Your wipe your sweaty hands on your pants and look around. Satisfied that nobody is watching you (that you can see), you sit down at the terminal. There is a cool breeze in the air. You begin to type.
> login user
Whirring to life, the machine dutifully asks you for your password and credit card. You give it both. It makes a clicking noise for a moment, before responding with a startup screen:
GlobalNet 1.72.30x X
A better world through X X
communications. GlobalNet: X X
a candle in the dark. X _ X
X / \ X
Have you reported any X \_/ X
suspicious people today? X X
Remember: your friends X GlobalNet X
may be keeping secrets from X X X X X X X X X
The State. You'd hate to be
implicated, when they're caught, ***THIS SYSTEM IS PROPERTY OF THE STATE.
so call them in before they USAGE IS SUBJECT TO AGREEMENT OF TERMS.
bring you down with them. OWNERSHIP OF PRIVATE TERMINALS IS ILLEGAL.***
Quote of the day: "Only the guilty have something to hide." -- Thomas Jefferson
Greetings, citizen. Your day is going well. If your day is not going well, you are
doing something wrong. Contact a state-approved counselor to discuss any problems
you may be having.
What would you like to do today?
The time has come at last. You peck at keys on the keyboard. Today you're going to get some answers. You're going to find out if rumors are true. You don't care what the president has said about people who are too curious. You can't help it. You have to know. You type:
> search "project omega" --all
The little machine beeps in acknowledgement, and a message on the monitor informs you the search will take a minute or two. Your heart is pounding. You relax for a second, running your fingers through your hair. Hurry up! you shout inside your head. Someone is bound to notice this eventually, and you'd rather not be here for much longer. The computer beeps again.
Search for phrase "project omega" in ALL DOCUMENTS took 2 MINUTES, 5 SECONDS.
5 documents found.
Please select a document from the list below:
1) Associated Press Report, Sept. 17: "What is Project Omega?"
2) New York Times Editorial, Sept. 23: "Omega is the solution."
3) CNN Video Clip, Oct. 2: "Omega to Help All," interview with President White.
4) London Times Report, Oct. 3: "Parliament Endorses Secret American Project"
5) Information Security Report, June 5: "Project Omega Checklist"
You're startled. The fifth option looks promising. You select it. The computer hesitates, then displays a message:
That's a new message. Uncertain of what it means, you try to get the computer to tell you.
> dictionary "YNCFT"
The response is instant and disheartening:
This can't be a good thing. Maybe you can find some more information on the Net.
> search "YNCFT" --all
It doesn't even try to search this time before it pops up the message:
Your stomach is queasy. Whatever's happening, you think perhaps you had better leave.
In the distance, you think you hear a car coming toward you. You try madly to logout of the system and get your credit card out of it.
To hell with proper computing procedure. You press the power switch, attempting a hard reboot. The computer beeps wildly, almost as if it was offended by your action. The monitor goes blank. A few seconds later:
oooooo oooo ooooo ooo .oooooo. oooooooooooo ooooooooooooo
`888. .8' `888b. `8' d8P' `Y8b `888' `8 8' 888 `8
`888. .8' 8 `88b. 8 888 888 888
`888.8' 8 `88b. 8 888 888oooo8 888
`888' 8 `88b.8 888 888 " 888
888 8 `888 `88b ooo 888 888
o888o o8o `8 `Y8bood8P' o888o o888o
Horrified, you forget about the card and decide to take off. You turn around, only to run into two large men in identical black suits and dark glasses. One grabs you, while the other speaks.
"Good day, citizen," he says. "We've had a report that you've been up to some interesting activities. We're going to ask you to come with us."
They start walking with you before you get a chance to react. Weakly, you ask where they're taking you. The first one stops and looks down at you.
"I'm sorry, citizen, but you're not cleared for that."
ASCII YNCFT generated by the "ASCII Generator" located at http://www.network-science.de/ascii/. Be warned, citizen, that improper use of ASCII is against the law.