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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 110: Brown 38
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It should not be supposed that Derek didn't consider a less dubious means of entering society here. As he searched for a computer he could access uninterrupted he often wondered whether it would be better to go to the police. He just didn't consider such methods practical. If he went to whatever authorities he could find and told them his story, he would not only not be believed, he would lose the opportunity to do it the other way. Better, he thought, to try to get in through the back door first, and then if that fails try ringing the doorbell.
He moved from public terminal to public terminal, accessing whatever files he could, attempting to gather the information he would need to create an identity. It was going to be a tricky bit of business. He would have to build a file about himself which contained all the data a government identity file would have in this world, and then tap into the system in such a way that he could convince the computer it was receiving that information from the computer of whatever place it was he was claiming as his last known address. That meant he had to find a real place to pretend was his origin, create stats that fit their systems, build a likely history, and encode it all in a recognized file format. He had a lot to cover in a short time, all while living on rations from his pack and sleeping in hidden corners.
The biggest bit of information he found forced him to reevaluate most of the rest. Terranova Habitat was not a mall or a giant building or anything of the sort. It was a collection of orbiting satellites, housing millions of people who lived and worked in space, many of them born here or on similar satellites elsewhere in the galaxy. He was on a space station. That limited his options in several ways. He needed not only a world from which he had come, but an explanation of how he arrived. That was why the exits were labeled terminals; they were docking bays for space ships. Gradually he began piecing together his fake identity, place of birth, date of birth, education, security level–this last gave him some trouble, as he had to determine how these were established and what existed, but also what was appropriate. He gave himself fairly high clearance, as he thought low clearance would attract attention, like having a criminal record. But he was not fully satisfied with it even as he constructed his file in his laptop.
It was thus several days before he slipped into an empty apartment and began removing the panels to access the systems inside the computer. Everything was ready. It was time to start bypassing security systems so he could install his imagined history in their computer and become part of their society. He was already looking forward to eating cooked food, having a place to sleep. Of course, he also had to get a job–he might have been able to fool this computer into believing he had a bank account on the other world, but when the time came to transfer funds here, someone would discover the error, and it would all be over. A job seemed a small problem once he actually existed in the system. All was ready.
He clipped a few of his chips into the lines and connected his laptop to the circuitry. It was now or never, he thought. Either this was going to get him in, or it was going to get him caught.
Suddenly the door to the apartment opened. Six armed men in identical clothes rushed into the room. "Don't move," the lead one said, and Derek froze where he was.
For all his concern about how to get into the computer, he had forgotten to check whether apartment doors had more security than just the locks.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #119: Character Projects. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: