Monday, 20 December 2010

A Curious Tale... 8.

There are some things that you just can’t take in. That was one of them. Drake had snitched, and Jason had played me. And Dante had left me. I was broke, and I was alone. I was about  to call Dante and tell her I wasn’t going anywhere anymore when I noticed a familiar face sitting a little further down from me. He stood up and walked towards me.
“Silas?” I said, a terrible thought springing to mind.
“Hi graduate,” he said. “Travelling home alone?”
“Sad. I thought you’d at least have the company of that attractive female I used to see around you.”
I shrugged, so he continued.
“Can I sit down?”
I shrugged again. He sat down.
“Your friend Drake led us right to Jason, who has a cybertrail as long as… what’s that longest river called again?”
I didn’t say anything. I heard the doors close and almost got up to leave, but thought better of it. There was nothing to go back to. I’d lost this battle and I’d probably be better off far away from this place.
“Anyway, I was determined to catch you actually committing a crime, so I made him reverse all his transactions and I know you’re now broke as fuck and confused about what to do next.”
“Yeah, happy now?”
“Actually no. The idea is to get you to commit another crime so I can catch you.”
So the plonker thought I was the brains. Sure I had he occasional bright idea, but it was Dante who always turned my ideas into viable plans. I was lost. I’d have to get a real job. Me! Work!? I wanted to cry, I was so upset. But I couldn’t give anyone the pleasure of seeing me weak and vulnerable.
“I’m going straight.”
He coughed.
“I mean it. I’m not doing all that anymore.”
“You will,” he said. “You’re a criminal, and it takes more than one reversal to stop the operations of a criminal mind.”
I almost laughed outright. Sure I would love to go out and commit more crimes, but now I’d have trust issues and I hate working alone. I was tired of this discussion, it was depressing.
“Do you have anything to read?” I asked him.
“I have a puzzle book, if you do puzzles.
“Yeah, thanks.”
“Just make sure you wipe it clean when you’re done. Don’t want anyone taking the credit for my puzzle solving.”
I smiled.
“Cocky bastard,” I said beneath my breath, though I’m sure he heard it to because he smirked as he went over to sit in his former seat.
I got busy solving Sudoku and Kakuro. I was broke, I was alone, but I was quietly hopeful something would turn up.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Curious Tale... 7.

I was more relieved than anything else. I wasn't ready to give Blake any pleasure whatsoever. I was supposed to leave London in a week - the week following graduation. Today I'd graduate, tomorrow I'd leave. I'd only told Dante, and I told her because I wanted her to come with me. She'd refused of course. Said she had to 'find her own way.' That upset me a lot, as I had no idea what I'd do without her. She had single-handedly taken me through school, and I was sure I'd be totally and hopelessly lost without her. I told her so. She looked at me, a slight sadness in her face."I know. That's exactly why I have to leave you""What?""If I don't leave you'll never discover yourself. You've grown so reliant on me it scares me."She was right. That didn't make it any easier for me to take. She was always right, that's why I needed her.
I went through graduation in a daze. I told myself it was just the impending change of environment. I hadn't seen my parents in seven years, and I didn't expect to see them again any time soon. Therefore I didn't have anyone to go home to.I was top of the class. I got a mass of job offers and prizes and what not, and I supposed I smiled graciously as I accepted all the plaudits for the work of Dante's amazing mind. I was really going to miss her. I was going to start a new life with the money I'd saved form all the swindles I'd gotten involved in. I'd always believed that new life would include Dante, and now it seemed a bleak prospect. A sedentary life and no one to share it with. Somewhere deep down I knew I was just being silly, and that I'd find someone new, but it still hurt. I didn't want someone new. I wanted Dante.At least we were together throughout the graduation ceremony. She was the only one as Jason was also graduating, and I was no longer sure how much I could trust him. Drake had dealt my confidence a cruel blow. I knew I wasn't the real brains of the group, but I'd always thought I had the measure of my team, and to be proven so horribly wrong was... well, embarrassing to say the least.

Getting on the shuttle out of town was probably the hardest thing I'd ever done. Dante hadn't come to say goodbye, she said it would have been too painful for her. At least I was reassured that she did feel something for me. I had begun to feel very insecure. It had never been a problem for me before, even when I'd just been an average student, before I'd met Dante. She had completely changed me, and already I felt slightly adrift without her. 
As we pulled out of the shuttle-port I thought of the direction my new life would take. With the money I now had I would buy out a small legitimate company with a guaranteed profit stream. Then I'd invest more into it and eventually make it a big company. I'd try not to interfere too much, just offer suggestions on how to make things better, more efficient. This train of thought was helpful. Dante was still at the back of my mind but I was able to break through most of the pain when I focussed on the future instead of the past. I went into the cloud to check out the kind of figures I'd be dealing with in the purchase of my prospective company. Then my eyes fell upon a sentence at the bottom of my statement page and my jaw dropped to the floor. 
"Student credits are not valid outside the institution catchment area."
I was sure I had never seen that before, which could only mean one thing.
Jason had played me.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Curious Tale... 6.

Blake hadn't been lying. There was a squad of officers outside my apartment, and they were all for cuffing me there and then. I told them there was no way I could run so they should just let me drop my stuff. Blake told them to let me. I changed into threads and a comfortable tee and went with them. They pushed me into the back of the craft and I saw my friend the Tackler from the other day. I said hi.
"You're going down criminal" he said, and was about to burst into a brilliant oratory about how crime never goes unpunished when a look from Blake silenced him. The cop craft was pretty classy. Blake had to travel in style I supposed. He told me not to say a word, and I was happy to do so.
The station was again abuzz with activity, but there didn't seem to be any bad guys around. It looked like neighbourhood watch day. So many regular citizens in summer clothes two sizes too small and with little kids trying to pick their noses without their parents noticing. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. The Tackler took me into a little cubicle with wood walls, a tiled floor and a great big light bulb on swinging from the ceiling. He started his tirade as soon as he got the door closed. He was one of them goody-two-shoes who never made any arrests but loved to come in guns blazing. I bet he hoped to go out in a blaze of glory, taking down a multitude of the hardest criminals ever in the process. I let him talk and didn't answer a single question. It must have driven him crazy. I didn't care.
Blake was as good as his word. Within an hour, and without interrogating me (Tackler obviously didn't count), Drake was led in cuffed and I was set free. I almost felt sorry for the poor bastard, he was sure to get what passed for his brains chopped up for stem cells. Oh what the hell. he was a snitch.
I went back to my apartment. Dante had let herself in and was lying on the bed waiting for me. I poured myself a drink and went over to her. Say what you like, but I've never been a fan of beer. Too bitter, in my opinion. I like my drinks sweet, so now I was downing a large mojito. Dante took it from me and asked how my exam had been. I had to laugh.
"I just got out of police custody and you're asking how my exam went."
"It was brilliant", I conceded.
"Good. Now how did you get out of that?"
I told her everything I could remember of my conversation with Blake, and to my surprise she didn't seem at all surprised at what she was hearing. I mentioned it.
"You don't seem surprised", I said.
"Well it is a bit odd, but it's not surprising really."
My eyebrows threatened to join up with my hairline.
"Well look at it this way", she started, "He's the son of a decorated hero and he has a lot to live up to. He'd much rather make a  huge killing than just catch someone on a case he doesn't even have evidence of yet."
She was right. But that made something spring to my mind.
"How come we weren't caught on camera?"
Now she smiled. No scratch that. She grinned broader than the legendary Cheshire cat.
"We were caught on camera, but I have all the discs."

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Curious Tale... 5.

Exams were fly. I breezed through them like a certain Mr. Bolt used to breeze through world records at some time in a millennium long past. I had Dante, who as I said, was an understated genius. Due to her efforts, I was a genius too.
It was immediately after my final paper that Blake showed up again. With a smirk on his face that could only mean one thing. Trouble. He was waiting outside the hall for me, so I couldn't run away. he stretched out his hand when I came out. I took it. There's no point in antagonising the enemy when he can easily abuse his power over you. I wasn't taking any chances.
"You've consistently had the best results in your class" Blake said. "How do you do it?"
"I study."
"That's what everyone says."
"How many of them are consistent?" I asked.
"Good point," he conceded.
We walked along the school corridor in silence. When we got to the front door I turned in the general direction of my apartment.
"I wouldn't go that way if I were you" he said.
"There are twenty four police officers outside your apartment waiting for you to get there."
This I hadn't expected.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I know you may have been involved in this crime, but I also know you didn't actually commit it. I would like to catch you committing a crime, it would give me no pleasure to lock you up for a crime you didn't get your hands dirty with."
I stood and looked at the man. He didn't like his job, he relished it. He got the same kinda buzz from it that I got from a successful felony. You had to respect his nerve. If he got caught doing this he would definitely lose his job, if not his entire life. You rarely got a second chance in this overpopulated society, they just shipped you off to a harvesting asylum, where you were dismembered and used as spare parts for some righteous upstanding citizen.
"Go home" Blake said, snapping me out of my thoughts. "One of your friends squealed, that's why we're back. I'll be outside your home to take you into custody, but I'll ensure you're sprung."
I kept quiet and let him talk.
"Please commit another crime," he continued, and I had to smile. "It would be a pleasure to cuff you and end your devious life."
I called Dante, Drake and Jay and asked them to meet me near my place. Dante said she was already there and the place was crawling with cops. I told her to wait for me. Jay said he'd be there. Drake made an excuse. He said he needed to drive a client to a party and he might see me later.  I smiled when I geolocated him with his phone. He was at home and didn't leave throughout my journey home.
I told Dante and Jay that Drake had exposed us and Jay was incredulous. He couldn't believe that silent Drake had snitched. I told him to calm down. Drake hadn't been in on the whole plan, he just knew that he would get his cut after graduation. It had been Dante's plan, from a tiny idea I'd had while ribbing Jay. Drake was brought in for the muscle. Somewhere in his tiny mind he must have cracked, thought the cops would let him go if he told what he knew. He may even have thought he would still get his cash. Stupid oaf.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, 7 August 2010

A Curious Tale... 4.

My clothes were dropping off me as I entered the apartment. I needed a shower. I'd been terrified. I might have built my meagre resources around a life of petty yet ingenious crime, but I was daily terrified of being caught. And I'd been caught today, only I hadn't been actively involved in the crime. I had a hot shower, then switched to a cold flow half way through. I read about that in some ancient British series of books about some incredibly lame aristocrat who kept on being almost killed but somehow always came back to save the government's sorry behind. I like him. He broke the law constantly, although he was always on the law's side. I would like to be him, but first I need to earn enough money to become an aristocrat, or at least rich, as rich people no longer had the pleasure of bullying poor people.
I walked out of the shower and picked up the various items of clothing I'd strewn all over the place and chucked them all down the laundry chute without checking in the pockets. I didn't want to remember anything about the night. Except the money of course, but that wouldn't come for a while. I dropped my towel and was rummaging through my drawer for a fresh pair of shorts when someone tapped me on the shoulder. A jumped a foot, but I'm sure I had an out of body experience before I turned round and realised it was Dante. Of course it was her. No one else had the codes to my apartment. I pulled on the shorts I had found and sat down on the bed. I was upset, and she knew I was. I got the impression she knew I was going to be upset even before I made up my mind to be upset. It was unnerving sometimes, the way she just knew me.
"We did it", she said.
I smiled.

Blake dropped by the apartment several times that week, and I was trying to study for exams, so I told him off. He told me I was the subject of a federal investigation, and I just laughed in his face. He was definitely aware of some of the other heists I'd been involved in, but since those cases had been long closed he didn't bother to go into them, but that didn't stop him from making dark and threatening references to the Oracle debacle, which of course I'd orchestrated.
I'd thought it amazing that Oracle databases were still being used for by so many traditional banking institutions, so I decided to do something about it. I studied Oracle databases to the highest level, with Dante's help of course. She's the most understated genius ever. I found that because Oracle had adopted cloud databases early with little real competition except from open source providers, they'd been a bit lax. It was simplicity itself to present myself at Oracle headquarters as a QSA agent, and with that I was able to obtain access codes for several employees. From there it was a simple matter of trawling through their records for any slip ups, and I found plenty. You know when you spring a leak, it doesn't take long to turn into a torrent. And that's how it was. I was able to get deeper and deeper into their records, and eventually into client databases... Bank accounts were only for the very rich, everyone else being subject to the UDCS. So I transfered several millions in credits to a fresh record, and made several purchases under a false name and had them delivered to a warehouse. Dante helped me transfer my internet protocols to some sorry sod's records and I was in the clear.
The next day I'd heard a knock on my door and Jason had found us. It was his dad we'd sent to jail, and for some reason he wouldn't tell us, he was eternally grateful. So I found someone who could have done in a couple of days what took me a matter of months.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 3.

I had no idea what Jason was doing in there, and quite frankly I didn't care. That was his part of the fiddle. I was concerned about what was happening where I was. I buzzed Drake to find out if he was cool. He said he was, but I was sure something was wrong. I was about to buzz Dante when I caught a glimpse of something very odd. It was as though something had moved the air aside to make space for itself, although I couldn't see what it was.
And then it clicked. Those damn invisimacs! They were really just very high tech camouflage, taking multiple 3D images of the wearers surroundings and projecting them from the surface of the fabric, which was a nanofibre polymer. They were only available to the police, so was sure we were in trouble. I said one word into my com and started walking sedately to where I'd spotted the anomaly and kept walking.
"Gotcha!" The cop yelled, bursting out of his invisible clothing and wrestling me to the ground. I could easily have incapacitated him but chose not to. They had nothing on me. On any of us. I just hoped the others had scarpered and not tried to finish the job, as there were certainly more cops around than this one that had accosted me.
He hauled me to my feet. He really was full of vim and vigour this one, frisking me and confiscating my com like he had any right to. I patiently let him finish.
"Excuse me officer, but why are you doing this?"
"We had a pretty reliable source tell us you were plotting some shenanigans, so we came to catch you at it."
He was more eager than he was smart. He hadn't even thought to call for back up. What would've happened in the event of me beating the crap out of him, I wondered. Thankfully someone higher up was thinking along the same lines and came striding up, pushing me into a police car without a word.
"This isn't right" I said.
"Neither are you" he replied.
Touché, I thought.
The police station was abuzz with activity. Robot secretaries whizzed around taking dictations, displaying images on their screens and printing documents from their stomachs.Policemen and women interviewed criminals, shoved them up against walls, screamed at them, tried anything to intimidate them into spouting all their evil deeds. I wasn't moved. There was no case against me and I knew it. It was just a question of me keeping a cool head and answering the questions as they came. I looked up and saw Mr. Blake. He walked towards me and frisked me.
"Hey I've already been..."
I fell silent as he pulled a button out of my pocket. A cheap satellite transmitter. So that's how they'd found me. They still didn't have anything, I just had to explain why I spent half an hour hanging around the Bureau of Statistics. I kept a straight face while I thought furiously.
Blake pulled out a copy of my National Statistics file from the time he'd come to my apartment, and downloaded the most recent version from the Bureau files. I had to suppress a smile. Did he really think we were that stupid. The changes, if Jason had successfully made them, wouldn't reflect until the day we transferred our Statistics to our homelands. The increment would happen between the deletion of the files here and the creation of new files wherever it was we were going. It would be very hard to spot. I had to hand it to him, Jason was an absolute genius.
I left my thoughts to look up at the frustration on Blake's face. I could see he knew I was guilty of something, but he had nothing to accuse me of, except maybe loitering, and there weren't any signs around the Bureau of Statistics to make that a valid offence. According to the law he could arrest any citizen on a whim, but had to have a valid and reasonable accusation to hold anyone prisoner. He wanted to question me, but he'd been beaten. He was a good sport though, he didn't make a fuss, didn't ask me any futile questions, in fact, he said just what I would have if I were him..
"I'll be watching you Ethelbert" he said, stupidly thinking I'd give him the small pleasure of letting him think he could get to me. I had the upper hand, no matter how guilty I was.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 2.

Mr Blake left fifteen minutes later, after reeling out all the property I wasn’t supposed to have under the Unitary Dividend Caste System. He left without any solid evidence against me anyway.
I hopped in the ride and cut a tortuous winding path to my rendezvous with Dante. It was a cute little bistro in the heart of the central business district of Lagos. Dante was waiting for me, her lips pursed and arms akimbo.
“You’re late.” She said. “Again.”
“Yes Dante but it’s not as easy to sweet talk the QSA as it is to get to you.”
“The Queers?! Are you sure you still wanna do tonight?”
“Sure. It was just some sop called Blake.”
“Blake? Not Elijah Blake?”
“No, this one was called Silas.”
“That’s still bad. He’s Elijah’s son. Don’t you remember Elijah Blake, the square that took over from Nuhu Ribadu as head of the International Anti-Corruption Force?”
“Yeah yeah,” I said, trying to be flippant. “Well he didn’t get anything on me. Where are Drake and Jay?”
“Probably on their third bottles by now. Let’s go in.”
Damilola Rafferty Kentebe preferred to be called Drake. He was the strong silent type. Too strong, in my opinion. But silence is good in this game. Jason Johnson Coker had long feminine fingers that could operate a computer in exactly one ninth the time it’d take a regular guy. And Dante knew something about absolutely everything except her real name. She’d shown up amnesiac on my doorstep two years ago and since then had spent all her time learning about anything and everything. She was just Dante though, the only person apart from me I could trust. And she was 5’ 7”, and sexy in that weird way that only girls that aren’t drop dead gorgeous are – not absolutely stunning, but you’d always take a second look.
We headed out for the Bureau of Statistics. There was only ever one guard on duty. Dante got out of the hover car and walked past him. He ogled her and got a sleeping dart in his neck for his trouble. I tend to be surprised at people who use guns. All you get is a murder trial or an attempted murder trial, and since all guns are linked to their owners UDCS accounts, you get caught. You can’t avoid getting caught with a gun, so why use one?
“How long will he be out?” Drake asked.
“Five hours plus a monstrous headache,” I told him.
Drake stripped the guard and donned his uniform. He looked almost respectable. I told him so.
Drake took one end of the building, and I went to the other. That left Dante and Jay free to go into the building. We’d thought out this little fiddle a few weeks ago. Jay said he could crack any code in existence, so we decided to test him. He’d cracked the Unitary Dividend Caste System remotely in an hour and a half, so we thought we’d do a bit of book keeping, or cooking if you’d prefer.
We were all in our final year at Livermore, except Dante, who worked in some kind of lab on the outskirts of town. We’d decided to change the figures in our accounts exactly a week after graduation. We’d be rich, and since we’d all be expected to return to our homelands, our new identities wouldn’t be traced as long as we left this town. Dante would come with me of course.
Jay was in, fiddling with whatever it is them computer people fiddle with, and Dante was making sure he felt secure doing it. She was a great learner; she could take in information faster than it could be dished out. She wasn’t in school, but she was the reason my grades had been holding up so well. So learning martial arts had been no problem at all for her, and she was a champion. So yes, Jay felt secure in the knowledge that Dante could take anything short of a riot squad.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Curious Tale... 1.

“Hey baby.”
“Oh hi Dante. What’s happening?”
“Nothing much. I’m bored. Are you coming to see me tonight?”
“Sure thing girl. And I’m bringing something special.”
“Oooh. I can hardly wait. See you. Bye.”
“Love you.”
“Love you too.”
As I put the phone down the doorbell rang. I walked over to the Sector. The life futuristic is a good thing. The sector is one of those things you just can’t do without nowadays, a voice and touch activated remote control to every part of the house. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I was a bit rattled. When I saw the thin smile on the smooth shaven face, the close cropped hair and very smart suit, I just knew it couldn’t be good. I flipped a switch and all my appliances were hidden from sight. My apartment looked like a regular student’s hostel with sparse furnishing and much clutter. Third year was not an easy task. I flipped another switch and the QSA (the government called them Quality and Standards Assessors, we called them Queer Snitching Assholes) could see me.
“Tosoye George?” he asked. I grunted.
“Tosoye Ethelbert George?” I winced at the middle name.
“Yeah, what do you want?”
“Oh just a routine check citizen.” I winced again at the term, but I let him in anyway. He frisked me.
“Hey hey hey,” I yelled “you ain’t harassing me in my own home man!”
“Very nice home if I may say.”
I shrugged.
“Rather too nice, really.”
“Whaddya mean, too nice?” I wanted this guy out of my flat asap.
“Well you’re classified as a DC3 student (DC stands for dividend caste, by the way). You shouldn’t be able to afford a single resident’s flat. You should be in a six man apartment.”
“Is that why you’re checking me up?” I actually laughed while I told him a friend of mine who lived with his parents let me stay in his place. He frowned, so I offered to call my friend up.
“We know all about your friend. We also know you drive an H8M3 Overcraft. You couldn’t in eight years save up that much money. Your basic allowance only covers for public student’s transport.”
“Look,” I said, finally ticking over. “I honestly don’t have time for this. I’m meeting my girlfriend at eight, and I need to get spruced up.” I was really starting to hate this guy.
Silas Blake. That was the name on his lapel pin. I wished he would just leave. He just stood there watching me, the epitome of patience. I sighed and began to answer him.
“Okay see, I got the ride from my friend’s dad. He promised me one if I got direct admission into university. Then he told me to wait a couple years to see if my grades would hold up. They did, so first thing this year he called me and gave me the codes to my spunky new craft. Is that enough for you?”

A Curious Tale... a preamble

I started this a while back on FaceBook, then the pressures of life made me stop... While I wasn't writing, I realised that what I'd written was effectively a sub-plot of another story I'd had in mind for a while, so now I'm writing that story, and trying to write it out in full... So I'll delete everything on FaceBook and essentially craft a new story, with those chapters coming in somewhere... As before, everything except what's already been written is off the top of my head, and I'll try to come back and write a bit more everyday. If you like it spread the word...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Random thoughts now I'm sad...

I'll tell you I'm fine, no matter how many times you ask. Truth be told though I'm not. I'm pining, but I'm not allowed to tell her... I'm bored, but fun costs money, so I have to get a job, and it's kind of a big deal right now... I'm out of luvv long term, and the end's not in sight... My family... okay I'm not even going into that... Long and short I'm miserable... I need a microphone... a good microphone...

Saturday, 27 February 2010


I'm Alec Hardison, or at least in another lifetime I am. Seriously...? I have this idea that I'd like to watch Leverage until my eyes pop out. I have no idea why I like it, but I do. Or at least I do until the next great series starts...
So for now I'm getting my geek on, a triple whammy of The Big Bang Theory, Leverage and Chuck ought to work wonders for my nerd cred, right...?