Announcing “The Crew”
I’ve wanted to flex my creative muscles for awhile and do some writing as it’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was lad. But what to write about? I’ve lived a long and pretty interesting life and met some pretty interesting characters along the way. So why not adapt that into a novel?
So I’ve decided to write an entire book. The book will draw upon real events and real stories from my own life and people I’ve met along the way. While the novel is 100% fictional: they are based in real things that happened to myself and others (with respect to creativity to make it more interesting).
“The Crew” centres around the eponymous Crew a group of Hackers from around the world under the guidance of their leader Cypher. The story will be broken into chapters with a different member being the focus of each. The current format will be each chapter having a self contained story that interweaves with the others to form an overall narrative. The stories will contain a lot of detail and will attempt to be as realistic as possible.
I plan to release a new chapter each month between 2000-4000 words a piece. But it will be as long as I deem it necessary to be in order to the tell the story I want. I plan to do this for twelve months starting this month and then compile the stories into a book and hopefully have it published.
People pledging $5 or more on Patreon will get access to each chapter as it’s completed. $1 Patreons will get it the following month and non-patreonies will just have to wait. I decided to make this Patreon only so I can afford to pay proof-readers and the like, it is also a lot more involved than say chucking a programming article up.
On that note: I’m still going to continue with my regular articles as well. This will just be a bonus for Patreons who’ve been supporting me this far and continue to do so.
You guys are awesome.
Read on for the preview:
Disclaimer: While this story is based on true events it is entirely a work of fiction: names, places and entities similar to persons living or dead are entirely coincidental. You should not attempt to recreate anything you read about in the following story.
The Crew – Zer0 and the Noisy Neighbour
Zer0 stared abjectly at his screen. He’d been pouring over his code for hours and he could not track down source of the bug that had been haunting him all day. Sighing he reached for his packet of cigarettes and moved cautiously through the built up pile pizza boxes and soda cans to the balcony.
Rubbing his forehead and taking a deep drag of his cigarette he took a look around. His balcony was on the second story of a townhouse located in some nondescript suburb. Surrounded on all sides by families, retirees and his closest neighbour who he was pretty sure was a meth dealer.
From his vantage point he could see a bunch of junked cars in the backyard, the backyard had been ripped apart by his dog that had, at least since he’d been living here; been continuously chained to a post in the centre of the yard.
The neighbours had complained of course about the appearance of the yard, the dog barking at all hours of the day and the night and the music. The god damn music. From the moment he arrived home around seven at night he’d blast terrible god awful tunes at maximum volume all through the night. The exact same thing would happen every time, the police would be called: they’d ask him to turn it down, he’d turn it for a time and then be back to full volume.
The had been complaints, petitions, and letters to local government, but nothing ever changed. Zer0 had been relatively indifferent from the issues due to his loft being so high up. The townhouse was fairly modern and therefore had a pretty decent sound insulation from the outside world. Something Zer0 appreciated as he liked absolute silence to hone his craft.
Zer0 worked a mundane job as a retail assistant but he didn’t care. His job simply paid for his bills and allowed him suitable flexibility to engage in his real passion: Zer0 was a hacker and a good one. He considered himself to be a Greyhat at heart but was ashamed to admit in his younger days had stooped to level of being Blackhat. Defacing websites, DDoSing servers, running a botnet and just generally being an asshat online.
Zer0 like most hackers liked keep his online “persona” completely separate from real life one. While he was fairly active on forums and on various chats over the web, he played things pretty close to the chest. Even his own crew knew very little about him but that didn’t matter: hacker crews are based off the principal of meritocracy. No one cared about who you were, they cared about what you could do and that was the only thing anyone ever cared about.
Zer0’s Crew was known online as the Cypher Crew. Possibly due to the fact the founder of the group was in fact known as Cypher or possibly due to the fact even the members of the crew knew virtually nothing about one another. Over the years he’d gotten close to a few of the members was even part of Cypher’s inner circle. The code he was working on was a project started by Cypher himself, part of his initiation into the circle. Failure was not an option and Zer0 would let nothing distract him from his goal of completing his assigned task.
Then the music started again, but this time it was different: it was several magnitudes louder than before. Even with the sound proofing in his loft the volume was at an uncomfortably high level. Zer0 gnashed his teeth and walked backside to the balcony. He glanced down at the aforementioned yard and saw it. The massive black monolith on the deck.
Zer0 immediately recognised the make and model of the sound system, it was a similar model to one they sold in his shop. His mind looped back to the day he read the feature listing of sound system, he knew it had bluetooth capabilities but he couldn’t remember if it had Wifi. He marched back inside and began frantically typing searching for any type of specifications or feature list of the device.
He slammed his soda can down on the desk as his eyes narrowed. It did indeed have Wifi capability. He quickly poured over the instruction manual he’d located. “Ok” he thought, “requires Wifi for initial connection and setup and to utilise the device’s online music streaming options”. He listened carefully to the music to see if it was being streamed from an online service, after a full 3 minutes he heard a familiar sounding advertisement.
Now it was time to get to work. He needed to isolate his neighbour’s Wireless Access Point. He pulled out his phone and did an initial scan. No luck there as his screen was filled with generic Network names: a DLink here a Linksys there nothing obvious to narrow it down. Unfortunately his neighbour hadn’t named his network: “I’m a loud inconsiderate asshole”.
Perusing his phone’s app store he located exactly what he needed. A Wifi app that measured signal strength, GPS location and estimated distance from source. Ordinarily it was considered poor form to use someone else’s app for a hacker it was a point of pride to custom roll every tool you used. However time was priority and Zer0 needed this issue solved as quickly as possible so he could return to the task at hand.
Although Zer0 was pretty neurotic and generally introverted as all hell, occasionally he’d pull himself together and conduct “missions” out in the real world. Today was one of those times. He quickly showered and threw on some exercise clothes. He splashed some water on his t-shirt and hair to make it look like he was sweating quite a bit. In this neighbourhood it was fairly common to see people going for jogging at all hours of the day.
Zer0 did not want to raise suspicion for two reasons: he wasn’t a fan of confrontation and if you’re not invisible you’re too exposed. Being also a fan of the Japanese art of Ninjutsu specifically shinobi-iri also known as the “the art of infiltration”. He grabbed his phone and headed down the outside stairs leading to the road. His plan was simple: he’d jog around the neighbourhood collecting signal strength information and GPS coordinates. He’d then use three known points to triangulate the position of the access point.
To read the rest of Zer0’s story click here.