Cherry was out. Erin locked the door.

For the first time since she had arrived, Erin did not feel comfortable in her room. She wondered if the privacy the room offered was real, or if here, too, the Academy was watching her every move.

The first time she had searched her room, it was kind of a bet with Cherry. Erin had bet the Academy would even police them in their rooms, and they and Cherry had combed the room. In the end, Erin had lost because they hadn’t found anything weird. Today, however, she scoured meticulously looking for she didn’t quite know what. Once reassured, she sat down at her desk and opened the paper.

On paper, the way forward to reach the darknet.

A micro USB key was attached to the paper, containing a program. She hadn’t noticed it at first, because it was well hidden in the middle of the folds. The program was to act as a screen between user activities and the Academy’s snitches. If she deleted the cookies from her PC, the Academy wouldn’t know what she was doing on the spot, but they would show up fast enough to diagnose why her computer wasn’t sending them any more information… They would realize that she had deleted the cookies and that would cause her problems.

Instead, the program provided on the key simulated activity on the user’s computer, activity sent directly to cookies, allowing the user to perform actions in a hidden way. It was called obfuscation.

Prolonged use of the program was not recommended, as further analysis by the Academy would eventually detect that this was not a human activity and would attract attention …

It was explained that the Academy recorded the habits of the students in order to derive a “profile”. Each session a student had on their computer was compared to their profile. Depending on what the student had done, their profile would be updated to take into account some new habits, but if the student changed the way they used their computer too abruptly, an alert would be sent to their student. responsible, who would come and see what was going on.

It was therefore advisable to continue using your computer as normally as possible, so that her profile remained consistent.

Erin took this warning very seriously. She wasn’t too surprised, as she had suspected that everything she did on her PC was being screwed up.

Erin used the key on her computer. The program started automatically. A small window with a countdown appeared.

Erin’s activities on his pc were now hidden for the next half hour. Erin then followed the instructions to breach the Academy’s firewall. She wasn’t sure where the breach came from or how they’d gotten it through without her noticing, but it was the least of her concerns.

The first place the paper advised him to visit was an IRC chat room, named #dchat, on the talk.masked server.

Apparently that would be her point of entry… Erin turned the paper over. Nothing more ? So warnings, run the program and go to #dchat… By the time Erin got around the firewall, and there were only 20 minutes left.

Erin logged into IRC… Pick the server, walk into the living room… That was all well and good, but what should she do now. She listed the nicks present: Fluke, Mirror, Nightowl, Junior, Omen… How to choose who to talk to? And what was she doing there anyway?

The countdown continued to tick. More than 10 minutes. Erin wondered what was the point of staying, when a message called out to her.

Kwier has just logged in to dchat.

Kwier. That’s it, that’s the name he gave her!

Erin had chosen Pathfinder as a pseudonym, so Kwier couldn’t have known it was her. He didn’t even know her name anyway. It was therefore necessary that it is she who comes into contact with him.

Now that she was here, I might as well go all out. Erin opened a window to speak privately.

talk.masked #dchat


Kwier vient de se connecter à dchat.


Kwier. C’est ça, c’est ce nom-là qu’il lui avait donné !

Erin avait choisi comme pseudonyme Pathfinder, Kwier ne pouvait donc pas savoir que c’était elle. Il ne savait même pas comment elle s’appelait d’ailleurs. Il fallait donc que ce soit elle qui entre en contact avec lui.

Maintenant qu’elle était là, autant jouer le tout pour le tout. Erin ouvrit une fenêtre pour parler en privé.


talk.masked #dchat

<Pathfinder> *Good evening*


Pas de réponse.


<Pathfinder> *How have you been since last night?*


Toujours pas de réponse.


<Pathfinder> *I really enjoyed the 1984 copy you left me …*


Comment lui faire comprendre qu’il s’agissait d’elle ? Erin allait abandonner, de toute manière, il ne restait quasiment plus de temps. Et elle ne voulait pas prendre de risques. Puis un message apparu.


<Kwier> *Glad this got you over. So, like that, you decide to take the advice of a stranger and see what he has to teach you?*

<Pathfinder> Yes.

<Kwier> *What if I was one of them*.

<Pathfinder> *I think it is not*.

<Kwier> *OK. Good. I like your down to earth point of view. How much time is left on the clock?*

<Pathfinder> *Less than five minutes.*

<Kwier> *Not enough to discuss, but enough to meet again.*

<Pathfinder> *Yes. Pity. I had a lot of questions, but now is not the time.*

<Kwier> *Yes. We struggled to match the characteristics of Academy snitches, and we’re not 100% sure what we got back. Better not to play with fire.*

<Pathfinder> *Yes, I understand*

<Kwier> *So, when will we meet again? You should not use the program more than 2 or 3 times in the same day. We have to improve it before …*

<Pathfinder> *It’s going to be tricky today if I don’t want to change the plans I had. And since the goal is for me to stay natural …*

<Kwier> *Tonight?*

<Pathfinder> *OK. It’s going to be hard to wait for answers, but okay. Better tonight than not at all after all.*

<Kwier> *’k. We do it like that. See you tonight*.

Kwier is offline.


Erin se dépêcha également de tout déconnecter. Elle arrêta le programme à quelques secondes de la fin. C’était frustrant, mais elle comprenait. Kwier s’était dépêché de se déconnecter pour qu’elle n’ait pas envie de rester plus longtemps et éviter qu’elle dépasse le délai.