Public Key (ciii)

It is possible that I am being, ah, overly thorough, with some of my recitations of Their Plan. I’ll go back, afterwards, and make sure its a little more chronolinear, and certainly that it is tighter. For the moment I am just trying to get the draft done.

But don’t worry. Soon it will all be behind them.

~~~~daK

——————————————————————

We’d already thrown the punch. It just hadn’t quite landed yet.

Hannah had taken my computer with her when we’d gone our separate ways. She’d stuck out her thumb on the road to Maseru. About halfway there she’d asked her ride to stop at a church missionso she could use a bathroom. She’d sat on their toilet and opened my laptop. They had wifi. It wasn’t secured. Who were they going to secure it from?

She did as we’d planned, bridging and tunneling and then sending out my little databurst. It had taken about ten minutes to upload. Then it was out there. There was no turning back.

Then she washed her hands, and ran my hard drive under the faucet. She left it in a ditch by the side of the road. The laptop she dropped in a trashcan outside Ha Eleke. When she crossed the border, when the guards searched her, she didn’t have a single thing on her with which she could have accessed the internet.

All this to make sure that, even if they did trace our messages back to their point of origin, that point would be in Lesotho. Let them tear up the highlands. You know, again. They wouldn’t find anything. We were gone.

The whole time I was hiking and Hannah was driving our data was moving back and forth around the world. It still was, even though we were settled down. It wouldn’t be long now. I had to fight not to jump up and pace until I’d worn a groove into the floor.

I didn’t even have a computer to distract me. The original notion was that we’d remain offline as long as we were in this new place. It was safer that way. It would give them nothing to trace. It was good thinking. It became quickly apparent that it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t just sit in a little house. Not just biding my time. Not for weeks on end. Not without going crazy. And taking Hannah with me.

Besides, I needed to know what was going on the world. When my recordings hit the net I needed to see. Hannah accused me of vanity. I readily assented. But we both knew that it was necessary. How else would we be able to judge when I was able to go home?

If, I corrected myself. If I could go home. What would happen if I couldn’t? If nobody heard my messages? If people heard them, and denounced me still? I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know.

Hannah told me not to think about it. Someone would hear. Something would happen. I couldn’t but think about it. It was all I had to think about. What if all our work was for nothing? What if we were in the same place that we were-

Then that’s where we’ll be, Hannah said.

Yes?

Yes. So shut up.

None of this changed the fact that I needed a computer. Hannah got in the car, drove down to Nelspruit, and picked one up in a mall. It was thick and heavy and ugly and got 3G wireless through a USB key. Sometimes I thought about how much easier it would have been to lose oneself in the world in the days before digital records and retina scans and RFIDs. Then sometimes I had to think that maybe us kids today didn’t know how how good we had it.

I didn’t encrypt my datastream. I didn’t bounce into the tor network. I didn’t even install Linux, much as it pained me. We decided that sometimes the best way to hide is in plain sight. If anyone was looking for a tor bridge or an ssh tunnel, they’d have no reason to so much as glance at me. I kept the system as vanilla as it had come, no more suspicious than any of the millions of other computer users in South Africa. To say nothing of the rest of the world.

This meant I couldn’t use the internet for anything but a little headline-reading. So long as I still hard my external, and could listen to my music locally, I didn’t much mind.

I’d pretty much disappeared from the news sites. Out of sight, out of mind – and I’d been out of sight for almost a year. People had put me on The Desert Island, along with Osama and Whitey and Lord Lucan and Elvis and the like. The Interpol notice was still out on me. There was still that price on my head. But nobody seemed to care. Not the pols, not the public. I was a boogeyman past. I was forgotten.

Twentyfour hours later, the punch landed. And I was famous again.

We’d already thrown the punch. It just hadn’t quite landed yet.

Hannah had taken my computer with her when we’d gone our separate ways. She’d stuck out her thumb on the road to Maseru. About halfway there she’d asked her ride to stop at a church missionso she could use a bathroom. She’d sat on their toilet and opened my laptop. They had wifi. It wasn’t secured. Who were they going to secure it from?

She did as we’d planned, bridging and tunneling and then sending out my little databurst. It had taken about ten minutes to upload. Then it was out there. There was no turning back.

Then she washed her hands, and ran my hard drive under the faucet. She left it in a ditch by the side of the road. The laptop she dropped in a trashcan outside Ha Eleke. When she crossed the border, when the guards searched her, she didn’t have a single thing on her with which she could have accessed the internet.

All this to make sure that, even if they did trace our messages back to their point of origin, that point would be in Lesotho. Let them tear up the highlands. You know, again. They wouldn’t find anything. We were gone.

The whole time I was hiking and Hannah was driving our data was moving back and forth around the world. It still was, even though we were settled down. It wouldn’t be long now. I had to fight not to jump up and pace until I’d worn a groove into the floor.

I didn’t even have a computer to distract me. The original notion was that we’d remain offline as long as we were in this new place. It was safer that way. It would give them nothing to trace. It was good thinking. It became quickly apparent that it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t just sit in a little house. Not just biding my time. Not for weeks on end. Not without going crazy. And taking Hannah with me.

Besides, I needed to know what was going on the world. When my recordings hit the net I needed to see. Hannah accused me of vanity. I readily assented. But we both knew that it was necessary. How else would we be able to judge when I was able to go home?

If, I corrected myself. If I could go home. What would happen if I couldn’t? If nobody heard my messages? If people heard them, and denounced me still? I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know.

Hannah told me not to think about it. Someone would hear. Something would happen. I couldn’t but think about it. It was all I had to think about. What if all our work was for nothing? What if we were in the same place that we were-

Then that’s where we’ll be, Hannah said.

Yes?

Yes. So shut up.

None of this changed the fact that I needed a computer. Hannah got in the car, drove down to Nelspruit, and picked one up in a mall. It was thick and heavy and ugly and got 3G wireless through a USB key. Sometimes I thought about how much easier it would have been to lose oneself in the world in the days before digital records and retina scans and RFIDs. Then sometimes I had to think that maybe us kids today didn’t know how how good we had it.

I didn’t encrypt my datastream. I didn’t bounce into the tor network. I didn’t even install Linux, much as it pained me. We decided that sometimes the best way to hide is in plain sight. If anyone was looking for a tor bridge or an ssh tunnel, they’d have no reason to so much as glance at me. I kept the system as vanilla as it had come, no more suspicious than any of the millions of other computer users in South Africa. To say nothing of the rest of the world.

This meant I couldn’t use the internet for anything but a little headline-reading. So long as I still hard my external, and could listen to my music locally, I didn’t much mind.

I’d pretty much disappeared from the news sites. Out of sight, out of mind – and I’d been out of sight for almost a year. People had put me on The Desert Island, along with Osama and Whitey and Lord Lucan and Elvis and the like. The Interpol notice was still out on me. There was still that price on my head. But nobody seemed to care. Not the pols, not the public. I was a boogeyman past. I was forgotten.

Twentyfour hours later, the punch landed. And I was famous again.

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~ by davekov on 29 March 2011.

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