Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fancy another excerpt from my book?

Here goes...



The brief moment of complete recall had unlocked something in the deepest parts of my brain. It had opened up an area of memory that I never knew existed. Now that I could access it again, it horrified me.
Apart from the dozens upon dozens of tests that had been carried out on me, there was one incredible and terrifying experiment that had not only changed my appearance, my thoughts and wants, but also my ability to communicate. I was dreading what I was about to reveal as I delved deeper into the innermost recesses of my brain. It was too horrific to contemplate, but I had to do it, since it was fundamental to why I was what I was now.
I closed my eyes in the hope it would help me to remember the operation that had been carried out on me. More flashes of past events flickered across my mind's eye, briefly unveiling what had happened.
I saw two people leaning over me. Every few moments they changed the instruments they used, putting one down and picking up another.
Even though the memories came back only in short bursts lasting a fraction of a split second, they seemed to form a sequence, like the thousands of film cells, which when put together, created the illusion of movement.
In the short space of time I remembered what they had done. The operation they had carried out on me. That it involved transplanting my memory from my former human self into the brain of a rabbit and then reprogramming the basic instincts from that of a human to that of a rabbit.
I was still able to think like a human, but instead of wanting to slouch on a comfortable sofa I preferred to lie in the grass; instead of eating a delicious mixed salad, I now much rather ate fresh grass and roots; instead of relaxing with a nice book, I was happy to run round and jump into the air; and instead of having a nice, warm bath, I loved licking my pelt and getting it shiny and smelling of me.
It all sounded absurd, like the fantasies of a mad science-fiction author or the delusions of a deranged mind – but my memories were unmistakable. I once had been a man – and now I was a rodent.
They had successfully reprogrammed me, but somehow I didn’t feel comfortable in the body that I now occupied. The mere thought of what they had done to me sent shivers down my spine, and it was unbearable to imagine that I would be like this for the rest of my life, with the memory of what I once was eating away at me. I had to undo this somehow – I had to get back into my human body... somehow.
The only problem was, how to go about it. As a rabbit I didn’t have a lot of options. I couldn't to speak and I couldn’t think of another way of communicating. And even if I did find a way to make myself understood, there was nobody around here to approach. The situation seemed hopeless.

I decided to get up and make my way back to my burrow. I suddenly started to feel uncomfortable being out in the open like this. I wanted to get back to my new home and lie down. I needed some time in my shelter and collect my thoughts. I knew I had found ways out of impossible situations before and I was hoping I would be able to do it again. Yet I had never encountered anything this bad, so my confidence wasn’t particularly high – but I had to think positively and not give up hope.
I slowly hopped over the grass and headed for the closest entrance to my burrow. The area was still completely calm – no movement whatsoever. After a few more hops I slipped through the access hole and squeezed through the narrow tunnel to my main nest.
It was dark and damp, but also warm and cosy. I felt a lot more comfortable here. It was a place where I had control over what was happening, a place of safety. It was my new home until I figured out a way to become my original self again.

I must have lain in my burrow for a long time, trying to come up with options, ideas or anything, but it seemed useless. Whatever plan I imagined always required me to somehow communicate with someone.
I had to approach this from a different angle. I had to find out where I was, so that I could establish whether there was anybody around. Once I had found that out, I could try and find a way to communicate with them. I was trying too hard and was too many steps ahead of myself. I had to take this a step at a time. That way the situation wouldn’t look as hopeless as it did now.
I smiled to myself – as far as that was possible as a rabbit. I decided to crawl out of my burrow and explore the area more. I had a feeling that I had to make my way through the forest to find a village or town or some other kind of settlement – maybe even just a farm.

When I got out of my burrow, the sun was starting to set. I knew that no other animals were about – or at least I was very sure that there weren’t – but my instincts still told me that night-time wasn’t the best time to be out and about. I was starting to consider postponing my trip until the next morning, but the urge to return to my original self was so strong that I threw out any worries.
I slowly made some cautious hops towards the forest, always listening for noises that might indicate danger, and occasionally standing up on my hind paws and having a good look around to check that there was no danger. The closer I got to the forest, the more confident I became.
Yet, as I arrived at the border to the dark forest and saw the tall, old trees towering above me, I started to get worried. Although the glade had been completely deserted, I couldn’t be sure the forest would be the same. My instincts told me that there would be plenty of nocturnal creatures, most of which were after small prey like myself.
I decided to stop for a moment. I knew what my instincts were telling me, but I also knew that those instincts were that of a rabbit – and not of a human being. Maybe my instincts had been planted into me to ensure that I never escaped the dell and never attempted to make contact with humans. Yet a rabbit travelling through a forest was faced with completely different dangers to those of a human.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t be certain which of my emotions were real and which ones were implanted, so I decided not to ignore my instincts completely and proceed on my journey with care. After all, I had no chance of making contact with anybody if I got swooped up by an owl and ripped to pieces.

I took a deep breath, got up on my hind paws and had another good look around. Then, while still upright, I swivelled my ears forward and listened into the forest to try and make out what was going on inside, if anything. I could only hear the wind which was blowing through the branches of immense trees and made them groan as they swayed from side to side – but nothing else.
I got down on all fours and made a few cautious hops into the forest. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but that was virtually impossible. Inevitably a small twig would snap under my feet, and as I squeezed through the undergrowth there was an audible rustle. I tried to ignore the thought that dozens of eyes were following my every step and were just waiting for the right moment to pounce.

I had travelled quite a distance as the sunlight started to fade. I thought it would be wise to find a safe resting place for the night. I didn’t want to be on the move at the same time as potential predators. I found a nice, small, thorny shrub, and squeezed myself underneath, where there was lovely soft moss, which was going to be an ideal pillow for a good night’s rest. I knew I wouldn’t sleep deeply, my subconscious always listening for potential danger, but at least I would sleep better here than out in the open forest.
Before I lay down to sleep, I gave myself a good clean. My fur had picked up various twigs, leaves, spines and other material and I carefully removed all of them one by one with my mouth. Then I licked my coat until it was nice and shiny and I smelt of myself again. I had a final look and listen and then threw myself into the moss and closed my eyes. One of my ears remained perked up scanning the vicinity for sounds. I was rather tired and the noise of the wind and the creaking trees soon lulled me into a deep sleep.
Tomorrow was going to be an exciting day and I decided to carry on for as long as my feet would carry me. I had no idea whether I heading towards human habitation or whether I was just going to get deeper and deeper into the forest until eventually I had to turn around and try a different direction. This journey could turn into one of a lot of trial and error, with a lot of hope and disappointment on the way, but I was determined to at least give it a go.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Goldfish

From time to time I post other pieces of my writing. Here is one of them...


The Goldfish

Once upon a time, there was a goldfish in a goldfish bowl. He was a happy goldfish with a lovely castle in his bowl where he could hide and peek out at the world.

One day, the goldfish was swimming round and round his bowl. He loved swimming round and round... and round... and round... and round and round. And round and round. And round.

And round and round and round and round... and round. And round. And round and round again. Round and round he went. And round and round. And round... round... and round... and round.

Suddenly he spotted a pair of eyes staring at him. A pair of glowing, dark eyes. The goldfish looked at the eyes and said "Hello!" Then he continued swimming round and round and round... and round and round... round... round and round and round again.

Until he saw a pair of eyes starting at him. A pair of glowing, dark eyes. The goldfish looked at the eyes and said "Hello?" Then he continue swimming round again... and round and round... round some more... and round and round and round. And round and round.

Until he saw a pair of eyes starting at him. A pair of... swoop... and the goldfish was gone.

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Sunday, 12 February 2012

It's getting more exciting...

They had left me alone for hours now. I was starting to get cold. I was naked and this ark of theirs didn't seem to have heating of any sort. I was tired and my face was hurting where they had beaten me earlier. I was sure that I was black and blue all over. I could feel a drop of blood slowly rolling down my left cheek.
I needed to escape somehow. Being cold, tired and hurting all over wasn't going to make it any easier for me to get out. I looked around as much as my shackles allowed. I couldn't see much. On my left and right there were huge shelves, backed with metal sheeting and full of pipes, beams and other heavy looking metal items. I couldn't turn around enough to see what was behind me, but there was a partition wall in front of me which blocked my view in that direction.
I seemed to remember that Judy and Lucius had walked past me and then carried on walking behind me when they had left me after the beating. Their steps had echoed through the big hall, which made it a bit hard to identify exactly which direction they had taken, but I had been able to hear them disappearing behind me. A few moments later I had heard the sound of a door being opened and closed.
I had the impression that they had walked along the shelves behind me for quite a distance and then entered an office or something, because after the door had been closed, the sound of their steps and their voices was still audible, though a bit muffled.
It was likely that the exit to this huge warehouse wasn't too far away from there. This meant that if I was going to escape, I probably had to get past their office. I was sure that Judy and Lucius were smart enough to make sure they could see everyone coming and going. Actually, they were probably able to see me right now.
I would have to wait until they were gone or asleep, if I had any chance of escape. Also, there had to be more exits than just the one that I thought was next to their office. I didn’t believe this place was more than just a simple warehouse, which usually have several bigger and smaller doorways. There had to be some sort of delivery entrance or gate which was probably nowhere near the office and would be a much better route of escape.
I tried to see how much my shackles would give, since I had to get rid of them first before I could even consider finding a suitable escape route. The shackles were fastened tight around my wrists and ankles and there was a strap around my waist. I pulled as hard as I could to try and free my hands but there was no give.
I then tried to slide my hands out of the shackles, but they were fastened too tightly. The same was true for my feet, so I tested the strap around my waist. I leaned forward as hard as I could and pushed and pushed and pushed, but without success. It seemed really hopeless, given the state I was in, so I decided to rest for a bit and gather my strength before trying again.
As I was thinking this, I suddenly heard Judy’s voice behind me.
"Oh, I see. So we haven’t broken your spirit yet. Good. That’s what I was hoping for. We have really done an excellent job when we reprogrammed you last time. We have grown you into a strong person and made your will to survive as hard as steel. I’m proud of you, Cornelius."
Then she started walking towards me. I couldn’t see her, but I could clearly hear her footsteps. When she was just behind me, she started talking again, whispering into my ear.
"You have grown into a very handsome man, Cornelius. I have always found you attractive, which made my work so much more enjoyable – and this time round, it will be even better. Even thinking about it makes me really excited."
She whispered in a very sexy way. I had never heard her talk like this before. I was a bit confused and not sure whether it was just an attempt to win me over, which would make breaking me later easier, or whether she really meant what she said.
"I was never able to tell, because you were in so much agony, but I always had the feeling you were attracted to me right from the start. If you think about it, we know each other so well – or at least I know you very, very well. But even so, there are still so many things that I don’t know about you."
She started to lean closer. Her lips were gently brushing my ear lobe as she spoke. I could feel her breath on my cheek and neck, and her sweet perfume was filling my nose.
"I still don’t know how you feel about me. You must despise me, fear me, hate me, loathe me and have all sorts of negative feelings towards me after what I have done to you. Yet I think you also admire and respect me for my skill, knowledge and superior intellect."
She was leaning over even more now and her chest was half resting on my back. It was hard to tell, but whatever she was wearing was certainly very thin, as if she wasn’t wearing a bra and only a thin, silky blouse. Even though I couldn’t see her, I felt her eyes inspecting me over my shoulder, studying the front of my body, my sinuous arms, the muscly chest, the firm stomach, my strong legs and my manhood – which seemed to feel the touch of her gaze and started to react.
"You obviously had time to work out and get yourself into shape during your time in prison. You certainly look very toned," she continued, "and you obviously like me," she added, this time speaking a little louder and sounding rather happy, nearly giggling.
I flinched for a moment. It was just too spooky how I knew that she was looking at me without seeing her. It was as if I could read her mind.
"I never had this effect on you in the past, which I used to find rather disappointing, especially because you always had such a big effect on me. I’m very glad you think more favourably of me now. It’s much nicer this way – for both of us."
After she had said that, she obviously straightened up again, since I couldn’t feel her any longer on my back or near my ear lobe. I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing but I could clearly hear the sound of fabric brushing against skin. What was she doing? It was hard to tell, but it sounded like she was undressing. Why would she do that though? This didn’t make sense, but somehow it started to arouse me. The sound continued even as she started speaking again.
"Well, I guess it’s a bit unfair that I can see you and your luscious, handsome, strong body, but you can’t see mine. I bet you have been fantasizing about me for some time, probably about how you could take revenge and punish me and show me how cruel I had been. Over time these fantasies probably changed and your feelings turned into the wish to correct me, show me that my ways were wrong and how I could be a better person. Am I right?"
I didn’t answer, but she was so close to the truth. I had despised my tormentors for a very long time. I had hated them and had wanted to take revenge and do to them what they had done to me. However, over time my brain started to make me forget the horrors I had endured bit by bit, so that my hate got lessened to the point where I just wanted to convert the two offspring from hell and show them that they could use their devilish genius in better ways. Judy had really sussed me out – she knew practically exactly what I was thinking.
I could hear her starting to walk around me, and as I looked to my left I could see her. Her skirt was just sliding down her legs as she was walking past me and she had already taken off her blouse. She looked absolutely stunning as she was parading in front of me wearing only her underwear. Her skin appeared to be soft and smooth, yet firm. Her legs were long and sexy, and her bottom nice and round. As she turned around to face me and stand in front of me, I could see her toned stomach and amazing chest.
"Now, what do you think? This is a lot fairer, isn’t it," she said with her hands on her hips. "We’re not quite even yet though, are we? I’m still wearing more than you. Let me rectify this, Cornelius."
With those words she reached around her back to unclasp her bra and release her perfect breasts. Then she waited for just a brief moment, dropping the bra on the floor and giving me enough time to admire her, before she slid her hands along her waist towards her hips, picking up her panties along the way and pulling them slowly down. As she was leaning forwards she lifted one leg, then the other, and stepped out of her underwear, leaving it were it landed. She straightened her body again to present it to me in its full splendour.
I was awestruck – she was so beautiful. I had never looked at or thought about her in this way. She had the most amazing body and made me want to get up and grab her, feel her skin and touch her body. I was probably reacting so intensely mainly because I had been in prison and not with a woman for such a long time – and not just because she was so stunning. However, she certainly attracted me and even the cold in the warehouse couldn’t stop me from showing my lust.
"Cornelius, Cornelius. Even though your mind is still keeping your mouth in check, your body is quite revealing… and very talkative." As she was saying those words she looked me up and down excitedly, and her eyes eventually rested on my manhood. At the same time she slowly ran one hand from her chin down her neck, then between her breasts, over her stomach, circling her navel for a moment and finally moving further down.
She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew that she was slowly bringing me to a point when my excitement would become unbearable and I was going to lose it. She was in total control of the situation – not because I was in chains, but because she knew me so well and knew how to control men.
"Cornelius, you’d really like to touch me now, wouldn’t you," she said as she was touching herself. "You’d like my hand to be yours, so you could feel me and feel how excited I am. You’d give anything and everything for just one touch, one kiss, one moment of pleasure. You are yearning for me, wishing that I was not the same person who had so cruelly tormented you before, erasing your past and preparing you for a new future. You can’t understand how somebody so beautiful can be so evil, so you tell yourself that it can’t be true and that deep down I’m actually a gentle, caring person, whom you want to spend the rest of your life with."
She was changing her stance now, crossing her arms in front of her body, slightly changing the weight of her body onto her left leg, making her hip stick out seductively.
"Well, Cornelius, I must disappoint you. I am the same cruel person who has tortured you and given you pain that stayed with you for a very long time – the same person who is standing in front of you now, completely naked, teasing you and driving you absolutely wild."
It was unbelievable. She knew that she didn’t have to show any remorse for what she had done, that on the contrary she could show how proud she was of it all, and that she would still keep me wanting her desperately – lusting after her. She was exceptionally good. She was a genius. Once more she got exactly what she wanted.
"Cornelius, Cornelius. When will you finally learn? You really think you have worked me out, don’t you? You think you know exactly what I feel and what I want? Yet, you don’t have a clue as to what my part in all of this is, what it is that I’m after. You want to know, and I will tell you one day – but by then it will be too late."
She looked me in the eyes very sternly and for a moment I thought she had opened herself up to me and that I could see deep into her soul and touch her innermost feelings – but suddenly she looked away and walked past me again, gathering her clothes on the way.
"I think you need some time on your own now, Cornelius. You need time to think and let everything sink in. You’re only at the beginning of your journey. There’s still so much more that you will learn and experience. You will go through some dramatic changes that you never thought were possible. Oh, Cornelius, if you just knew what was coming," she said from behind me with a very serious voice – and that was the last thing she said. Her footsteps slowly disappeared behind me.
I was furious. My emotions were in turmoil. I felt abused, degraded – mentally as well as physically. She hadn’t touched me, but it felt like she had actually raped me. Feelings of revenge, so familiar to me not too long ago, started to form in my chest. Feelings that I had forgotten and that time had slowly turned into something more proactive – the intention of converting Judy and Lucius into better people. Now, all this was gone. All I wanted was to get out of my chains, find Judy and abuse her physically – but unlike her, I wanted to actually rape her.
"No!" I shouted. I couldn’t believe my thoughts. What had she done to me? This was her work. She wanted me to be angry. This was all part of their plan. If I was angry, I wouldn’t be able to think clearly and it would be a lot easier to do with me as they pleased. I had to get my feelings under control again, so that I stood a chance of escaping their clutches. I couldn’t let them win.
I started to control my temper by consciously breathing in and out... in and out... in and out... deep breaths... in and out... in... and... out... in... and... out... until I finally calmed down.
That was better. My heartbeat had slowed down and I was relaxed. I slowly sank back into my chair and started to feel the cold again. It was time to go back to finding a way out of here. It wasn’t easy since some of the hate and anger that I felt before was still there and fading only slowly. However, I knew I really had to continue working on a way to escape, so I finally cleared my head and collected my thoughts.
What I had tried earlier forced me to accept that the chains were too strong and would never break. So I had to look for something else. The chair seemed to be bolted to the ground, but I had to make sure. I tried to get on my feet and leant forward as much as I could. Then I started straightening my legs in an attempt to stand up, but the chair wouldn’t move. So I pressed my feet on the ground and tried tilting it backwards, but again without success. I got the same result to the left and to the right. That conclusively proved that taking the chair with me wasn’t going to work.
What other options did I have? The way I was tied up didn’t allow me to reach for one of the pipes or some other kind of lever, let alone use it to break the chains. For the moment it seemed hopeless. I obviously needed somebody to either free me or at least provide me with a tool that would aide my escape, neither of which seemed likely, since the only people who I would be able to ask for help were my captors. However, maybe this warehouse was not completely deserted. Maybe there were other people here. I hadn’t noticed any other voices or footsteps, but maybe it was just a matter of time for somebody else to turn up.
I wasn’t sure, but I had the feeling that Judy and Lucius were using this warehouse not merely to keep me prisoner in, but also to store their equipment, some of which was likely to be rather precious to them. Consequently it was likely they employed guards to watch the building and prevent unauthorised access to it. If this was the case, I had to try and get one of the guards to free me or at least provide me with something that would allow me to free myself.
First though, I had to find out whether I was right and whether there were guards, so I decided to use the next opportunity to talk to Judy or Lucius and break my silence. I was fairly sure that they were just waiting for me to start talking, since it would indicate I was starting to accept the situation and become more obedient. I just had to be careful what I said and asked, since I couldn’t let them know what I was planning.
To paraphrase what Judy said, I would tell them about my plan eventually, but by then it would be too late.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

To make up for the wait...

Here is another piece. Please post your comments. I'd really appreciate it.


I was browsing through the news services to keep up with current affairs. There had been another breakout from a prison back on earth. This was the third in only one week. Apparently a group of ten people from a terrorist organisation called The New World Order had broken into the high security prison in Red Lake, Ontario, killed three guards, severely injured another six and freed one prisoner called Cornelius Kerethites. Kerethites was imprisoned for computer espionage. He had hacked into government computer systems six years ago and had been caught, charged and found guilty the following year. He had already served five years of his seven-year sentence and now spent the remainder as an OPS, after prison psychologists had assessed him as a low risk to society.
The truth probably was that he had used confidential information that showed the government in a bad light to blackmail them into giving him a light sentence. Hacking into computer systems was classed as a major criminal offence and breaking into government information stores ranked as highly as murder. That he got away with seven years was certainly suspicious. Whatever the truth really was, it just showed once more how powerful information had become these days and how dangerous it could become in the wrong hands.
This made me wonder. If I was to disclose SESCC's security holes to the world, as I had originally intended, somebody could use the information to their advantage by breaking into SESCC and wreaking havoc. I had to be really careful what I did with my discovery. My intention was to give society a thorough shake and show them how much information on unsuspecting individuals was held by governments and what they were doing with it. I had no intention to put society into any danger.
I decided that it would be better to prove my point by breaking into SESCC myself and disclosing a small part of the information I would gain access to, rather than by documenting the security holes of the system itself. I would still be able to show society that everyone's life was recorded and everybody constantly left an electronic trail, and I would make it impossible for criminals to use what I had discovered to their advantage.

There was more on the news services, but it was only the usual reports on the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Near East Alliance1, a little information on the ongoing workers' unions' strikes in the USA and stories about the uprising in the slums of Brazil, which was now being silenced by extreme military force. There were also some boring articles about the latest scientific discoveries and inventions, closely followed by highly twisted stories on radical animal activist groups destroying laboratories and attacking the homes of scientists as well as the scientists themselves. It was the usual blood and gore reporting that attracted the general public's attention and sold well.
These days it was page views that counted. They had become the equivalent of the print run from the times when newspapers were still being printed on paper. One copy sold in the old days now equalled a dozen or so page views. A story only had to be displayed on-screen to be counted as a page view. Every click was recorded and analysed, whether the story was actually read or not.
Systems had become quite sophisticated and they adapted to your preferences. The more news you read the better the news service accommodated to your reading habits, thus increasing the chances of you returning and reading even more news. This was practically impossible in the old days when everybody was presented with the same set of news as everybody else. Customised, up-to-date and fast moving news was the key to success, incredible financial wealth and, in effect, immense power.

I closed my news browser and returned to the problem of analysing the information I had gathered about SESCC, or Sesk as I started to call it, in order to break into the system and steal large chunks of information. I flicked through the heaps and heaps of printout I had produced over the last few nights. There were hundreds upon hundreds of pages of information printed on stacks of paper. The paperless office certainly hadn't arrived in my home yet.
I started up my highly optimised search engine software to scour the Gigabytes of data for a few keywords. My first attempt was to find some sort of back door2 into Sesk that would allow me to access the main system as well as every subsystem directly using only one username and password. The search for "back-door" returned hundreds of results, and I printed out the references so that I could look through the paper copies later.
My next attempt was to focus on finding an administrator password or some sort of default password that Sesk would be set up with as standard when first installed. A search for "password" returned another set of several hundred references. My printer kept on churning out pages of search results.
Finally I tried to find references to potential erroneous system overflows which might open the possibility of inserting my own code into Sesk and gain access that way. The search engine returned even more results for "overflow". My printer was going to be busy for a little while longer.

I decided that this would be enough for one night. It was already half past eleven and Jenny had been in bed since about ten o'clock, after she had watched her favourite talk show "O'Sullivan", or "Sully" as she usually called it, on Channel 321.
I went into the kitchen to get something to drink. I opened the fridge and took out a can of grapefruit crush. I walked over to the window and looked outside. It was rather silent. A police patrol was quietly passing by, making sure that the local community could safely sleep in their beds – or as in my case, could safely hack into a top secret government computer system and commit a major breach of law and order.
I opened the can of grapefruit crush and took a sip. Then I walked back to my room. When I turned round the corner and walked through the door I saw Jenny sitting on my chair in front of the computer looking at the screen. She seemed to be reading, her finger slowly tracing the words on the screen, pronouncing each word in a whisper.
"Hello, little lady, what are you doing there?" I said.
She turned around quickly, looking at me with large, worried eyes. "I can't sleep."
"Oh, Jenny, are you all right? You haven't slept very well for the past few nights. You are not coming down with something, are you?" I asked her.
"I don't know. I'm hot and my room is hot and the duvet is hot and everything is too warm. I just can't sleep. I'm probably just coming on," she replied rather annoyed.
"Well, it is quite warm today. Do you want a cold drink?"
"Yes, please. Can I have some cold water, please?"
"Of course you can, darling. You go back to bed and I get you a glass of fresh, cold water, all right?"
"Yes, please. Thank you," she said, got up and walked out of the room towards her bedroom.
"I'll be with you in just a minute, sweetie," I called after her. Then I went over to the computer to find out what she had been reading. The last set of search results was still on the screen. A long list of file names and short excerpts from the documents themselves. I was satisfied that if Jenny was to repeat anything she had read to anyone, it wouldn't be a problem since it wouldn't make much sense just on its own. It was another lucky escape.

I walked back into the kitchen to get a glass of water and took it to her room. The door to her room was closed, so I knocked at the door, waited a moment and then entered. Jenny was lying on her bed, the duvet only covering her feet. The room was fairly warm. I gave her the glass of water.
"Thank you," she said and started drinking eagerly.
I walked back to the door and turned the air-conditioning up a little. I could feel the cool draft from the vents increasing slightly.
"Right, darling, it will be cooler in here soon, so please try to go back to sleep. All right?"
"Yes, I will. I'm very tired. Sully said that sleep is important so that your brain can learn things," Jenny told me.
"That's right. Your brain needs some rest to sort out what you learned during the day and file everything away properly. Sleep well, poppet, and sweet dreams," I said.
"Night, night," she replied, closed her eyes and turned onto her side.
I turned around and went back to my room.

The printer was still busy printing out the long list of search results. I picked up the first heap of paper and started looking through the references. Then I looked up the corresponding articles in the stack of documents I had printed out the previous nights. It seemed a rather daunting task to find clues to breaking into Sesk in the huge stack of paper. It seemed even more daunting than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. I had done this sort of thing before though and knew that it took only a couple of clues to find even more clues and eventually, usable results.
However, Sesk was unlike any other system I had hacked into in the past. This was the jackpot as Laura had called it. After breaking into Sesk, everything else was going to look like a walk in the park on a sunny day with a cool ice cream. I knew it was going to be tough to break into Sesk, but knowing that it was the ultimate hack meant it was a big incentive.
I decided I was too tired to approach this task tonight and expect to find any clues or leads, so I switched off the computer screen and left the printer and computer to produce hardcopies of the search space I was going to roam tomorrow night. Then I switched off the light, left the room, closed the door behind me and locked it. I didn't want Jenny to read anything else and repeat it in front of a teacher or another pupil. I didn't want her to know anything about it.
1The Near East Alliance was formed on 15 May 2023 between Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt to unite the countries' military and political forces against Israel. The countries were soon forced to abandon their diplomatic relations with the USA and the EU who strongly opposed this new alliance.
2 A back door is a way of getting into a protected system. It is usually installed by the original programmer or programming team and remains active after the completion of development. A back door even remains available if alterations to the protection of the system are applied at a later date.