Littler Brother 2
I was really proud of it. It had been so cool, to have all these big-shot journos show up in the game, to have them listen to me and to have them listen to all the people who believed in the same things as me.
I dropped off with a smile on my lips.#I should have known better.XNET LEADER: I COULD GET METAL ONTO AN AIRPLANEDHS DOESN'T HAVE MY CONSENT TO GOVERNXNET KIDS: USA OUT OF SAN FRANCISCOThose were the good headlines.
Everyone sent me the articles to blog, but it was the last thing I wanted to do.I'd blown it, somehow. The press had come to my press-conference and concluded that we were terrorists or terrorist dupes.
The worst was the reporter on Fox News, who had apparently shown up anyway, and who devoted a ten-minute commentary to us, talking about our "criminal treason." Her killer line, repeated on every news-outlet I found, was:"They say they don't have a name.
I've got one for them. Let's call these spoiled children Cal-Quaeda.
They do the terrorists' work on the home front. When — not if, but when — California gets attacked again, these brats will be as much to blame as the House of Saud."Leaders of the anti-war movement denounced us as fringe elements.
One guy went on TV to say that he believed we had been fabricated by the DHS to discredit them.The DHS had their own press-conference announcing that they would double the security in San Francisco.
They held up an arphid cloner they'd found somewhere and demonstrated it in action, using it to stage a car-theft, and warned everyone to be on their alert for young people behaving suspiciously, especially those whose hands were out of sight.They weren't kidding.
I finished my Kerouac paper and started in on a paper about the Summer of Love, the summer of 1967 when the anti-war movement and the hippies converged on San Francisco.
The guys who founded Ben and Jerry's — old hippies themselves — had founded a hippie museum in the Haight, and there were other archives and exhibits to see around town.But it wasn't easy getting around.
By the end of the week, I was getting frisked an average of four times a day. Cops checked my ID and questioned me about why I was out in the street, carefully eyeballing the letter from Chavez saying that I was suspended.I got lucky.
No one arrested me. But the rest of the Xnet weren't so lucky.
Every night the DHS announced more arrests, "ringleaders" and "operatives" of Xnet, people I didn't know and had never heard of, paraded on TV along with the arphid sniffers and other devices that had been in their pockets.
They announced that the people were "naming names," compromising the "Xnet network" and that more arrests were expected soon. The name "M1k3y" was often heard.Dad loved this.
He and I watched the news together, him gloating, me shrinking away, quietly freaking out. "You should see the stuff they're going to use on these kids," Dad said.
"I've seen it in action. They'll get a couple of these kids and check out their friends lists on IM and the speed-dials on their phones, look for names that come up over and over, look for patterns, bringing in more kids.
They're going to unravel them like an old sweater."I canceled Ange's dinner at our place and started spending even more time there. Ange's little sister Tina started to call me "the house-guest," as in "is the house-guest eating dinner with me tonight?" I liked Tina.
All she cared about was going out and partying and meeting guys, but she was funny and utterly devoted to Ange. One night as we were doing the dishes, she dried her hands and said, conversationally, "You know, you seem like a nice guy, Marcus.
My sister's just crazy about you and I like you too. But I have to tell you something: if you break her heart, I will track you down and pull your scrotum over your head.
It's not a pretty sight."I assured her that I would sooner pull my own scrotum over my head than break Ange's heart and she nodded. "So long as we're clear on that.""Your sister is a nut," I said as we lay on Ange's bed again, looking at Xnet blogs.
That is pretty much all we did: fool around and read Xnet."Did she use the scrotum line on you? I hate it when she does that. She just loves the word 'scrotum,' you know.
It's nothing personal."I kissed her. We read some more."Listen to this," she said.
"Police project four to six hundred arrests this weekend in what they say will be the largest coordinated raid on Xnet dissidents to date."I felt like throwing up."We've got to stop this," I said.
"You know there are people who are doing more jamming to show that they're not intimidated? Isn't that just crazy?""I think it's brave," she said. "We can't let them scare us into submission.""What? No, Ange, no.
We can't let hundreds of people go to jail. You haven't been there.
I have. It's worse than you think.
It's worse than you can imagine.""I have a pretty fertile imagination," she said."Stop it, OK? Be serious for a second. I won't do this.
I won't send those people to jail. If I do, I'm the guy that Van thinks I am.""Marcus, I'm being serious.
You think that these people don't know they could go to jail? They believe in the cause. You believe in it too.
Give them the credit to know what they're getting into. It's not up to you to decide what risks they can or can't take.""It's my responsibility because if I tell them to stop, they'll stop.""I thought you weren't the leader?""I'm not, of course I'm not.
But I can't help it if they look to me for guidance. And so long as they do, I have a responsibility to help them stay safe.
You see that, right?""All I see is you getting ready to cut and run at the first sign of trouble. I think you're afraid they're going to figure out who you are.
I think you're afraid for you.""That's not fair," I said, sitting up, pulling away from her."Really? Who's the guy who nearly had a heart attack when he thought that his secret identity was out?""That was different," I said.