CUTTER by Rod Humble: Chapter Three - The new Athenians

Chapter Three

After finding out that Truth was a fraud I immediatley set about writng an anti-virus that hunted down and destroyed the Truth virus wherever it was. Then I posted my report back to the CR's and enclosed a request for more information on Foxstab. Within 12 hours I had my response.

04/18/14:02/[email protected]

TO:[email protected]



Congratulations on your success. Please find attached two files dealing with "Foxstab."

I quickly scanned the reports. The first one was an Internet reference report on the new English political system.



Au: Bluebeard.

England is the only country in the world to have used technology to form its political system. Not that there were many options after the great constitutional crisis. I should explain exactly how the seemingly unshakable British political system collapsed towards the end of the century. The old system of "understandings" and the comedy of an "unwritten constitution" finally collapsed. Surprisingly the homogenous society that is England did not fall and paradoxically it was that unity of an island nation that made the revolution possible. Indeed it was the urgent desire to save it. Strangely economic hardship was not a factor of the break up either. In fact it was the boom times of Europe that were the cradle to the British Revolution. With the boom and the brief period in which Europe was the worlds biggest economy came incredible prosperity. Now it was not just middle class families that could afford to buy themselves and their children computers. Natural British snobbishness helped this spread rapidly as families desperately tried to keep up with one another. The craze took hold very deeply first of all in the working class. As with satellite TV, here people would buy any distraction from the bleakness of their surroundings. Unlike satellite TV however computers gave people the chance to talk back, and talk back they did.

First they were pirate BBS's each one setup by poor working class kids who had scraped the money for a second hand modem & PC. The police tried to clamp down but found themselves sadly ill equipped and under trained to compete with a highly enthusiastic and computer literate sub class. The spread of information this brought about was uncontrolled and explosive. To a country used to a state run news organization and a government that has the legal ability to ban any news story on grounds of national security, the spread of free information was devastating.

Dirt on the royals, Sport, Sex , Stars, Racist material, Radical Political propaganda all these things were available in huge amounts on-line. With such a plethora of topics parents now became interested. Like video games before them, modems and PC's started to move into the living room. This was the beginning of a major change in English society. Information is power. For the first time since the invention of the printing press there was an explosion of information but this time it was not the intellectuals or the ruling class who governed its use but a working class bitter and angry at an unjust society. They organized rallies - on-line, they sabotaged the transportation network - on-line, they robbed banks in the name of freedom - on-line, they even committed acts of terrorism - on-line.

It was on one drizzly Saturday that the Red Top Boy's crew hacked into the traffic control center in Portsmouth. Noone really cared about a small southern transportation network computer and so security was not tight. All the best experts were trying to stop the daily attempts to hack into the Royal Families private E-Mail. But the Red Top Boy's crew were very interested in Portsmouth, you see it controlled all the relays to the traffic control within the channel tunnel. They stopped all the traffic , trains and cars. They stopped them all. Dead. This they claimed was all that they intended to do but now there were too many variables set loose. The tunnel had recently been expanded for motorist traffic and that was to prove deeadly. The security chief of the tunnel assumed that because all the traffic control systems had gone down he was suffering from a power cut and so he went to back up generator. Nothing happened. He then tried several other methods of getting it back on-line. It was to take him 10 hours to solve the riddle still assuming he had lost power as technicians checked cables. The back power lasted 24 hours for lighting, it only lasted 4 hours for Air-conditioning. When the air started to go stale people jammed in a 4 mile long traffic jam or trapped on a train stuck in an enclosed tunnel started to panic. Many tried to run out of the tunnel, panic spread and a stampede started many left their cars on causing the air to become clogged with car exhaust fumes the ugly scene left three hundred people dead.

Even this crime did not slow down the movement however. Most people now started to rely on the Network for information rather than the state controlled news network. Outlandish claims about corruption and wealth were widely believed and many were true. The government indeed the whole system of parliament and a constitutional monarchy lost all credibility with working class and lower middle class citizens. Finally the government could handle it no longer. Faced with mass ownership of computers and a massive dissatisfaction with the system of government they did the only thing they could. They cracked down and pulled the plug on the whole telecommunications network. It was anarchy. The country ground to a halt and the people took to the streets. Violent revolution was never the English way but now it happened. No longer were the exploited lower classes ill-educated and without information. Quite the opposite they had been exposed to power and they liked it. The scottish revolution was complete first then they gave support to the English rebels. With mass support the bulk of the army and police found it impossible to attack those they knew on-line. No longer was it possible to bus in police from different districts because thanks to telecommunications England was one district. The final storming of parliament was done by members of the marines against the loyal secret servicemen of the government. Then when the fighting was over the terror began. Hundreds of thousands were summarily executed by the Peoples Brigades that wandered the abodes of the rich, all of London was looted. The royal family escaped to Wales only to be handed over by the new welsh government when they were awarded independent statehood by the new English ruling party.

With the revolution complete the thinkers K4, RedDuck, Ninja and others began to organize a new form of government. It was Democracy. Everyone over 18 years old could vote. They could vote on anything. Each citizen was given a citizens unit. This unit was linked into the central voting office in London. Anyone could present a bill and everyone could vote on it. At first it was chaos. the death penalty was introduced for over one hundred different offences then abolished for fifty of them all in one week. The people were empowered and it went to their heads. Racist policies were enacted. Senior members of The royal family were executed then in a change of mind all surviving members were given estates and a pension. Still it continued and survived. "First Speakers" appeared, these citizens were the most eloquent and started to mould public opinion. Then finally a leader was elected and the post of "Lord High Protector" was formed to represent England internationally. Finally after numerous attempts to break into the voting computers by hackers and foreign powers the Information Security Police were formed. Their most famous investigator was Roger Carter also known as Foxstab.

Carter was the man responsible for the execution of over one thousand hackers all found guilty of trying to interfere with democracy. He closed down the pirate BBS's and the revolutionary hacking groups that helped found the present group. He had purged democracy of any who had the ability to change it.

Today England is a closed country. Its citizens tend to be very nationalistic and their trade practices are very protectionist. Very little information comes out of the country and they are renknown the world over for their skill in producing telecommunications equipment and super computers.

I looked away from the screen. This Foxstab was a cop? I had never heard of him but that was not surprising I paid little attention to anything that happened outside the states.

Curious I read the second report. It was an interrogation report marked Classified. Once again I admired the CR's ability to penetrate even the most secure networks.

05/10/05 01:15


Interrogation of suspected terrorist


Session number 4


Look you fucking know all this already why? What good will it do you?


Ok as I remember it.

I had finally bagged a "Big Job" and it seemed I was going to get into the big money reserved only for the very best hackers.

My laptop was busy running the first level codebreaker so I flipped on my Citizens Unit and watched the news.

The last batch of Malaysian Muslims who were under siege in east London had been driven out of their ghetto , They would be forcibly repatriated next week as per People's Edict 10385. Apparently 3 had been killed during their resistance and another 2 were being held in the Peoples United Kingdom. The 2 were charged and found guilty of assaulting a police officer which was now a capital offence. This made me stop and wonder. Would the 2 men who were to be tried be stripped of their British nationality before execution? Or would they be allowed to die as Englishmen? I saw that one of the speakers in Parliament had asked the same question and it was to be put to the vote. The issue number was displayed on screen and I quickly punched it up. The voting options were displayed and I voted against the Muslims retaining their British nationality by the quick pressing of a small green button. It was that easy. All over the country other green & red buttons were being pressed deciding the fate of where their bodies were to be buried. I always did like video games.

The speaker of my laptop to let me know that the first level security codes had fallen to my breaker program. I turned back to the laptop set stage two underway.

Why do you want me to repeat all this?

My laptop's speaker let loose the finale from "Messiah" and I knew that I was in. The screen threw up a whole list of data files I now had access too. There was a lot of very interesting stuff here but I only wanted one file 4BZ2121.CXZ. I scanned the list and spotted it exactly where I thought it would be. I got ready to grab it when I noticed the file size. Very nice, there was a copy check built in so that when you copied a file it added a tiny amount to the file size. This would show up in the directories file total. I turned to my second laptop and constructed a file exactly big enough to compensate for the discrepancy and uploaded it. I then downloaded the required file. The instant I reached 100% I pulled the plug and sat back. In clean, out clean. I was done.

On my second laptop I logged onto a local game crackers BBS. I changed the filename of 4BZ2121.CXZ to LORE.TXT and uploaded it. I labeled it as "A walkthough of the old MAGICIANS LORE game." A game I knew had sold very badly last year. It was from here that my employers were to download it. I went into the kitchen to prepare myself a cup of coffee.

The kitchen door exploded in front of me. At the same time an enormous sound like a thundclap deafened me and a smoke bomb was tossed in through a window breaking it as it did so. I turned and ran back towards my computer, too late. Men dressed from head to foot in black with gasmasks and brandishing heavy sidearms blocked my path. One grabbed my arm and bent it behind my back. Then mercifully there was a heavy blow to my head and I lost consciousness. Next thing I knew I woke up here with you guys. Please this is the third time I have told you all this. Can't I get some sleep now?


Despite further questioning the subject's story did not change. It seems clear he was working for a foreign power to sabotage the trading vote on restricting the import of foreign chips.


CRIME: High Treason against the peoples democracy.

RECOMMENDATION: Execution by firing squad. (Non televised).

Signed in the name of the people.

Roger Carter

Peoples Investigator Carter.

ADDENDUM : Sentence carried out 6373 on the 4th year of the revolution.

This man Carter fascinated me. He was a hacker turned policeman it seemed. But the documents brought up more questions than they solved. Why was this man writing programs such as "Truth"? I began to type out a request for more information regarding Carter when my laptop beeped that I had just received a message. It was from the CR's, it seemed that they were as curious as myself, so curious in fact they were going to send a team into England.

04/18/20:04/[email protected]

TO:[email protected]


Make yourself ready for a trip. You will be leaving tomorrow.

It did not say were we were going but it was obvious. I felt thrilled at the thought of a " Real World Op". I hardly slept at all that night filled with a nervous energy that I had not had since my parents bought me my first computer.

At 7.00 AM there was a sharp knocking on my apartment door. I walked through the mess that passed for my floor and opened the door.

"Alright cheify! Ready for the off?" A high pitched English voice came out of a very pale skinny man. Dressed in jeans an a leather jacket that was patched with many insignia from "Speed racer" to "Thunderbirds are go!"

I nodded and motioned for the man to come inside while I grabbed my bag.

He took two steps into my apartment , trod on several things that went crunch and slipped on something that went squish. He then thought better of the whole journey and retreated back out into the corridor.

"Not a very chatty sort of bloke are ya?" I was now beginning to be convinced that the English accent was forced. It certainly was irritating.

"My names Cutter." I said in the most steady monotone I could manage. I hoped this would convey a sense of menace and mystery.

"Pleased to meetcha Cutter, my names Jeremy, Jeremy Thorpe." He looked expectantly then said " Don't worry no relation!" He delivered this like a punchline.

"Sorry?" I seemed to have missed something there.

"Never mind, ready to go?" He muttered "Bloody Yanks" just loud enough for me to hear. Then snapped out a warm beamy smile as I came into his vision.

"OK, are we going far?" I enquired as we strolled down the corridor to the elevator.

"Blighty!" He roared with pleasure, then seeing my blank stare he continued, "Britannia old chap, England. We are returning to liberate the mother land for God & King & Country!"

I allowed myself a smirk of satisfaction which quickly turned to a scowl as Jeremy stared to sing "Rule Britannia" in the elevator down.

Jeremy was a great dissapointment for me. He was the first CR I had ever met but he didnt look like he was capable of any kind of crime beyond stealing beer glasses from bars. If I had been concerned by his appearance his car made me wonder if this guy was sane, it was a multi-colored van with the words "Mystery Machine" painted on the side.

"We are going to drive around in that?" I asked, "I thought me might want to AVOID attention not get it."

His whole facial expression changed and he now displayed the same look of dissapointment and concern that I had tried to conjour up moments before.

"I had heard you were good Cutter. Seems you have a whole lot to learn about social engineering. In that van we have got a shitload of very illegal computer equipment. Now cops have a sense of humor and the scooby mobile has saved me from having it searched on many occasions."

Pride is for pricks so I apologized.

"No sweat man. Now we have to go pick up the Alien and I can brief you two gents."

"The Alien?" I asked.

Jeremy smiled. "Yeah. The Alien is haunted."

After enduring an hour of Jeremies driving and a constant looping tape of the "scooby doo" theme tune we arrived at some downtown shithole that apparently Alien lived in.

Jeremy knocked the door. There was no response so he knocked again. Immediately after he stopped knocking a deep voice came from the other side.


"Alien its me you fucking freak." Jeremy said in his irritating English accent.

A small scrawny kid about 15 years old with boggle glasses threw the door open smiling a weak smile. This I took to be the Alien.

"Hey JT, come in man, whos the straight?" The Alien LOOKED like a coder IE: like shit. We all look like shit after we have been working. He left the door open and walked back inside.

I scanned the room and saw the usual hacker decor. In one corner were three TV's. The biggest TV was a huge wide screen job hooked up to an expensive sound system. On it was playing a hardcore porno with the sound turned off, some girl putting a very large dildo up herself and trying to put a brave smile on the whole situation. The other two TV's were regular size ,one had the football game playing on it with the sound on just low enough so you would here it when one team scored but otherwise was safetly in the background noise region. The last TV was hooked up to MTV at the moment but had a video game resting just below it indicating what this TV was usually used for.

The other corner was devoted to Aliens machines. He had two Greycard 5000's running side by side and a laptop balanced preacriously on the elbow of his huge console chair. The desk itself was covered with peices of paper and soda cans. Shoved right up next to his screens was an enormous ashtray stolen from a bar with a small mountain of cigarette stubs in it. Under the desk was packed with power points and boxes that the computers had come in but now being used to store various bits of shit.

Jeremy closed the door and walked straight into the kitchen, He grabbed a can of soda and a filthy enamel cup. Lighting up a cigarette he moved over to Aliens desk and sat the cup down on it, he gently tapped the ash into the cup while swigging the can.

"Man I wish you wouldnt light up without offering me one." Alien turned to smile but then I caught his eye. His eye was moving very quickly almost having spasms, I had seen that look before.

Alien was was indeed haunted.

He caught my stare and said very simply. "Yeah man I got the ghosts."

There are ghosts. Hackers ,programmers and gamers get them. You see them after a long stretch at a computer terminal. You think you are fine but then you look away from the screen and you see them.

My first was after a 14 hour hacking session on a corporation job, things had got pretty hairy but I had got out ok. I turned off the terminal looked around my apartment and there it was. A black cat walked in from the hallway and sat down next to a box. I just stared at it unable to take my eyes away. How the hell did a cat get into my apartement? I got up from my chair and as my height adjusted the cat turned into a pile of books that I had moved there yesterday. It had really scared me. I suddenly felt claustrophobic and had decided to go for a walk outside. I walked out into the hallway and called the elavator, just as the doors closed I had the strangest feeling that the elavator was held up not by cables but by living snakes. By the time I reached the bottom I was sweating, it took me an hour to clear my head in the halflight of dawn.

The second one was after an 18 hour stretch on a computer game. One again it was dawn and just as I was turning over to go to sleep I saw a figure walk across my kitchen through the doorway. The man was about six feet tall and very pale. I strained my eyes but his face was blurred. I reached over and turned the light on. Nothing. I was so shaken that I went to sleep with every light on in the house. Even with the lights I saw 4 inch long cockroaches all night long.

There is nothing supernatural about them, fatigue plays tricks on the mind and many people have seen ghosts down the ages when they are at the edge of exhaustion. But for the hacker there is a problem. Sometimes the ghosts stay. You see for most people that level of eye strain ,fatigue and solitude is a rare occurance but for people like me & Alien thats what we do every day. If you push the mind to far it can snap, and when that happens the ghosts stay.

"Yeah man, I hear ya. Knew a guy who had to drop some tabs of sandman to get rid of em. Slept for 24 hours straight. Nearly died of dehydration."

Alien nodded then wiped his sweaty hands on his T-shirt that read "The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth." He proffered one.

"Alien, Nice to meetcha."


Jeremy took a final swig of his can then dropped his ciggarette into it.

"Well lads why dont I fill you in on what we are going to be doing?"

From his jacket he drew out a map of England.

"Now can anybody tell me what this country is called?"