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******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** ||||||| //||\\ //||\\ | | / / \\ / / \\ | | | | \ \ | | | | \\\\\ | | | | \ \ | | \ \ // \\ / / ||||||| \\||// \\||// ******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E Established in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 10/18/94 Vol.2: Issue 1-1 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU S T A F F : Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ============== Steven Peterson STU388801940 Managing Editor, Writer Russel Hutchinson STU524636420 Writer, Subscriptions David Trosty STU069540593 Writer, Poetry Editor George Sibley FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Faculty Supervisor Others TBA All addresses @WSC.COLORADO.EDU _________________________________________ /=========================================\ | "Art helps us accept the human condition; | | technology changes it." | \ - D.B. Smith / \***************************************/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. We are here to gather information about | | topics that are important to all of us as human beings. If you would like | | to send in a submission, please type it into an ASCII format and email it | | to us. We operate on the assumption that if you mail us something you | | want it to be published. We will do our best to make sure it is | | distributed and will always inform you when or if it is used. | | See the end of this issue for submission information. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ REDISTRIBUTION: If any part of this issue is copied or used elsewhere you must give credit to the author and indicate that the information came from ICS Electrozine ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of ICS. Contributors to ICS assume all responsibilities for ensuring that articles/submissions are not violating copyright laws and protections. |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents are some | | generic symbols to help you in making a decision | | as to whether an article or story may express | | ideas or use language that may be offensive. | | S = Sexual Content AL = Adult Language | | V = Violence O = Opinions | |____________________________________________________| |-----------------------------------------------------------| | 1) First Word: Commentary from the editor. | | 2) On A Blue Note: Poetry By David Trosty. | | 3) Will This Highway Go Anywhere New? : By George Sibley. | | Editorial: Sibley gives us his take on the hype and | | mangled metaphors used to push the infobahn [O]. | | 4) Computer-Mediated Communication, Part 4, EBB systems: | | By Steven Peterson. Article: Last part in series, | | examines some social/psychological aspects of BBSs. | | With commentary. [O] | | 5) The Mad Club, Part 1: Poetry By David Trosty | | 6) Devil's Creek: By Steven Peterson. Short Story -- | | Halloween Tale (Mild Adult Language and Violence). | | 7) The Mad Club, Part 2: Poetry By David Trosty. | |-----------------------------------------------------------| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 8) WorldNet TourGuide: The Electronic Zoo. By Staff. | | - A review/description of a reference file and the | | NetVet gopher site (animal-related resources). | | 9) Enclave: 3 Poems By David Trosty. | | - Impressions of the city. | |10) Rite Of Fire, Part 2: By Russell Hutchinson. *[AL,V]* | | - The second part of a techno-industrial espionage tale. | |11) Last Word: By Steven Peterson. [O] | | - Commentary on the Digital Telephony Legislation. | |------------------------------------------------------------------| +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ======================================================================= +-------------+ | First Word \ | By \ | Steven Peterson \ +---------------------+ As fall changes into winter in the Colorado high country, the staff of ICS seeks refuge from the harsh, cold elements in the relative warmth of a cozy computer lab. The 'Net itself breaks down the isolation of life in our remote valley -- communication with the "world-mind" relieves the pressure which builds up in our pointy little heads. Seeing as it is the witchin' season (Halloween is right around the corner), we've included a special little tale - read it to the kids on a dark and stormy night. I recommend you find a nice, large bone to hold in your hand as you read it (for dramatic effect). A couple quick reminders: we still have a "Zinekit" available for anyone who is interested in starting up their own Zine (email a request to org_zine with "Request ZineKit" in the body of the message - the kit includes a sample constitution and other related material). Also, we are now and always (eternally) soliciting contributions. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ On a Blue Note I want to go back to a blues club Back in the heyday of Chicago And drink cheap beer out of greasy old mugs While fat men suck on soggy cigars and drink their whisky. I can smell the thick blue smoke whisky and perfume. I watch as lanky women toss their hair, And sit on the laps of rich looking men, Who stroke their whiskers and whisper lies, Oh such lies (mighty big lies). The band strikes up smooth and cool. The vibe spreads like a virus. Ding, DING, oopah. Ding, DING, oopah. The drummer swings, laying it down mellow in the pocket. Voices get louder, competing with the music. Smiles and laughter are contagious. Bittersweet sounds fill my ears, While my belly fills my beers. - David Trosty ******************************************************************************* <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ############################################################################### +--------------------------------------+ | WILL THIS HIGHWAY GO ANYWHERE NEW? | / \ | By George Sibley, ICS Faculty Advisor | +------------------------------------------+ I've just read yet another exhortation in a trade publication, urging the constituency to get aboard the "Information Superhighway" while the getting is supposedly still good. In this case, an editor from a "Center for Media Studies" urging "the arts" to "find the On Ramp" before it is too late. But this is not the first such appeal to "the arts"; Colorado's state arts journal had a similar exhortative article a couple of months ago, and I suspect that if I went around the country, I would find a similar exhortation for just about economic and/ or social sector in just about every region. Get on that super-highway before it's too late. Too late for what? Speaking only for myself, I can't really keep up with the information coming off the "information cowpath," or whatever we call the primarily-print inundation that is online now. The extent to which my situation is pretty universal can be measured in the gap between "information" and action on any really serious contemporary issue. How much more very detailed information do we need, for example, to know that a national (now global) economic policy of "helping the rich get richer will also help the poor get--well, something" is not only morally deficient; it isn't even true? Or, jumping to another area--how much more detailed information do we need to collect in order to know that uncurtailed fossil fuel burning is creating turbulence in that combination of gases and liquids we call our atmosphere that, at best, undermines the predictability and dependability on which all our systems depend? Or, the most obvious instance of all--how much more detailed information do we need to collect in order to convince the tobacco companies that they are just a bunch of drug peddlers? When I try to imagine who is going to really benefit from the "information superhighway," I have to confess, my paranoid gene kicks in. I think the powers that be--the wealthy, the major fossil-fuel burners like the military industrialists, the tobacco peddlers, and all those totally invested in the status quo who I suspect will always "need just a little more information" before they will consider change--these are going to be the beneficiaries. In short, the people into whose hands the construction of this brave new superhighway is being entrusted. But--you might ask, not having thought it through--won't the "more information" made possible by the "information superhighway" bring THEM all down in the end? Prove beyond the eensiest shadow of doubt that change is necessary--that sustainability, equity, and moderation are requisites for a stable and workable society? No: all evidence indicates that it will be with information as it is with money: no one will ever have enough. But meanwhile-- won't it be nice that everyone (including the artists, always unpredictable when uncontrolled) agrees that a superhighway full of information--a regular L.A. freeway system of it--is somehow desirable? Like all systems, the information superhighway comes equipped with a mythology, and the essence of the mythology here is that more information will somehow result in more informed action. Based on experience to date, I think it at least as likely that a naive faith in "more information" will lead to a continuing decrease in social and economic action, until a kind of cultural gridlock prevails as everyone waits for that additional information that will, like the last grain of salt in the supersaturated solution, precipitate a magical unclouding of everything. My concern thus is that we might be being sold a bill of goods by the combination of private (corporate and/or industrial interests) and public (mostly the military) entities that set up the Internet in the beginning. They want more than just the "superhighway"; they want our near-universal buy-in to the idea, to the necessity of the highway, because, to paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, it's better to have the potential critics inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in. My own concern at this point can only be expressed in an analogy, but one the supersellers brought on themselves by analogizing their dream to a "superhighway"--a transportation metaphor that, for this historically-burdened American, dredges up a lot of content. It is worth noting here that one of the more intriguing students of human systems this century, "human ecologist" Amos Hawley, linked the potential for growth or change (evolution) in any human system to its "technology for transportation and communication." "Development in size or complexity," he said (in HUMAN ECOLOGY: A THEORETICAL ESSAY, 1984), could only GROW to the limits of whatever technology the system had for those two foundational subsystems; and before further growth could occur, new transportation or communications technology would have to be created. So, with both transportation and communication technologies linked like that to the development of the larger cultural system, it seems fair enough to go back in history to the first couple of times the American public was so thoroughly seduced into embracing such a technology. The first place to look is at what happened when our ancestors built the first "national transportation infrastructure," the railroads. From the start, this was conceived (or at leasty proclaimed) as the market system's, capitalism's proudest moment--and because the articulation and dissemination of our official history is still more or less in the hands of those whose ancestors used the railroads to pillage the continent and destroy the republic, we are still taught to celebrate the creation of the railroad system in the 19th century as a great thing. Technically of course, it was--but socially, politically and economically, for a fragile new republic trying to commit itself to social and economic equity, it was a disastrous conquest by privilege from which Jefferson's vision of a decentralized agrarian republic never recovered. From the stock-watering exploitation of a hyped-up public, to the huge land-grants conned out of the people, to the outright lies and subterfuges with which the gullible were conned into what amounted to indentured servitude on railroad lands, to the outrageous rates charged for haulage to those who had no choice, to the final insult, the literal abandonment of the whole enterprise when the diversion of receipts into mansions and museums rather than system maintenance caught up with the masters--nearly everything about that "national transportation infrastructure" (except for the technical ingenuity and daring) was self- serving and shameful. The hundreds of thousands of bilked stockholders and homesteaders and taxpayers notwithstanding--it destroyed the infrastructure of a possible republic, committed (in the words of Toqueville, who saw it just before the railroads came online) to a "condition of equality" that was not pleasing to the friends of Alexander Hamilton. The "national transportation infrastructure" actually did not start out that way. The first "artifact" in the "NTI" was the old National Road, also known as the Cumberland Pike: a project conceived by the republican Jefferson, and more or less completed from Baltimore to St. Louis by the mid- 1830s--when the railroads began to emerge as a more desirable transportation alternative than the animal-powered vehicles of the roadways (which were certainly not "superhighways"). I like to think that, had he still been around and in power, Jefferson would have fought to the end for the same kind of national control over the railroads that the nation has exerted over the highways. But he wasn't, and by then the balance in America was tipping toward Hamilton's vision of an urban-industrial elite making sure that that "beast," the people, was kept too busy and too poor for mischief. Because the railroads were easier to build and much faster to travel, they became the "NTI"--until they made themselves so unbearable through mismanagement, rate-gouging and political manipulation that it was literally necessary for the nation to embrace an alternative, any reasonable alternative, even a potentially unreasonable alternative--and lo: there suddenly was the automobile. The automobile did not, like the train, create a top-down infrastructure controlled by a few. It applied superior technology to an existing infrastructure of wagon roads and mule tracks and cow paths-- often enough, alternate-market roads beat out by people to give themselves some alternative to the train that had delivered them to their homestead and proceeded to systematically impoverish them. The extent to which the road system in America was a "grassroots" thing can be best seen in how the bureaucratic structure built up around the roads. Well into the 20th century, most roads were still maintained by the people who depended on them--in many counties, road work by the able-bodied was part of the tax structure. The first state to get into road construction and maintenance was New Jersey-- and the importance of the roads to the local markets is indicated in the fact that they put the road department under the Department of Agriculture. By the time the federal government began to think consciously and budgetarily of a new highway-based "national transportation infrastructure"-- creating a joint board of state and federal highway commissioners in 1925, to begin identifying, marking, upgrading and maintaining a 200,000-mile network of primary highways--the nation already had around three-million miles of roads, a figure that has not increased significantly today. (You can't go anywhere new; you can just go there more easily.) The rest of that story is written in concrete. For those who lived through it, the hype surrounding the creation and execution of the Interstate Highway System is not unlike that which surrounded the creation and execution of the railroad system, and that which now surrounds the "information super- highway." The actual construction was done by the private sector, under contract; but it was designed in keeping with a shadow-grid created by local necessity rather than by profit opportunity. And no one exploited the naive popular enthusiasm for the project by selling watered stock; no one was lured to the end of the road where he was overcharged for land and ripped off for haulage. From the "Lincoln Highway" (U.S. 30) through the recent completion of the Glenwood Canyon stretch of Interstate 70, there has undoubtedly been some documentable fraud--over-charging, bid-rigging, shoddy materials, political porking, and the like. But the system still belongs to us all; the burden of maintenance is shared (or avoided) by all, and is never a second priority to profit-taking; the system is generally governed by laws grounded in political equity and the "general welfare" rather than the laws of the holy market; and in general it seems like as appropriate a system as we've managed to come up with for an alleged republic, decentralized, governed by "laws, not men." This being the case, it is small wonder that Americans effectively abandoned the railroads as soon as the highways were in place. But the real damage had been done. Had the first national transportation infrastructure been done "by the people, for the people," rather than for Hamilton's version of America, the west might have opened up more slowly, but it would have opened more along the lines of Jefferson's agrarian republic rather than the sucker- trap at the end of the urban-industrial safety valve. Probably not--but maybe. That, at any rate, is the analogy that goes through my mind when all the usual suspects in the military-industrial-government-research complex are inflating the "information super-highway" as the high road to the future. A future, to be sure--but will it go anywhere new? My guess is--maybe; but only if we are somehow able to do it the way America did its highways, and not the way the railroads undid America. Henry Thoreau, watching the train go past his pond, said it best: "To make a railroad go round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the whole surface of the planet. Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing; but though a crowd rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts "All aboard!" when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over. . . ." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ============================================================================== <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> -------------------------------------- \ Computer-Mediated Communication / \ Part 4 / \ By Steven Peterson / ------------------------ In the first part of this series, I examined some of the initial Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) research conducted by Kiesler et.al. during the 1980s. From that work, I take five central questions which invariably surface in subsequent research examining other, newer forms of CMC. These questions are: *------------------------------------------------------* | Five Aspects of computer-mediated communication (CMC)| | 1) Time/Information processing pressures | | 2) Absence of regulating feedback | | 3) Dramaturgical weakness | | 4) Few status/position cues | | 5) Depersonalization of social anonymity | *------------------------------------------------------* In this, the fourth part of my series, I will examine recent research on Electronic Bulletin Boards (EBBs). Outside the realm of business, individuals are using network technology to create and support collaborative mass media systems - electronic bulletin boards. EBBs are public forums which focus on specific fields of interest and rely on the audience to act as both source and recipient of the media content. Immensely popular, public EBBs number in the thousands - a level of success commonly attributed to their ability to satisfy the twin interests of mass and interpersonal communication (Rafaeli 281). In a national survey of 500 EBBs, researchers compared predictions about the success of collaborative media based on two theoretical perspectives: discretionary data base theory and critical mass theory. Discretionary data base theory takes a notion of "public goods" (standards of rational consumption of information) and uses it to predict rates of contribution within organizations (Rafaeli 278). Critical mass theory, also based on the notion of public goods, "attempts to explain the growing adoption of interactive media in a community of interest until a state of near-total participation, or universal access, comes to exist" (Rafaeli 279). While the former theory addresses intra-organizational communication and the latter inter-organizational communication, both predict that greater demands on the user (effort, skill, or monetary cost involved) will lower the rate of participant contribution. The survey team defined four dependent measures of success and six independent variables relating to user restrictions and contribution measures in a computer-readable questionnaire which they distributed to EBB system operators. After using a multiple-regression analysis to test four hypotheses, the team concluded: Structural characteristics of collaborative mass media systems seem to be more critical to their success than specific management policies applied by system operators. The diversity of content and the symmetry of exchange between participants were the most important of the factors derived from public goods theories that predict bulletin board success. The day-to-day operating restrictions placed on users - including upload ratios, access time restrictions, and user fees - generally had little relationship to measures of board success (Rafaeli 292). From these conclusions, it seems evident that individuals are finding a way to sort or channel the information available through public EBBs and determine personal rates of contribution capable of sustaining the medium. In practice, EBBs form "communities of interest" which closely resemble New England style democratic forms - a largely American perception of the technology as intrinsically apt to enhance democracy in organizations. Giuseppe Montovani, an Italian researcher, recently challenged this technological deterministic approach to CMC research and critically examined claims about equal access, overcoming social barriers, openness, and de-individuation in a recent survey of published literature. Viewing the available data from a sociotechnical theoretical perspective, Montovani finds evidence to support several contentions: 1) CMC does not generally foster democracy in organizations. It depends on the social context, on the history of each organization, and on the regulations ruling the specific network application. So free generalizations, like those about supposed democratization effects, should be avoided (57). 2) CMC is not friendly toward all its potential and actual users; organizational changes can increase stress and may require tiring and frustrating writing activity (57). 3) Social contracts among participants to CMC intended to establish rules regulating procedures are needed. CMC systems risk chaos if social regulations do not support them effectively, reducing time distortion effects in conferencing as well as in E-mail, because such systems are vulnerable to the unpredictability of the actual audience for any given message, the tendential anonymity of messages, and the lack of feedback from a potential audience (58). Montovani's analysis attempts to balance what are perhaps overly optimistic claims about the efficacy of CMC with the social- psychological problem aspects identified by Kiesler (time/info processing pressures, etc.). Montovani's position that society shapes technology (and not the other way around) offers a vantage point that allows researchers to contextualize raw data and study the social identity processes involved in CMC interaction. In my personal experience with a quasi-BBS sponsored by the _Utne Reader_, I've run into all five of Kiesler's aspects of CMC: 1) Although our group is limited to 25 participants, the volume of material quickly exceeds my ability to respond to everyone's thoughts. Selective editing/responding creates fertile ground for all sorts of fallacies in argument and misunderstandings. 2) The absence of regulating feedback seems to put me in a weird sort of dialectic between freedom and trepidation. After three months, I'm still not sure how people will respond from day to day to my thoughts. 3) Dramaturgical weakness has been the least problematic aspect, so far. The "ASCII intimacy" of our language offsets ambiguity for anyone who is willing to take the time and effort to compose honest prose. 4) Initially, the lack of status/position cues led to some social chaos, but as we are all "equal" within the group (and operating in an asynchronous mode), this issue has been irrelevant. 5) Depersonalization is, for the Americans of our group, a probable cause for some members dropping out. If you want to scatter Americans, threaten their individualism. Those who have stuck with it have established their "net-identities" and over- come the anonymity we initially faced. Subjectively, my recent experiences editing ICS have given me a real sense of being part of the larger world community (the ultimate BBS). As a writer, having instant access to a world-wide audience has been simultaneously thrilling and frightening. Communicating without some of the traditional forms of feedback and regulation requires a sense of adventure and a certain amount of courage. The machinery, while opening a gateway to a vast community, ultimately forces the individual to rely on language to establish and maintain a social identity in the greater context of a networked society which does not recognize physical or cultural boundaries. In conclusion, I leave you with a cautionary note about CMC from the lyrical pen of Josef Ernst: The image of modern communications resembles holography; individuals no longer need to pick up driftwood from the shores of reality; instead, current technology allows for an emancipated position at sea from where objects may be picked up from all directions and at one's own discretion. To move inside the picture, however, the possible holographic communication over reality by way of montage must keep its parts distinguishable. Otherwise individual users can lose control and fall prey to the wonders of technology; they could become part of the apparatus instead of using it as their tool. (Ernst 463) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Works Cited Ernst, Josef. "Computer Poetry: An Act of Disinterested Communication." *New Literary History*. Vol.23, No.2, Spring, 1992. 449-468. Kiesler, Sara, et. al. "Social Psychological Aspects of Computer- Mediated Communication." *American Psychologist*. Vol.39, No.10, October, 1984. 1123-1134. Montovani, Guiseppe. "Is Computer-Mediated Communication Intrinsically Apt to Enhance Democracy in Organizations?" *Human Relations*. Vol.47, No.1, 1994. 45-62. Rafaeli, Shiezaf, and Robert LaRose. "Electronic Bulletin Boards and `Public Goods' Explanations of Collaborative Mass Media." *Communication Research*. Vol.20, No.2, April, 1993. 277-297. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ************************************************************************* ========================================================================= The Mad Club-Part 1 Diving down On backs of dolphins, Running forth visions unbelieved. These journeys take man on uncharted courses, Through rocky waters And across great reefs of pink and purple Where veiled angels dwell and play, Luring the lone traveler Like a siren does a sailor, To remain in this world of madness. - David Trosty ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ ========================================================================== +----------------+ | Devil's Creek | /^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^\ | *A Halloween Tale* | | By Steven Peterson | +====================+ All the leaves had dropped from the aspen trees in the high plateaus of the Powderhorn Primitive Area; the Colorado mountains were awaiting the first thick coat of snow, and I was out for one last hike with my dog, furbag. We started out that morning under cerulean skies, romping through the leaves and feeling that odd sense of euphoria which only seems to happen in the wilderness. A boy and his dog, making their way up the gorge toward a large, heavily wooded plateau. After a lazy lunch, I tossed furbag my bread crusts and dug a sweater out of my backpack: steel-gray clouds were amassing on the horizon and sending a frigid, but gentle warning. The drop in the temperature and the minor threat of moisture triggered the release of a woody scent in thick waves - the smell of frightened deer and decay. As I began the last leg up to the edge of the plateau, furbag seemed to run out of steam and started trotting behind me, rather than running her usual wild, happy loops around me; it was strange, I thought I even heard her whining - something she hadn't done since she was a pup. The temperature seemed to be dropping with every step, and through the forest smell, I could suddenly detect smoke - as if someone was tending a bonfire up top. The smoke was real: I could see it, and I stopped for a minute; furbag did her "hoover" thing, waving her snout around. I noticed something else emerging from the fireplace scent - a top note of burning meat, slightly greasy and tantalizing. Picking up the pace, I resumed my journey up the gorge. Through the dense pines, the lip of the plateau appeared and I bolted for the summit. From the top, I looked back down the valley and toward the horizon - the clouds were stalled, but the temperature kept dropping: flash-frozen sweat and flustered furbags. I tossed the dog a puppy biscuit and wandered into the interior of the plateau. The smoke seemed to be coming from the dark center, and I was curious. That top note of roasting meat grew stronger as I made my way through the forest - I found myself salivating, and starting to shiver a little. Idly wishing for some bar-b-que sauce and my Sorels, I let my nose lead the way. Lunch was a distant, glorious memory, and I was beginning to regret the long hike. I stumbled into a little clearing and there it was: a low, glowing fire in a rough ring of rocks. Two nondescript, charred limbs were propped over the coals on a spit - my nose knew where it was going. Amazed, I cleared my throat and said, "Umh, hello?" Silence for a moment, then "BACK OFF!" from behind me. I froze, the furbag growled and spun around, and from the forest, a man emerged. Tall and dressed in tattered garments, he focused his dark eyes on me as he skirted around, moving toward the fire. "Where you come from?" A statement more than a question - his voice was muffled by an extravagant moustache and a long scraggly beard. I noticed his feet were wrapped in bundles of dirty cloth: he softly shuffled and stomped as he turned his roasting meat. I loosely grabbed furbag's collar and replied, "Uh, Gunnison. You campin' here?" He fixed his gaze on furbag, and she bolted for the trail. Coward. He looked up at me and laughed a little. "Wouldn't rightly call it that, 'reckon. I just want to get off this plateau, same as you." Cryptically, he added "never make it through the snow..." After whistling out for the dog, buying time, I asked him, "Uh, what snow?" "I made a go of it once, and look at mah feet now. We'll never make it," he replied. "Whattya, waitin' for it?" I asked, a tad bewildered by the frustration in his voice. He returned to his roasting and I started to pace around a little, calling out for furbag. To one side of the fire ring, I noticed a large pile of blackened bones behind his woodpile. Farther back in the woods, a defeated mining shack was working its way back to nature. This was home, I guessed. "How long you been here?" "Don't keep track o' days anymore." Thinking about the bones, I began to look for a rifle - I figured it was in the shack. The meat really smelled good - bar-b-que sauce visions returned. I cleared my head. "Name's Steve, what's yours?" - my feeble effort. "Alferd." "Nice piece of venison, what is it?" "All I could get, and this here's the last of it." I could take a hint, but man, the fire looked cozy. I approached the ring, rubbing my hands together - "mind if I jes' warm up a little, before I head back down?" "Head down? You crazy, you'll never make it. Look at dem clouds!" The clouds had begun to drift in from the horizon, but it was only a couple miles back to old Road #149. "You bes' round up yer dog, too." His teeth chattered slightly and he pulled out a pocket knife. "She'll be back. Say, I wouldn't mind a taste of that." He unfolded a blade and carved a small piece of the sputtering haunch. It took some effort, and he was careful about it. He held it under his nose and mumbled, "a tad ripe ... jus' about done." In a magnanimous gesture, he extended his arm and offered me the morsel. I plucked it off the blade and eagerly popped it in my mouth. It was dry, and a little tough, but the fire had imparted a delicious smoky flavor. "Thanks, that hit the spot. Furbag don't know what she's missin'. She'll be wantin' a souvenir from that bone pile, too." "NO! Keep that damn dog away from dem bones, they mustn't ever be disturbed." "O.K.!, O.K.!, Jeez, she ain't even here, relax." "If we're gonna be here together, we gotta agree to some stuff." Stunned, I replied "look mister, uh, Alferd, I'm headin' back." He leaned toward me suddenly, face-to-face. "You can't leave, boy, I need you ..." His foul breath assaulted my senses and I almost gagged, the odor and the thought that he "needed me" for anything sent my bile on the march. I took a couple steps back, looking at the pocket-knife. He advanced toward me, "Long winter, need meat ..." Backing up, I tripped over some deadfall and fell into another pile of bones. The sharp ends dug into my sweater and snagged me. I thrashed for a moment, rolling onto my side. The drift of bones shifted around as I sought some leverage with my free arm; I grabbed a large femur and swung it around blindly, trying to fend off Alferd's grasping hands. On one of the return arcs, the bone smashed into the pile, sending a round one up in the air - a human skull fell in front of my face, the empty eye sockets staring. Just as Alferd was bending down toward me with knife in hand, a golden blur flew out of the trees and crashed into, or rather through, the hideous form. In a flash of ectoplasmic blue light, Alferd, the fire, and the spit (with its grisly contents) all winked out of existence. Furbag had returned just in time to save me from the clutches of a phantom. Shaken and stirred by my experience, I made my way down from the plateau. I clutched the femur all that night, waiting. Furbag refused to leave my side for days; the horrible visage of Alferd's face haunts me still, that's why I keep this bone handy ... and once the leaves have all dropped, I stay away from Devil's Creek. [Note: This tale is based on the story of Alferd Packer, the "Cannibal of Colorado": a real life figure from Gunnison Valley history. In Lake City, they even have an annual Alferd Packer Days festival - weird, no?] ======================================================================== :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::; ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ The Mad Club-Part 2 Three dirty boys Were walking down the street one summer night. It was quite late, Around three a.m., if I recall correctly. They were sore as hell, And their legs felt like large lead pipes That had to be dragged along. Their sides ached and twisted, As if someone was wringing them out like a wet washcloth. As they walked along on this hot summer night, Their skin coated with a thick layer of Sweat, soil and strychnine, They began to worry Because one of them remembered an obscure law About being too dirty. Just then, a cop car came flying around the corner, It's lights a-flashin' and it's siren wailing hysterically. It screeched to a stop beside the boys, Then two policemen jumped out of the car And began to beat the crap out of them with their clubs, All the while screaming "You're too goddamn dirty! You're too goddamn dirty!" The boys were thrown in the back of the cop car, And were promptly taken to jail. In the morning they were released to their mommies, Who took them all home And gave them baths. - David Trosty ################################################################################ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ____________________________________________________________________ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- _________________________________________________ / W o r l d N e t \ \____________ Tour Guide ____________/ \_______________________/ | The Electronic Zoo: | | Animal-Related | \ NetSources / \---------------/ WorldNet Tour Guide is a periodic feature which appears in ICS from time to time. The Guide consists of articles designed to help you in using the WorldNet to the fullest potential. These articles will range from tutorials on aspects of WorldNet (programs) to reviews of places we find on the 'Net (content). Why? Because together we know more than any one of us can know. If you would like to write a file or document to appear in this section, please do so. Send your final copy (in ASCII format) to: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU ------- The Electronic Zoo is an electronic document which offers a directory of Animal-Related Netsources such as Internet/Bitnet Mailing Lists, Gophers, World Wide Web Sites, Mail Servers, Usenet Newsgroups, FTP Archives, Commercial Online Services, and Bulletin Board Systems. Compiled by Ken Boschert, DVM, the Zoo list is large, extensive, and alphabetically arranged. Describing his file, Boschert notes that "animals of all sorts are popular topics of discussion and a number of sites have useful files for down-loading. Listservers, Telnet & FTP sites, gophers, dial-up bulletin boards (BBS's) - they're all cataloged here and have a common thread of being related to animals in some form or fashion". The Zoo document is fairly large, and the terminology takes a while to sort out, but it does make a fine "yellow pages" for the broad field of animals (the resources range from daffy kitty-lover newsgroups to highly specialized scientific collections and discussions). Many of the descriptions are contributed directly from the list owners, moderators, and sysops around the world who spend their own time maintaining their respective systems; take the time to pass along a note of thanks when you get a chance. *********************************************************** * Where to get the latest versions of the Electronic Zoo * *********************************************************** The most recent version of this document can be retrieved via anonymous FTP from wuarchive.wustl.edu (128.252.135.4) in the subdirectory: /doc/techreports/wustl.edu/compmed/elec_zoo.x_x (x_x referring to the most current version) The Electronic Zoo is one of many Internet lists maintained by the Clearinghouse of Subject-Oriented Internet Resource Guides located at the University of Michigan School of Information and Library Studies. Access to these guides is available via Anonymous FTP, Gopher, and WorldWideWeb/Mosaic (see below). From within Gopher, a WAIS index of the full text of these guides is searchable. anonymous FTP: host: una.hh.lib.umich.edu path: /inetdirsstacks Gopher: Name=Clearinghouse of Subject-Oriented Internet Resource Guides (UMich) Type=1 Port=70 Path=1/inetdirs Host=una.hh.lib.umich.edu Uniform Resource Locators (URL): http://http2.sils.umich.edu/~lou/chhome.html or http://www.lib.umich.edu/chhome.html or gopher://una.hh.lib.umich.edu/11/inetdirs Contact: Louis Rosenfeld For the very latest version of the Electronic Zoo, use the * NETVET Veterinary Resources Gopher Type=1 Port=70 Path=1n:/vet Host=netvet.wustl.edu URL: gopher://netvet.wustl.edu:70/11n:/vet or the new NETVET WWW Home Page URL: http://netvet.wustl.edu/ * - The NetVet gopher also serves as the virtual "wing" of the cyberspace collection of animal-related files. Portions of the Zoo document and a vast array of files are collected under various subheadings (e.g. listserv archives, telnet sites, ftp sites) for "one-stop" shopping: the casual netsurfer can easily sort through all the possible resources and select files for downloading. <+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+> ============================================================================== (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(* ****************** Enclave: 3 Poems By David Trosty *************************** (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(* Theme to an Imaginary Drama Sometimes traveling through the city I see faces all alone. Sad faces standing in the shadows, abandoned, on their own. Vicious city, without compassion. Cold concrete, hard as stone. Unforgiving and uncaring, will make you calloused to the bone. Tired faces, lined with ashes, cracked and worn, they show their age. Acting helpless to solicit, the sidewalk is their stage. Huddled quietly, under the streetlight, holding in their deepest rage. To them, life's an empty book. It doesn't help to turn the page. Homelessness is a disease, and the cure can't come to soon. People waiting, slowly suffering, looking for a bottle before noon. Sometimes I give them the change they ask for, because I'd want to get drunk too, If I was like them and had to live here, In this awful concrete zoo. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The Hunter They call me the hunter, it's a very fitting name. 'Cause I'm always on the prowl for the essence of the earth. It seems my search never ends, eternally I hunt. There's not enough lush bounty, to fill every wanting hand. All people that I know, they play this very game. Desiring unmentionables, a vain attempt to ease their pain. What is it about desire, that plagues most every man. To taste the sweet pure nectar, makes him only want much more. All pleasures seem to have the power, to hypnotize from within. One can see it in all eyes, a cold and empty gaze. The cessation of reality, comes strong, and then it fades. Like the tides upon the sea, and the crashing of the waves. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 28,000 feet above civilization Checkerboard grids patchwork quilt. Someone lives there. Connected by barely perceptible threads each island has a way off, and on to every other. Country isolation, secluded peace, sometimes broken by colonies of stone and flesh. The social animal demonstrates its paradoxical tendencies. Some of them, insecure with isolation, huddle together. Afraid to be alone in this vast and desperate world-- yet afraid of each other. In their clustered colonies they walk about, their eyes darting nervously away from the others, apprehensive when they connect out on the street. (c) David Trosty, 1994 (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(* ******************************************************************************** (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(* ///|\\\ __/_/__|__\_\__ \ Rite of Fire/ | *Part 2* | ----------------------- / By Russell Hutchinson \ ------------------------- After Patch completed his net-search for information on the Metzler Center and their security company, he met the rest of his team: Gecko, Doc, and Raze, at the planning room to work out their entrance and escape. The final plan the team agreed apon was, as usual, one of Patch's conception. It relied heavily on the Metzler security company's policy: in the event of a fire, floors are evacuated according to their position in the financial hierarchy within each building. This placed the GMC offices ninth in line after the offices of the larger multinational corporations. The plan called for a fire to be started on a floor below the GMC offices, enter the building under the guise of fire-fighters checking to make sure the floors were clear of people, physically remove the mainframe from its housing, and meet Gecko on the roof where he would spirit them away in his helicopter. The team could then extract the files at their leisure. They spent the next few hours looking for holes in the plan, ironing it out until they felt sure that it was feasible. Raze and Patch spent the rest of the night collecting the necessary materials from their caches and from a fire station chief who owed Patch some big favors. Doc busied himself with a background check on their employer, Rosi, while Gecko went to check over the helicopter to make sure it would be ready. By six the following morning the materials were gathered and the group caught a few hours sleep. At ten thirty the team left to take position. Traffic in the downtown area caused a few delays but Patch had left a fifteen minute window for travel time. He pulled Gecko's van into a parking spot about one block south of the Metzler Center. The plates on the van had been switched and Patch used a fake identity card to pay the meter. "How do I look?" Raze asked from the back of the van in her usual deep, seductive voice. Patch only vaguely heard her ask, and Doc's whistled response. "Hey, Not," She continued, "I want your opinion too." Her use of his nickname Not, because all the members of the team were blue eyed and blond haired, or would be if Raze didn't shave her head, garnered his attention. Patch, on the other hand, was dark on both counts. Raze wore a very expensive suit of the year's power color, emerald green, and a shoulder length wig, raven black and straight. Patch simply nodded. He had always thought it unprofessional to make comments about Raze's looks, even in situations like this. "How long 'til I'm on?" she asked. Patch looked at his watch, it was noon, but Doc answered first. "Twelve minutes. I've checked out the rest of your gear and it's all ready to go. The smoke grenades are inside the Trojan PC, you remember how to open it? O.K. The three quarts of motor oil are in your bag with other assorted items a nice business lady like you would be carrying." "If you can find anything else that can burn, toss it on the grenades. The chemicals in them ignite on contact with air and get very hot," Patch added. He wracked his brain for anything else to say as advice, drawing a blank. "That's it then." He said it like an instructor finishing a lesson. "Then pass out the beer," she said. It had become a ritual to have one last beer before an infiltration, starting long ago with Doc, because he didn't want to die without having a drink first: everyone on the team felt the same. Besides, this time the tradition worked in well with the story that they were a group of fire-fighters who were fortuitously having lunch only blocks from the Metzler Center. Patch opened the cooler that rested in the passenger seat, passing a single beer to each of them. The caps were cracked with a hiss and a toast raised to lying, cheating, stealing, and drinking. Patch turned back to look towards the Center and nursed his beer slowly, leaving Doc and Raze to chat between themselves. He knew from his research that the Metzler Center was composed of three identical towers, thirty five stories tall with twin helipads on each. Even with this information it was hard for Patch to imagine that the buildings were more than a dozen stories tall; the clouds were deeply imbedded in thick clouds. The hazy view to the end of the street and the slowly beading moisture on the windshield were the only indications that it was raining at all. The drizzle seemed to soak up even more of the scarce light on the street. Everything looked dark, dead, or dying. Even the animate forms of the crowds going to and from lunch seemed, in the occasional amber pools of streetlights, to be aimless zombies wrapped in old clothing. Their respirators gave them sooty skull faces, poisonous. Patch could hear Doc and Raze talking about where to go and what to do with their share of the money and he began to wonder what he was going to do. He vowed to use the money to go to the Bahamas or some other place where it was a federal offense to own a gas engine. Somewhere he didn't have to share the sidewalk with the Grim Reaper and his cattle. "Where you gonna go, Patch?" Raze asked. "The promised land." "You plannin' to stop a bullet on this one?" Doc chided. Patch blew off the comment and checked the time. "You're on lady." He looked over his shoulder and watched Raze put on her raincoat and hat. She pushed open the back doors and hopped out, pulling the bags after her. "Wish me luck," she said. "Luck," Doc answered. "And Skill," Patch added. She winked before pulling the respirator over her face. Patch turned to watch her walk past the front of the van and toward the dark towers as Doc closed the doors. She blended quickly into the morbid mass of the crowd. "How long do you think it'll take her to place the grenades?" Doc asked. "Fifteen minutes on the outside. Unless she runs into trouble. Call Gecko and tell him to lift off in five." "O.K." Patch began to study anew the vista he had of the dismal towers and the writhing crowds around their foundations. As he watched, a bright light reflecting in from the sideview mirror caught his eye. A car was slowly crawling up the wet-slicked street, a search light glowing in the haze and caressing the parked cars. "Doc, patrol car coming up our backside," Patch warned. Turning the knob to polarize the windows to one hundred percent, he moved to join Doc in the back of the van. Both men drew their guns and knelt by the back doors, tensed and ready. No light glowed in the rubber sealed cracks of the doors or through the darkened windows, but Patch was certain that the patrol car, be it police or Metzler security, was using high sensitivity thermographic scanners. In a normal vehicle they could see the heat of anyone inside, but the back of the van was shielded to prevent such scanners from penetrating. They stayed there for almost two minutes before Patch moved to the front again and depolarized the windows. He sat down and spent the rest of the time waiting in silent anticipation of Raze's return. Doc and Patch had never had much to say to each other and Patch didn't feel inclined to start a conversation. He actually though Doc was too unprofessional and hot tempered to be very trustworthy. He was on of the best hackers in the region and an asset to the team, but as soon as Patch could find a professional of Doc's abilities, he'd lose him. The only thing that had Patch worried was that Doc would try to seek revenge if he lost too much face when he was succeeded. Doc, of course, thought that Patch didn't talk to him out of personal dislike and repaid him in kind. Time crawled slowly by, and Patch began to think that Raze had been caught. That would be a real complication. She was the only one on the team who knew his real name. If she had been apprehended, then all of the ghost accounts and numbers he hid behind were circumvented and he was compromised. Patch knew he should have sent her out of the room when he called Joel about using some of his station's gear. The first thing Joel had blurted out was his name. "Rand MacCormic," she had whispered quietly in Patch's ear after hearing it. "I was once in love with a Scotsman. He was the only one who could ever tell me what to do, and even then, only rarely." "You do what I say all the time," Patch pointed out. "That's because my life depends on your plans." "That's it?" "Mostly," she said as she got up to leave the room. "Mostly?" he'd asked just before she left. She continued out of the room with only a quick wink before closing the door. Patch wasn't sure if she had been seriously trying to pick up on him or just flirting as usual. He never was. She only flirted lightly with Gecko, who proudly wore his wedding ring, and hardly at all with Doc. As he thought about her, she emerged from the crowds on the sidewalk and gave a barely visible "all's clear" wave-off. Patch cleared his head of thoughts beyond the work at hand. "She's back," he announced to Doc who moved to open the back doors for her. She hopped in and gave a triumphant "Ta-Da!" "Went smoothly, then?" Doc asked. "As a baby's butt," she answered. "Stuck 'em in a ventilation shaft in a janitor's room on the twenty-ninth floor. Right under the target." Patch looked at the dashboard clock; it read twenty-five after twelve. "How long until the grenades go off?" "Fourteen minutes and twenty seconds on my mark ... Mark." "The alarms should go off within two minutes of the grenades. Get ready to go. Doc, firemen don't have ponytails, put yours up under your helmet." Raze began to strip down and change into regular street clothes. Patch kept his eyes on his own dufflebag of gear. He pulled out the fire jacket and slipped into it. As he stood up, Raze, who was only wearing her underwear, fell against him. "Sorry, I lost my balance." She stayed pressed against him for a second or two longer. Patch had absolutly no idea what to say so he just stood there and stared into her ocean-blue eyes. "No problem," he finally managed to utter. She straightened up, then turned around, bending to pull up her pants. Patch couldn't help but look her up and down. She was in extraordinary physical condition, her muscles toned to fighting perfection. A loud cough interrupted Patch's train of thought. A glance revealed Doc, watching him intently. Patch shook his head and started to mentally kick himself for losing his detachment. He turned and moved to the front of the van quickly, like a school boy caught looking up the skirt of girl, and donned the headphones. He payed no attention to the conversation of the others, ignoring them every time someone asked him a question...unless it pertained to the mission. He strived to push this complication in his life out of mind until everything was done. The last thing he needed was to be distracted. Time passed quickly in his self-rage. Soon Patch heard the welcome conversation of police dispatch directing cars in the direction of the Metzler Center. "Alright, the police and fire department are on their way. Grab your respective shit and let's go." Patch fully polarized the windows and grabbed his dufflebag of gear. The backbreaking weight of the bag made Patch wonder how firemen dealt with the rigors of the job. When the other two had shouldered their packs, Patch, with respirator pulled over his face, opened the doors. He jumped to the ground, heavily, and began to jog in the direction of the Center with Raze and Doc on his heels, yelling for the crowd to clear the way. It took less than a minute to reach the stairs leading to the entrance of the second tower. Three pairs of boots thundered up the damp steps. Patch quickly reviewed the briefing Joel had given him about where to go and who to talk to. He shoved through the plexiglas doors and stepped through the weapons detectors--they immediately set off an alarm. Patch was hoping that the presence of the firefighting gear would stay the hands of the guards inside and get them to question him, instead of searching him for a gun. Raze and Doc walked in in his wake, both setting off the weapons detectors as well. The guard at the desk started to say things to Patch in a heated voice, but he ignored the man and began to survey the scene inside the lobby. Large groups of people were exiting from stairwells on both sides of the lobby as well as from the elevator hallway. Most were walking rapidly, with the occasional dashing hysteric. The yells of the guard were rising in volume and Patch heard the words "Precinct identity numbers NOW!" Patch pulled the respirator from his face, put on a big toothy grin, and turned to face the guard, who had his gun half drawn from his holster. "Hi, uh...Samus?" Patch read from his name tag. "Is that how you pronounce your name? Nevermind. I'm Bernard Williams. My precinct identity number is four four five three zero seven eight. Where is your security office?" Samus typed in the numbers and those of the other two into the terminal in the plexiglas guard post. Patch prayed that everyone had remembered the right numbers. After a short pause, Samus directed them down the hallway on the right. Patch thanked him and strode off in that direction with Doc and Raze in tow. The trio thumped down the hall until they reached the armored door of the security room. Patch banged on the ballistic glass and waved to the girl inside. There was a buzzing sound, and he pushed the door open. Patch approached the young woman; she seemed very nervous. He guessed that she hadn't been on the job for very long. "Hi, I'm Bernie Williams of the eleventh precinct, where's the fire?" "Ah, um...the twenty-ninth floor." "I see. I noticed people coming out from where the elevators are... I take it you haven't shut them down yet." "Ah...I was going to wait for the security director to get back before I did anything. He's at lunch." Patch managed not to smile. He had hoped that coming in during the lunch hour would catch the rooster away from the chickens. "That's O.K., darling. Just do what I say. Trust me, I'm a professional. Call up the elevator control screen and bring them all to the lobby. Now lock them all in place except for one. What's the number for that one?" "Five." "O.K. When the rest of the firemen get here, tell them that the three of us are going to start checking to make sure that floors thirty and up are clear. Thanks." Patch joined the other two in the hallway and began to head for the elevators. "Slick," Doc commented. "Things are going great," Butch agreed. As they crossed the chaotic lobby Patch caught a glimpse of some police entering the building. He smiled and whispered, "Too late boys." It was a short stroll to elevator five which stood with doors agape. They walked in and Doc hit the button for floor thirty. The doors started to bite closed when an arm stuck between them. Two Metzler security guards entered the elevator, carrying flashlights and holstered guns. "Cindy thought you could use some help checking floors," one of the guards announced. "Cindy?" Doc asked. "The lady behind the security desk." "Ah, that's mighty nice of her," Patch said. "Well...Scott and... Fredrick, welcome aboard." "Call me Fred." "Let's get going, shall we?" Doc said and pressed the door close button. "Suit up everyone," Patch said. The three began to put on the rest of their fire gear and place their regular boots and rain clothes in their dufflebags. "You guys sure got here quick," Scott stated. Despite his casual tone, Patch detected suspicion behind the question. He already had an answer prepared for him. "Yea, we were eating lunch down the street and our station paged us. We had our gear with us because we were about to go on for our two week shift, so we just jogged on over." "Lucky us," Scott said. "Listen pal," Raze spoke up, "we know all about your policy of evacuation. So you're not the lucky ones, the people we clear out are. While your money grubbing company rescues its financial interests, people could be dying. So don't give me any shit and stay out of my--" "Cool your jets, Raze." Doc broke in. "These guys aren't required to help us and they are. Don't come down on them." Raze looked from Doc to Scott and back. She looked like she was going to tear back into Scott, but instead, took a deep breath and apologized. Patch smiled inside. He was always impressed by how well the team could act and fast-talk their way around questions. At least the guards seemed satisified with the cover. Now all Patch needed to do was find a way to get the guards off their backs, so they could finish their clandestine activities. He was tempted to give the signal to take them out now, but there was a security camera dome in the roof of the elevator. All Cindy would need to do was lock them in and lower them into the shackles of the police. He hoped he could convince them to go check the thirty-first floor. Patch continued to think of alternative plans while he put on the rest of his gear, oxygen tank and all. Patch also pulled a fire extinguisher from his bag that weighed nearly twenty pounds. Doc produced a similar one, while Raze held a fire axe. There was a ring, and the doors opened as Patch slung his dufflebag over his shoulder. Patch stepped off the elevator and spotted the entrance to the GMC offices directly across the hallway. "We'll start here," Patch pointed. "You start with the floor above us." Fred shook his head. "You'll need our help on each floor." "If the fire comes through the floor your not equipped to deal with it." "Then we'd better make the search quick. Our orders were very clear... Stay with you and make sure everyone gets out." "Alright then, let's start here," Patch pointed to the offices. The way Scott and Fred were doggedly staying with the team and the pause before reciting their orders convinced Patch that they were there to watch the team and not to help. Patch advanced to the GMC doors, occasional stragglers dodging through them. As he pushed into the office he noticed a well dressed man standing in the reception area tapping his feet nervously. "Hey you!" Patch called. "Are these offices clear?" The man spun around and looked over the group in front of him. Patch hoped the presence of the security guards would get the man to spill his guts. "I'm not sure," he answered. "Well ... what are you doing standing around?" Patch pressed. "I'm waiting for Mister Jorgens to arrive with the back-up tapes." "Where's he at? We can make sure he gets out." "Ah, down the left hall, all the way at the end." "O.K. We'll get him. You should leave though." "Um, sure...I guess." Patch had already walked past the man and was heading down the hall to the left. It made two ninety degree right turns before they found the end door labeled "Computer Room." Patch opened the door and moved down the short hallway into the room, the host of others right behind him. Inside was a thick chested man with sparse hair, a handlebar moustache, and an expensively cut suit. He looked up as the group spread out around him. A courier case rested on the table next to him and Patch could see the back-up tapes within it. "Can I help you?" the large man asked, slowly putting his hand inside his jacket. Scott and Fred stepped forward, apparently wanting to take charge. "Mister Jorgens? We're here to make sure you get out, we're checking the floors for stragglers." "Well then," Jorgens replied. "I'm finished here. By all means, let us be off." He closed the case. Patch brushed his free left hand across the back of his right, signaling Raze and Doc to attack, then he lifted his fire extinguisher and hurled it at Jorgens' back. It clipped the side of his head, knocking him off balance. Raze, who was more or less directly between Fred and Scott, clocked Scott in the jaw with the haft of the axe, causing him to reel back from the blow. Fred started to draw his gun, but Raze brought the axe through an overhand strike onto his shoulder. Because Fred was too close to her, the blade missed its mark, but the force of the swing still crushed the joint. Turning her attention back to Scott, she struck with a two-handed baseball swing that connected the flat of the blade with Scott's face, sweeping him off his feet. Using the momentum from the axe swing, Raze spun and kicked the screaming Fred square on his jaw--he dropped like a rag doll. Both guards were down before Jorgens started to turn, gun in hand. Doc moved forward and threw his extinguisher right after Patch's. The throw was low, catching Jorgens in the back of his knees and dropping him to the floor. He landed hard on his right elbow, jarring the the gun from his hand. Doc finished him with a kick to the temple from his steel-toed boot. Patch grabbed the case with the back ups, sticking it in his bag. "Doc, find the mainframe and take it out of the housing." Doc ran past Raze towards a tall metal cabinet. "Easy money." Patch told her, noticing as he did that she was looking over his shoulder. "Patch ... look on the roof behind you." He did as he was asked and found himself looking into the unblinking eye of a security camera. "Fuck." Raze crushed it with the axe .... ============================================================================== * * Stay Tuned for Part 3! * * ============================================================================== <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ++++++++++++++++++ \ Last Word ... \+++++ \ By Steven Peterson \ ++++++++++++++++++++++ Once again, citizens of the U.S. are reminded of the price we pay for our liberty--eternal vigilance. This time around, it's the FBI, and they're pushing legislation which threatens to compromise our privacy. SB 2375 and HR 4922, also known as the "FBI Wiretap Bills" or "Digital Telephony Bills" are based on the premise that the government needs to maintain its ability to monitor and tap electronic communications devices (and presumably catch bad guys). As the legislation is currently written, federal monies (US$500 million) will be paid to the telcos to defray the costs associated with building in tap mechanisms. The real danger lies not in the price tag, but in the precedent these bills would set if passed: for the first time, mandates will be used to enforce institutional control of the conduits of communication at a personal, private level. Now, I may have read 1984 too many times when I was a kid, but this sounds like asking the U.S. population to subsidize "viewscreens" for Big Brother, or the spooks, or ??? The implications for the development of the National Information Infrastructure are tremendous - in a way, this legislation represents a fundamental struggle for American society: just how much privacy can a "democracy" withstand? Think about it, and if you're in the U.S., share your views (pro or con) with your legislators. Or email: - senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov [sponsor of the senate bill] - vtw@vtw.org [database of responses, used to track opinion] For more details on this and other legislation, email - info@epic.org [electronic privacy information center Personally, I think all such efforts to contain the application of knowledge are inherently doomed. There will always be people around who will subvert or hack any gizmo the FBI (or NSA, or ...) demands. In the larger world, the danger of this American legislation will eventually be felt-- as the electronic "backdoors" the FBI envisions become ubiquitous, oppressive dictators, radical terrorist factions, and economic manipulators will no doubt take advantage of such a handy tool. Altogether, the Clipper Chip proposal and this "Wiretap Bill" make a swell pair of bookends for the new shelf of legal hooey devoted to the fool's errand of containing the chaos of human communication, whatever the medium. 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