Thursday, May 10, 2012
One of the men we work with spends his time alongside the moneyed elite of our lunatic city. He was at some ponderous party, one of those sky bars that dot the Financial District. An acquaintance approached, eager to impress. They’re all eager to impress at bars like that. Commissions spend easier than normal paychecks. Rumors were exchanged. I don’t know enough about finances to imagine what may have been said. Interests were peaked when the junior associate mentioned “a car service that offers more than just a car service.”
Sex work is debated regularly within our organization. Some say that legitimate sex work, that is, sex work where the woman has made the choice free of coercion, is none of our business. Others say it is exploitation, plain and simple. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it. There are days when I think it should be totally above board, licensed sex workers working at a chain store of sex, everything open and safe. Then there are days when I see it as evidence of some kind of moral decay, or worse, I see that any woman working in such an industry must be coerced somehow, by society, by upbringing, by low self-esteem. I’ve tabled the debate in my head for now. When we come across a new organization trading in flesh, we investigate. We’ve yet to find one completely blameless. There’s always some evil hidden there.
The junior associate handed our moneyed man a business card, advertising the services of a professional masseuse named Ivanka. He copied the number into his BlackBerry, and wished the associate a good night. I’m sure he was met with a lecherous smile. When he reported in to the organization, we ran the number. The phone is registered to a company called “Novelty Amusements of Uniondale.” We searched court filings, but the business had none. The internet was similarly unhelpful. The only record was its record of incorporation, which was back in 2002. That’s what a front looks like. Some local bank somewhere will have transaction records, probably just enough money in an account to pay for a few phone lines.
Even a front can be helpful however. Novelty Amusements of Uniondale was incorporated in May 2002, and the officer of incorporation was oh so helpfully listed. A gentleman named Lloyd Remmens filed it. A quick search revealed he was a lawyer of small renown, without a discernable specialty. He’d been to court on cases ranging from personal injury to landlord-tenant disputes. He worked at a firm no one within the organization could claim to have heard of. After completing our actionable avenues, an operation was called for.
The lawyer’s office turned out to be in a large residential apartment building. A search determined his was not the only business located there. Two therapist’s offices and an accountant shared the same building, but not on the same floors. His office was on the 16th floor. I don’t like to break windows at that height. I know it’s crazy, but I worry about it doing some kind of structural damage to the building. Wind pressure or something. A bit of fake physics I’ve picked up from some action movie I’m sure. Knowing that you’re being irrational isn’t much of a deterrent. That meant covert entry.
You wouldn’t think breaking in to a residential apartment building would be very difficult. It’s not the Pentagon, after all. What makes it so difficult is the sheer unpredictability of it all. We counted 10 apartments per floor, with 24 floors total. That’s 240 apartments. Let’s be conservative and say there are two people in every apartment. That’s 480 people. 480 people who might have trouble sleeping. 480 people who might’ve been woken up by their dog for a 2 am walk. 480 people who might be doing laundry, or using the gym (it’s a fancy building, you have to plan for a gym). It’s harder than you would think.
I made my way to their service entrance, but it had a security camera. Strangely enough, a well-dressed man in a gas mask isn’t the most covert mode of dress. Since I was going dark, I had forgone the mask. That meant the camera had to go. There are lots of ways to beat a security camera, but I settled for the one that would ensure a security guard go check on it. This model broadcasts its image wirelessly to a base where the pictures can be monitored. The likelihood of someone competent actually monitoring the cameras was low, but why risk it? I hid a device the size of a pack of cigarettes in the roots of the small modesty bush they’d planted to offset the ugliness of their service area. Close enough to the camera to be helpful, but not so close as to be detected. The device was the Professor’s. It creates a neg signal on the same broadcast frequency as the camera. When I turn it on, if there’s a guard watching, all he can see is static. I was about to break out a tool developed by the KGB for disabling locks, when I saw that the lock was made by KABA. KABA locks are used all over the world, even on military bases. It’s your basic push button lock, where a code is given to anyone who needs access. For a lock used by several different militaries, it’s amazingly bad. All you need to beat it is a very strong magnet. Fucks it right up. As it happens, I carry a very strong magnet.
In my coat I carry a handheld, Israeli-made thermal imaging device. Attach it to any surface, and it can tell you if anyone awaits you on the other side. No one did. Once inside I dispatch the Professor’s rolling surveillance pods. We may have to give them over to the military one day. They roll throughout the service area, taking pictures like a Google Street View van, telling me what I face. For something so mobile, they’re really tough to spot; smaller than a marble, they rarely pique anyone’s interest. They then compile their collective data, and send a complete tactical picture to headquarters, or in this case, to the small tablet in my coat pocket.
I needn’t have worried about security cameras. They link up to a hub two doors down. A computer handles the feeds, probably networked to a second computer at the front desk, where the lone security guard is sure to be sitting. Since I’m all alone down here, I decide to see if anyone is up and about in the building. A heavyset man is using an exercise bike in a small gym, and someone is doing laundry. If anyone else is about, I don’t see them. The main lobby feed is up, and the man at the desk doesn’t seem to be paying any particular attention to anything, in that nether zone of night work, where you’re awake but asleep. A few keystrokes ensure that even if he should check the cameras, all would look normal.
I sprint up the stairs, and head for the lawyer’s office. Never take the elevator. That’s a trap. When I reach the lawyer’s door, I finally get to use my KGB toy. I love it. The Russians were true masters of the craft. Their device looks like an ice pick. Instead of a pointy end, it has spokes that look like an unfinished key. You place the key-ish bit in the lock, and gently let the key bits interact with the architecture inside the lock. The key bits on the device can be pushed inward, so if you’re gentle, your device will sync up with the pins in the lock. Once you’ve got it synced up, you lock the key bits in place, and you’ve got a key that fits the lock. It’s brilliant in its simplicity.
I close the window shades and turn on the lamp in his office. Flashlights are a dead giveaway. After some futzing on his computer and a look through his file cabinets, I find out the real owner of Novelty Amusements of Uniondale. George Vincent, and his son George Jr. Welcome to the night, gentlemen. You won’t enjoy what we have planned for you.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 5:02 PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
No one thought arresting Jason Timmons would be a problem. He’d been arrested plenty of times before, why would this be any different? Considering our city’s many problems, the warrant squad is actually pretty effective. Surprising, I know. They work nights, late, when they know you’re home sleeping. The building was owned and operated by City Housing, so they didn’t need to get buzzed in, they already had a key. According to the report, they knocked on his door at 3:34 am. That’s when the shooting started.
We’re a violent city, that’s for sure. But full-scale shootouts are actually pretty fucking rare, so I hopped to it. I was on the job, already suited up, so I made my way to the nearest roof and signaled for the glider. The leap of faith is the best part of my job. I run for the ledge and throw myself off. I always have that small nagging thought, “This is the time the glider won’t catch you, idiot.” But it always does.
It wasn’t far to the scene of the crime; I got there before it was over. I leapt from the glider, smashing through a nearby window. I never run in to the fray. That’s how the last man who wore my cloak died. I always set up a defensible position and send the rollers for recon. Ask the professor about the rollers, he’ll tell you at great length that they’re his finest invention. The size of marbles, they move of their own accord, and a small handful of them create a fly’s eye image of the project hallway that’s turned into a warzone. They coordinate their many pictures with the mainframe back at base, giving me a 3D image of what’s happening.
The officers had fallen back around the corner from the apartment door. A man inside had set up a metal barrier in the doorway he was taking cover behind. His eyes were wild. Any hope of a peaceful ending was out the window. Jason Timmons is black, 35, shaved head. No scars. Endless tattoos, cheaply done, barely visible on his dark skin. A roller made its way down towards the officers, and I understood the calamity. I knew two of them. Alvarez, McKenna, and the new female whose name I haven’t learned yet.
Alvarez and McKenna are brutal, even by our standards. They work warrants, so they have a ready-made excuse to boom your door and rifle through your possessions. More often than not, what they find isn’t turned in to property. That they also fuck people up should probably go without saying. I know of two different dealers confined to wheelchairs because of them. The female officer was new, but probably not the most solid of citizens if she was paired up with those two. God, I’m getting cynical.
Alvarez is key player in the hidden web of corruption that plagues my city. McKenna is his lapdog. They’ve gone too far this time, causing a shootout in a project hallway. If there aren’t at least two dead neighbors behind this bullshit, I’ll be fucking shocked. They’ve got to go. The woman… maybe she gets a pass this time.
Let me be clear: I’m not a killer. That said, if there’s a guy already willing to do the deed I need done… why not help the man? I make my way to the busted window that was my entrance. Gas mask on; the cloak flutters in the wind. The officers have taken up a position two windows down from my location, but that’s easily reached. I can see them now, crouching behind the corner, waiting for a clear shot. They probably don’t have real permission to be here. They were planning on hitting the door, and writing it up after. They’re figuring out how to murder Mr. Timmons before the rest of the department gets on scene, and they know they’re running out of time.
I activate the device that radiates blackness from my clothes… tendrils of blackest nothing unfurl from my every seam. They’re all deaf from the gunshots, there’s little need to be sneaky. I smash out a window panel and throw two gas charges towards them, and instantly they’re filled with a feeling of overwhelming dread. They never remember seeing a canister; their brain just registers a cloud of smoke. That’s when I burst through the window. Terror on the faces of evil man… I’m not ashamed to say it gets me hard. It makes giving up the drugs that sustained me for years easy.
The city has had rumors of a man in a gas mask for years… but it never stops scaring them shitless. Only a fucking lunatic would attack unarmed, gas his only friend. What does he want? What would a man like that do if he caught you? What… what’s he going to do to us?
“Come with me, my children, join the infinite, become the night!!”
I just shout weird disturbing shit at people, that’s my thing. It enhances the whole “lunatic in a gas mask” gimmick. I discreetly fire a small sedative dart at the female officer, and she collapses instantly.
“Alvarez, McKenna… you will join the infinite black… you will live in my soul forever!”
McKenna’s eyes go so wide, I’m worried they’ll break the tensile strength of his lids and pop right out. I dial up the generator, and the hallway falls into darkness. It’s a scene from a fucking horror movie, the monster walks in a cloud of smoke and dark, and the only natural human response is to run. Of course, they’re only human after all. They turn the corner, and I return the lights to normal. They’re perfectly framed in the gunman’s sights. Officers Alvarez and McKenna are no more. Someone else’s problem.
“Timmons! You will join me next! You will be my servant in the infinite dark!”
I know telling a black man he’s going to be your servant is a little unseemly. It’s supposed to be. He runs at me full force, his eyes wild, having given himself over to the power of the gun. Before he can lay a hand on me, I’ve smashed the median and ulnar joints in his arm. He won’t be using that arm for 6 months easily. I’m about to tear his throat out when Operations calls in to my earpiece.
“We can find a use for a cold blooded killer… There are bad men in this city Michael. Subdue and transport. Quickly, backup is reaching the front door now.”
Timmons is screaming in pain. Even after some surgery, his arm is always going to be a little damaged. Sedative dart to his neck quiets him down. I pick up my two gas canisters and put them back in the holster. I remove the sedative dart from the female officer’s neck.
Besides a busted window and a vague recollection from the rookie, no one will know I was ever here. The disappearance of Jason Timmons will soon be another city legend. Hopefully his future work for our company will be as well… but a better sort of legend.
Hours pass. Timmons wakes up in darkness. He’s strapped to a table, but it’s too dark for him to see his restraints. All he knows is, he can’t move.
“Mr. Timmons… welcome to the night. We have a lot of work to do.”
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 7:13 PM
Friday, April 6, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
I don't watch My Little Pony. There's gentlemen who do, but I'm not particularly one of them. What I love about it though, the boys who do watch the show, they're fighting back against hundreds of years of gender stereotyping in order to do so. We're told from the earliest of ages that girls are pink and boys are blue. Girls are inside, boys are outside. Girls are weak and boys are strong. But it doesn't have to be like that. We don't have to follow the same rules our parents did. We can make our own decisions about how it's gonna be. Who's gonna tell you different? Fuck em.
"you can't tell me what toys i can play with
you can't tell me not to grow my crops
you can't tell me which sex i can marry
its so scary the weird way that you watch"
- mc chris
you can't tell me not to grow my crops
you can't tell me which sex i can marry
its so scary the weird way that you watch"
- mc chris
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 4:29 PM
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Be still, my nerdish heart, for Wednesday has arrived, and with it, colorful fisticuffs and fanciful feats. PUNCHING! Also talking. Sometimes they talk during the punching. Those are usually the best bits. Read on, for there is punching and quipping and science and mutants and murderous Native Americans. Really.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 3:15 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I wish astral projection were a real thing. I wish I could loose my spirit from my body, fall free from my burdens, and fly forever upward. I wish my worries were dust. I wish my wants weren't wasteful. I wish I were better. I wish I was worth it to try.
Mostly I wish I weren't such a downer all the time.
Mostly I wish I weren't such a downer all the time.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 7:30 PM
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sometimes I think I cling to childish things because I know, deep in my heart, that I didn't turn out right as a person, and I have nothing to offer the world in an adult context. I'm not as funny as I wish I were, not clever enough by half, and I have a work ethic that has been described by a Swedish efficiency expert as "värdelös." I was scared to ask him what it meant; he looked fucking furious.
|The Bunk is very fucking disappoint.|
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 11:29 AM
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
One of my favorite comics right now is Wonder Woman. I know, I’m as surprised as you. Wonder Woman has always been a weird ass comic. Every time someone new takes over, it’s like everything that happened before doesn’t count, there’s weird mythology stuff, she’s wearing a weird fucking America bathing suit even though she’s fucking Greek, plus it’s like Xena, but written shittier and her villains suck. Yeah, not a ton of reasons you might want to read her book.
But here’s the thing, her book is totally awesome right now! Or, well, it was, until this week. This week… well let’s talk about why it’s awesome before we get to that. First off, the art right now is amazing. It’s being drawn by a guy named Cliff Chiang, and his art is phenomenal. Second, it’s being written by a guy who I’ve loved for years, Brian Azzarello. He wrote the best crime comic ever written, called 100 Bullets. Together they've put together an interesting supporting cast, drawn Wonder Woman with more dignity than she's used to, and put a level of thought into her universe that I'm not sure we've seen previously. Join me after the jump to find out more.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 12:02 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 8:26 AM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The comments here are all asking why aren't the people on the train enjoying the music, or even paying a little bit of attention... This is perhaps a uniquely New York phenomenon. Comedians make jokes about how New Yorkers fall asleep on the train, and people think we're rude for not displaying any empathy or being rude or whatever. While there are some people who can, in fact, fall asleep on the train, for me it's different. I don't fall asleep, I close my eyes so I can shut down. So I can shut out the cacophony. So I can listen to my headphones and imagine that I am alone in the world, if only for a brief second. That is the double edged sword of the city. We love it for the vibrancy, the life, the mix of cultures, all that shit. But sometimes you need to take a break from it. Turning your brain off on the train is one way people do that. But hey, you gotta respect the hustle of paying Super Mario music on a subway, that's for sure.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 8:09 PM
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
"SimCity for PC will equip players with the tools to play the most sophisticated simulation of its kind. We are dedicated to making sure the experience – no matter the platform – has the fun, flavor and playability that has been intrinsic to the franchise since its birth."
A host of changes are coming to the series. For starters roads can now be curved, making for more organic city layouts than the grid framework the series was known for. The fixed viewpoint is also gone, allowing players to zoom in on specific buildings or move the camera around. Zooming in close to the ground also changes the audio, with close ups providing the cacophony of the city, and zoomed out views providing a much quieter atmosphere.
From what's been shown so far there appears to be an increased level of visual detail. Buildings will have tiny pieces of signage, individual citizens will roam around and go about their daily lives, sometimes doing benign things like going to dinner, other times becoming proactive and protesting if jobs get low. The attention to detail actually has gameplay importance too, as you can see if a factory is working effeciently based on how it looks, how it animates.
Buildings also change over time in SimCity, unlocking new abilities, such as the power to put out fires faster for an upgraded fire station.
And you don't have to worry about trying to decipher the progress of your city via a number of graphs and charts, as these are being replaced with modernized infographics.
Multiplayer has been expanded for SimCity. You and your regional friends can trade resources via land, sea and air, hopefully resulting in collaboration between partners to build more effeciently. Online play also means there leaderboards, where you can see how you rank in fields like finance or production.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 9:45 AM
Monday, February 27, 2012
Created by: Hack College
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 5:14 PM
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 6:09 AM
and yet I do it all the time...
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 5:29 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Last night, Justified featured that story you've heard a million times before. Someone woke up in a bathtub without his kidneys. In a twist on the idea, he was told he had four hours before the not having of kidneys would kill him, and if he brought $20,000 to a rendezvous, they could put his kidneys back in and he would live a long and happy life. Mayhem ensued. As always, a great episode, but it got me thinking… do organized organ theft operations really exist? Let’s find out.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
It sounds simple, but it's amazing how few crooks actually use it. Even our home-grown mob doesn't. When a truck gets highjacked in New Jersey, the cops know there's probably half a dozen suspects, so they put surveillance on them, wait to see who buys something expensive, and bingo, they know who did it. The Russians are the modern day Nomads of crime. They move from country to country, using transnational shipping routes, front companies, and an army of lawyers to handle their business. So this got me thinking about the casino... these are mobile people, they don't do things like this, owning giantly visible businesses that attract the attention of the government, right? So I turned to the awesome power of Google to see if I was right. I wasn't.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 10:21 PM
Friday, February 3, 2012
"If you should chance to strike up a conversation with an articulate, English-speaking Russian, in, say, the restaurant of one of the luxury hotels along Lake Geneva, and he is wearing a $3,000 suit and a pair of Gucci loafers, and he tells you that he is an executive of a Russian trading company and wants to talk to you about a joint venture, then there are four possibilities. He may be what he says he is. He may be a Russian intelligence officer working under commercial cover. He may be part of a Russian organized crime group. But the really interesting possibility is that he may be all three - and that none of those three institutions have any problems with the arrangement."
- James Woolsey, former director of the CIA
- James Woolsey, former director of the CIA
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 12:33 PM
Saturday, January 28, 2012
For Americans, Japanese Anime is a very daunting prospect. There are giant robots, strange card games, and weird animals being captured and forced to fight other weird animals to the death (Pokemon is a death sport, right?). The biggest challenge I've found while watching some Anime is that it's clearly not for us. It's literally from a world away, it references things we've never heard of, and of course there's the subtitles (or even worse, terrible terrible dubbed voices). So why on earth would anyone bother with it? There's some awesome stuff hidden in between all the bullshit. Case in point: Darker than Black.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Alcatraz manages to be a show where many things occur, and many people are involved in a variety of activities, and yet it manages to be about nothing, and stars no one. Pretty impressive for a new show.
Alcatraz opened strong, with a creepy Sam Neill voiceover and two guards walking into an empty prison in 1963. It’s unsettling, it’s shot reasonably well, and gives you a great what the fuck vibe. They jump forward to today, Alcatraz is a tourist spot, and a little girl wanders off into an area that’s clearly not where she’s supposed to be, and finds our first time traveling criminal. Ok, so far, so good. Nothing groundbreaking, but its solid. After the opening five minutes however, the show goes to shit.
Monday, January 9, 2012
The night people have a special place where they bring the high rollers. The money men who keep the wheels of their dark empire turning. The lights were designed by one of us, a mage from the old days when everyone was still friendly. The lights don't pulse; they bubble, they effervesce, they envelop. When you live life faster than the blink of an eye, lighting effects are experienced differently... dopplerized, they entrance the night people. The girls are recruited from Eastern Europe. Some of them are professional girls, some of them are kidnapped. You read the papers, you know what kind of shit happens. They prefer the kidnapped ones. They can still feel terror. The professional girls have that detached, "I knew I was going to die bloody" look to them. It ruins the fantasy. I met the man who runs the "recruitment" operation once. He looks almost as beaten down as the girls. Of course, he gets to go home at the end of the day, so fuck him still.
The girls are told they're dancing for some important people, life-changing people. Green cards, marriages, an end to being raped all the fucking time... they get light-headed it sounds so sweet. The room is gorgeous red, and the lights are heaven sent... I hope it's a nice memory for them. They won't have another. The door locks from the outside.
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 9:56 PM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Max Ray Vision, aka "Iceman," pleaded guilty on June 29, 2009 to two counts of wire fraud stemming from the theft of nearly 2 million credit card numbers and $80 million in fraudulent purchases. He was brought down using traditional law enforcement techniques, namely informants and intercepted communications. However, in 1998, he successfully installed a backdoor into a number of United States Government computers, using an exploit in the BIND server daemon, the backbone of the internet. The purpose of this post is to examine the method he used to accomplish this mammoth task, as well as the techniques used to bring him to justice.
Max Vision began life as Max Butler, a young man obsessed with hidden knowledge and its pursuit. He was driven, but also somewhat unstable, and during his first year of college was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. (Poulsen, 25) Now with a criminal record and unable to finish college, Max was left with few options. He took up residence with some friends in San Francisco, and turned to Internet Relay Chat for stimulation. (Poulsen, 43) He drifted into the “warez” scene, where he began to pirate popular computer programs of the day, and stored them on an unprotected FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server in Littleton, Colorado owned by an internet service provider. This would turn out poorly for Max, as once he did find employment (at Compuserve), the ISP in Littleton noticed the drain on its bandwidth, and traced the problem to its source via a simple IP trap, namely the Compuserve computer terminal Max used for his job. He was quickly fired. (Poulsen, 44)
Max’s next brush with the law was when he came across an intriguing piece of code:
Bcopy (fname, anbuf, alen = (char *)*cpp – fname);
Posted by Jinxy Blastwave at 1:56 PM
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I’ve played WoW for a couple of years now. In WoW you team up with a group of 9 other people, talk to each other over headsets, and band together to kill giant dragons, evil kings, warlocks, I dunno, big ass shit that wants to kill you and is super serious about it. So here’s the thing: it costs money to do that. Fake money. Inside a fake world. If you want to be in a group and not look like a jerk, there’s stuff you need to buy. So, since there’s dragons, I’m sure you’ve guessed that we wear pieces of armor. It’s like science or math or something; dragons won’t fuck with you until you put on a thing of armor. So ok, there’s armor you need to buy. You also need to enchant your armor to make it even better. Then on top of that, you socket gems into the armor to make it even better than that. Guess what, that’s three levels of shit that costs money. This is literally the bottom level of stuff you’re expected to do to not look like a jerk. Seriously, ask that guy you know who plays. He’ll tell you. We’re fucking merciless about this stuff.
So where do you get the money to buy these things you need?