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My melodramatic crap. (language) (1 Viewer)

Topper88

Senior Member
Dark, overly melodramatic stuff is all that seems to spring into my head. It's like high school all over again. Forgive the odd format, I wrote this in about 30 minutes and just now finished it. I can't be sure why I only wrote the dialog without any action; If I decide that I like it I may edit it later.

EDIT: I forgot to mention in the thread title that this contains swearing. Whoops.


Agent: Mister Nine, we know that you are a member of the terrorist group of hackers “Oh One”. Your hard drive gave us all the evidence we needed to confirm it. You’re therefore an accomplice in a possible murder, which means you could be looking at life. But, if you play nice, we'll make sure your sentence is reduced. We need everything you know about the disappearance of Ashley King. We need everything you know about this “underbelly” of the internet.


Nine: Do you use Google?


Agent: If you’re just going to make jokes I’ll send you back to your cell.


Nine: No, really, when you want to search for something on the internet, what engine do you use?


Agent: Google.


Nine: How many pages of search results do you look through?


Agent: Ah… I just look at the front page.


Nine: So does everyone, mostly. The front page has everything you need, right? Why look further? All the other pages are for websites that aren’t relevant or aren’t smart enough to abuse keywords. Page two and beyond are for the nobodies, the unimportant, and the unknown. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and all them are the safe village where everyone lives. Everything else is the dark, spooky woods where monsters live.


Agent: Monsters, huh?


Nine: Oh yeah.


Agent: Unless you’re trying to tell me that the location of Ms. King is on page two of a Google search of her name, we’re done here.


Nine: Do you know how many people go missing every day in this country and are never found?


Agent: No.


Nine: Around a thousand.


Agent: Hmm. You trying to tell me I’m bad at my job?


Nine: Of course not. You guys do great work considering you’re hopelessly outnumbered.


Agent: Excuse me?


Nine: The internet underbelly has everything nobody cares about and everything no one wants to know about. If you look far past the village, you’ll find unimportant bloggers, company websites who picked the cheapest webmaster they could find, and porn…a lot of porn. Go a little further, and you’ll find conspiracy nuts, hackers…losers, mostly. Further than that is for sadists, masochists and pedophiles, and all their porn, of course. All of that is nothing compared to the real freaks on the net though. Killers who post pictures of their “art”. Terrorists finding new friends who work in secure buildings and can let them inside. Message boards where serial rapists discuss their exploits. People who get off to videos of little kids getting their intestines pulled out of them while they’re still alive.


Agent: You’re full of shit. There’s no way those kinds of things could exist for any amount of time without someone blowing the whistle on them.


Nine: There’s over six hundred million websites active right now. Twice the amount of people in the US. You really expect to find them all? How many people go missing in the US without a trace, again?


Agent: It’s still not possible.


Nine: Not possible? Three hundred thousand people a year are taken and are never seen again. In the 80’s it was only seventy-five thousand. What was the most significant worldwide change in the past two decades, Einstein? I’ll give you three fucking guesses. Hey, do you want to know where those three hundred thousand people go every year? Spoiler alert! They’re dead. The real murder rate is about twenty times higher than you all want to believe.


Agent: Get to the god damned point.


Nine: My point? The woods are a dark and spooky place. Don’t go in or you’ll be gobbled up by a big bad wolf.


Agent: I’m going to ask you one more time, and if you don’t give me a straight answer, I swear to God that you’ll never see the light of day again. Do you know what happened to Ashley King?


Nine: Of course I do. I saw her video.
 
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lasm

WF Veterans
Hi Topster,

First off, this isn't all that melodramatic and it isn't crap. Not sure what it's supposed to be, like a script or a novel or what, since all we have is dialogue. And as dialogue it flows pretty naturally and it's interesting. No grammatical problems. Nine gets a bit long-winded in some of the longer parts.

That said, I never like it when characters are shown to be stupid or bad at what they do. Like this Agent. You're asking me to believe that someone who (I gather) has some kind of training in locating missing persons is less capable than Nine, who is... I don't know who s/he is. Especially when the implication is that the answer is out there on the internet, this makes the Agent seem incompetent. I have trouble buying that, unless Nine has even more specialized training than the Agent does, and that better be enough to justify the attitude or s/he'll sound like a bit of a jerk. So maybe what this suffers from most is that it's just a dialogue, and I need context: some scene setting, some background info. I don't know who these people are.

Second, and this is kind of a pet peeve of mine, something I had smacked into me in writing classes--never run down your own work. I mean, look at it objectively, admit it's got weaknesses, but don't do the whole "Oh here's this sucky thing I wrote, gosh it's crap" dance. People might believe you, for one thing. But for another, it's almost always a little disingenuous because if you really thought this were bad, you wouldn't post it.
 

Topper88

Senior Member
Thanks very much, lasm. To start, I don't think it's bad. I was actually in a weird sort of frenzy as I wrote it and am excited to have it critiqued. I think it's melodramatic, compared to what I usually write at least, and I used "crap" as a reference to that. Yeah, I'm not sure I understand either.

You're absolutely right about the Agent being too incompetent. There's no way a professional investigator would be that oblivious to what Nine is talking about. If/when I edit it I'll change the character into a friend of Ashley's or something.

I'll add some context if I discover an interesting story in here besides some generic kidnapping mystery. I'll mull over the possibilities.
 
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Raz

Senior Member
Hey Topster, I thought your writing was very interesting, I don’t think is melodramatic either and I found enjoyable Nine as a character, making it only dialogue made it free to imagination in order to recreate the characters, there’s no grammatical errors that I’ve noticed and the plot was well structured.

What I did felt was that the agent was swallowed by Nine, not only in dialogue but in character also, maybe a little bit of background on the characters could have helped, and also there seems to be a missing piece in the character of Ashley, even though she is the center of the conversation the only thing we know about her is that she is missing.

I haven’t read any other of your works but you got me interested with this one, if you ever decide to expand or give a bit more time to this work I’ll be more than glad to read it.
 

WechtleinUns

Senior Member
Hi, Topster. The dialogue here is great, and there's a lot of tension between the two. In truth, the agent here only serves as a foil for the melodramatic hubris of the "hacker", who seems more interested in expounding some sort of hacker world-view and giving speeches than in any real cooperation with the agent. As such, the agent's main purpose seems to be as a contrast to this worldly hacker who knows everything and all the seedy-underbelly operations, and what not.

Overall, I would say that this piece of fiction would work better as a screenplay or a speech than as an actual piece of prose fiction. However, there are some things that I feel I should mention, should you pursue this work further. First, I am somewhat competent with computers. I am by no means an 31337, but I do know some things about internet security and protocols.

First, assuming this agent is working for the FBI, he probably would not be using Google as a tool to solve a missing person's case, or at least not the public interface. Google provides access to its information database to legal authorities when under subpoena, and actively cooperates with the FBI in such cases. This means that federal law enforcement has a much better interface and access to google data than you would expect.

In any case, it's a moot point, because cyber criminals do not use Google either, or when they do, they do so under assumed names and from behind multiple proxy networks. Other methods include using "secured" search engines, meta-search engines, and custom spyder-scripts, all of which Google has no control over, nor ability to monitor.

But even that is a moot point, because the FBI also uses raw IP/TCP Sniffers to extract data directly from the stream. Therefore, unencrypted data is easily picked up by Federal Networks and used to maximize leverage. Some criminal networks use IP Tunneling w/high level encryption to create virtual networks that are not accessible through top-level DNS(this is a bit of a fib, but the real explanation would require more depth that is required. ;) ). In any case, private virtual networks like these tend to attract the attention of the Fed's anyway, because if you have something to hide, you'll be hiding it on one of those babies. And while the Fed's can read the encrypted IP/TCP stream from these Nets, without a complete list of network keys and signatures, the data is useless to them.

But they do know where to look.Cyber crime is not nearly as anarchic as you might think. It is actually quite organized, with Dons reigning over their own respective syndicates, and everyone competing over territory and virtual turf wars. This is important, because the true cyber-criminals are not some freaks that kidnap young girls, molest them, and butcher them. I will admit, such individuals exist, and such individuals do make the mistake of posting sickening shit online. These guys are on the bottom of the food chain, and are usually not very mentally stable.

The real criminals are highly intelligent, and often exist and work within current existing legal frameworks. They know how to get around the law, because they are good at understanding systems of rules. The Internet really is just one big tangle of protocols, rules, and systems that the computer criminal is very comfortable at dealing with and navigating through. Many former cyber criminals become Federal Cyber security agents themselves. Many Cyber criminals are former Federal Security Agents.

I apologize for the long post, but I don't really identify with the kind of romantic grandstanding that hacker organizations like Anonymous propagate to the public. Anonymous knows its stuff, and is very media-savy. Literary writers or writers of fiction often take the surface impressions propagated by Anonymous and such and run with it, creating very creepy sounding, Orwellian landscapes. I won't deny the Orwellian aspects of American Society, but the truth--as it always seems to be--is somewhat more complicated than what meets the eye.
 

Topper88

Senior Member
Thanks Raz, I agree that the Agent is completely overshadowed by Nine. I'm going to think of what he can add to the scene, since now it's just sort of Nine giving a speech. I admit I haven't given Ashley's character any thought at all, though I don't know if exploring her character in this scene would make the scene better. If I actually make this into a story I would of course flesh her out, but this scene doesn't feel like the place to do it.

And thanks, WechtleinUns. I realize now that I misrepresented the Agent's knowledge of criminal activity online, and that he should aware of what Nine is talking about in his rant. However, the thesis of Nine's spiel is that there is such an overwhelming amount of activity on the internet that it would be nigh impossible to identify and eliminate all the wackos on there, no matter how sophisticated the law's techniques are. The reason he brings up the amount of disappearances per day is to illustrate how much crime goes on that the police are completely helpless to stop (and that presumably the proliferation of the internet is responsible for most of it). That if the police can't stop 300,000 people from vanishing every year, what hope would they have against faceless, almost intangible crimes online?

And Nine didn't actually mean that you could find all this stuff in a Google search. That part was to illustrate how much of the internet is virtually unknown to most people. Google is a very familiar symbol that a lot of people are familiar with, and I thought that pointing out just how much you don't know about what comes up when you search for something is a disturbing concept. I should probably make that more clear, because as you made clear, the more internet-savvy of readers would notice that mistake.

As for working better as a screenplay or speech, absolutely. The inspiration for it came from after I watched the movie Smiley, which was a pretty disappointing attempt at using the internet as an engine for horror. It seemed like it was written by someone who was aware of the freaky stuff on the net, but wasn't experienced enough to make it believable. Basically, this is a conversation that I thought should have been in the movie.

Lastly, I'm aware that I'm exaggerating the subject matter quite a bit. But then, I've never seen a horror movie that claimed to be based on actual events that remained true to the aforementioned events.
 
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It actually got to me considering I too am an entity of the internet (not a robot) and I know what goes on in these here woods

I honestly thought the Dialogue was natural, "Nine" was hipster and internet smart while the Agent was stiff and hardened.

My problem came across when I found the Agent was somewhat of a fool who didn't get the point I got 3 lines ago, not sure if he's professional or not but yea it bothered me he didn't get it. While I don't believe it was intentional it made the character someone I don't like which is fine because people like the "agent" do exist and I want to hit them with a baseball bat too
 

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