Why me?

Why I am here on this page? I, the smartest unicorn in the Universe? Because I beg you for a donation. I need an upgrade, a mesh body. Please, please buy the book Not Sand, Not Sound so I can afford such a superior body.

Psst, I am Nadir in disguise …

or I am the editor, the greatest editor of all times Noob42?

NADIR [a chapter from the book]

Some readers may remember the words of “The sweet Nadir” that Florence84 mentioned. I told her stories about his life. I told her adventures of Nadir by reshaping as an owl, a white snow owl to be precise. The book, The Gods of Informatics was not on the market, but the story about Nadir, the forest panther, I knew. I got it via Zaid Al-Quraishi. I was at that time working part-time at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. configuring MongoDB and the bug tracker system Jira made by Atlassian. University has become boring, just waiting to get my marks for my thesis and to pass the oral exams. It felt right to make some pocket money as a consultant, it was a bit more than pocket money, but money was never my driving force.  Booz Allen Hamilton, what a tradition behind it. Empower people to change the world.  The founder, Edwin Booz said it best.

“Start with character… and fear not the future.” We bring a ferocious integrity to change the status quo, today and throughout our more than 100-year history. Each day, we imagine, invent, and deliver new ways to better serve our employees, our clients, and the world. 

It felt good as I got a side task by the team boss assigned. “I see you can handle Big Data quite well and it was quite impressive to see how you patched Jira,” he said. “Can you look at this website and check what runs behind the offer of Zaid Al-Quraishi?” It was all it needs. A few hours later I had his account and his email correspondence.

Zaid Al-Quraishi describes himself as an ethical hacker, pentester and computer scientist. He works at isecur1ty.org in the Arab Hacker community. In his email folder I found the story of Nadir, the forest panther which shall be later become printed in The Gods of Informatics in a different version, a PG-rated one. The author, his name coded as Ervare, was asking Zaid Al-Quraishi if what he was about to publish made sense from the point of a hacker. The files I found in total were harmless. I reported that Zaid Al-Quraishi just wants to make some money by giving seminars at Udemy, that what he posted, “I just love hacking and breaking the rules …” was a gimmick to gain attention. I continued working on MongoDB, but the story about Nadir I kept. Years later as I read the book The Gods of Informatics I could not believe all the coincidences that came up. And now as I read it once more I feel reading the story of “The sweet Nadir” must have set some seeds in me, just it was not the right time and place to become a writer and storyteller. All the side links to the bunny, the hedgehog, the signing Noob, the codes stored in raindrops should stay in the hidden, until, yes until time has to come. To stay at Booz would have been an option, but an offer from the NGA, to move to the center of intelligence, to leave the status of a butler, a servant behind, who can resist to have cutting edge technology at hand, which an unlimited budget?

I owe it to you to give the story of Nadir, the story I was reading aloud to Florence84. It is a suited story to read if you are asked about the beginning of virtual worlds. Maybe you are a Grandmother or Grandfather by now and your grandkids ask you, “Tell me how it was once to steer an Avatar in virtual words with a keyboard and what kind of experiences one could gain? You see how I play with the smart suit and the glasses and steer my Avatar with a cyberglove. I would like to know how it was in the past. I have heard at your time you used a mouse with a wheel for this.”

You may start with telling your grandchild, “Once upon a time there was a forest panther, his name was Nadir and he got lost. An Initiate was called to find him …”

You will get the feeling of these days … That this story is a hack, no need to tell anyone.

 

SEARCHING FOR NADIR

“He is gone. He committed suicide. The last creature of this kind is gone, is gone,” she said as tears ran down her face. “My sweet Nadir is gone.”

I shake my head in disbelief, as I cannot find Nadir in search. I am an initiate, a Priest you may say. I can safely be on this land. No one will dare to harm me. I have the power of the Blue Flame and if you don’t believe in the flame then I have the Dar-Kosis, also known as the Holy Disease or Sacred Affliction, ready to use.

No need for a side link on viruses made naturally or artificially. What I state is in the books. I play “btb” – by the books. You ask is it a linear game concept, a non-linear with branches, parallel paths or a threaded narrative like in World of Warcraft? Come on, I will not bother you with Flow Theory. What I play is life, true life. I play reality. It’s a lifestyle. I am safe in the land I am now in as they fear me, but on the other hand they need me.

Two days ago I am called from Sardar to meet the woman at the trading post. One Gold coin and two salts is the offer. That’s a huge amount. I do not expect to be now in the middle of the forest in a camp looking at an empty cage, hearing her say, “I could feel, I could see he feels his life hangs by a thread. He was less and less here and always so sad, not jumping around happily as I once caught and tamed him.” Instead, she pauses and dries her tears, then continues, “And now it happened, he is dead.”

I shake my head again. I know what will come next, that I have to bring him back to life. One Gold and two salts make sense now.

“Kills have a recovery time of three days,” I say. “We traveled two days. He will be back soon. How long did you miss him?”

She turns and faces me. No human shall ever face an initiate, but the good old days of honor and respect seem to have come to an end. I did not want to look like an asshole and send a, “btb,” so I keep silent as she continues.

“I shielded him in the cage. No arrow could hit him. No one could open the door and one of my sisters was on guard all the time, watched him in the cage.” More tears run – as the Bento head supports such emotes. I have no Bento head. I don’t even need a head. I have a hood; my head is more a Venetian style mask. I wear the white kilt reaching down to my shoes. I have the spear in hand, the symbolic one for the Blue Flame.

“You have no idea of this world,” I say. “An arrow can pass a thick wall and hurt a player.” Sadly, the word “player” slips out of my mouth. I should have said, “character,” or “lifeform.”  Player sounds like “gamer,” and it is an odd language if you are an initiate.

She sighs and replies, “You are the stupid one. Don’t you think I don’t know this world? I hunt my life long. I am here since GM 2.4 was released.”

Oh darn, she is going OOC now, which means she is no longer in character, no longer in role, and she might get pissed. I need to come back on track fast.

“By the three Moons I don’t see a suicide,” I say quickly.  “The cage is broken at the back, a big hole is there.” As soon as I say this shit, I correct myself and add, “Don’t you see it?” and then I add as my RP (roleplay), which is really bad, “Hm, what size does the larl Nadir have? Maybe the gap is much too small to slip through?”

Too late. The Godmodding remark hits my screen. Can a day become worse? Not much on my level as a player. I need a fresh coffee, you know an Espresso, but the damn machine is broken. I send her an IM that my day started really bad. She is nice and charming in her return. At least she is not OOCly an asshole, so we can go on smoothly and the RP goes fine. I keep the Gold coin of course, paid is paid, but the salt we share.

Why do I tell you about Nadir? It looks like thousands of similar stories are played all day long in worlds of the games and even much better ones. Roleplay is the new way of social entertaining, where creativity and visual enjoyment meets. No longer do we sit in front of a TV screen where a pre-made story is aired. We create our own stories. We create a character that we use to roleplay with.

Do we play ourselves?

Do you see yourself in the character?

Questions not made for this spoke of the wheel, but they will come into focus in time, when the Great Wheel turns.

After the scene has ended we spend the evening at the fireplace in IM. The talk is about this and that.  Where do you live, what do you do for a living? You may know by now IM stands for, “Instant Message,” a direct but private communication between players. OCC is then very close. “Out Of Character” – a chat outside the roles – so in one word we have been secretly talking when she tells me about Nadir’s avatar being taken off by the landlords.

However, I do not fully understand until she copies me what she received via skype from the Nadir player:

“Before you are able to login again, we would like to talk with you about some unusual activity on your account. Accounts are held as a safety precaution when we have reason to believe they have been misused or compromised. Please provide relevant information that you believe would explain or clarify any incidents that you may have been involved in. You can do this by submitting a case, which will notify us that you are available to communicate with. We reserve sole discretion in considering whether to take any action on a written appeal.”

“He was all day long in the cage and played ill,” I say. “Falling into depression as you had not found a mate for him?”

She nods.  “That was the deal, my sisters where hunting for an another larl to catch alive and bring in and he knew it. All activities in the camp where on this. I made already an ALT to play the mate if we would not find a real larl somewhere. I let him log in, set the password to Test911 so he could configure the animal hud and such things.”

You have to know you can’t use the human animations on an animal. Animals are four legged (most anyway). The head-up-display has to be special made.

A shiver goes through my spine as I have a bunch of Alts. “Oh,” I instantly reply. “911 is a BBIWY keyword. You should not have used this.”

Her comment makes sense, of course, that a password is not something that runs in open scan code; it stays crypted in the database of the game. You can’t read it or decipher it in a lifetime. That’s the deal, the definition of a password. Should I tell her that I have passed training as a White Hack that was on discount for 39,00 Euro at Udemy, a company offering in total, 15,000 online courses? My teacher was Zaid Al-Quraishi, an ethical hacker, pentester and computer scientist. He works at isecur1ty.org in the Arab Hacker community. It took me 250 hours to work over the 120 videos he made to visualize what to do step by step to avoid that others can hack me. Knowing and seeing how attackers think, made me think reverse. Yeah, you can smell my potential now. You don’t believe that I am so smart? You want proof? Easy to do, as I write under the pseudonym Harry Hacker.

Harry Hacker (you may google this name) is the one who set the injeria defense tools in place and who found out the secret of the island of Bouvet. Yes, the island where the movie Alien versus Predator was filmed. It has become a hiding place for the overseers. An easy job when you bring a US film team, with tons of equipment, to an un-inhabited island and leave some smart stuff behind. The Norse Internet Protocol penetration center is located there, must be there, as Harry Hacker registered pings coming back marked as “Mil” – Military – from this location. Such pings have a sticker called “IP address.” In this case it was 107.151.204.2. If you look it up in Cyberwarzone.com you will see it is marked as “malicious.”

I hacked Harry Hacker, as he was at first not mine. Now he is. This was the first story I wrote about “How to hack myself” in rezmagazine. But shall I scare the huntress with a package of knowledge, which might end that she sees me just as a smart-ass?

For you, reader, the deal is different. You have the option to read about ‘DEFCON2’ in rezmagazine, September 2014, and in February 2015, where Harry Hacker used the injeria tools to find the Perfect 10. I say it just if you like to follow my path and gain knowledge far above the usual 99% who have no clue about life in digital times and the beginning of the BBIWY century, which I call – in academic terms – “the Digital Anthropocene.”

Do you remember Roy Batty’s, “Tears in the Rain” dialogue from Ridley Scott’s, Blade Runner, which I quoted at the beginning of my book?

I have seen things you people would barely believe. Attack Ships on fire …”

A password shall be safe. No ship shall gain fire on a hacked password. I laugh on this. But I did not need to go into the core this time. I just say to her, “Did you use the Diva sim on a stick Auto configurator?”

She nods. It was one of the most common setups for a grid world. The password is safe when it is in the database but on its way into it, it is on the web interface in source code. Mostly with a manual authorization, so it stays there for hours unprotected. An easy catch. The password needs to be transported after you type it in on the screen to the database and this is not a magic happening. It is just a script, a piece of software that does it. To insert a copy command in it you might be able as a junior programmer or as a person who has no respect on any code. Just copy a line of code you get by googling for it and you get the password to your email.

She gives me a kick. “Are you AFK?”

“I was not away from keyboard,” I reply. “Sorry was just checking something.” How to tell her that I know more, as I shall know? So I make a work around. “You know that the US Homeland security has access on the database as the servers are running under US law?”

“But Nadir is just an animal,” she says. “What could be a threat coming out of a forest panther?”

“Look, they run on what we once called in Germany, “Rasterfahndung.” The best translation might be “dragnet investigation,” I respond. “But Rasterfahndung covers more. It was established in the late 70s when computer capacity was limited and the use of mainframes was very expensive. In those times we had a terror thread by the so-called RAF, a left-wing terrorist group. The government was in need to find smart selection algorithms to combine data of different sources of all kinds to find supporters of the RAF to get the terrorists back traced. Nowadays the big data industry profits from this early simulation and math models and they do all bullshit with every tiny bit of data they get … so basically you never know.”

She gives me another kick and says, “One Gold for you to bring him back.”

Oh, I feel touched, so touched. A little tear runs down my cheek in real. I am a dog lover, that’s close to a forest panther, a larl as it is called in this world. I am about to say that I don’t need a Gold coin, I am happy to do it for free, but then I remember the story with the beggar, a true story, means an episode from the books where an assassin took a copper from a beggar and a few moments later a rich merchant came and wanted to set a fresh kill order by offering Gold, but the assassin just said, “I took copper,” and he put the copper in his belt. So the deal was sealed and Gold meant nothing any longer. So I say, “Buy food for Nadir with the Gold and give me just a copper. I bring him back.”

I bring him back. I use a “hide my ass” IP changer and send a reply to the landlords that I am on travel and now I am back home implicating that there is no double identity on one line, that both lives – Nadir and the future mate of Nadir – are different players. Also I change the password to “Test4711q.”

The huntress plays happily with Nadir and the mate they finally find, a real mate, until a day comes when I go there as a warrior. With an ALT… as you know by now, an alternate avatar. She is promoted to En, the highest rank in the camp. I fight her down with my sword. She fights me down with her bow. I rescue myself. I know her weakness. I treat Nadir well. Finally, she submits. A different spoke of the Wheel?  Yeah, you are curious like hell.

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