, how are they armed, what are their connections."

She handed me a paper note and I read it. Whoa. Small wonder she didn't want her gang involved. The target in question was a diplomat.

 "I don't do politics," I told her, pushing back the paper. "Too messy."

"But you're an expert. I've seen what you can do with a crossbow."

"I wouldn't use the crossbow on a public figure. And what if it doesn't look like a convincing accident? These guys have surveillance on them all the time. It can't be done. I suggest you pay some dumb thugs to beat him or his son up. It's cheaper and easier."

"No," she said, shaking her head. "This has to stop. Do you want me to show proof? Their threatening phone calls that we taped? Their fingerprints on her door after they tried to break in? The scars on her back after her father whipped her bloody with a reed?"

I raised my hands to halt the raising of her voice. Women who make scenes...

"Look... I'll think of something. And your gang won't be implicated. Of course, we have never had this conversation. In return, I want you to help me when the time comes. Soon. And your biker sisters might come in handy."

Inti grasped my hand. I squeezed it, and we just watched each other's faces. After a pause, I added: "Where did you get the idea of a biker gang, anyway?"

Smiling, she said: "One of our girls is from Iran. She showed me a photo of the blackshirts there, the regime's young stormtroopers who attack protesters and students. They always arrive on their little motorcycles. Hey, a bunch girls on foot won't put the scare into a pimp or a gangsta."

"I always thought it was scarier to be invisible."

Not sure what I meant by that.



This diplomat from a Middle East country... let's call him "Uli Baba." He worked in a guarded embassy in the capital. Parts of his family lived with him in this country, chiefly a younger and an older son. Uli was in his late fifties, the elder son (let's call him "Junior") was about 35.

Inti filled me in with photos and files: Uli Baba's home was a villa surrounded by barbed-wire fences and security cameras. He had personal bodyguard, probably armed. In the villa lived Uli's sons and mother. Which meant I couldn't firebomb the place. I had to lure Uli or Junior out of their home. The bodyguard didn't worry me as much as their phones. These people were going to call the police if I even looked at them the wrong way, and demand 24-hour protection. Seemed like Mission Impossible, so I put away the files and concentrated on other stuff...


I'd been tinkering for awhile with my Spring Surprise for EYE... and boy, it's like having this great new toy you're dying to try out. Only problem is, it's a bit heavy. I made a scale-model version, stuffed it with a few firecrackers, lit the fuse and ran. Bang! And it worked, in a very small radius. Other things I'm working on is non-lethal weaponry, so I can capture a living cyborg henchman. Been thinking too, about how they managed to go up in smoke like they did last few times I fought them.

A) One hypothesis is that those cyborgs have an acid deposit stored inside them, which is then released into their veins when biometric chips in their bodies register signs of death. But it sounds too complicated, and it might not work every time (And where in them could this acid be stored? In the stomach? In a lung? Doesn't compute.)

B) Or maybe I was fooled? I saw smoke surround the corpse, and afterward I found no media evidence of a corpse being found. What if the smoke was in fact a smoke signal, and someone came and picked up the body - like an insider working under the cover of a regular job? These people must have had lives and jobs before they became... "Borg" wannabes. I want to think this is the true explanation. But I can't risk underestimating my opponent. I learned that very early.

C) Another hypothesis is that the self-destruction is a cellular response triggered by electric impulses into their DNA. This isn't as crazy as it sounds. Scientists have proved that DNA sequences can at least be read and transcribed into digital form. Then it might be possible to send coded electrical impulses into the cell - assuming you knew the frequency and the right code - and activate something.

D) My most worrying hypothesis is that the self-destruct was caused by a low-frequency resonance device. I've dug into classified military research files years ago, and one or two files have mentioned experiments with sound-weapons on animals and living tissue. If I could hack those files, then EYE could hack them too. And if he did, he has a potential weapon I don't know how to beat. Earplugs won't protect you from soundwaves that cause your cells to dissolve...

But I've got my Spring Surprise, and I keep my fingers crossed...


The big thing in the hacker/coder community right now is the leak of Microsoft's source code for Windows. Big deal. I've never really understood their obsession with Microsoft anyway. So the source code isn't very impressive, so what? Hackers love telling the world how THEY should have written the code better. And they resent Bill Gates for being a cutthroat monopolist and getting rich despite the fact Windows has always been a mediocre, bug-riddled system.

I guess it's my perspective that's different. I look at society from outside and see that nothing is ever perfect. Every system has bugs, but it's what we've got, so we make do and fix the bugs one by one. There is no perfect solution, never will be. Which is why I loathe that cult that EYE may be involved in, the "World Computer Connected Church." What an asshole idea to worship a network of computers, as if it were the answer to everything.

It's about as smart as worshipping roads or television or other forms of communication. But then again, I think the cult is just a front. Their gospel is pretty weak anyway. There has to be stronger incentives to keep the followers faithful. And I think it has something to do with the cult's biometric chip research.


Doing other stuff - training, cleaning up, shopping, reading, sleeping... inspiration crept up on me. The germ of a solution. Keep it simple. Use the power of surprise and audaciousness. Play on the target's weaknesses. I dressed and went out. It was late.

Uli Baba's daughter shared apartment with another girl. They must have seen me in action during the warehouse raid, but I couldn't identify them without the helmets and biker suits. They let me inside.

"You're..." I had no disguise, so she could recognize me.

"Hush. Which one of you is Uli's daughter?"

I urged her closer and whispered into her ear: "I want you to come out and make a phone call to your father."

"What is this about?"

"Do you want your problem solved or not? I want an answer now. Either I fix the problem, or not. Yes or no? You won't see me again."

Standing up close, I noticed the scars sticking out from underneath her t-shirt. Inti hadn't lied about the whippings. The girl looked to be about twenty. She nodded to me.

"Kill them," she whispered. "Both of them."

"Then I need to borrow something from you. And I need a translation."



An hour later, Uli Baba and Junior arrived by two cars to the meeting place. The girl had called them from a pay phone and delivered the message.

Uli and Junior stepped out, leaving the doors open and the headlights on. They approached a lone figure who was standing in the small, darkened park. It was cold and dark; white snow glittered among the naked trees. A man walking a dog passed by. The older man waved at the lone figure who was wearing a woman's long overcoat and head-covering hijab.

Uli Baba called out his daughter's name, and said something in Arabic; it sounded like a command. The figure seemed to start at this command, as if ready to flee. Junior burst into a run and charged at the figure in the overcoat - a knife flashed in his hands. Uli ran to the other side, blocking off the path.

The "figure" rapidly pulled off the overcoat and flicked on the small gas lighter. The overcoat, its outside soaked in flammable liquid, turned into a blanket of flames. You guessed it: the "figure" was me, with a hijab. Junior stopped nearly slipping on the ice and snow underneath our feet.

Like a bull-fighter, I swirled around toward Junior and threw the flaming coat over his head. While he was panicking and screaming, I went behind him and ran for Uli's car. As I'd thought he would, he'd left the doors open and the car keys in the ignition. No time for fancy tricks. I snatched the keys and leaped back out, standing with my back to the car.

Junior had managed to wring himself free of the burning coat, and rolled into a snowdrift to put out the flame in his hair. Now I turned to Uli Baba, and I expected him to flash a piece or a knife - that's why I was standing near the car.

He shouted, first in Arabic, then in a language I knew.

"Who are you? Where's my daughter?"

I grinned, though maybe it was too dark for him to see. My Joker mask. And said, in the best Arabic I could muster, the words his daughter had helped translate: "You know my name."

He stared at Junior, who was lying screaming and wailing in the snow. Then at me. Would Uli run, fight or call for help? Being a diplomat, he turned and ran down the park path. It did him no good; he wasn't much used to running on this ground, and he couldn't take a short-cut what with all the snow.

I jumped into his car, turned the ignition and stepped on the gas pedal. Driving on a park path in the dark of winter is hard, but I wasn't going far. My handling of the gear-shift was pretty lousy; the gears crunched and squealed. After about thirty-forty meters, I caught up with Uli. He froze, squinting into the headlight glare - WHUMP! - and went under the wheels. Damn! I should've used the seat-belt... my head bumped into the ceiling. I let go of the gas and steered the car to a sliding halt.

Then I got out, and ran back to Junior, who was still alive. A smell of burnt hair reached my nose. Before he could stagger to his feet, I gave him a good kick and picked up his knife.

For a moment I felt pity for the man. He whimpered and held his head, like he was in mourning. I couldn't hear what he was saying, though.

"Speak up. In English, please."

"She sent you, right? I know it's her! I'll f***ing kill her!"

Taking a deep breath, I said what was on my mind:

Another kick shut him up. Seconds later, Junior would never speak again. I tossed away the bloodied knife and ran away, taking care not to leave an obvious trail in the snow.



The local news tried to play up the event; the crime scene must have confused the police. A diplomat run over by his own car? A burnt woman's coat? The diplomat's son killed by his own knife? There was some media speculation about terrorism, organized crime, an internal feud between father and son... but eventually, the event became another unexplained tragedy. Uli Baba's daughter was never asked to comment. If the police questioned her, I wasn't told about it.

I met up with Inti two days later... she was in a serious mood. She ought to be; it was almost as if I scared her, but I didn't consciously do anything to appear scary to her. Can't explain it. We didn't mention the event, just exchanged telling glances.

"She must never talk to anyone about me," I explained. "Tell her I do not exist. Tell her that it is dangerous to talk about me. I know how women love to gossip."

Inti nodded. We were in an empty, dusty garage in a town I cannot name. My sleeping quarters lay in a corner. The place carried traces of illegal aliens who had hid out here before: leftover matchboxes with foreign names, old magazines in several languages, a child's crayon drawing hanging on a wall.

"She won't gossip," Inti promised me. "H., you can be one scary guy. But in bed you're different." I waited for her to make her point, made a blank face. "Do you feel like talking... about stuff?"

"I write a journal. It says it all, I guess. You read it, huh?"

"Mmmm. Just to make sure you don't reveal too much about me."

"It's not gossip. So don't worry."

"Do you ever think about the future?"

"I keep my eyes on the prize. You know."

"And then what?"

"One bug at a time, Inti. One bug at a time."

We closed in. She stayed the night.

continued in Dispatch 015..

"HAKKER: DISPATCHES" is (c) A.R.Yngve 1989, 2003, 2004.

This is a work of fiction. The characters and actions described herein are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons and events is coincidental. This work of fiction is not intended to incite to the violent and/or criminal acts described herein.

H.Ellison no longer exists.