The Reset Manifesto
CopyrightÂ© 2016 by Lazlo Zalezac
There was a point at which it became obvious the service had stopped being a normal funeral service. People started telling Peter Moore stories. Rebecca was happily encouraging people to relate how they had come to know her late husband. George was enjoying the stories immensely. It was one thing to look up to your father because he’d been an important person in your life, but it was something else to discover that he had been important to a lot of other people, too. Based on the stories that came out that day, Peter had been a very important and influential man.
Patricia listened to the stories with an increasing sense of sadness. It hurt to realize that the only things she had accurately known about her brother was that he was brilliant. All of her other conceptions of him were proving to be wrong. He wasn’t lazy, he didn’t lack ambition, and he didn’t ignore the plight of his fellow human beings. He was far greater than she could have ever imagined him being.
Charles was incredulous. His older brother, the one he should have looked up to his whole life, had been a source of embarrassment for decades. The man who should have saved the world from cancer, designed the ship that would take man to the stars, or created the miracle seed that could have fed the world had done none of those things. That had disappointed Charles.
It was with a growing of horror that he was coming to understand that all of those things he had thought his brother should have done, were trivial beside what Peter had done. His brother had saved humanity from a future as slaves.
For others at the funeral, there was a different kind of revelation that was spreading. People realized that they had been fortunate to walk the path of destiny with an extraordinary individual. Peter could have been king. He could have been the most famous person in the world. Instead, he had stood in the shadows letting others take the leading role in one of the least violent revolutions in history. Instead, he had lived his life out as a seller of trinkets on an Internet site.
The community in which Peter had lived was learning about the giant of a man who had been their neighbor. No one doubted his brilliance and his knowledge of what was going on around him. It was just that he seemed a small insignificant man who walked along a river with his wife nearly every day, and went fishing with his family on the weekends.
The only one who wasn’t surprised by the revelations during the service was Rebecca. She had enjoyed every story about Peter. She remembered the events from a slightly different perspective. She had watched him lay his plans, work to make his vision a reality, and worry about what could happen to derail his efforts. While she might not have known the details and the people involved, she wasn’t nearly as ignorant as she and Peter pretended. They both knew that pretense was a way of protecting her and George.
At the end, someone said, “Peter always did know how to take care of himself.”
Wiping a tear from her cheek, Rebecca shook her head. “No, he didn’t. He could have prevented his death.”
Social change does not occur instantaneously. Sure, some events are dramatic and sudden, but the full unfolding of change takes time. Generations of prejudice isn’t wiped out overnight. Ignorance isn’t cured by waving a magic wand. Untangling a century of corruption requires decades to undo what had been done.
With any change there are winners and losers. In the case of the changes brought about by the Reset Manifesto, the number of winners overwhelmed the number of losers. The government returned to one of the people, by the people, and for the people. Those privileged few who had seen and enjoyed it as a government of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite were not happy. They resisted change to their last breath.
Some things can’t be fixed. A world that had been used to dealing with a schizophrenic nation was not going to accept that things had really changed. America was a schizophrenic country. What else could one call it when its international policies changed from one election to the next, when treaties were empty promises, and when the nation pushed its amoral values upon all others? People had died at the whim of leaders who were out of control. People don’t forget those kinds of things.
Peter had brought about the Reset Manifesto. It had taken a life of its own and he sat back to watch it blossom. He made no overt attempt to affect the outcome other than launching the archangels to prevent the powerful from imposing the old order through force. A repressive dictatorial government had been a real possibility.
The problem Peter faced was on the international scene. The United States of America wasn’t the only country where the government had forgotten the purpose of government is to govern, not to enslave. The hackers of the world who had supported Peter in his campaign now called upon him to help them in freeing the citizens of other countries.
Peter could have just disappeared. It would have been quite easy. With only the exception of Alan Barton, his real world identity wasn’t known by those who were in the hacker elite. Yet, Peter wasn’t wired in a way that would allow him to walk away from a debt he owed others. When asked, he provided the information that was necessary to take down the rich and powerful who thought they were above the law.
Governments around the world crumbled. In some cases, it was more of a replacement of the people within the government. In other cases, it was the government itself that was replaced. It was a time of tribulation.
Bora Polat woke up in bed with two lovelies. He slapped them on the rear and told them to get out. He had to get ready for work. When they pouted, he went to his wallet and pulled out a couple of 100 Euro bills. He tossed the bills to them. They grabbed them, gathered their clothes, and dressed while fleeing the room. He laughed at them.
Still naked, he walked over to his computer and turned it on. It slowly booted up, which was unusual. His machine was normally very fast. He frowned while wondering if his machine had been infected with a virus. He was reaching for the keyboard when the screen blanked for a fraction of a second and then a message appeared.
Bora Polat, you are now banned from Internet. ArchAngelGabriel.
He stared the message incredulously. He was KamilGiray, one of the elite hackers in the world. No one was going to deny him the Internet.
He grabbed his cell phone and attempted to connect to the Internet using it. His phone connected, a message from ArchAngelGabriel appeared, he was informed that his data plan was canceled, and then his phone went dead. He stared at his cell phone. This couldn’t be happening to him. Obviously someone, maybe one of the two women who had been in bed with him, had gotten into his hardware. He’d have to correct the problem and then hunt down the person responsible.
Frustrated, he unplugged the Ethernet cable from his computer. He started examining the computer from top to bottom searching for whatever might have infected it. He started with a memory scan using one of his old standby tools. It found nothing. He scanned the disk. Again he found nothing. Maybe his tools had been corrupted. He rebooted using a different disk and reran the scans with different versions of his tools. Still nothing. He spent the next few hours focused on his computers.
The ringing of his telephone finally wrested his attention away from the computer. He answered it.
“Bora, what’s going on?”
“What are you talking about?”
“All of our money is inaccessible.”
“That can’t be.”
“I got a message from ArchAngelMichael saying that we are now denied access to our money. I’ve called everyone. No one can return my access to our money.”
“All of my computer accounts at the office of the bank are closed. I can’t access anything in the bank’s system. When they try to create a new account for me, the system rejects it.”
“No no no! This can’t be happening.”
Bora Polat was an unintended casualty of Peter’s strike to remove the slave owners. Was it an error? No. Bora had participated in the destruction of the Federal Reserve and in taking down a number of the other wealthy families, in order to solidify his family’s position at the top of the heap. The Polat family was about to discover what being impoverished really meant. It would be a long slow fall while they sold off every trinket they owned for cash. Anything that went through a bank disappeared.
A very strong cartel of people in a European country had watched the collapse of the powerful in the United States. Recognizing that their power was being threatened, they preemptively took over the government and put into place a puppet dictator. It was a reasonable response on their part to a perceived threat.
Peter received a request from one of the elite to meet in a game world where they could chat. Peter showed up on time to find HerrDoctorSpangler waiting for him. He knew the hacker by his old handle, BingleBerry.
SoulSearcher: What’s up?
HerrDoctorSpangler: I need help stopping the new government.
SoulSearcher: What’s happened?
Peter had to ask since he really hadn’t been following international events. The American press had not yet awakened to the fact that there was a world outside the country’s border. It would take a while before that happened.
HerrDoctorSpangler: You don’t know?
HerrDoctorSpangler: There was a coup. We now have a dictator.
SoulSearcher: How bad is it?
HerrDoctorSpangler: Private Internet cut off. Soldiers in the street.
SoulSearcher: How are you online?
HerrDoctorSpangler: I’m on a diplomatic computer.
SoulSearcher: Duck and cover for 72 hours
SoulSearcher: See you when it is over.
HerrDoctorSpangler: What are you going to do?
SoulSearcher: I’m going to slay the monster.
The two men went through the motions of slaying the game monster. It wasn’t long before it lay dead in the game world. They picked up the treasure and shared it.
Peter pulled up a script and made a few modifications to it. He double checked it and then executed it. He had just created a file containing the MAC addresses of every machine used by that government. With a few more keystrokes he launched his attack. Peter torpedoed a government. Every government machine with a CPU and Ethernet connectivity turned into a brick including computers, printers, cell phones, telephones, cars, airplanes, GPS, sensors, and traffic lights. The entire government was dead. It could do nothing. His software hit the network time clock and machines started failing. It took 7.5 minutes to shut down a nation that was an international nuclear power.
SoulSearcher: See you in three days.
HerrDoctorSpangler: What did you do?
SoulSearcher: I shut the government down.
Peter sat back. HerrDoctorSpangler disappeared from the game world when the computer he was on stopped working. The connection had been lost. SoulSearcher had just gained a reputation.
Peter logged out of the game world. Rather than leaving directly, his avatar was directed to a hidden area.
ArchAngelMichael: Hello Peter.
Peter: I didn’t expect you to contact me.
ArchAngelMichael: You just shut down a government.
Peter: Yes, I did. It had to be done.
ArchAngelMichael: Will we have to remove your access to the Internet?
There was a long silence. It was obviously not the answer ArchAngelMichael had expected.
ArchAngelMichael: I expected a denial.
Peter: You are the judge over who has power and is misusing it. Not me.
There was a long silence.
ArchAngelMichael: You did what we should have done.
There was nothing further sent. Peter had wondered if the ArchAngels would turn on him. The game world disappeared.
When the computers resumed working three days later, the country had a completely new government. The computers used within the government may have gone down, but the computers that were accessible to the general population had remained up. In three days, it was easy for one informed group to push out the group that was kept in ignorance of what was happening.
Peter and Rebecca chose to fish from the river bank rather than the boat, feeling it was safer than taking George out into a boat at his young age. They spent a nice day fishing, catching only three fish the whole time. Mary had sat there like a third wheel taking the moment to enjoy the fresh air.
George had spent most of the day in the carry sling, the time wearing the sling had been equally shared between Peter and Rebecca. When he wasn’t in that, George was resting in a nice covered portable crib. He had fussed, gurgled, cooed, and cried through the day, expressing the common range of emotions of an infant demanding a little attention, to be left alone, to feed, to sleep, and to have a diaper changed. It was a pleasant day.
There had been a little interruption to the day when an elderly couple stopped by to chat for a while. Much to her surprise, Mary had ended up doing most of the talking since Peter and Rebecca had suddenly gotten involved in making a change to their fishing gear. They had mentioned something about the fish not biting the lures they were using.
An hour later, Mary was pleased and surprised to learn that she had been offered a part-time position in a local medical practice. She had not been warned that the discussion with the couple had actually been a job interview. The job came at a good time. Peter and Rebecca were acting much more independent with the baby and her job was winding down.
She was of the opinion that they were careful parents and weren’t going too overboard. They were good parents despite having hired her out of their fear that they would be incompetent as parents. They were willing to let George crawl on the floor. Many new mothers wouldn’t let their babies on the floor without a freshly washed blanket between the baby and the floor. George was put down on the carpet and allowed to experience his surroundings to the extent possible. Mary was of the school which felt that over protection from the elements of the environment produced children susceptible to allergies. Immune systems required a certain amount of testing to strengthen. Living in a sterile environment produced immune systems susceptible to allergies and illnesses.
George went through all of the immunizations. Peter’s investigation into medical literature had dismissed the claims that the shots caused autism. There was a major genetic component to it, which it appeared George was likely to inherit from both Peter and Rebecca. They were both mild cases of Asperger’s Syndrome. It was that touch of autism which gave their relationship a sense of unreality to others around them. Fortunately, George seemed to have missed inheriting it.
Mary stayed with them the full six months they had contracted her for, but the last few months were spent more at the clinic than the house. She moved out of the house and into an apartment, keeping the position she had found while working for them. Peter and Rebecca were pleased that, Mary, George’s primary-care medical person, took special care in treating him. After all, that had been part of the plan.
Peter went into this office every day to take care of business. Initially, the majority of business had to do with helping other hackers solve problems in other countries. As time went by, his time focused more on identifying products to sell over the Internet and actually making the sales. It was never a great business that would grow to compete with the big boys, but it did provide sufficient cover for his political and social activities.
Most of his income derived from investments he had made while engaged in the war with the power elite. There was enough money stuck away in accounts all around the world that he would never have to worry about income unless the ArchAngels decided that he was abusing his power. He had done exactly what the powerful had done, converted worthless money into real items of value before all of the political changes occurred. The transactions were enough to make him rich, though not one of the super wealthy. He used the money to live comfortably, support good causes, and to pave the way for George’s future.
George grew up unaware that his father was powerful. While it was true that people treated Peter with respect, they didn’t fawn all over him like they did with other influential people. George wasn’t aware that his father was comfortably rich. After all, he had an average allowance that was like all the other kids around him. It really was an average allowance. It had been determined by Peter averaging the allowances being given children George’s age from around the country.
Because of his parents care in shielding him from their wealth and power, George grew up thinking and acting like a typical average local kid. It was true that the quality of teachers at the school were a bit better than the national average; that the parks were kept in immaculate shape; and that the local government was very dedicated to keeping the infrastructure of the town in good shape. Still, he didn’t know that those things were unusual.