19 Hardwired

Spin balance cover picture



 English Danny?



 Meaning the names L

Or their binary compliments

Are written into the code


 It’s a challenge and reply system

Compared against a truth set


 If the set is external

An internal script

Finds the set in another file

And loads it from there


 If the file isn’t available

It returns an error

Typically ‘File not found’

Sometimes with the file name


 But if it is hardwired

The truth set or its compliment

Are stored within the same file


 Usually in the front of the file

Or with jumps to the truth set

Located in the front of the file


 Same place most viruses live





 I’m looking Daniel

But it could take some time



 So what you’re saying Danny

Is that it’s the proof

That’s in the pudding?



 Something like that L



 And you couldn’t just say that?



 (Daniel just looks at Lydia)


 Ok team, decision time


 We need a network connection

To make our little program happy


 Do we give it one or not?



 What are you thinking Daniel?



 I think it’s a risk Phillip


 Letting this application loose

On the internet?


 It could call its friends

And that’s a risk


 So in the interest of Science

And more importantly time


 Are we code studiers

Or chance takers?



 Can you cloak an IP Daniel?



 We can cloak part of it Liamsi

But not all of it


 And even if we do

The signature fingerprint

Will lead right back to us


 And except for Phillip here

Math professors

Don’t cloak IP addresses


 Computer departments do


 And we can’t claim coincidence


 Because the odds of ingress

And eridugga

Being accidentally entered anywhere

Much less on the same line

Are completely ridiculous




Randall you should make

The call


 After all it is your project



 My call?

Thanks Phillip


 Ok then

I say we go for it






 I wouldn’t






 No way I’d do it






 Worst idea ever



 It seems we have a consensus

But Randall’s made the call



 Oh I see, ok then

You guys are

(Randall pauses)


 You know what?

Never mind

(Flushed, Randall smiles)


 (Everyone else laughs

then Daniel speaks)


 Don’t worry Randall

We’re not laughing with you

We’re laughing near you




Online ingress


 Daniel enters the file name

online with three variables


 < ingress eridugga kish shirpurla >


 ‘Network access initiated’

Authentication - failed


 97.74 .215.168

National Security Agency

Access granted

российский Интернет

Access granted

Yuèguò Chángchéng

Access granted



 Get off!


 Write the IPs

And get off Daniel!

Get off now!






 Pull the plug Daniel

I mean it!



 It’s a hoax?



 It’s no hoax Daniel

It’s NSA!


 Trap the IP’s

Close it close it

Shut it down!



 Ok Liamsi

We’re closing

We’re down

We’re good





 (Liamsi looks like he saw a ghost)

More than ten seconds is crazy!

It wasn’t fast enough


 This is not ok




Daniel what just happened?


 (Daniel can’t stop laughing)


 We just pulled the lions whiskers!


 Three lions


 (still laughing)


 We just went someplace

You don’t go ever


 Liamsi saw it first


 We need to back up files

And leave


 This is insane



 It’s not funny Daniel!

(Liamsi tries not to laugh)


 People aren’t heard from

We can’t do it!



 What did we do?



 (Daniel’s still laughing)

It sucks being you Randall


 I can’t believe it!




What did we just do?



 We set fire to a bag of excrement

On the doorstep

Of three major world powers


 Then we banged on the door

And ran away!


 I can die now


 What am I saying?

I’ll probably die now


 My life is complete!



 Stow the backups Daniel

This project’s over!



 It’s alright Liamsi



 It’s not alright


 We’re done for

Anyone got priors?



 Why were they together?



 They’ll be here soon Daniel

You can ask them



 Talk to me Liamsi

What just happened?



 I’m sorry Randall


 We just hacked three sites

United States, Russia and China


 Get it?


 No authorization

No security clearance


 No invitation


 It’s not alright


 They get all up for this

They live for it


 They spend months

Trapping practice traffic


 And then someone like us

Does something stupid like this


 For them it’s a dream come true

For us it’s prison at least


 Right now hackers at NSA

And probably Russia and China

Are looking for us


 They’re good Randall

They’re really good


 They’ll find us


 It’s just a matter of time


 We’ve got minutes


 Maybe hours

If we broke fast enough


 If they have to scrub the tapes


 Otherwise minutes




We’re unplugged right?


 They can’t find us

Right Liamsi?



 We had five seconds to get off


 It took us ten Randall

Twice as long


 Which means one of two things

Either no one knew we were there


 Or someone did and if we’re lucky

They’ll only want to question us



 Liamsi wait

What if we shut down and leave?



 Randall listen to me

You don’t run from these people

I used to be one


 If they’re coming they’re coming

And no budget cut can help us


 We had access

To three government networks

That don’t talk to each other


 It’s like a red phone network


 The existence of such a network

And our hacking into it?


 They could end us



 Ok Liamsi the files are backed up

Now we wait



 Wait for what Daniel?



 A knock at the door Randall


 We wait for a knock at the door

And if it comes

It’s all over



 Could we erase the drives?



 No Randall

Scrubbing the drives

Removes any reasonable doubt


 At this point it’s better

To claim ignorance

And beg for mercy


 Besides, they’ll probably notice

The fourteen tons of punch cards

And transfer equipment

Tucked under Liamsi’s mattress




Mathematical data files


 Hey guys?


 I’m getting a lot of math data

All different kinds


 Constellation variables

Tectonic shifts

Seismic parameters

Including Plate shift and



 Diurnal variance tables and influence

Differential calculus equivalents


 Numerical pairing

And arrays with no explanation


 Some definite patterns

But I don’t recognize the discipline



 What’s diurnal Phillip?



 Influences Randall

Effects of the moon and the tide

On the tectonic plates for example


 That’s called diurnal movement


 Oddly enough

It’s much of the math one might use

If they desired to balance the planet


 (Phillip smiles)


 And it says all rights reserved

Copyright 1985 ‘The Civil’



 Very funny Phillip


 It would seem our math professor

Has quite a sense of humor



 Glad you could appreciate

Miss Lydia




All quiet

On the Western front


Except for a three alarm fire


Protocol is a code

Of military etiquette

And preamble is

The introductory part

Of that code


Ingress is a military application

Employing a preamble

Within its protocol


A unique handshake sequence

Gray matter inspiration

Of one Mr. Stewart Kim

Network security designer

Data applications engineer


Working alone in a lab

That doesn’t exist

As far as anyone knows


In his spare time

Mr. Kim

Assembles intricate structures

From wooden toothpicks




Mr. Kim’s ‘handshake’


Was a blind contribution

He wouldn’t know how or where

It would ultimately be used


Applications engineers

Working in top secret labs

Carefully managed


Independently brilliant

They work alone in a cubicle

Without knowledge of the work

In the adjacent cubicle


Of course Mr. Kim’s cubicle

Is an engineering lab


Each individual design

Becomes part of a puzzle

Assembled by someone else

Who retains no knowledge

Of discrete parts


A puzzle builder

Much like a film editor


The days of understanding

An application start to finish

Left long ago


Those days barely existed

In government work


Mr. Kim’s ‘handshake’

Was essentially a magic key

That unlocks a single lock

In different ways

Depending on how it’s used


The concept is difficult to visualize

When viewed as a single lock

Or a simple door


Imagine an elevator

Operating within several floors


Choose the correct button

For your desired floor

Arrive as expected


Push the wrong button

You arrive at security


This is helpful if you wish

To access a global network

From any computer


In the case of Ingress

The correct handshake

Includes the IP address

Of the initiating computer


Before the passwords


Omitting the IP address

Pushes the wrong button

Arriving at security

Of each network


But Mr. Kim’s ‘handshake’

Does much more than that


Because before you arrive

It maps a complete path

Back to you


You become a priority task

Of a collection operator

In a cage somewhere


Five seconds isn’t necessary

To find you


Nicely done Mr. Kim!



Pushed the wrong button






 Office of National Security Agency

IT Security Management




 We just picked this up


 It seems we have some visitors

Within in our jurisdiction?


 For you

(Folder marked TSSCI - eyes only)






 MIT, yes ma’am



 Assign it


 Get me names and records

On everyone at the location

Past six months

All activities, deliveries


 Who what where when and why

My authority


 Anything in anything out

Anything, anything

I want it


 Let’s just see what we’ve got



 Yes ma’am




It’s not right





 You’re right Daniel

Those three networks together?


 They shouldn’t be

It’s not right





 We need a trace route?





 Not on the same machine



 True that


 What do you think L?



 I think you’re both right


 They’ll know us soon enough

If they don’t already






 Do you think we’re going to prison?



 I don’t know, Randall



If we survive what comes first



 What comes first?



 She means torture Randall

That would make sense


 They’ll want to know everything

What we know and who we know

Who else might know


 We’d better get our stories straight

Everyone prepare to say ‘ouch’



 Not funny Phillip!



 I wasn’t actually joking, Miss Lydia


 We’re in it pretty deep here

And we don’t even know what ‘it’ is


 In any event, Daniel’s right

We should blame Liamsi


 He’s from California

And he ran the cards

(Phillip smiles)



 Don’t blame me!

It’s Randall’s project, blame him


 He can tell them it was the Civil



 Oh yeah right!

Where’s the love now?



 They probably are the Civil Liamsi



 (Lydia interrupts)

Yes Danny but do they know that?


 (everyone laughs)



 Guess we’ll find out soon enough



 What’s a trace trout?




(Daniel laughs)



 You said run a trace trout?



 (Daniel smiles)


 Oh that’s simple Randall


 We release a trout in the toilet

To see if it’s a viable escape route

For when the feds show up?



 (Randall realizes he’s said

something wrong)



 Now if you meant a trace route

Well that’s something very different



 (Randall smiles too)


 Ok fine, I get it


 What’s a trace trout?

Trace route!



 We open a command prompt

(Daniel sees Randall is lost)


 A DOS box?

(still nothing)


 Ok forget the DOS box


 We open up a little black screen

On the computer


 Then we enter network addresses

The ones we saved from before


 We will be looking for clues


 To tell us how we accessed NSA

The Russians and Chinese

On one network


 But this time

We won’t actually access them


 We just want to see where they live

 Because it was a little crazy

That our program accessed them



 You think it’s a good idea D

To go back so soon?



 Oh no Lydia

It is a horrible idea


 But like you said

They’re going to know about us

It couldn’t hurt to know

A little more about them


 Tracing the network route

Might be the safest way to do that


 So we wait it out a day

And give them a new target


 A different computer

Which might dilute their search


 Anyone with a weak stomach

Might want to sit it out tomorrow


 But I have to tell you

You can’t hide from what’s coming

And the one that’s not here

Is easiest to blame


 Tomorrow then

Say 9 o’clock?



 9 O’clock!



 Very funny L




Red target


 What do we have?



 Working in the lab ma’am

A total of six individuals


 Two department heads

Mathematics and Computer Science

A Dr. Phillip Robert Sanders for math

Dr. Daniel Aaron Roth for computer


 Lab assistant Mark Curtis Teals


 Self-employed data recovery expert

Liamsi Malles from California

Prior service SIGINT collection

And he’s an A-list computer hack



 Who’s service?



 Ours ma’am, INSCOM

Both here and overseas






 Dr. Lydia Erin Carnegie

Geophysics and Geodesy


 She was a colleague of

Dr. Daniel Aaron Roth

Also Dr. Allen Charles Phepps

And Dr. Jonathan Edward Warbel


 Phepps and Warbel died recently


 Dr. Phepps was a resident scientist

At Oxford University, his discipline

Oceanic and Atmospheric studies


 And we have

Mr. Randall Taylor Sparks

A freelance reporter

For the Daily Sun Chronicle

In Attleboro, Massachusetts


 Mr. Sparks and Dr. Carnegie

Recently visited Oxford

Where Dr. Phepps worked


 Mr. Sparks has a fiancée

A Miss Susan Eileen Fisher

Who joined him in England


 The couple lodged in Abingdon

She purchased books

Both there and in London


 They stayed on a week

After Dr. Carnegie came back


 Nothing significant, tourists


 UK purchase history provided

Courtesy of British Intelligence


 Card access records at MIT

Indicate no presence of Miss Fisher


 No closed-circuit video records


 We’re not sure how she’s involved

But we’ve got a trace on her


 And then there’s this


 A shipping invoice for $3,580.00

For 14 tons of research material

Billed to a ‘Sparks data punch’


 Signed for by Dr. Roth



 Sparks data punch

Our Mr. Sparks?



 It would seem so ma’am

And Mr. Malles is assigned

To the same project


 As for Mr. Sparks


 According to hospital records at

Intra-Care Behavioral Health Center

In Houston, Texas


 He was the sole visitor of one

Dr. Jonathan Warbel

Up to the time of his death



 Dr. Carnegie’s Warbel?



 Yes ma’am


 Seems Carnegie and Sparks

Aren’t too healthy to be around


 Mr. Sparks wrote an article

About Dr. Warbel

For the Daily Sun Chronicle


 A copy’s in the file







 NSA has an interview file on Sparks

For some piece he wrote about time


 Ethan Stearns was assigned to it



 It seems our mister Sparks

Is a busy and resourceful man

To have scientists working for him


 I don’t believe it for a second



 You want us to pick them up?



 Yes, but not yet


 This is a Red priority target now


 Task continuous, post lead analysts

Call Homeland for impact warrants


 Tell FISA whatever you must

My authority and tell them it’s Red


 Trap everything coming and going

Phones, credit cards and banking

Communications, wideband scrub


 Cloak activities

We don’t want to spook them


 They hacked our Ghost network

My instinct is they’ll come back


 We’ll be waiting


 Draw them in at one time

And secure the perimeter


 This is the script to use

(she scribbles a brief outline)


 Assign someone from the cage



 And Miss Fisher?



 Yes, pick her up too


 Same time as the others

But question her separately



 Yes ma’am