Through the Gate

Prologue: No good deed (online group)

November 9, 2012

One day, friends and business associates Sophia (formerly Joseph) Manheim and Taylor Swift (…no, not that one) were sitting and chatting in a Starbucks in San Francisco. As they talked, they noticed an attractive young man staring at them from across the room. Although they found this odd, they ignored him and continued talking. After a while, the man stood up and dropped a folded note onto their table, the quickly walked out.

Intrigued by the man and his mysterious note, Taylor opened the note and read it, then passed it to Sophia. The note was written in a difficult cypher which was familiar to Sophia, as she was the one that had come up with it. After spending a few minutes deciphering it, the two girls read the note, which said, “I have information on the government’s investigations into the Seconders, including the illegal methods they have been using to find out what makes them able to pass through the gates more than once. If you are interested, meet me at the gate on the quad at San Francisco State University at 10 P.M. tonight. -Jerry Hoenheim” This piqued Sophia’s interest, as the reason she had become such an infamous hacker was to expose the government’s secrets to the world. The two agreed to meet at the university just before 10 that night.

Ever paranoid, Sophia decided to do some research on this “Jerry Hoenheim”. By searching the net for his social networking sites, emails, etc, she pieced together a few facts about him. Pics of Jerry show him as being much older than he was when Sophia and Taylor saw him. This, combined with the fact that he looks like a fresh-faced teenager now, indicates that Jerry is probably a Seconder. Also, Jerry was recently fired from his job at a religious nonprofit due to his interest in the gates (and the multiple sex changes).

At the meeting that night, Jerry explained that he had heard that Sophia was the kind of person that would both have the skills his group needed and be interested in the illicit doings of the government. He then outlined what he needed from Sophia: A few friends of his, all of whom are Seconders, were kidnapped by the FBI and taken to a heavily secured building just outside the city’s limits. Jerry’s group could deal with the physical security, but would need Sophia’s help with the building’s electronic security systems. Once those systems are down, his group could get inside and rescue the kidnapped Seconders and escape. In exchange for her help, Sophia would get physical and documented proof of methods the FBI is using to detain and extract information from the Seconders. Sophia and Taylor agreed, and later that night began the operation.

Sophia’s plan was to exploit vulnerabilities in the building’s backup power systems to keep them offline while simultaneously shutting down the power grid in that area. She first obtained some satellite data on the area, and forwarded it to Jerry via the disposable phone that he provided her. Then, after parking her van in an out of the way area, she hacked into the building’s remote power management system and the city’s power grid, and took those down. So far, everything was going according to plan.

After 20 minutes, the disposable phone rang. When she picked it up, Sophia’s ear was blasted with a loud screeching sound, almost like that of an old dial-up modem. She quickly hung it up and went back to her work, since the power company had begun to get the grid back up. After another 20 minutes, both the disposable and Sophia’s personal phones rang. This time Taylor picked it up and heard the same thing, but quickly hung up. After another 20 minutes of trying to keep the power grid down, Taylor looked out the window and noticed an unmarked black car pull up near the van. She mentioned this to Sophia, then suddenly the area around her van was flooded by the lights and sirens of several police cars. They had been found!

This began a frenetic street chase, with Taylor and Sophia taking turns in the drivers seat as they desperately tried to avoid the cops. Sophia, thinking quickly, enlisted the aid of her hacker group, Etaoin Shrdlu. Together, they came up with a plan: Hack into the Department of Transportation’s systems and turn all the traffic lights in the city green. The chaos that would ensue should allow the two women to escape.

Sophia had to lend the group her skills to disrupt the DoT’s cyber security measures, but eventually she and her group managed to turn all the lights in the city green. Since Taylor had been driving during this time, and because she tends to get lost fairly easily, Sophia immediately switched seats with her once the DoT’s systems had been compromised. Amidst multicar pileups and the other events that occurred because of the traffic lights, Sophia and Taylor made their escape and headed back to Taylor’s house after losing the cops.

Over the next two days, Taylor built a few things: auto-balancing stilettos and an electromagnetic pulse pistol. Sophia disposed of her van and, using a new identity, bought a Jeep. Little did either of them know that during this time, they were being watched…

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