It was 10 p.m. Erin started the obfuscation program, then joined dchat. Kwier was there.


<Pathfinder> Good evening Kwier.

<Kwier> Good evening. So you came back.

<Pathfinder> Yes. I have a lot of questions. And a few things that you might be interested in.

<Kwier> Oh good. And what is it?

<Pathfinder> First my answers. I waited all day to get them.

<Kwier> OK.

<Pathfinder> Who are you? What were you doing at the fair? How and why did you disappear so quickly? How did you introduce censored books on campus, and for what purpose? And what are you looking for?

<Kwier> It makes questions … To answer your questions roughly in order. I’m Kwier, I’m part of a team of hackers.

<Kwier> Before, I was a doctoral student in a public European laboratory, funded by private funds … You see the story. And I worked on the implant project.

<Kwier> Basically, it was just about revolutionizing VR; make the wearer feel the matrix, to walk in the virtual world as in the normal world. Well, things like that.

<Kwier> When the project was presented to the leaders, they saw the enormous potential that this implant had. With our technology, they could virtually attack other nations without them being able to retaliate and become a digital leader. They gave us even more budgets.

<Kwier> But at the next meeting, they had had time to think about the deeper implications of our project: if the implant worked one way, it was surely possible to make it work the other and connect to the user’s brain in order to control it.

<Kwier> With a few colleagues, we found it to be unethical … We were fired. A few remaining contacts that I have in this lab recently revealed to me that the project had started. As this technology is only in its infancy, it is not accessible to everyone (still happy). Hence the idea of the Academy: recruiting people who should be successful in mastering the implant quickly, to put it into its reverse mode and do a large-scale mind control test.

<Kwier> I have since traveled across Europe, physically and virtually, looking for where they were going to take their test.

<Kwier> Eventually I found your Academy. By dint of patience, I was able to introduce myself several times to maintenance and housekeeping teams. I managed to find a few workers who weren’t very happy with their wages. I offered them money in exchange for their place on the site when the premises were being built. Their profile having passed the selection, I just had to usurp their identity on the days when they had to come to work.

<Kwier> On one occasion, I managed to gain access to the academy’s internal network, which allowed me to open a backdoor, that is, a passage unknown to the administrators to the outside, the one that allows you to access the chat.

<Kwier> And by hacking into my old lab from outside, I had access to the specifications of the Academy’s cop algos, which allowed me to develop this little obfuscation tool that you are using now. .

<Pathfinder> …

<Kwier> For your other questions: At the fair, I was looking for people who are inside the premises, and who could help me from inside.

<Kwier> And I ran into you. To be honest, I had left books like 1984 lying around on purpose, telling myself that if students dared to take them, they would be good candidates.

<Kwier> You haven’t looked at these books much, and you’re the only one who has listened to me. The others either refused to let me sit next to them, or left when I started talking. So, since you’re the only one who agreed to get in touch, I was really hoping you would connect. This fair was a resounding failure for me :(.

<Pathfinder> Too bad.

<Kwier> You asked me how I got the books … It’s quite simple: I had copies of classic books printed, with extra pages from books censored by the Academy. Once in the place, I just tore off said pages and put them back together to redo the book. Hence their somewhat patched up appearance.

<Pathfinder> Cool. What amazes me is that the Academy got caught up in it.

<Kwier> Can’t you imagine that security was going to read every book that came in? They just quickly flipped through the books and let me go.

<Kwier> At the end of the first day, given how little success I had had, I was afraid one of the students would report me. I thought it was risky to stay another day. I repacked and removed the censored books.

<Pathfinder> OK. So nobody knew you were there?

<Kwier> No. No one. Well, I believe. They may have found suspicious that we leave on day one, but no more. We will have to prepare better for the next fair. And recruiting new people. You don’t realize how much we were searched and how much they delved into our past before accepting our stand.

<Pathfinder> Considering the way we’re coped here, that’s no surprise to me.

<Kwier> Let’s not make the connection, I made up an identity for myself and created false papers. They would never have let in someone who knew their project … But by force, it will pass, they will eventually spot my face …

<Kwier> Okay, over to you! You told me you had some interesting information.

<Pathfinder> Yes. Finally, you already know some of what I had to say.

<Kwier> Do we say to each other?

<Pathfinder> OK. Today I learned about the implant and mind control.

<Kwier> Oh ?! I didn’t think they would let such information filter out.

<Pathfinder> My boyfriend, finally ex-boyfriend, had a blackout yesterday at the fair. He was taken to the hospital and he overheard doctors talking about the implant. He told me about it.

<Kwier> They were reckless.

<Pathfinder> They thought he was sleeping. He’s heard them talk about the implant and the blackout heralding the implant’s imminent connection to his brain… He’s scared of being a danger to me, and we went our separate ways.

<Kwier> That’s nice of him. But you also have an implant. He could have kept that to himself, telling himself that it wouldn’t change anything for you anyway.

<Pathfinder> Phyl knows that I don’t like all these mysteries around the Academy too much and find it fishy. And that, I do not intend to let it go. Except that he also knows that there is not much to do …

<Kwier> Maybe we can do something for him, if we can hack the Academy from within.

<Pathfinder> Yes. The problem is, he always tries to see the bright side of any situation, and he tries to convince himself that this implant thing is a chance …

<Kwier> Yeah… It’s hard to help people despite themselves.

<Pathfinder> Yes. And I’ll admit that what interests me the most right now is preventing that damn chip from getting into my brain. When I go out for the Christmas holidays, maybe there is something you can do?

<Kwier> * Pathfinder *, you can’t wait until then, on vacation, you’ll all be under control. This school is just a masquerade, intended to bring together the most compatible profiles for the implant, to put them in the right frame of mind. This whole Academy thing is just a facade, so that no one knows and rebels …

<Pathfinder> So what do I do?

<Kwier> I offer you the following plan:

<Kwier> First, get rid of the chip. You know, it’s interested on our side too. We don’t want you to turn into a snitch.

<Pathfinder> Nice …

<Kwier> One could try to deactivate it with an EMP, but at the same time destroy the possibilities of further use of the chip. From a purely down to earth point of view, as long as you’re on the premises, running, you need this chip so you don’t get the attention.

<Pathfinder> EMP?

<Kwier> ElectroMagnetic Pulse. Electromagnetic pulse. Clearly, to grill the electronic circuits by a small discharge.

<Pathfinder> OK.

<Kwier> And then, maybe the chip could be useful to us, it would be a shame to toast it right away …

<Kwier> Anyway, we need the specs for the chip, and for that you need to get into the core of the Academy network.

<Kwier> With the specs, you should be able to figure out how to disable student checking. And then, it would allow us to build our own to fight on equal terms on the network.

<Pathfinder> OK.

<Kwier> And if you want to get out, you need to find the plans for the electrified barrier.

<Kwier> You can surely walk through it, but until we know how it works, there is not much we can do to get you out.

<Pathfinder> Yes. I clearly want to help you, but even more to get out of there quickly.

<Kwier> Yep. And don’t worry, we’ll do everything to get you out of this. How much do you have on the counter, by the way?

<Pathfinder> 8 minutes or so.

<Kwier> OK. Cool. Come join us on the #freedomnia channel.

<Kwier> I’ll introduce you to the rest of the team. We all come from all over Europe. From now on, you are part of the team.


Erin went into the chat, through the aliases it was not easy to get an idea of who we were talking to. Young people? Old people ? Girls or boys? She just had an idea of what Kwier looked like, because he had to be the one to talk to her.