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Old 2018-05-25, 17:00   #7
kriesel's Avatar
Mar 2017
US midwest

10001111110012 Posts

Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
(Either that or pay several thousand dollars to the right people to run SNFS on it.)
Somehow that sounded sort of sinister. Like:

(In the shadows of a dark alley late at night, somewhere in a US midwestern city, wet pavement from the recent rain making it darker, and dimly lit by a shabby warehouse's security illumination, the part that's working, anyway. The sort of neighborhood featuring chain link fence topped by barbed wire, and rebar grilles over dirty windows.) Two shady looking characters in trenchcoats and fedoras approached each other, casting furtive glances in all directions, as if concerned about being followed, and otherwise obviously trying to appear up to nothing in particular, meeting halfway between the security lights. Where it's darkest.

"Hi Slim, thanks for coming. I hear you got connections that can get things done, no-nonsense, for a price. I want you to arrange a factoring hit on M1277 for me. I can make it worth their while. Two grand now to get things rolling, three more when I get proof the deed's done. And a couple g's extra if it's done by the end of next month."

Slim says, "Joe, make it 3, 3 and 2, and M1277's history by Labor Day for sure. We'll need your public PGP key and an email address for sending proof it's done (from an anonymous throwaway account) and that the balance is due. The encrypted message will be in the second least significant bit of each byte of a cat video posted online. We'll send you the URL."

Joe replies, "Deal. Meet back here 11-12 days after the email is sent, same time of day. Wait a sec, I have the down payment now." Joe pulls out from the left inside coat pocket, an envelope stuffed with old worn unmarked non-sequentially numbered small bills, counts out $3000, stuffs the rest in his right coat pocket, and hands Slim the $3000 in the envelope. "I anticipated the key and email request. It's written inside the envelope."

"Make it 7-8 days. Our guys don't like to be kept waiting for their money. It starts tomorrow. You're really on top of the details, almost like you've arranged this sort of thing before. See you by summer's end. Maybe we can, uh, do business again sometime." Slim pockets the envelope and drifts off casually into the developing fog.

Joe heads off in the opposite direction, upbeat. Joe ruminated as he walked back to his car through the lingering puddles. Now it was just a matter of time, and raising a few more grand. No telling what they might do if he couldn't pay the balance promptly, but he was sure he wouldn't like it at all.

The ironic part of dealing with the dark underside of the nearby major college math department, was they certainly didn't need the money. What they made in 100% profit from black market math jobs like this using the free labor of students and grad students, and occasionally assigning academic staff, and with free hardware paid for by alumni, paled in comparison to what they did in their free time, counting cards at casinos for fun, Fourier analysis in the stock market, planted encrypted steganographic leaks in lottery systems, etc. Plus they'd probably publish a paper or two a year subsidized and originated in black market math. Add in legit consulting gigs, and their nominal salaries were in the noise, almost roundoff.

But they had consciously made friends in the criminology department, who knew people who knew people that would do anything for a surprisingly low price, including send people to the ER or morgue. Not the sort of people you want to anger or disappoint.

Nope, don't want to mess with people with tenure and connections. Better tap a few friends with a grudge against M1277 for some contributions, and sell a small asset or two soon. Joe had heard rumors that some of the math guys had rather large botnets, aggressively winning systems over from some of the world's largest spammers (thanks to a friend in the Comp Sci department) and top-shelf highly parallelized distributed computing code for using the bot systems. The CompSci guy had provided extraordinary antitrojan advances, and was rumored to have even better ones that he kept undisclosed for his personal use, and had certainly refused numerous offers from the NSA. So that email from Slim's crowd could be just days away.

M1277 was toast, very soon. That made Joe smile as he reached his car. Until he saw two flat tires. Apparently M1277 had friends, who didn't mind breaking a few rules or laws either, and they were onto him. No cell phone signal. What lighting there was, went out. Joe was shocked to think he might himself soon be "factored".
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