Gaming the System – Chapter 1

GAMING THE SYSTEM

By Travis Hill

Copyright 2017

 

ONE

I listened as I stood in the darkness, but the only sound I heard was the thumping of my heart and my own breathing. With my back against the wall, I inched forward as quietly as possible. The killer was somewhere ahead of me, armed with a chrome or stainless automatic. I wondered where the fuck Tillman was. My partner and I had split up at the entrance, with me taking the stairs while he went around back.

It was stupid, and we were going to catch hell for it. Sergeant Hines would be just the first in a chain of superiors taking a piece of our ass for chasing an armed gunman into a half-finished office tower without waiting for backup. But they hadn’t watched this guy execute two men less than twenty feet from us either. They hadn’t seen the look in his eyes as he stared at us while putting a bullet in the second victim’s skull. The perp was either insane or he was the hardest of the hard-nosed killers syndicate organizations used to take solve problems.

Then there’s the fact that Tillman and I had each burned through an entire twelve round magazine from no less than fifteen feet away. The asshole only laughed before he turned and ran across 5th Street and into a construction site. Neither of us spotted a blood trail, which meant we wasted twenty-four bullets at almost point-blank distance and came up empty. Last time Tillman and I hit the range to renew our certifications, we were thirty out of thirty at thirty feet and twenty-six out of thirty at twelve. Twelve feet and a moving target that randomly swiveled to present an inch of surface area to hit.

Continue reading

Gaming the System (short story)

(Probably rough, hasn’t really been edited yet, just sort of banged this out tonight! I could probably expand this to a novella if not more. Maybe a serial?)

ONE

I listened as I stood in the darkness, but the only sound I heard was the thumping of my heart and my own breathing. With my back against the wall, I inched forward as quietly as possible. The killer was somewhere ahead of me, armed with a chrome or stainless automatic. I wondered where the fuck Tillman was. My partner and I had split on at the entrance, with me taking the stairs while he went around back.

It was stupid, and we were going to catch hell for it. Sergeant Hines would be just the first in a chain of superiors taking a piece of our ass for chasing an armed gunman into a nearly-finished office tower without waiting for backup. The they didn’t watch this guy execute two men less than twenty feet from us either. They didn’t see the look in his eyes as he stared at us while putting a bullet in the second victim’s skull. The perp was insane, or he was the hardest of the hard-nosed killers that organizations like the Russian mob used to take care of problems.

Then there’s the fact that Tillman and I had each burned through an entire twelve round magazine from no less than fifteen feet away, and this asshole only started laughing as he turned and ran across 5th Street and into a construction site. Neither of us spotted a blood trail, which means we wasted twenty-four bullets at almost point-blank range and came up empty. Last time Tillman and I hit the range, we were thirty out of thirty at thirty feet, and twenty-six out of thirty at twelve. Twelve feet and a moving target that randomly swiveled to present an inch of surface area to hit.

I heard the soft scraping of feet ahead of me. I counted to three then hit my flashlight, hoping to blind him. I barely thumbed the switch on the flashlight when my vision whited out from the continuous fire that belched from his weapon.

“Fuck you!” I screamed after diving to the floor and behind a pile of drywall sheets. “Emerson P.D.! Drop your weapon!” I prayed Tillman heard the shots and was running his ass off to get to me. Continue reading

Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac/PC malware that jumps airgaps

I love writing about science fiction-y ideas, and I of course love computers and networking. I happened across this story today on Ars Technica, and could not stop reading. The writer part of my brain lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids after being blown up in a Michael Bay movie trailer. The nerdy part of my brain that still pays attention to high tech shuddered, as this is part of our technological future.

“Three years ago, security consultant Dragos Ruiu was in his lab when he noticed something highly unusual: his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot. Stranger still, when Ruiu then tried to boot the machine off a CD ROM, it refused. He also found that the machine could delete data and undo configuration changes with no prompting. He didn’t know it then, but that odd firmware update would become a high-stakes malware mystery that would consume most of his waking hours.

In the following months, Ruiu observed more odd phenomena that seemed straight out of a science-fiction thriller. A computer running the Open BSD operating system also began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting. His network transmitted data specific to the Internet’s next-generation IPv6 networking protocol, even from computers that were supposed to have IPv6 completely disabled. Strangest of all was the ability of infected machines to transmit small amounts of network data with other infected machines even when their power cords and Ethernet cables were unplugged and their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards were removed. Further investigation soon showed that the list of affected operating systems also included multiple variants of Windows and Linux.”

Read the entire article at Ars Technica

“Henchman” – The Day Dave Subbed

So… here’s some more of this ‘Henchman’ book from my uh… buddy… Mike Williams. It’s probably really rough, as I… er, I mean HE just wrote it, so if you notice errors, rest assured that HE will get around to squashing them before HE actually charges money for this nonsense. More to come!

Henchman – Author’s Note
Henchman – The Day Dave Subbed
Henchman – Randy the Tech #1A

The Day Dave Subbed

I watched Dave hustle down the hallway toward me, still tucking in his dark red shirt into his jet black fatigues. He grinned when he came to a stop on his side of the doorway. I nodded toward his crotch to let him know that he’d missed something. He looked down, back up at me with a sheepish grin, then back to his zipper, giving it a light tug.

“Why are you checking out my package, anyway?” he asked after finishing his task and turning to look straight ahead, standing at attention like me.

“It’s obvious with your tighty-whiteys and showing up half-naked,” I replied without looking at him. “What the hell are you doing here, anyway?” I asked, finally glancing over at him. “This is still Washington’s gig for the next eight weeks.”

“What’s the matter, I’m not black enough for you?” he asked, doing his best to stifle a laugh.

“It’s not funny,” I said in a low voice. “The dude scares the bejesus out of me.”

Washington, that’s the only name we’ve ever gotten from him, is a fellow henchman. He’s six and a half feet tall, chiseled like that guy on the Old Spice commercial, and about ten times more frightening than when the Old Spice guy gets all crazy-looking like he’s about to rip a car door off and hurl it into the sun. If he wasn’t so scary, it would be funny how militant he is about everything, not just white people. It’s like the guy is always on, his inner amplifier cranked to eleven.

Continue reading