From London I weaved my chaotic web of deceit, bouncing my connection through every inhabited continent and even a few orbital satellites. Though the quality of the connection left much to be desired, it nonetheless made me difficult to track.
I easily broke into the admin account, and my trace tracker beeped to life. I had a whole ten minutes to myself in the International Academic Database.
Aston Holdaway, you've messed with the wrong people.
Faces and academic records flashed before my eyes, as the database sorted through names in alphabetic order. Soon I was met with his timid gaze, staring out at me across cyberspace almost as if he knew what was coming to him.
I lowered his qualifications as requested, and had a little fun with his record. I had plenty of time remaining. They say it is unhealthy to dwell on the past, but I decided to take a stroll down memory lane.
Again, faces and records whizzed past my screen, each flash on my monitor corresponding to somebody's life, their career aspirations, their days of youth and ambition. I was hoping to remember mine, which had become lost in the vague haze of my memory.
Where I was expecting to laugh at a goofy photograph from my youth, I saw none. Where I was ready to reminisce about the antics in my less-than-stellar subjects, the boring summer days of physics, admiring the girls instead of the blackboard, I saw instead a perfect record.
I was surprised at how such a promising record was to a young man, fresh out of college, could me mine. I still hadn't figured how it had all fallen apart into disorder. Vocational entropy. Why had I once been able to recount flawlessly the properties and applications of a quantum Schaffer orbital, or manually computed multi-vector calculus at the A-level, but could not yet order my own life until Uplink came along?
Making a mental note to contact the authorities about updating my photograph, I disconnected and covered every trace that it had been me. Mission complete.
Again, I learned that Uplink had been watching me.
For the rest of the afternoon, my digital waltz continued unchecked across the International Academic Database, for over a dozen clients. Imbeciles became experts, and qualifications for unfortunate engineers started vanishing. Meddlesome parents suddenly found their children were failing in school, and entire career changes were orchestrated as staunch scientists found their Ph.D.s were no longer in Biomolecular Engineering and Nuclear Informatics, but rather Religious Studies.
I added my own flair to each report so I could recognize them should I ever be hired to change them back. What fun.
Though I made every effort to cover my own tracks, the academic community was gripped with increasing alarm, and I found my hacks making the headlines:
I also noticed other suspicious goings-on in the hacker community:
Andromeda... for some reason I recognized that name. Not ARC, though; that was the first time I had heard them called that.
It does not do well to dwell on the past, but I wasn't even sure Andromeda was in my past. I find my mind increasingly cluttered. Still it was time to move forward. No more hackjobs on the International Academic Database, I had bigger fish to fry:
Time to facilitate Identity-Fraud.
I started work on breaking the admin password, and immediately the database began tracing me, and was doing so much faster than the Academic Database had. I had less than a minute to get in and get out before my location was determined.
However, getting in was harder. Forging the admin's password was taking much longer than before.
With time running out, I managed to force the password and start an identity search. Alex Scales, you are screwed. I muttered quietly to myself.
Faces and social security documents began flashing across the screen, but I soon found my query. I changed his personal status from 'Self-Employed' to 'Deceased.' Life should get very difficult for Mr. Scales.
Life had just gotten difficult for Enkidu.
Time was running out! I was about to be caught!
With my tail between my legs, I escaped by the skin of my teeth.