For Jeanne & John
Cyber.kdz :3
The Great Nasa Flu
Available from Avon Camelot Books

This is the story of how the Cyber.kdz got together. Deeder's father, an expert in artificial intelligence, is hired by NASA and Deeder accompanies him to the Kennedy Space Center. But something goes wrong... terribly wrong. Deeder's father is blamed and only Deeder, and the friends he finds on the Wire, can clear his father's name and save the U.S. Space Program.

Below, you can read the first two chapters of The Great Nasa Flu.

Note to the Reader:

Have you ever wondered how lucky you were that your best friend grew up on the same street as you? Or is it that he or she is your best friend because they grew up on the same street? Whatever we choose to call it, fate, choice, fortune or destiny, we are lucky this force helps us find our friends in this gigantic world. This is the story of how seven kids came together to create a great friendship… and a pretty cool club.


[1]

1 May 19:59

If you’re reading this, you’re either a massively great friend of mine, or you can kick butt when it comes to encryption. ‘Cause I haven’t met anyone who can break the security I hacked for my electronic log. The Deedman’s diary is not open for public browsing... but if you did crash your way through, you gotta mail me ‘cause I gotta find out how you did it!

I’m keeping this diary because I’ll be famous someday and whoever writes my biography will need these notes. People are gonna wanna know about someone like me. People like to read about major smart computer guys. Like that Cliff Stoll who wrote the Cuckoo’s egg. No one heard about him until he trapped that hacker from Germany. Or Tsutomu Shimomura. He became totally famous after nailing this hacker that no one could catch. I know who the heroes of the new world are going to be: Sharp hackers who nail scum.

That’s me. I’m hero material.

My name is Deeder. I live in Holland with my mother, father and two computers. Oh yeah, almost forgot. There’s my little sister, Jolanda. We live in Amsterdam. My mother runs a vegetable market on the Beethovenstraat. Our house is right above it so it always smells like onions or lettuce or apples.

My father is a master at artificial intelligence. He’s incredibly smart. He used to work for IntelliTeek but decided to go to work for himself 3 years ago. Now he’s a consultant. He gets hired by companies all over the world. He tells them how to design computer systems that think. Pretty cool. You might be wondering why a Dutch guy like me is saying something is cool. That’s not Dutch talk and I know it. It comes from having a father with such a great job.

Two years ago my father was hired to work in California for 9 months. He was designing a navigation system for one of the big companies that make satellites – Lockheed, I think. Because he was going for so long, he decided to take the whole family. Mother got her sister to manage the store and we all flew to LA. Talk about cool. I made a lot of friends there. It’s a wild place! We rented an apartment only a few blocks from the beach. I hung out with some guys I met at school and learned to skateboard and body surf. They were cool guys. Totally gaaf. Really tof. (Gaaf means cool and tof means great in Dutch). I taught my friends some good Dutch slang and they taught me beach-speak. It was hard to come back to Holland. But my father’s job was finished and we all missed home. Even me. Anyway, that’s why I know so much excellent slang. It’s just the way I am.

I have two computers. My everyday computer is Rodan, a Pentium 133. I use it for email, surfing the net and stuff like that. But when I’m into serious coding, I use Godzilla. Godzilla is my maxed out 200 MHz dual Pentium. I built it myself. Took me months to earn the money just to buy the processors. But I needed the power. It takes a lot of it to eat viruses. That’s what Godzilla is designed to do. Chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out. I’ve created a database of flus that you wouldn’t believe. And passwords too. I’ve met a lot of hackers on the net. Most of them are pretty cool, not scum. They don’t screw with people’s data. They don’t mess up people’s lives. They cruise the wire and see what they can find. It’s a game. It’s learning. Not some sick existence like most scum.

Hackers trade passwords and I’m really good at it. I got some tips when I was in California. Some of my friends were really into baseball cards. I thought that was strange — collecting cardboard pictures of guys who play such a slow sport. But they liked it. They taught me that what was important in a trade was making the other guy think he was getting a good deal even when it wasn’t. I learned a lot from them. So now I have the best set of passwords on the net. My favorite is the password for the ECC Currency Exchange Security server. Cool place to visit but you don’t want to touch anything. I was pretty proud of my database (still am) but then I realized the real important stuff when it comes to hacking. It’s not about trading for passwords, it’s about figuring them out. That’s why I built Godzilla. I wanted some major processing power to crunch intense security when I’m up against it. That... and encryption.

I know encryption is gonna be the most important thing on the wire. ‘Cause there are all these scum out there who are gonna be stealing credit card numbers and e-cash and worming into corporate data. For scum it’s always one of two things that matter. Count on it. It’s either money cause they’re greedy jerks, or it’s some sicko motive like revenge because they hate society or something. You don’t ever, and I mean ever, find scum with a good reason to do what they do. Some say it’s fun. What’s so fun about screwing up a company’s data? What’s so fun about messing up people’s lives? I don’t get that.

Godzilla is tricked out with a lot of good stuff. Codebreaker software, encryption/decryption key banks, the password database, and some great analyzing software that I put together. This stuff is pretty hot. It can find a virus in a non-stop string of bytes even if it’s disguised by a genius. You know, the typical Base 24 stuff with the intermittent false ID’s. No problem for me! Flus with anti-scan interceptors? A little snack for Godzilla! You probably know why. It’s simple. No one – I’m telling you – no one is better then I am at hunting flus. Sometimes I think I can smell ‘em. Like the electrons are telling me ‘Hey Deed-man! We were sent by scum!" It’s a sixth sense I have. That’s why I’m gonna be famous.

[ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [ > [

2 May 21:05

Since my biographer will be using this log when I’m famous (Hey! Hi Biographer — how ya doin’?), I thought I better put some background data in here.

I’m 14, like grunge, some metal and I hate flus.

Let’s see. What else is there? Oh yeah. Tereza.

Tereza is this cool chick I met on the wire about a month ago. We’re good friends for having just started comming. I’m kinda surprised too ‘cause we’re really different. She’s not into flu-hunting the way I am. She’s into art and graphics... stuff like that. She sounds like a nature girl sometimes, but she lives in Rio de Janeiro which is a pretty big city.

It’s pretty cool how we met. I was checking out some graphic forums in eworld because I wanted to figure out if you could hide a flu in a jpeg file. I know it’s a crazy idea but I thought it might be possible... and I had to find out if it was. I don’t know much about graphics coding so there was a lot of new stuff to figure out.

So I’m buzzing around this forum and all of a sudden someone asks if I want to chat. I usually blow that stuff off ‘cause there’s so much drivel out there. But for some reason I didn’t this time. So this girl asks me what I’m doing. I didn’t want to say ‘cause people get kind of weird if you talk about flus. They think that if you say the word ‘virus’ it means you’re scum. Idiots! They don’t know it’s me that stands between them and a virus meltin’ down their hard drive. I’ve learned that you don’t talk about flus... especially on the wire.

So I make up a fake story about needing some conversion app for my jpeg files. I got a little carried away right off she knows that I’m faking it. She understands everything about graphics and I must have sounded pretty lame. Next thing I know, she’s laying into me for lying! I couldn’t believe it. I‘d only started comming with this chick a few minutes before and already she’s ripping my brains out and stomping on ‘em. Telling me I should get off the wire if all I’m gonna do is lie to people I meet. I tell her that she was the one who wanted to comm. She said that’s no excuse — there’s a principle involved. The net is for everyone and it will only work if we can trust each other. It’s a different world and we have to keep it from becoming impersonal like so many people’s lives have become. Her fingers must have been burning her keyboard like a jet engine. But I didn’t get angry. I sat there and watched her words fly. I was amazed at what she said. Because I understood it so well. She used different words and different examples, but underneath she felt about lying on the net the exact same way I feel about flus. That we have to keep all the garbage that people do to each other everyday from getting on the wire. That we should try to keep it clean... I think she said ‘pure’. It was totally hot talking to this girl!

After that we exchanged email addresses and have been writing to each other ever since. She’s the first friend I’ve made on the wire. Usually I slide solo. But now, ‘cause Tereza’s out there, the wire’s a nicer place.

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3 May 17:22

I HATE SCUM!! I’D LIKE TO FRY THEIR BRAINS WITH THEIR OWN FLUS!!

I can’t believe I got nailed! I haven’t let a flu get me for months!! I don’t know what happened. Gotta calm down... slow down, Deed-man...

NO!!! I AM SO MAD I CAN’T STAND IT!!!

OL/;SEZ’"zse"
‘SD’S/’/as’"E’/ /’;x{‘"
?DF GCGFTR’/KT,/’/W4ORTI9E54

Probably wondering what that is? That’s what happens when I bang my fists on the keyboard. Try it sometime, makes you feel better. It helps... really.

All right. I’m OK now. ARGHHHH!

I picked up a flu while I was out hunting today. Found a suspicious file in one of the newsgroups. Downloaded it and was in such a hurry I started picking it apart on Rodan. I knew I should transfer it to Godzilla but I got lazy. The thing exploded on me and took down my primary hard drive. Nearly lost my mind when it did.

I didn’t lose anything else though. Everything was backed up and in 45 minutes I was up and running again. But it’s not the time. It’s that some scum got me. When the drive went down I lost the flu too so I can’t even add it to Godzilla’s flu-base. Grrrrrr!

Scum have got to go!

I’m outta here. It’s time for dinner. Daag.


[2]

Deeder got up from his computer.
"Come, Deeder, we’re waiting!" His little sister hung off the knob of his bedroom door, impatiently swinging back and forth. The Neptunes poster, hanging crooked from only one tack, swung back and forth as well.
"Hold on, I’m coming," Deeder took off his shirt and looked through the heaped up clothes on his bed for a clean one.
"What are you writing?" his sister asked.
"A diary. So don’t you go trying to look at it," Deeder smiled. Like his 6 year old sister could break his encryption!
"What’s a diary?"
"It’s a journal to keep track of what I do."
"Why do you want that?’
"So people will be able to write about me when I’m famous." Deeder finally found a not-too-dirty t-shirt, slipped it over his head and then looked in the mirror above his dresser. He pushed aside the piles of junk covering the dresser top, searching for his brush.
"Why are you going to be famous?"
Deeder found the brush and ran it through his short blond hair.
"‘Cause I’m going to be the best flu-hunter ever. Someday I’ll probably catch some net-scum that robbed a bank... or stole corporate secrets..." He turned towards his sister and bent down to her level. "Or killed someone... heh, heh!"
Jolanda screamed and ran from the room. Deeder followed.

Mr. and Mrs. Van Hout were sitting at the table waiting for their children. Deeder expected them to be upset because he had kept them waiting. But, though his father had a stern look, there was a twinkle in his eye that told Deeder something was up. And it wasn’t something bad.
"What’s going on?" Deeder asked as he took his seat.
"Why do you ask that?" his father responded trying to look severe.
"I don’t know... you look like you have something good to tell us."
"See," said Mrs. Van Hout, "I said you would not be able to keep it a secret. You are an open book, Jan!"
"Pappa has a secret! Pappa has a secret!" shouted Jolanda.
"Ya, it’s true." Mr. Van Hout smiled. "I cannot fool my own family. They know me too well."
"Tell! Tell!" pleaded Jolanda.
"Yes. Calm down. I will. I was having a meeting at the Beneluxbaan today."
"That’s where the embassies are," Deeder said.
"Ja. The US embassy to be exact."
Deeder’s eyes lit up.
"You were there for a visa?"
His father smiled and nodded.
"We’re going to visit the US again?"
"Well, not exactly. I have a job there but it is for four months. It’s too short of a time to move all of us. And your mother cannot leave now. So I will be going..."
Deeder’s heart sank.
"... and Deeder will join me when school is out."
"I want to go with Pappa to America!" cried Jolanda.
Mr. Van Hout continued.
"...and Jolanda gets to stay here and run the shop with Mama..."
Jolanda kept crying. Mr. Van Hout continued.
"...and she gets to go to Texel to visit Aunt Astrid."
Jolanda stopped her sobbing instantly.
"Really? We get to go to the island? Can I pet the sheep?" She looked at her father and then at her mother.
Mrs. Van Hout nodded.
"And Deeder doesn’t get to visit Aunt Astrid or pet the sheep?"
Mrs. Van Hout nodded again.
"Just me?"
Mr. Van Hout nodded as well.
"All right," Jolanda said, crossing her arms. "Deeder can go with Pappa and I don’t care." She turned towards her brother. "But I won’t bring you back any of Aunt Astrid’s cookies from Texel."
Deeder smiled. He was so happy right then, he didn’t care if Jolanda was going to the Intel factory for free computer chips. He was going to the US!

Look for Cyber.kdz :3 - THE GREAT NASA FLU
in your local bookstore!

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