Note: This is a present-day event (continuation of odd-numbered chapter time span: 1,3,5, etc.)The email slips into cyberspace like a bullet from a silenced pistol. Quiet and deadly. Right on target. The sports day was barely over when I saw a car coming towards the school. The only one arriving, while the others are driving away. I can't be sure if it's them, but a squirm pulls through my body, making my neck hair stand on end. And I wonder... Is this a reporter from one of the news newspapers?There is great excitement in House Basquiat's corridors. Blackwood College crushed Lockwood Boys High. In the Hangout, someone starts playing a rugby CD very loudly. Yeah, no, money can't buy good taste either.I was just aiming towards my door to go for a walk around the other floors, seeing if everything was alright there when JT and Bill came rushing on. They bundled me back into my room. "Hey, my dude, you should have seen it," Bill says, his arm around JT's neck and his fist in the air.
Note: This is a past event, i.e. a ‘flashback’ (continuation of odd-numbered chapter storyline: 2,4,6, etc.)That's the day after I saw Gregory hack the travel agent's system. And the first morning Gregory came to wake me up. "While Zeus, the ruler of Olympus, lies sleepily folded in Hypnos' wings, his son Heracles' ship runs aground on Kos again today," he says."What the hell?" I asked through sleep."Never mind. Move your arse and get up," he replied. I open one eye and lift myself on my elbows. Gregory is in his workout clothes. Sweat gleamed on his body."Are you crazy? Have you gone jogging already?" I asked."Always. The only time to think clearly, so early in the morning. Come on, get a move on, it's almost time for breakfast."The day drags around. At the behest of Doc, I must accept the SRC over their "deplorable discipline." Mr Steward showed up halfway through the meeting. Spying on us, as if we didn't know. "Would you like to add anything else?" I asked until I finished m
Note: This is a present-day event, (continuation of odd-numbered time span: 1,3,5, etc.)"Get that computer technician... uh Thomas...""Thompsen" Mr Steward corrects Doc Pat."Get Thompsen, that he's coming to see.""But will he come out so late at night, Doc?" asked Mr Steward."He lives on Harrismith. He'll have to drive all the way -""That's what he's paid for, damn!" From his tone of voice, I can infer that Doc is now sitting nicely in the pinch. But for what? What's wrong with the computers? They were talking about the learners’ database. The answer came sooner than I expected."You're sure you looked right, Nic?" rumbled Doc.Mr. Steward's voice is calm, but the distress nonetheless persists, "I'm telling you, Doc. There are no contacts on Gregory's records. Not even his parents' names. No address, no phone numbers. Nothing. Just his name: Gregory Stevens."Again, alone in my dark dorm room and I can't sleep. It's like Gregory doesn't want to let me sleep. He's gone, but now
Note: This is a past-day event, (continuation of even-numbered chapter time span: 2,4,6, etc.)The next few evenings, after I completed the first hacking challenge under Gregory's guidance, I am busy on hackthissite after hasty study sessions and exchanged supervision duty shifts. Sometimes in my room, other times on Gregory's laptop, in his room. Afterwards, it feels like my head wants to burst from all the information, from the frustration, because the more I learn, the more I see that I still know less."You have to be patient," Gregory advises. "Pay attention to the detail."So, I stumble through the challenges. Struggling, but at least. I learn that when you enter a password on a website. the system must look somewhere in its scripts for a password file. It compares your password with what it has in its password file. If the two match, you're in.In Challenge 2 I find out after a struggle that Sam, the supposed network administrator, forgot to set up the password file. So, there
Note: This is a present-day event, (continuation of odd-numbered time-span: 1,3,5, etc.)I stare at the black screen. Gregory is gone, and I'm now in G-4ce's realm. The password’s input field is being etched into my retinas and a path burning open to my brain.Password.My gut tells me that this website contains a clue connected to Gregory's disappearance. But what will the password be? I'll have to crack it if I want to get the clue.I try the obvious passwords. First the word "password."Then Gregory's name. And also, G-4ce. It doesn't work. The school's name doesn't work either.Anyway, it's stupid of me to think that G-4ce would choose something easy. He warned me to choose long passwords when I register for something on the web. He warned me to choose long passwords when I register for something on the web, or for my computer itself. I have to use upper- and lower-case letters. There must also be numbers in it, but not at the beginning or end. The word must not appear in a dictio
Note: This is a past-day event, (continuation of even-numbered chapter time span: 2,4,6, etc.)"Come on," said Gregory as I moved behind the computer for the umpteenth night. "Time for something else. You must be bored with all the challenges." I am on the last one of the basic challenges of hackthissite. I was hoping to finish it tonight, with a little help from Gregory. But he is right: I feel like something new."Bring your laptop and network cable.""Where are we going?" I ask"To school." Gregory got a fine smile on his face, his dark eyes mischievous."The school buildings are closed at the time of the evening," I say."I know, but that's why there's a grounds manager."I quickly put on something warm. The evening air is starting to cool, even though winter is still two months away. Then I got my laptop as Gregory said.In the corridor we find Bill. His eyes are red and move slowly, wandering.It looks like he smoked. He tries to strike up a conversation, but Gregory quickly sto
Note: This is a present-day event, (continuation of odd-numbered time-span: 1,3,5, etc.)I am sitting with the black web page in front of me. Gregory didn't finish it is the first thought that comes to mind. How stupid was it of me to think that the photo was a major clue and that nap was going to help track down Gregory?The source code, I remember, looking at the page's source code. I right-click on the screen and view the source. But I don't get any further. My attention is interrupted by a sound at my door...Lights out have been for a long time now. Everyone is supposed to be asleep at this time. And what was the sound? It sounded like the door handle was being pushed down. I quickly got up and walked through the door. It's still closed.I turn the key. The door opens silently. It's dark in the corridor, except for the single light that burns in front of the Hangout.The moving shadow born from the darkness first paralyzed my body and then put me into overdrive. I can't see who i
Note: This is a past event, i.e. a (continuation of odd-numbered chapter storyline: 2,4,6, etc.)The June holidays are days away. I just came from eighth and ninth grade. Got the stuff out of bed and I feel good.Later this morning there will be a Student Council with Doc Pat. But I don't expect any trouble. From here it's plain sailing all the way until the holidays arrive."Hey, Erick! And if you smile like that?" asked one of my rugby buddies in passing."Then can't a man smile?""Sure. Just make sure you stay away from Bill's laughing stock," he grinned and slapped me on the back.On my way back to my room I knocked on Gregory's door. I just walk in. He seems startled. He slammed his laptop shut."Caught, G-4ce!"He shrugged his shoulders. "Guilty," he laughed dejectedly."Hacking?""Hmmm.""And that means?""That you shouldn't be so nosy." Am I imagining it or is he a bit nuts because I bothered him?"Okay, then I'd rather not ask you what you're going to do for the holidays eith