Chuck shifted forward in his seat slightly, grabbing two cans of Mountain Dew Code Red from the nearly empty case beside him. He popped open the tab on the first, then downed it in a single gulp. He’d trained himself to drink quickly, so as to avoid having to take his eyes away from the screen for too long. He knew that what he was doing was illegal, that he could be arrested by the Cyber Patrol at a moment’s notice. He had to remain alert, at attention. He had to make sure he kept his eyes on the monitor at all times. He opened the second and finished it in another giant gulp, then placed his gloved hands back on the keyboard.
The bright, green “Access Granted” continued to flash in front of him. The next step, the next click of his mouse, would dictate his future. Everything he could ever want—winning lottery numbers, hidden government secrets, access to millions of people’s personal information—lay in wait. Yet if he was caught, if he made so much as a single wrong turn in the labyrinth of cyber space, he would find himself in prison for the remainder of his life. Still, he’d made up his mind weeks ago, and it had nothing to do with money. All Chuck wanted was justice.
Chuck slammed down the enter button on his keyboard, the “Access Granted” sign vanishing, a series of folders and words taking its place. There was no turning back now, all he could do was get in and get out. He adjusted the ski-mask concealing his face, made sure his gloves still covered his finger prints, and strapped on the seatbelt holding him to his chair. He then took a deep breath and returned his hands to the keyboard, his eyes finally falling onto the words beneath the rows of folders before him. “Bank Accounts,” “Social Security Numbers,” “Mortgage Files,” “Vaccines,” – it wasn’t there. It wasn’t on the page. It had to be there—it wasn’t possible. Unless—Chuck shot forward in his seat, the seatbelt keeping him from toppling over onto the ground into the nearly knee-high pile of empty Dorito’s bags. He quickly threw together a HUD using XML to establish a meta code in the access files. The screen flashed white, all of the folders abruptly melting from the page. A single, previously hidden folder remained, the words “Government Secrets” below it. Chuck exhaled slowly, then pulled his mouse over to the folder and double clicked.
The screen lit up in a bright green hue, a series of illegible characters flowing vertically down the page. An algorithmic hexadecimal security matrix: he’d only seen one before, a black-market version that only worked half the time. They were the ultimate answer in network security, almost unbeatable to the average human. Chuck had only tried to beat it once, but had not been quick enough to crack it. Regardles, it was too late to turn back. He had to risk it, even knowing that failure meant incarceration or even death. He took a deep breath and held his hand over the mouse, waiting for the second to approach. He needed to time it right, to make sure the object-parameter data-port wouldn’t overload itself. If it did, it was all over. Five, four, three, two—he slammed down on the mouse, the text coming to an immediate halt. He was in.
Chuck sat forward in his chair and stared at the now-legible folder, dozens of text files accompanied by their associated names. “9/11 Caused by Bill Cosby,” “JFK Murdered by Marilyn Monroe,” “Roswell Alien Hosts Probing Lecture at MIT,” “Sesame Street Mind Control Tactics,” – he wasn’t interested in the mundane. He needed to figure out the reason behind America’s true enemy, it’s true evil. He stopped, his eyes growing wide: “Super-Secret Comcast Document.” He pulled his mouse over and double clicked, a small, white notepad file opening up on the page. He began reading.
“This document is of the Comcast Testing Act (CTA), organized and orchestrated to test and maintain the sanity of the nation prior to wide-spread mind control testing and militarization. All documents herein are confidential and are to be destroyed following reception.”
Chuck skimmed further down the page.
“In agreement with Comcast, all XFINITY products are to become more and more irrational, with their customer service becoming likewise more useless…”
He continued skimming.
“Phase one includes hiring violent criminals to maintain Comcast phone lines, answering calls and responding in nothing but needlessly violent threats. Likewise, Comcast Internet services are to begin installing Pando Media Booster on a daily basis.”
He knew he’d been right, knew that those who mocked him did so out of their own ignorance. He rolled his mouse-wheel down the page.
“… of course, the XFINITY Extra Care Package, which is to be advertised by cats literally biting the faces of orphans in its television commercials, will be phase two, and will do literally nothing except break the user’s phone line.”
He scrolled once more.
“Phase four includes the introduction of the XFINITY Charity Program, in which a Comcast representative will visit the house of the user and decapitate them at a $30.00 USD fee. This service will be included in all sales and cannot be opted out of.”
He had everything he needed, all the proof he could want to the government’s secret plans. He’d known Comcast was not a real company, that it was a secret experiment to slowly drive America insane and make it susceptible to mind control, but simply hadn’t had the proof until now. All he needed to do was to save the file to his external database, accessible only via the wireless cloud coupling. Once there, it would automatically upload itself to the social medias. He right clicked on the file and meandered his mouse down to “Save As.”
“STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING,” shouted a deep, familiar voice through Chuck’s monitor. He thrust back against his chair, the right click menu closing as his hand flung off his mouse.
“I know what you’re up to,” Chuck said, his hands frantically patting his face to ensure that his mask was still on. He had to get out of the CIA website, had to escape the mainframe. They’d track him down in mere minutes, even behind all seven of his Norton Anti-Virus firewalls. “You won’t get away with it any longer.”
“Like hell we won’t,” the monitor responded, its screen beginning to fill with static. They were destroying the evidence, using a third-party cohesion hinderer to replace the webpage with static. He’d have just a few more seconds before it was gone. He needed to save it, to get it out to his dozens of Twitter followers and Tweet it out to the world. Chuck reached forward for his mouse, the seatbelt preventing him from moving close enough to grab it. The sudden thrust of his body backwards had locked it in place, like the moment after a car accident.
“The world needs to know,” Chuck said, grabbing for the seatbelt buckle and trying to push down on it. His muscles had atrophied from weeks of doing nothing other than typing and lifting Dorito’s and Mountain Dew to his lips. “They need to be free.”
“The world is mine,” said the voice. It sounded so familiar, so deep and soothing. Even while in a fight for his freedom, something about it seemed comforting.
“What do you mean?” Chuck said, trying his best to keep the voice occupied while he freed himself. He thrust his fingers against the lock, his muscles failing to respond. The screen was now half static.
“I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I am the terror and the fate of the future.”
It was him, the man behind it all. The shadow behind the army. Barack Obama.
“Mr. President,” Chuck said, pushing down on the seatbelt with all his might. His fingers slipped off it as if he’d barely used any force at all. The screen was now almost entirely static. “It’s an honor to meet you.”
“We haven’t even met yet,” Obama said, his voice deep and threatening. “But I assure you the pleasure will be short lived.”
Chuck grit his teeth and thrust his hand down, the seatbelt finally springing open. It whipped back around him and slapped against his chair. Chuck lunged forward and slammed his fist down on the right button of his mouse, the screen responding immediately. He flung his wrist downward, reaching for the “Save As” option, before clicking on it with all his might. He closed his eyes just as the screen filled with a blinding white of static.
“What have you done,” shouted Obama through the monitor. “What the fuck have you done!”
“Justice has been done,” Chuck said, holding his hand up to his eyes to block the light from the monitor. “Looks like the world now knows your secret Comcast plan.”
“Yeah,” Obama said, his voice suddenly quieting down. “Or maybe you missed your mark.” He seemed to be laughing for some reason.
Chuck glanced up at the monitor, his eyes growing wide. Through the static, a small, rectangular box remained, the words “Open” and “Save” listed beneath it. He grabbed at the mouse, frantically pulling it to the box, but each option was grayed out and unclickable.
“I’ll be seeing you soon,” Obama said, pausing for a second, “Chuck.”