• majoki

Hacking Heaven

Moraton Drax was a veritable Tower of Babel, piling his bullshit so high that it was bound to get the attention of the internet almighty. In fact, Drax seemed to relish the beat down from on high that was most certainly coming. The foreknowledge of being smitten by those he had once worshipped apparently filled him with uncharacteristic glee.

He did a funky jig, as I stood before him in his basement that was part computer temple, part electronics graveyard. Motherboards, cabling, drives, fans, casings were sculpted in mysterious formations, channels and conduits, like Angkor Wat fashioned from molded plastic, copper, aluminum and silicon. And in the middle of it, Drax danced his smug little dance.

“I did it. I did it.” Left, left, right. “I did it. I did it.” Right, right, left. “I’m in. I’m in. I’m in.” One hand up, two hands up, sprinkle fingers down.

“That’s great, Drax. And only you know what you're talking about, unless you got admitted to the Fairhaven Psych Ward.”

Left, left, right. “Better. Much better.” Right, right, left. “I got in. In in.”

I knew enough of Drax’s mania to be patient, though I had the premonition this would end like so many of his episodes in my calling Father Tombridge, his parish priest whom Drax simultaneously dreaded and depended upon.

High kick. Left, right, left, right, left, right. “In in in in in.”

He twirled twice and stopped, glittering beads of sweat collecting at his receding hairline. He wiped the back of his hand across his high forehead. “Genius is hard work. But it’s all paid off. I’m set now. I’m in.”

“Yes,” I soothed. “You’ve told me that about a dozen times. Where’d you get in?”

Drax went rigid and backed up two steps almost knocking over an arching stack of softly glowing components. “Why do you want to know?”

I knew his paranoia pose, too. One hint that you were angling to snatch one of Drax’s secrets, which were legion, would clam him up. I’d found the best approach was to be honest. “I want to steal your secrets and ruin you.” This was true, but not in the way either of us understood.

Drax’s eyes darted to his desk where his notebooks lay open, his thick, cryptic strokes like neo-cuneiform. His brow loosened and his long-fingered hands danced up in front him. “Of course. Of course. Let me show you.”

He guided me over to a phalanx of sleeping monitors above his desk. With an abracadabra wave to unlock them, Drax awakened the panels which resolved into clusters of source code denser than the center of the Milky Way. Ultra cryptic. Granted, I was not a hotshot coder, but I knew my way around most programming languages. This was not even recognizable nomenclature. It was like a Latinist trying to make sense of the clicks and glottal stops of a Kalahari bushman.

I don’t think my jaw dropped, but Drax’s smirk told me that he was pleased by my shock. I couldn’t feign cool disinterest any longer. “What am I looking at?”

“Heaven.”

“What?”

“Heaven. You’re looking at heaven. I hacked it. I’m in.”

I couldn’t go there with Drax. I had to believe he was talking about a hacker’s Grail, like finessing his way into Google or Alibaba. These were the web gods he had once worshipped and now railed against and antagonized with his never-ending flame posts and spam-bot attacks. His tirades and manifestos on digital self-determination, on neuro-wired free will, on panopticonless privacy were infamous on both sides of the net neutrality firewall. A self-proclaimed techgnostic, Drax was a first-class prophet and crank. In both cases, extremely dangerous.

I wanted to believe Drax was speaking in terms of a metaphoric heaven. That he had bashed or bumbled his way into one of the titans of internet commerce. Granted, he could do harm there—real damage—but, I might be able to mitigate that. His demeanor, his jig, his incomprehensible code told me that would be futile.

With a terrible sense of a coming reckoning, I asked, “You got past the Pearly Gates?”

“Right into the Almighty’s source code. His boot files.”

“How?”

“Let's just say ’The 9 Billion Names of God’ is not a very secure password,” Drax offered matter-of-factly.

I attacked his certainty. “Whoa. Let’s back up. Why does Heaven have a password? It’s not a website. And though my catechism may be out of date, I still believe God is considered omniscient and omnipotent which would seem to trump any need for broadband connectivity.”

Drax’s long fingers danced a jig close to his chest. “You are thinking too prosaically. The internet is not our doing, any more than the earth or galaxy is. We arose within it. We are the stuff of stars and not just hydrogen and heavy elements. At its core, we are information, the ability to access, manipulate and transmit datum. That is being: transactional substantiation. And,” Drax paused as his fingers performed a tricky entrechat, “the Supreme Being is the sysop for all creation. Now, I know the back-door code.”

“Not possible.”

He waved away the phrase as if it were a pesky gnat. “No longer in my lexicon. Come, you must see.”

“Heaven?”

“Eventually. But right now we’ve got to go through the back door…actually more of a trap door.”

“What do you mean?”

Drax swiped at his screens in a cruciform motion and the room went dark. “We gotta go through Hell first.”

My eyes bled as we were ravaged by lolcats.


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