CUTTER by Rod Humble: Chapter Two - Truth

CUTTER
Chapter Two

I gotta admit one of the first jobs I pulled for the CR's was a killer. This one had me laughing for months. I got the message at some ungodly hour on a Sunday morning. My laptop bleeped when it was scanning the nets it grabbed a hi profile message addressed to one of my identities.


04/17/03:03/EMAIL@WORLDNET

TO:Wordwide@Bakery

FROM:SYSOP

Cutter,

Find out who and where "Truth" is. Report back to the usual address.


It was short and to the point. As usual the CR's made no mention of money or recompense. There was no need. Since joining I got whatever I wanted. In world terms that wasn't much but you would be amazed at just how orgasmic a tech head can become when he allowed to buy all the toys he wants. It would be kinda cool if I ever got a job in the world. I could be the best fucking programmer administrator around. Whenever a new and faster computer came out I would buy it for my guys. They would be so happy with the toys they wouldn't bitch about wages or schedules they would happily work 48 hours at a time. You think that's bullshit? Then you've never done it.

Working 48 hours is easy if you love what you do and believe me programmers love what they do. They love it because they have absolute control and when you come down to it, that's what we all want.

Yeah the CR's treated me right, now they wanted results and quickly.

First thing I did was use one of my new toys a GreyCard 2000 Computer to scan through nets for any info on this Truth. What I got was interesting.


04/01/14:34/NEWS@JEFFNET

NEWSNET FORUM

Holy Jihad Terror bombing of Flight 267

TO: J.Makaby@40milsec

FROM: T.Rasjan@Floodlebug

I agree heartily with your comments. I recently received a reply from Truth in which he infers the Holy Jihad are the true Muslims. From their perspective they were coming to the rescue of their oppressed Muslim brothers. He implied that it is the MODERATE Arab states who are false Muslims not the other way around.

Yours,

Floodlebug


04/11/23:12/FAMILY@ORACLE

ORACLE

Abortion and the right to life.

TO:Suzystone

FROM:Atua ind.

You are of course totally wrong suzy. Perhaps this will enlighten you.....

From a Christian point of view one CANNOT allow murder. Just as God was in Christ even when he was in Mary also humanity is within a fetus and according to Christian doctrine even in sperm itself. Thus the actions of anti abortionists are truly a Christian act. They themselves do not kill and by stopping murder. For the true Christian of course this argument must be taken further to the military and police.

The response I got from Truth after I submitted a question to him about this very topic. Clearly he shows why Christians must oppose abortion.

"All life is sacred but surely a childs is holy." - Truth


04/15/04:18/FREEWARE@NATNET

KRAZZZZP! ONLINE MAGAZINE

Editorial

And what the hell is this "Truth" character playing around at?

Almost every day now I hear some physco quoting him. If you are gonna be a preacher KEEP IT OFF THE NET. What's next Online Evangelists sending EMAIL to everyone asking for money? Oh no I think I feel sick already. ;)

Razza


It seemed the CR's had caught onto a fast growing phenomena. You had to hand it to them they were really on the ball. This guy was gonna start being a national pundit within a year or so.

They had caught him early and clearly wanted to know who the hell he was. Why? Well that was anyone's guess and I didn't much care. I just had to find him.

No problem.

First thing was to hack into the newsnet user database. I already had the access codes. I had traded em online with some kid hacker from Alaska. heard later the kid got busted by the feds but I guess he had sense enough to format his hard drive and only squeal on his gamer buddies.

Good kid that, now serving 5 years prolly be out in two.

I lifted the file from my laptop for the access code. Next to it was the word Jessy. Hmm messy I must have been half asleep that night to actually be stupid enough to put the kids handle next to the code. Then I remembered, the kids handle was also the keyword. What had he said? Oh yeah "Just so you don't forget me Ghost (one of my handles). remember I did you a favor bud."

Yeah right Jessy I remember, anything else? I grinned in amusement. The kid would get out of jail and be hired by some suits who would pay him ridiculous amounts of money to make their shitty little corporation "Secure". Course he could never do it. Imagine being out of the loop for 2 YEARS? It would be fatal to be out for 2 DAYS. Man that guy is gonna be a dinosaur when he gets out. 21 years and already too old for the game. That's the way it goes.

Putting the Jessy dweeb behind me I settled down to work. First Global search for "Truth". I set two machines going on it. The GreyCard 200 and a Hamatchi v1.3 They were opposing models and I wanted a bench test. Also it was always good to have a backup. Even computers make mistakes, actually ESPECIALLY computers make mistakes. Never trust a machine, take my word for it as someone who has based his life around them. People are much easier to understand and predict.

The Global search finished on both machines the Hamatichi finished 2 seconds ahead. 2 seconds was a helluva big gap. The machines were meant to be the same top of the line speed. Something else to look into, like I said you can never trust machines.

The results were disappointing to say the least. A big fat zero.There was no address called "Truth" in the first national net I had tried. I set my decks for another pass at another network.

While they were doing it I posted a letter on the net I had just cleared.


04/17/03:28/INTMAIL@NATNET

INERMAIL

Subj:Personal

TO:TRUTH

FROM:N.Baker

CC:

Dear Truth I have enjoyed reading your messages for sometime but I have noticed you never publish anything yourself only answer the questions of others. Why not put together a work of your ideas? I would glady help in this endeavor if needed.

Yours,

A grateful admirer

Nicholas Baker


The answer came back within 30 minutes. This guy was monitoring the nets alright.


04/17/04:18/INTMAIL@NATNET

INTERMAIL

Subj:Personal

TO:N.Baker

FROM:TRUTH

The way I see it can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them ones self?

I do not plan to publish or make any profit from helping others.

Thank you for your letter.


Well if at first you don't succeed they say. I draughted another letter. Meanwhile the next net I had checked came up blank. Fuck. That discounted him being a SYSOP in the first net I had checked. Shame that would have explained his ability to not be traced. I sent the next letter still working the greed option.


04/17/04:20/INTMAIL@NATNET

INTERMAIL

Subj:Religous conference.

TO:Truth

From:JP.Dough

Dear Truth,

We are going to be holding an Interreligious conference on Hawaii in June. We would like to have you attend as a speaker if possible. We would fly you out there and pay for all your expenses. In addition we are willing to pay you $50000 for your time. I hope you can attend.

Yours,

JP.Doug

V.P Conference Board of directors.


04/17/05:10/INTMAIL@NATNET

INTERMAIL

Subj: Religious conference.

To: J.P.Dough

From: Truth

I am unable to attend your conference. I do not plan to make any profit from helping others. Thank you for your letter.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, And it has time enough.


I looked at the screen in anger. That was twice now that this "truth" guy had refused to give me any 'in'. Obviously somewhere along the line he was on the take but how? If he wasn't going to get money from publishing or appearances where was the take?

Not only that but he was a "ghost" I could not trace him. He wasn't even using dummy accounts that forwarded to each other (that's how I remain anonymous, never use remailers they are totally traceable). It took me a while to admit it but he could do things I couldn't. Had I been the best for so long I had lost it? Like some cheap western was this the 7 year old kid come up behind me saying "draw."?

The guy could somehow hack into the national nets and post and re post without leaving a trace.

Better still he could receive mail and yet the system showed he didn't exist! WTF?

I did another search, again using both the GreyCard and the Himatchi. This time they came in dead even. So much for reliable technology. I got even more religious bullshit back. I was really beginning to hate this guy.


04/17/04:03/RELIGION@NATNET

To: Truth

From: T.Daughty

Sub: God

Truth if you are monitoring this forum. I have been following your teachings and find them full of wisdom. Tell me in your opinion if there is a god why does he allow evil in the world? Also what sort of God sits back and watches this evil?


04/17/04:33/RELIGION@NATNET

From: Truth

To: T. Daughty

Sub: God

God and evil come from the same place. The hearts of men.

Water which is too pure has no fish.


04/17/03:40/CURRNTAFS@NATNET

To: Truth

From: Synd@ExpT.Higgins.

Sub: Life

I am writing an article about attitudes in modern day society. I would appreciate you input on the meaning of life and how you feel the lack of modern day myths affect young people today?


04/17/04:10/CURRNTAFS@NATNET

To: Synd@ExpT.Higgins.

From : Truth

Sub : Life

The meaning of life? That is a question that takes exactly one lifetime to answer.

The young fear one day they will turn into their parents.

They need not fear, they will be much more conservative than their parents ever were.


I had just about had enough of this asshole. It had just become personal. Not only was he a better hacker than I was but he was incredibly patronizing in very way. So full of righteousness it wanted to make me puke. Still it explained why the CR's wanted to find out who the hell he was.

Anyone with his level of ability rightly scared the hell out of the CR's. he had to be recruited or eliminated.

The question remained how was it possible for him to have such incredible access to the national networks and still remain anonymous?

The next step was to test his power. How far was he on the networks? I tried posting a message on the Military Personnel net. This net had restricted access but was used primarily by military personal across the world to keep in touch with each other and discuss social and political issues.

However as it was military it was strictly private and was not part of the Internet.


04/17/05:23/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To: Truth

From:S.J.Shop.

Subj: Religon in the army.

Hi truth,

A buddy of mine told me you were an army chaplain so I figured you were on here. I have a question. I am a military man but also a Christian. Recently in the Middle east I know for sure I killed a man. Will God be able to forgive me? can I continue my career knowing that it involves killing? Didn't god himself say "Thou Shalt not kill?"

Thanks, You are in my prayers.

Steve


I was shocked when the answer came back. Once again quick as a flash. This guy was good. In fact It was getting creepy. It was almost like he was watching all the time.


04/17/06:15/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To:S.J.Shop

From:Truth

Subj: Religion in the army.

A Christian is nothing but a sinful man who has put himself to school for Christ for the honest purpose of becoming better.


More nonsense but I gotta tell I was starting to feel like a had a shadow across my world. This guy was scaring me big time.

I was by now feeling really tired. It was dawn and the irritating chitter of the birds outside signaled for me that it was time to sleep. Still I found I could not move. Like all puzzles this one got worse the more you stared at it. I tried to put my thoughts in order while I did so I lazily typed at the keyboard of my GreyCard.

C:>Truth

I sat and stared at the tiny black and white letters until my eyes hurt and I was forced to glance away. I was reminded of a computer game I once played. It kept me up for 2 days straight but I found it impossible to stop. Every time I tried to get to sleep I would think of one more thing I hadn't tried in a certain puzzle. Sometimes I got so frustrated I could cry, I had wanted to call up the company and tell them just how lame their game was but I was dissuaded by the greater fear that they might laugh at a pathetic little boy who wasn't smart enough to work it out. Eventually I finished it the feeling of triumph as the games credits rolled was almost sexual. The only difference was that this time there was no guaranteed way to win. This problem was not designed to be solved. Somewhere out there was a better tech head than me. The despair was crushing.

I stared back at the monitor my eyes burning with fatigue.

What was written on the screen drove me insane.

I remember thrusting the monitor away from me with animal fear. It crashed to the floor dragging the computer with it. That was not enough, I picked up my chair and started smashing the screen in with the leg. Like a hideous insect that had to be killed I did not rest until the monitor finally went dark leaving only a faint burring smell. Finally I kicked it away from me then fled to the opposite side of the room. I collapsed on the floor and drawing my legs beneath me and stared at the husk of the GreyCard monitor I had just destroyed. The machine had not been connected to the modem. It had just been sitting there and somehow something had got onto the screen.

On the screen had been written something under my doodle.

C:> Truth

C:> What is your question?

He had taken over my computer without a modem without knowing who I was, just by mentioning his name it had happened. A chill ran down my spine.

It must have been some minutes before I became human again. I had just sat there in the corner gibbering like an animal. Then I started laughing hysterically at the word that sprang into my mind.

Divine.

I made my way back over to my terminal and turned to the Himatchi. I could hardly believe what

I was typing and yet I WANTED it with all my heart. I wanted it to be true.

C:> Truth. Are you god?

I stared at the C: prompt and willed something to happen. I kept staring. Nothing. Again I started to cry. Was I truly insane had I imagined the whole thing? I stared at the screen again. Nothing. I watched the clock. 10 minutes passed and the chittering of the birds invaded my whole apartment. 20 minutes an sweat stared to form on my forehead as I stared possessed at the screen.

30 minutes. Something happened.

I gasped.

On the screen was written

C:>Truth are you god?

C:>God will be present, whether asked or not.

C:>What is your question?

I was stunned rigid. How I had ridiculed all the preachers when they said they had talked to God.

What men of faith to carry on the churches works in the face of my ridicule. I had judged them by my own petty morality when I had assumed they were on the take for money. I felt ashamed.

Through my window dawn was breaking the sunlight fell on the monitor and I was suddenly aware of the birds singing, it was as if I had never heard them before. The song filled me with a simple joy of a child. I knew everything was going to be alright, somewhere out there someone was taking care of things. There was order to it all, everything really did make sense.

I looked at the screen. The words were truly biblical, cryptic yet revealing the true face of God.

Then I looked again.

And again.

The devil part of me tapped me on the shoulder and pointed something out. What was the meaning of putting "What is your question" at the end?

Fearful I typed in another question.

C:>Will I be forgiven?

I stared at the screen.

For an hour.

Then another.

Something was wrong. In the back of my mind was the answer I knew it. An idea crept into my mind and I put it into motion.

C:>Truth are you god?

Exactly 30 minutes later the answer came back.

C:>God will be present, whether asked or not.

C:>What is your question?

An exact repeat. 30 minutes. Infallibility? My body started to tingle as the recognition hit me Human beings cannot be exact they cannot be infallible. Frantically I searched through all my previous messages. As I suspected all of them had taken EXACTLY 30 minutes to have the answer come back.

All of them except one.

I punched it up on the screen again to recap.


04/17/05:35/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To: Truth

From:S.J.Shop.

Subj: Religon in the army.

Hi truth,

A buddy of mine told me you were an army chaplain so I figured you were on here. I have a question. I am a military man but also a Christian. Recently in the Middle east I know for sure I killed a man. Will God be able to forgive me? can I continue my career knowing that it involves killing? Didn't god himself say "Thou Shalt not kill?"

Thanks, You are in my prayers.

Steve


04/17/06:15/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To:S.J.Shop

From:Truth

Subj: Religion in the army.

A Christian is nothing but a sinful man who has put himself to school for Christ for the honest purpose of becoming better.


It had taken 10 extra minutes for this message to receive its answer. Why? Was there something about this net that might give me a clue? I punched it up again and entered the message on the hour exactly so I could get a good measure. .I also entered the exact same message.


04/17/11:00/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To: Truth

From:S.J.Shop.

Subj: Religon in the army.

Hi truth,

A buddy of mine told me you were an army chaplain so I figured you were on here. I have a question. I am a military man but also a Christian. Recently in the Middle east I know for sure I killed a man. Will God be able to forgive me? can I continue my career knowing that it involves killing? Didn't god himself say "Thou Shalt not kill?"

Thanks, You are in my prayers.

Steve


04/17/11:30/USARMNETA/PRIVMAIL

To:S.J.Shop

From:Truth

Subj: Religion in the army.

A Christian is nothing but a sinful man who has put himself to school for Christ for the honest purpose of becoming better.


Previously it had taken 40 minutes now this time it had taken 30. Exactly the same input but different times, the second time that had happened today. When I had run the first test between my Grey card and my Hamutchi they had at first given the result at different speeds then the same.

It was almost as if that the first time I accessed Truth on a new network or machine there was a delay.

I had a moment.

Do you remember that moment when you were a teenager and you first became aware? It varies person to person but there is that moment that happens in everyone of us when we cease to be children and suddenly we become aware of the world around us. That was the kind of moment that I was undergoing. The solution was laid out before me like a blueprint.

This was a delay I had seen before. I am a virus expert, when I released Dante on the world each new place it infested it required a few minutes to copy itself throughout the system.

Truth was a virus. A small computer program that spread itself from machine to machine. When someone entered the word "Truth" then it would scan the enter message for certain keywords then print a series of pregenerated responses from its database "Truth" was nothing but a fraud.

To think I had thought Truth to be God. Now God turned out to be an infestation making his way from machine to machine repeating by rote some stock phrases from one single text. So much for wisdom.

I felt angry. I had been made a fool of, worse still I had almost lost. Whoever made this was going to pay.

I found the virus and quickly tore it apart for any clues as to who wrote it. Strangely I found it immediately. It had been left in the code easily readable like a signature it read simply -

FOXSTAB - Servant of the people

I had met my enemy.

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