Double release since some complained about release speed and cliffhangers
I pinned the badge on my shirt before grabbing the case file. I had no reason to suspect that the victim was a prior awakened just because the First Evil murdered him. Just a hunch… As the ADA(Assistant District Attorney) had discovered, the victim quit his company around the time he added the First Evil as a friend on his internet messenger.
The ISP(Internet Service Provider) had given the prosecution that much information, and as most Americans had done so, he had used Gold Online(GOL) to access the internet and an online messenger program. (EN: Yep, AOL.)
After walking into Jonathan’s office, I could see the GOL logo on Jonathan’s ADSL(Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) modem in his office. He walked in with a harried expression on his face. (EN: ADSL was the fastest way to access the internet at this point in time.)
“I haven’t even been able to go to the bathroom. What have you been doing? Your face is a mess.”
“I need to know how many GOL shares you bought, the total shares that Jonathan Group holds. You started buying, right?”
“Those are the first words out of your mouth?”
Jonathan was thinking about GOL’s announcement that it would buy a web browser firm, as the most likely reason for my visit. Web browsers had been considered the basis of the internet revolution. Before the biggest Operating System manufacturer started placing their own, proprietary web browser in its OS, the firm GOL was buying had ranked first. GOL was planning to buy that firm using up to ten billion dollars.
“It’s important, Jonathan.”
My answer was short, and the papers Jonathan had asked for came. The Jonathan Group had bought a total of 9% in Gold Online shares in a week. It was quite a high number, and there would be articles while GOL’s stock prices fluctuated.
“Brian Kim is buying them aggressively. I’m thinking of making him our CIO. What do you think?”
“Right. The board members think they have authority but will know now. Those [email protected]@rds.”
“Stop right there. How much more until we become the majority?”
“14%. Are you thinking of intervening in their management? You can act with what we have.”
“Until then, give me a business card with an appropriate title.”
“Do you want me to stop Brian? If you think this might be the wrong thing to do…”
“No. Buy every share on the market.”
GOL was on the special list I had given Jonathan.
“Do you have the time to focus on just one thing? What’s making you do this?”
“GOL will lead the dotcom boom. Aside from that, I just want to check on a small murder.”
The man was GOL’s joint CEO and CFO, and while there had been other board members present, I requested a meeting alone with him. We smiled and shook hands, and now there were only the two of us.
“Do you want to read it?”
The Executive Boardroom was set up for a visit from a major shareholder, and the report they had given me was about the web browser buy-out. He would think I had come for that, as there was no other conceivable reason for my sudden visit. I scanned the documents, then put the report down.
“I think this will be fruitful.”
“Then, what’s the problem? We have 40 million users on our content channel and we own 60% of the North American internet dialup ISPs. There’s no other reason…”
“I learned of a murder case in the New York suburbs, and you probably know about it.”
“It would be poisonous if it’s connected to us. Especially if the media gets a hold of it…”
“It was unlucky, but not all things were negative after that case. Because we were able to publicly limit the scope of their subpoena, the public perception is that it takes extraordinary effort by the office of the District Attorney for us to release confidential account information. We have increased the number of subscribers, and GOL messenger is even more popular than ever.”
I let the man make his pre-prepared excuses.
“The case was too small to give activists a chance to push for legislation to restrict our services, and anyway the man was found innocent.”
Now it was my turn to speak.
“It was a first-degree murder case, and the crime was particularly brutal despite the suspect being only thirteen. The victim died in a particularly gruesome and horrific way.”
I took out the case file, and the man received the confidential documents like it was an office memo. Only his brow furrowed a little at the harsh pictures.
“If the user ‘Adversity_Man’ commits another crime, the repercussions will be massive if he uses the same ID and the same brutal methods for his next victim.”
“Then, Congress will pass restrictive legislations, and we do not need those kinds of losses.”
The man looked uncomfortable, and I had been waiting for that expression. The man spoke.
“The case is finished in court. The boy was found innocent, and restricting him could cause massive problems if he goes public to protest. It won’t end just by erasing the account and cutting him off, as you well know.”
“I want two things.”
“I want the complete chat log if he accesses GOL messenger with the same ID in the future.”
“I want to see his complete relevant account information.”
“What do you mean by relevant?”
“Details of his account, chat records, list of his friend accounts, and the chat records on each account he friended.”
“How will you use the information?”
“I will hand them over to our private investigators who will focus only on preventing another case in secret.”
The man was silent for a while, but the game was decided when he realized he was in no position to refuse from the beginning.
“I agree, even though this was unexpected. I’m grateful for the Jonathan group’s foresight in taking care of even potential future problems.”
“It’s to protect my group’s assets and nothing else.”
“Jonathan ordered this?”
“I am optimistic about the Jonathan Group’s future.”
“I think I will go and start an account there.”
We shook hands and he told me he would send someone from IT. GOL’s head programmer came in and used his laptop to show me the information I requested. Credit card, IP address, registered email address, login history, and chat records.
Then, it was the friends list, and there were two more friends other than the victim. The printer became busy.
The below is the ominous chat records between the First Evil and others.
- [Room Name: Those with Strength class higher than F welcome]
-m.cop has entered the room.
-adversity_man: I’ll remove you from the room.
-m.cop: Introduce yourself.
-adversity_man: I’ll remove you from the room.
-m.cop: By Strength class, do you mean how much we can bench press?
-adversity_man: No, I mean status window.
-m.cop: HOW DID YOU KNOW?
-adversity_man: Speak. I know that you’re surprised. I am too and just wanted to learn whether there are people like me. I’m Kenneth, 19, from LA. How about you?
-m.cop: Haven’t you thought that we were crazy? How do you bear this?
-adversity_man: Shall we meet?
-m.cop has left the room.
- [Room Name: Those with Strength and Stamina classes higher than F welcome]
-black eye has entered the room.
-black eye: Hi. Who and where?
-adversity_man: Philip, 25 from Manhattan. You?
-black eye: Are you a health trainer?
-adversity_man: No, someone with supernatural abilities. LOL
-black eye: That’s sweet.
-black eye: I also live in New York, am younger than you, and work in a bookstore.
-adversity_man: Have you seen the room name? I’m looking for someone specific.
-black eye: I am too. That’s why I’m confused. Do you see it?
-adversity_man: Status window?
-black eye: OMG!
-adversity_man: I want to introduce you to a group of people like us who have the same problem despite us being all different. I am proud to be a member, and if you’re interested, send me a message.
- [Room Name: Those with Strength, Agility, and Stamina classes higher than F welcome]
-red ship has entered the room.
-red ship: Hi. I like the room name. Are you looking for TRPG members? (EN: Tabletop Role Playing Game.)
-adversity_man: Well, why do you like it?
-red ship: It’s interesting. Is your Strength F class, too?
-red ship: That means we’re playing the same game, and that’s amazing.
-adversity_man: How did you manage until now?
-red ship: I’ve been looking for more people like me. We are playing the same game. I am SO happy!
-adversity_man: Shall we meet?
-red ship: I’ll be there. Where?
Edited by Userunfriendly