Hackers Tools & Hacker Toys
If you have a goal, don’t be diverted from paths that lead toward it.
The rendezvous point is about twenty miles from the border, in an active manufacturing zone. Jon pilots their rental car, Gloria is in the navigator/copilot spot, Mose is sitting comfortably in the rocking chair of the back seat.
“Next block,” Gloria instructs, “second warehouse on the right – pull up to the guard shack.”
Jon follows her instructions, and slides down his window to talk to the guard. The guard just waves them in with a smile and a nod. Jon parks close to the office, next to the loading docks.
They chat quietly as they walk by a patch of grass and flowers, with picnic tables, where workers are taking a break. The office door is up a wide ramp. Once inside everything is business, lots of clerks and stock pickers are scurrying about filling orders. A clerk receptionist looks up and nods his head toward a door leading further into the warehouse – this place is big.
As they step out of the office a forklift appears driven by a young, rebellious looking teen. On the forks rides a platform with poles and chains at the corners. “Hop in, Put up the safety chains, and lets take a ride.”
The smiling long hair takes them down a two way isle toward the back, then scoots behind a tall stack of pallets to another office nestled against the back wall. Jumping from his seat as the lift slows to a stop, he leads them into the office. “Pops” he declares, “they’re here.”
Th office is large and very quiet compared to the hustle of the warehouse itself. Inside are a couple of desks, several tables for sorting or auditing, and an older window van next to a rolling door at the back wall. Midas is rising from behind one of the desks as they enter, a big smile on his face.
“Welcome, we have a bit of equipment here if you want to pick through it, but of course what you carry into La-La-Dee is up to you. We also have a four passenger business van set up for you. Company name, lots of storage already full of sales materials and samples, and several hidden goodies. Some tools of your other trade are included also.”
Each already had tools and secrets not shared with their compatriots. Facing the specters that haunt Elldee, determination alone will not keep other’s secrets safe from systematic mind invasion. They understand if they are captured they will not be abandoned by their co-hackers — but following any abduction they can not disclose unknown tricks while hoping for deliverance. When the phrase “I don’t know” is a truth, no torture can discover a truth beyond it.
Everyone walks over to a table Midas indicates covered with an equipment display. Sonic drills, belts with saw wire stitching, and a bunch of clever miniaturized and disguised weapons. “Everything you see is not yet on the market, Elldee security won’t even know this stuff exists. Take what you will, but you will find the multifunction watches with the XeMax Software name look like specialty advertising giveaways, except yours have personalized engraving on the back. Yours also have some special extras, let me demonstrate.”
The next half hour passes pleasantly, and each decides to wear their watch, so another case of similar looking gift watches is loaded into the van. There are other items, clever and useful; as backups in case their plan to depend on their wits needs some special support.
At Midas’ suggestion they also choose heavy personal weapons, “You will need to dispose of these once you are out of the forest, but you may need them for protection from gangs. Just across the border, while still in the forest areas; gangs have killed, raped, and looted entire villages, taking away children as slaves and recruits.
Midas walks them to the van. “It looks a bit worn, but everything is top notch and better than new – it can stand a lot of abuse and keep running. The sound deadening is excellent, and it will negate most listening devices. Notice the blaster ports under the front windows. There is a film on the outside that dissipates energy weapons, anything hand held, from puke rays to heavy blasters. The film will spread the energy around the vehicle while it grounds it harmlessly. The van may glow a bit – but nothing dangerous should get through.
There are few heavier weapons on the other side of the border until you hit the big cities, there they are mainly used for crowd suppression. If you encounter heavy mounted weapons, they will be official; your id, travel permits, check point verifications, rationing cards, and other paperwork should mollify them. Its all in the glove box for you to sort and carry.
Don’t try to bribe mobile national troops inland, there are many moles in the outfits and everyone is wary. You can leave a couple of packs of cigarettes on your luggage as you cross the border or reach permanent check points. The cigarettes will disappear; and you should be moved through quickly.
There are plenty of gangs preying on the people in Elldee, but they will be poorly armed compared to you. You should be able to ignore, outrun, or defeat them as you feel necessary. It will probably not pay to display any public heroics, Scar will consider notoriety a challenge.
On this side of the border there is no telling what you will encounter, but there are no gangs. The citizens can have any weaponry they want, and most of them seek out the most powerful. If the van breaks down, stick to the roads and walk openly and slowly toward any farm house. Loving folks here, but cautious. Last year we lost seven cows, and one farmer that tried to slip into a neighbors Mellon patch – the farmer knew better.
We are like the Hoplites of ancient Greece, each citizen warrior supplying his own top quality military arms. No warrior will short change himself when going into battle. When your own life is at risk: you get the best training available, pick the wisest leaders, and you don’t consider poor quality munitions from the lowest bidder.
Everyone in the FLC is part of the militia. If you don’t want to squeeze a trigger, that’s fine, somebody has to drive support trucks and cook. We have occasionally been attacked by despotic nations thinking since we don’t attack others we must be weak. Tyrants can’t understand our advantages: leaders chosen by those they lead rather than politics, the productivity and innovation of free people, neighbors fighting together for their local good, and desertion by invading troops wanting to share our liberty and prosperity — these lead to rapid victories for the FLC.
There is something tribal about liberty. We sometimes coordinate in larger groups, but ten is around the basic number that fight together, and ten of these teams is about the most that might regularly meet together for training. Sometimes neighbors or towns go together to field armored units, artillery, or aircraft. A list is kept of suggested arms if someone new is looking to contribute. The larger cities have their own air or armored platoons. But our strength is the trust and support small groups willingly offer each other.
That is why Elldee’s gangs don’t cross our border. The criminals have weapons over there, and they prefer to terrorize folks that aren’t allowed arms to protect themselves or their property. Pahl’s police troops always show up too late to do anything except investigate and write reports. Sadly, good kids that joined the police to help people have found themselves trained to act like occupying troops of a foreign army. Their reports seldom do any good for dead or abused villagers.
The FLC welcomes refugees, and we are happy to help immigrants get settled, but Pahl’s border guards have been trained to kill border jumpers. The poor people of Elldee are living in a duck press, and can’t get official permission to move from the border. We try to help them reach freedom.
FLC interests are served with each additional freed individual. Increasing freedom enriches all free men; some more, some less, but still all. A new movement of liberty in Elldee will build substantially on the foundations of freedom we have already laid elsewhere. By helping you help them, FLC is helping them and each of our citizens, it’s win-win-win.
Once you are past the border we may be able to get occasional reports to you, but realistically you are on your own. If someone comes up to Gloria and calls her Maria, she can say “no, that is my cousin.” Or Gloria can say nothing, our operations there are always at risk of infiltration. Use your own judgment, based on circumstances.
Enough of warnings, you are professionals, you know there is danger. Let’s have something to eat, then you are on your own. Pick your own time table and activities – God Bless you.
If you don’t mind I’ll have my son say a prayer over our meal. Zack isn’t sure he wants to enter the family business, so when he’s not driving a forklift he is studying programs from BFU seminary. Next year this warehouse will be fully automated with autonomous machines, freeing workers for more fulfilling tasks — Zack is currently helping those workers that want to transition into their own businesses. Whatever he does, he has assured me he will keep encouraging an honest and open marketplace for ideas. He will not grow old with regrets of failing to experiment and experience opportunities of his own choice.
Midas wears a proud smile, and slips his arm around the boy’s shoulders as Zack begins to pray.