Act 1EditHave you ever seen a glitch in a game or perhaps on your phone and computer? I imagine so since it is common in all computers to be a slight hiccup in the code. I am a hacker who likes to mess with the code in software and programs to better suit my needs.
May it be fixing coding glitches or possibly editing it to add a little more flare into things, the thing is when you start to mess with the code you find some things like left out content that developers were too lazy to remove it entirely from the program as well as the possibility of a line of code that has no apparent meaning. Perhaps it was the only thing that survived from a deletion of code. This story is about me finding some of this code and trying to figure out what it means... and why I should have left it alone.
It was a normal day for me. I was locked in my office space in my house working on some code for a video game for my friends. They wanted me to add some new textures to some characters and give them a little boost in their power. While editing their power stats I realized I had to go into the base code for the power series of coding. Upon diving into this I found and odd line of code. With working in many many games I know when something doesn't belong. I decide to not remove it but copy the code over to my computer and examine it later.
I finish up all the edits and send the file to my friends. I open up the code as well as the code for the game and begin comparing it to all the code in the game looking to see if it was just misplaced. I am a very curious man. Oddities always intrigued me. Solving a mystery makes my days. After searching through all the coding I found it had no correlation with the game at all. Even more curious I decide to transfer it to my decoder and convert the code into binary, to see if it perhaps makes sense in its more simple form. Sadly when I tried to translate the binary it only came out gibberish no matter how I organized the code. Saddened by this I decide to leave the code alone and move on with my life.
A few weeks later I am requested by my friend to edit another game, this time for his hand held. I alter the game to his specifications when I notice something that brings up the code from the other game to my mind. I see another line of code that is similar to the one from the game I edited the weeks before. Two completely unrelated games on two separate platforms, similar odd lines of codes... This is too odd to be a coincidence. After transferring the edited data to his cartridge and giving it back to him I immediately transfer the code to binary and pull up the other code and begin to compare to see if they make any since. Sadly they were still gibberish, like I was missing something; a part of it.
I begin to look in all the files I have edited over the years for any more occurring code oddities to no avail. I begin to explore the all mighty internet for any other hackers have found odd lines of codes in any games they have edited. I found a few people that said they have found odd codes in a Pokémon Red ROM another in a Conker Bad Fur Day for the N64. The last one I found recently was in a PS2 game called Kingdom Hearts. That’s five bits of code found across unrelated games and consoles.
After much comparing and moving around I happily found that a few bits and pieces actually fit together to form a partial complete code for possibly a Jpeg or an AVI file. Sadly that was all I was able to find on the internet. Most people don’t make public their hacking hobbies. For many months I was not able to find another line of code. I have been borrowing my best friend’s games and looking into their codes for more of the code I am calling the Anomaly. I did manage to find one more a few months later in one of his Xbox 360 games.
Now that I had the sixth piece I could tell I was close to having the entire line of code. I rent many games from video stores in hopes of finding more of the Anomaly. With glee I find another bit a month after the sixth in a game I bought for my PS3. I immediately plugged it in and with a huge grin on my face the code was completed. I insert it into a program that would be able to complete the process but sadly it would have to wait a while for the process to complete. A day later it is complete.
The code was an AVI file, 5 minutes long. With glee I put on my turtle beach headphones and put the video in full screen to watch. It opened up into a dark theater with a lone man looking at a screen. The quality of the video was movie like. It looked like it was done by pros. The man turns and looks at the camera; it was apparent he did not want to be known who he was.
His face was wrapped up to his eyes which were covered by dark goggles. Upon his head was a bowler hat while he wore a long leather duster as well as dark shirt and jeans and tight gloves. He motions for the camera to sit next to him and it moves as though you are in a first person view of the camera. Moving as id a normal persons head would when you walk. It is as if I am in the theater with him. The camera sits next to him and looks at the man. He looks at the camera and speaks.
"Well..." he says. His voice is a little deep. I am kind of shocked in the normality of his voice. I guess I expected something dark or maybe epic.
"It seems you have cracked my code" he says.
"Naughty." "You have been looking at my work and messing with it when it should be left alone."
"I bet you are wondering what the code is no? Well it’s not just a video that is for sure."
"It is so much more than that." He points to the screen and says, "Zeros and ones." As he says this the numbers appear on screen as if he is in control of the movie. "The base code of all things computer... beautiful is it not?" He turns and looks at me now. "The code you managed to crack is one of the most complicated algorithms I have managed to create... You shouldn’t be hacking you naughty boy." He looks back at the screen and chuckles a little.
"I do love my games... Did you play them? The ones they were in? They are some of my favorites."
"We have been working with computers almost as soon as they were invented. We as in my family and I. As soon as we saw what computers could do, we knew we had to master it." so we worked with them, inserting ourselves into any project, any building projects involving then, anything that involved computers we were there... learning."
"We began working with a government to see the psychological properties computers had on the human mind. Seeing if we could use them to control people’s thoughts, movements, and personalities." He looked back at me. I began to feel a little uneasy. I felt I should not know this. I knew I should have stopped but... I had to know what he was talking about. He continued soon after he looked at me. His voice took a darker mood.
"After much working and testing with coding of computers, we felt that we were ready for... human trials."
"We picked up a few random people, some kids some adults. We took them to a special facility and strapped them in to a chair with a computer in front of them. We then flashed the program in front of their eyes each with a special command for them to follow 2 minutes after we unstrap them. Now some were not affected, this was to be expected. Others…” he chuckles after he says this.
“Others responded perfectly.”
“There was one particular subject that did however respond very violently. Jeffrey Dahmer… God did that one turn out horrible. He killed two of the subjects before we were able to restrain him.” He shuddered a little after saying that part.
“We knew then we had to work very hard on improving the code so we didn’t have the people who are exposed to the code go crazy. We took all the subjects back in their cells and gave them a special drug that would erase all memory of this place as well as the codes they were exposed to. Now you know Jeffrey as the infamous killer right? Well for some reason he was able to recall the code when we let him go and ended up going crazy again. Man that was a hell of a mess. Luckily the authorities could take him down. Saved us for having to intervene.” I was shocked at this information. What kinds of codes were these? Did they affect me some way? I didn’t know but I had to listen if I was to find out more.
“Anyway after that we cracked down hard on modifying the code to work much better than before. Soon after we perfected it and after testing it on some more subjects, we started putting the codes all over computer programs everywhere. We have been guiding the world as we see fit since computers have been made. Now everything is a computer. Our codes exist virtually everywhere selecting just a few people here and there. Your neighbor perhaps? Maybe the principal of a school. Maybe the President of the United States…” He lets out an evil laugh at this.
“Well look at the time, the movie is about to start. I shall be going… oh by the way heads up.” He points at the big screen and the camera turns toward it.
An old time cinema 3, 2, 1 slide appears and as it hits zero… an absolutely overpowering shriek is admitted from my headphones. It literally blows out the speakers in my headphones directly into my ears. I throw the headphones off and realize that one of my ears is bleeding and all I can hear is a loud ringing.
I had to go to the hospital and have surgery on my bleeding ear. It turns out the sound busted a hole in my ear drum and severely damaged my hearing. The doctor said… well the doctor wrote that it would be a while for the ringing to stop and worse that my hearing would be permanently damaged.
I was freaked out by all this. Did I stumble onto some big government mind control conspiracy? I don’t think so however. The way he said President made it seem like they controlled him so maybe this was some sort of cult? I wasn’t sure but I couldn’t find out without more code but… I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out at all. I returned home to find my computer still in place with the documents folder open staring at the AVI file the code made. I tried access the video but it said it was corrupted, figures. At least I saved the codes un-edited in a different folder. I thought of deleting them but something told me to keep them for some reason. I’m not sure why I felt this but I decided to leave them be.
It took a month for the ringing to finally subside. I hanged with my best friend a lot during this time. His name is Ivan Young. We have been friends since middle school. He is a great pal and sort of my manager in which he gets me a lot of my business. He browses the internet looking for people who need something hacked and he recommends them to me. I give him a cut and he keeps sending more my way. It’s a semi-biotic relationship.
I didn’t start hacking again for a long tome though. Honestly I was scared the man from the video would break into my house or something and kill me if I did. Eventually though I did start up again, small at first. Soon though I started getting bigger; it felt like things were returning to normal. Then… I was thrown straight back into the frying pan.
I found another code… from the same mystery man who made the others. I froze. I was scared; I thought this was over and behind me as some bad nightmare. However, there it was, staring me in the face. I immediately walked away from the keyboard and didn’t touch it again for a couple days. I was thinking about the code. What was I going to do? Would he come after me for finding another one? Would I be affected by the code in finding it? I was freaking out for a long time but then I started to begin thinking… If maybe I could crack this thing I could stop it! I could be a hero and save the world! That’s what I thought at the time… I was sorely mistaken.
I started looking everywhere I could for more of the Anomaly. I continued to search for almost a year before I found enough code to begin editing it together. I began trying to decipher the complex code. This is something I have never seen before… the way the numbers mix is years above its time. I worked most of every day trying to find a combination of code for a file to form. Finally after some time I managed to form coherent lines of code. I decided to call it a night after uploading the code into the binary conformer and see the finished result in the morning.
I woke up and looked at my desktop and smiled at the results. It was finished and the file was created. I sat down and was about to open the file when I had a pop up for my email. I don’t know why but I felt I needed to open the email. I opened it up and it said it was from my friend so I didn’t think much of what the email would have. Probably another hack request. What I found instead was a video. Once again I felt the compulsion, like the impulse to open the email. I decided to go ahead and watch it before viewing the file the binary made. What appeared on the screen re-awoke the fear I felt so long ago…
It was the man… the man from the last video. I wanted to close the video and huddle in a corner and hide away from the world. However no matter how hard I tried I could not move my hand up to the X. My hand was literally shaking from the effort.
“Well…” he sighed.
"Someone doesn’t listen very well does he?”
He was sitting in some fancy chair in front of a black background. Moreover he was wearing the same outfit as before. He began to shake his head slowly from side to side while saying,
“You just couldn’t listen could you. I must say you are astonishing in your stupidity.” He then looked up back directly at the camera and said, “I guess I didn’t make it clear enough from before. I will try harder then.”
He then looked slightly up from the camera like he was going to talk to the person behind it.
He began to speak, “I am done here so do what you need to.” What was he talking about? I was suddenly grabbed from behind and felt something smashed over my mouth and nose. It smelled of chemicals and I soon found myself falling into darkness…
I awoke in darkness. Was I dead? “Awake are we? Did you sleep well?” I knew the voice… it was the voice of the man from the videos. A light appeared from behind and lite a chair in front of me. It was the same one from the video. He scooted the chair closer to me and sat down and looked at me. “How are your ears? Hope you weren’t wearing headphones, hehehe…” He laughed at his joke. He knew exactly what happened I imagine..
“Where am I?!” I yelled.
He stopped laughing and smacked me. Seems like I hit a nerve. “Don’t interrupt me.” He said. “Do you know how much trouble you have caused me? The Family has been up my ass about you. They are beginning to question my skills. ME! I have loyally served them for decades!” “Not my fault your code is shit” I said. He punched me in the gut at that. As I was heaving I took the moment to look how I was bound to see if I could break free. What I saw shocked me. I wasn’t bound at all.. I was just sitting. However when I tried to move I found my arms and legs wouldn’t move. I struggled but nothing responded. What was going on?
“MY CODE IS PERFECT! YOU JUST GOT FUCKING LUCKY” he screamed. Seems he’s a little touchy on his work. He took a deep breath and sighed. “They think I should just kill you and leave the whole thing behind. However.. I have vision. I can find use in everything. Even a little shit like you.” Somehow I could sense he was smiling evilly behind his get up. He leaned back a little in the chair and began to speak. “I am impressed however that you were able to crack the code once again, so I feel you should be rewarded. I will tell you a little more of our story.”
“It’s funny, I am a little surprised we haven’t been found out before this. We had a serious Intel leak a long time ago. It was when we were recruiting for more people in our cause. We were working for the US government at the time preforming a certain program, Project mkultra. Heard of it? That was the beginning of our work. Of course there were many different methods being used but our group was more fascinated with the technology aspects. We even put a few of the codes in certain Arcades around America.” He chuckled and continued. “That was my first work with video games.
Sadly the results were lower than we hoped. See the tech we needed wasn’t around or perfected enough for our group to prosper. So we decided to seclude ourselves away from the government and begin trying to perfect our work. However one of our own turned in the information of our work. The project was “publically” shut down after that… but… of course we continued our work in secret to perfect its potential. The mole made an excellent guinea pig to experiment on. He’s dead now because he served no more use to us.”
He sat up a little straighter. I felt he was nearing the end of this story.
“We have not recruited since then. Felt we would get exposed. Each of us were given a certain set of tech to manipulate and sent to work with their appropriate companies to better learn how they work. I… was given control of the video games and most hand held devices. Quite useful for controlling the young minds of the world. Thanks to our control we keep our pockets full and the world in peace. Unless of course.. We need a war between countries to break out to help stop a power problem.” He chuckled again.
“ The world is our puppet and it will do as we say. We can’t have people like you messing up our hard work now can we?” He quickly leaned forward and stopped right in front of my face. I smelled foulness on him. He began to whisper. “No we can’t, but I said I would not kill you. I still see use in you. You never know when you need a known hacker to be a fall guy. However… you still need to be taught a lesson.” He abruptly stood up and grabbed what looked like a tablet from a table I couldn’t see in the dark. “Sleep well you little shit. You are going to need it.” He typed something on it then showed me the screen. All I saw was white but as soon as I looked at it I blacked out.
I awoke with my head lying on my keyboard at home. I looked up quickly and looked around my room. Nothing looked out of place or even disturbed. I looked at my computer to see if the files were still there. It was not there. In fact none of the Anomaly was there. Was it even real? Was it just some crazy dream made up from my imagination? Since there was no evidence of the Anomaly I guess it was just a dream.
I felt a surge of relief flow through my body. I decided I was going to stay away from the computer for a while and go out. Maybe I would hang with my friend. My phone started ringing so I picked it up. “Mr. Charles?” said the voice on the phone.
“Yes.” I said. “This is Officer Dewey with the Sumpter County Police Department. I’m afraid your friend Ivan Young is dead.”
I helped carry him to his plot and said a nice eulogy for him before he was lowered. I decided to stay a little longer there just looking at his casket. I couldn’t believe he was gone. The Police said the cause of death was a mugging since they found him in an ally in the city. He was shot in the head… what a horrible way to go. I began to walk down the hill toward my car but I decided to look back one last time. I saw a tall dark figure next to the tombstone.
He was there. The man from the videos. The same man who probably erased all the codes and evidence from my computer. He waved… he actually WAVED! He pulled out something small and black and laid it atop my friend’s tombstone. How dare he come here to my friend’s funeral. I was going to kill him. I ran toward him at full tilt ready to beat this man to death. He only started to walk down the other side of the hill, but when I got to the top he was gone. I looked at what he put down; it was an SD card.
I plugged it into my computer and looked what was in it. All there was was one file on it… a video.
It started up with the man from the other videos adjusting the position of the camera. “Hello there my friend” He said. I was once again filled with anger at this man.
“Sorry for knocking you out back at my place. I didn’t want you to know where you were. I am part of a web of secrets after all.” He chuckled at this.
“Anyway I wanted you to meet a new friend of mine.” He turned out of the view of the camera to show a man strapped to a chair with a bag over his head.
“I met him on his way home from his work. I believe you know him actually…”
He jerked the bag off the man’s head to reveal the face of my best friend. I was in shock… this man had my friend before he died. Ivan right eye was purple and swollen; his nose was slightly crooked possibly broken. He had a gag in his mouth and looked very much afraid for his life.
Tears were falling from his eyes.
“Isn’t he a handsome fella?” He walks behind him and puts his hands on his shoulders. “He was a handful to get here mind you so you better appreciate what I had to do to get him to come to this party. See I need to teach you a lesson for messing with the Family, and this guy here is going to help me aren’t you?” Ivan lets out a muffled scream that sounded like help me.
“Good.” He then walks behind the camera and picks it up.
“I would now like you to meet my second guest for this evening.” He turns to another man in a chair. His head is down and he isn’t strap. I found that odd since the man looked ruffled up as well.
“Come on look at the camera.” The man looked up and my jaw dropped.
It was me. I didn’t remember any of this. However I looked like I may have been drugged or something. My eyes were fully dialated and I was breathing heavily.
“I must say your will is strong. You normally don’t see these kinds’ affects from the codes when you are weak minded. Now you are going to assist me in teaching yourself a lesson.”
He chuckled at his poor joke. He walked over to a table and put the camera down and turned it toward us to where you could see both of us on screen. I hear him pick up something off the table. He then shows it in front of the camera. It is a revolver. He opens the chamber and loads 6 bullets into it and closes it. He then walks back over to me leaving the camera where it was. He holds the gun out to me and says, “The Queen has given you this glorious gift” I grow scared as I mumble,
“I accept it graciously.” I then take the gun from his hand but remain in my seat. He then walks back to the camera and gets close into the screen.
“I hope you will be a good boy from now on. Just remember… we are watching you. We are watching everyone.” He then looks over his and says, “Would you like tea and crumpets?” You hear me in the background say as he walks of screen, “I would love some your majesty.”
I then stand up and begin to stumble slowly toward my friend with the gun. It looks as though I am trying my hardest to stop what I know is about to happen. You hear a maniacal chuckle off screen which I guess is from the man. The screen cuts to black before I see the gruesome deed preformed. However just before the video ends you here a gunshot go off.
I was feeling so much at that moment. I killed my best friend… I shot him in the head. He probably dumped on the street to make it look like a robbery. I helped him my guess as well. I closed the video and the file somehow transformed into a text file that was named, “We are watching.”
I didn’t want to open it… I wanted to curl into a ball and cry over the fact that I just killed my best friend. I didn’t want to… but as soon as I looked at the file I felt my hand move slowly toward the file and clicked it open. All there was were some text in the middle in the page.
It said, “A gift is waiting for you under your bed, a souvenir ;). Remember, We are watching.” The file closed itself and the SD card suddenly became corrupted.
Even knew I shouldn’t have I had to look for “My Gift.” I looked under my bed and behold a box was under there. I pulled it out and put it in my lap. I pulled off the lid and the gun from the video was resting at the bottom. The gun had blood spatters on the barrel… my friend’s blood. God.. I put it right on his head before I killed him. How he must have felt… I couldn’t help it I broke down right there. I felt so much guilt… it was all my fault my friend was dead. After about an hour I finally managed to get myself under control.
I kept staring at the gun.. The gun that killed my friend. I picked it up and opened the chamber. Six bullets, one fired. I just kept staring at it trying to figure out what I am going to do? After a while I was left with one option. I took the gun and my laptop into my bathroom and locked the door.
I type this very story and am beefing it up with all the codes I know to keep it protected and putting it on here so the world can know of these people and hope that maybe you can avoid any signs of them and keep you and your friends safe. I am picking up the gun now and putting it to my head now… I can’t live with what I have done. They aren’t going to use me anymore…