The Dead Deckers Society (2002)
How many times have you said “ I’m getting too old for this?” It seems to be happening more and more of late. Like many runners, I at one time was once a part of the corporation. Yup. Writing wiz code every day for the man. Getting nowhere…fast. I did my job efficiently. I moved up a little, but overall I didn’t have the charm of the “Fast-Trackers”. I didn’t kiss any ass, and that in the end killed me (well, it’s one of the things that killed me). It is all about who you know.
After almost twenty years of service to the late Fuchi Industrial Electronics I left. It wasn’t nearly as neat as that. Actually, I died in the process.
This is the story...
My older sister was just a normal kid till the change hit her. Some gene or something “expressed itself” and she grew into a beautiful young lady. Her elven grace did not find it my way. And growing up in
Anyhow, It was nothing like I expected. 1st thing I did was get the hell kicked outta me in some bar that doesn’t even exist anymore. Burned down during a time when “Race Riots” were really about race. I spent the better part of a year doing odd jobs and getting in trouble. One day waking up outside a Circle J Mart in clothes I don’t remember wearing, hung over, and smelling foul I met an older guy, in his 30’s, in a mix-matched pair of shoes, a Heavy Metal T-shirt, jeans and a rain jacket. He wanted to use the phone I was apparently huddled under. I moved and he pulled out a little device and placed it to the receiver prior to making a call somehow bypassing the need for a credit card. I was fascinated. He completed his call, and walked back to his car to leave. I guess I was just standing there dumbly when he hollered out to me “ Are you coming or what?”
This was going to be the smartest, or the dumbest thing (and prolly the last thing) I had ever done. I was all of eighteen years old and was ten-foot-tall (actually six) and not so bulletproof.
So we drove to
The home of Kev Hickman was more of a lab than a home. There were at least fourteen computers about the main room. All apparently networked, all apparently working on their own processes. I didn’t know anything about computers really back then. The ASSIST technology was still in its infancy back then and only superusers had it. I walked in and he directed me straight to the washroom where he pointed out towels and soap. I took the hint, but I guess I watched too many horror films as a kid so; the pucker-factor was still pretty high. I quickly showered and dressed in some clothes he had left. Didn’t fit, but they weren’t filthy so I couldn’t bitch. I came out of the washroom to the aroma of food. It was sensory overload. I guess I hadn’t eaten in a couple days, cause even though I really tried not to inhale what he had lain out, it was gone in seconds. The man introduced himself is Kevin Hickman and I know he went on for a while but to this day I haven’t the first clue what it was about.
I woke up on the couch with a blanket over me to a dark room lit only by flashing monitors. Kev was hunched over one opened up system with a soldering iron in one hand and a tester lead in the other. I don’t know how long I was out but I was alive (=not dead by some psycho). I got up and dragged over a folding chair to observe what he was doing. “Sleep well?” he asked, not taking his attention away from the task at hand. “Yeah, how long was I out?” I asked. “Bout fourteen hours.” was his reply. He didn’t ask any more questions that night and neither did I. He stayed up really late and racked out a little before dawn. Before going he told me to stick around till mornin. I did.
Again I woke up on that couch to the hunched over guy at the computer. “So what are you going to do with yourself?” he asked out of the blue. At a loss I answered that I didn’t know. I was a high school dropout in the 21st century. Prospects looked slim. “Maybe the Military?” I said sheepishly. He just looked at me. “I dunno.” was my only possible answer. “You need to get yerself an education.” He said matter-of-factly. I looked at him incredulously. “How exactly do you propose that?” I joked. “It can be done, just depends on what you want to do, and how much you want it.” He started. “Everything in this world revolves around how much you want something, and what you are willing to do to get it. Look around you. Everyday you see the ‘can-do’s’ and the ‘Cant’s’. The ‘can-do’s will be somebody, the ‘cant’s’ never will. It is a simple fact of life.” He explained. “ So, what are you?”
It was Kev that introduced me to the world of computers. He was a first generation Decker that went by the handle Ampere. He for some reason made it possible for me to attend the
Fuchi Industrial Electronics recruited me straight out of college. At the time I couldn’t help but feel that I was moving up in the world. At that time I went into surgery for my first cyberware. Fuchi of course spares no expense on it’s own. And I went to work developing Intrusion Countermeasures for the premiere IC Production Corporation.
I guess I never did really fit in. I kept close to Ampere over the years. We actually worked with and against each other a few times. I kept my past largely a secret. To the Corp, I had no family, no real past. Eventually that did affect my progress up the corporate ladder. I peaked out as a Senior Counter-Intrusion Specialist. I was a team leader. I found out that the higher you go up the ladder, the more you find out. Generally stuff you would rather not know. Stuff that’s hard on the conscience. So many secrets. Lots of skeletons in the closets. Especially as a Decker for the man.
I don’t care what anyone says, a Decker is a Decker. They are the biggest snoops around. I still don’t know why the corps have their own. They must know that we snoop them as much as we keep the others out. That is why we are given regular Psych evals. To test out our trustworthiness. Most Deckers and people who spend all their time jacked in, away from the real world end up suffering in the social skills area. In the Decker field, the geekdom factor is high (old school term). It is fairly easy to bust a Decker who snoops where he shouldn’t. I got a few bad evals. I took some “time off”. Everyone does. But at least I never actually got caught. Well, there was once. I’ll get to that later.
Over time I saw things that didn’t sit well. I knew by virtue of my profession hundreds of Deckers. Some got an opened door. Some got fried. I only fried a couple knuckleheads that should have known better. Ampere and me started doing some little deals. You know, the kinda deals where “the-boys-in-blue-come-and-confiscate-yo
Yeah, it happened. Actually it happened a lot. It was getting to the point where I was getting very nervous about the consequences. I did one job for the Tir with a buddy of mine SunRay (an elven Decker). Anyhow, I left a few key doors open and disabled some IC. Would have been fine except that at the last minute SunRay sends a sensing ping to the CPU on the target server. No way to cover that. I start shutting things down as Sunray exited the Intranet with a few hundred MP of sooper-sensitive data from R&D. So I shut the system down and start an alert as a good Corp boy should do. Typed a short report and sent it via e-mail. Then I happened to receive a phone call on my cell…Ampere on a voice modulator said to gather some stuff cause I’m going on a trip. Needless to say, I was at a loss for words. I gathered up a few items around the shop and whipped up a fake hand receipt and coolly left the building.
Upon arriving at my place I was greeted by the entire elven nation. No kidding. Ampere was there with like five or six folks that must have flown in from the Tir. Actually to find out, they had. Among them was my dear sister Corbin. She is some sort of Uber-Mage or something. And of course since I’m now 35 she is bout forty-five. But she looks all of twenty. “Jeezus…I’m getting too old for this”. So they proceed to inform me that Fuchi is preparing to turn on me and that I need to leave the AO. (Area of Operations). I would have never believed it but Ampere confirmed my deepest fears when he showed me the surveillance files on me.
The apartment was a blaze when I left
We waited around for the longest month of my life. And on the day that we were supposed to leave (of course) everything went to hell. It happened so fast I don’t even remember it all. Somehow, we were made. And a corporate goon squad showed up. They would have gotten us good. Ampere had gone to the Border Station to confirm the arrangements and that left only two of us at the (not-so) safehouse. Kori was on guard when she woke me up. I got ready and grabbed our stuff when she summoned a Fire Elemental right there in the house. Needless to say it was impressive. I ran for the bikes and she screamed for me to go. Bullets were whizzing by when I took a round in the left shoulder, which knocked me clean off the bike. The Fire Elemental raged my way either covering me or encouraging me to go. Either way I got back on the bike and ran for the border. (Wasn’t there a jingle…?).
The goons were in hot pursuit as I made my way down old HWY14. I was finishing my turn into the Interstate towards the Border Crossing Station, going WAY too fast I might add, almost home free when suddenly the bike moved sideways. I remember it all in slow motion as I recalled that it wasn’t supposed to move that way and that something was very wrong. I remember the world shifted around sideways and the ground was coming from behind me. I remember my left shoulder taking the bulk of the landing and remember coming to an abrupt stop. I also remember the bike coming right at me just before my world went black.
They say I died there. In many ways I did. My old life was gone. And if it weren’t for a sister that I always begrudged I would be dead. Actually my heart did stop briefly. Corbin resuscitated me and put me into some sort of hibernation. Unfortunately I was in a coma so how the hell was I to know? Nine months and multiple surgeries later I awoke in the Hospital I was born in:
I’m back in
Copyright 2002-2007 Jpreston@willwerks.net here.