Captain X-Ploit: Another Crack in the Wall

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Another Crack in the Wall
– Part 4.5 of the epic chronicle –
Captain X-Ploit vs. The Bills

            As the heads of zombies rolled and his teammates droned about changing clips and needing med kits, David’s mind wandered. He began to contemplate zombies… and then it just clicked.

David’s character stood still for nearly three minutes and it took his teammates yelling, having lost their sniper support, to bring him back to reality. He hit the chat key responded “I have to go now,” and threw his headset off as he powered down the game and logged online to do a quick confirmatory search.

He didn’t really know what he was onto; he had the first step of a vague plan forming. He could see the beginning but no end. Still something compelled him to throw himself forward into this plan with full force. He reached for his phone and dialed the number on his computer screen.

“Hi, you’ve reached Trustonia Valley Hospital records office how can I help you today?”

“Hi, yes I appear to have been falsely reported as dead.” David responded.

“Oh, dear that is bad! What is your name?”

David scanned the obituary page until he found a suitable sounding name, “I’m Curtis Trent, I desperately need that corrected in all my files as well as a change of address”

“Of course sir, that will just be a minute what address would you like to change it to?”

“1302 Deven Ave, Trustonia. Oh and I have recently changed my name to David Nicholas Stone, if you could update that for me too.”

“Sure thing sir, just give me a few minutes to make those changes.”

About five minutes later David hung up the phone after giving himself a rather ghostly roommate. He then dialed a different hospital and repeated this activity. Continuing in this vein he gave himself over 100 new ghostly roommates, maximizing his time by submitting requests in emails while waiting on the phone.

He then spent the next several hours submitting online requests for unemployment benefits for his new friends who happened to live at the same address as him with the same name.

The day drew to a close and he found himself one step closer to not only paying off his bills but to completing the ultimate exploit. All he had to do was wait for those checks to roll in.

Short but sweet this time and clearly to-be-continued. Our hero continues with his recent penchant for identity theft variants, this time appropriating the identities of folks who are beyond caring what happens to their good name. Now clearly this gambit is only going to work for a short time since even the Trustonia Department of Unemployment, who we assume to be even more inept that the typical real world division of employment, will certainly twig to paying benefits to the deceased with no prior graft arrangement in place. It will be interesting to see what the good Captain has planned with the ill-gotten government benefits of his undead namesakes. Stay Tuned.

Captain X-Ploit: Matlock rocks my socks off

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Matlock rocks my socks off.
– Part 5 of the epic chronicle –
Captain X-Ploit vs. The Bills

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. ~ Bob Hope

Foreword:

Since this Captain X-Ploit episode is a continuation of the original saga, and since it’s been a really, really long time since the good Captain has deigned to make an appearance, the following are links to the original episodes so we can all get caught up with the story thus far.

David went back to his home. It was a rather pleasant house in a nice neighborhood. Its generic white walls gave no indication that an evil genius might live inside. That was exactly how David liked it and exactly why he had bought it.

As he parked his new prize in the garage he could hear the excited clicking of Nicky’s nails on the tile as she doubtlessly was rushing to see why the garage door was opening. As he walked in he knelt down to pet her affectionately and passed her an oatmeal raisin bagel.

She barked appreciatively and then began to wolf it down. “Oh Nicky, you’re the best roommate a guy could ask for.” That thought gave him pause for a moment. “Roommate,” he re-uttered the word. Perhaps that is the key for today’s adventure he thought. Leaving Nicky to enjoy her bagel, he hastily ran upstairs to hop online and do some research while enjoying his bagel and coffee.

After about ten minutes of useful research and about three hours of watching internet videos, he picked up his phone and called the bank.

“Hello, you’ve reached ‘Stage Coach Banking’, my name is Jenny. How can I help you today?”

“Hello Jenny, My name is David Nicholas Stone and I regret to inform you that I will not be paying my mortgage payment this month.”

“Hmmm… It says here that you have never made a payment and I need to send the police to evict you.”

“Ah, yes, I figured as much. But see, the problem is that I have suffered a bout of extreme aging and I am now over the age of 65 and therefore am exempt from eviction.”

“Oh, goodness! Are you OK, sir?”

Quite. In fact, the senior discounts are very handy and I find myself truly enjoying Matlock for the first time in well… ever I guess.”

“That’s a relief! But you do realize we will require at least a doctor’s note confirming your age, Mr. Stone”

David smiled and joyfully rolled his chair over to the file cabinet next to his desk and fingered through it until his hands landed on the file he was looking for. It was labeled “Nicky’s vet records.” He pulled out the latest checkup. Among the general stats at the top was written “age: 13” and “age in dog years: 65”.

“I have the file here from my medical care provider clearly stating that by a unit of measure I am to be considered 65 years of age.”

“Excellent. If you will just scan and email that file to us we will be forced to leave you be until you die.” Jenny said cheerfully.

“Sure thing. Oh, one last detail. Under age it says “13” that is in reference to the age of my new hip, not my actual age. My actual age is labeled “dog years” but in fact that is a typo, they meant to put “God years,” as in how long it has been since God created my magnificent body.”

“I will make a note of that right here, Mr. Stone, and we will be sure to consider that when viewing your file. Is there anything else you need help with today, sir?” Jenny asked politely.

“No, I believe I have been served quite well, Jenny. Thank you.” He said.

“Well, would like to take a brief survey to rate my…” Click.

“Nice girl,” David thought to himself as he hung up the phone and scanned in Nicky’s vet document. “Well, that takes care of the mortgage, now I just have to deal with electricity, gas, and credit cards.”

David couldn’t help but feel pleased with himself after this solution. The only thing he liked more than a well implemented exploit was one that tied up a loose end for the foreseeable future. He figured he deserved a break to blow the heads off of some zombies before returning to the tiring yet fulfilling task of escaping work.

As he watched the zombie heads bouncing off his HD monitor in time to the resonating sloppy thuds emitting from his surround sound system he couldn’t help but feel depressed that he hadn’t yet cracked the ultimate shell; His ultimate prize and undying desire. This was of course to game the system so completely and so perfectly that he could have his lifelong goal of unlimited money. Until that day he felt like a rank amateur playing at his profession of slacker.

This nagging feeling had plagued him since childhood. His parents had always been on the overbearing side and watched his every move. While the normal kids experimented with drugs, alcohol and sex, he was left to only watch. Stuck between their rock hard force in his life during the times of their explicit presence and their unshakable expectations when there weren’t by his side.

His youth was one filled with angst and rebellion building in an un-manifestable form. It began when he was fourteen; the world opened to him as he realized a non-physical but equally caustic way to vent his adolescent aggression. A way that was invisible to his ever present parents. It was the life of exploits. He could practice this form of rebellion anywhere at any time without accomplices and without raising a single flag to his parents.

And so, with no conscious knowledge or understanding deeper than raw, raging adolescent emotion piloting his brilliant mind toward anarchistic oblivion, the greatest hacking mind was born into the world. The idea that what he was doing was hacking had never crossed his mind. For hacking, you see, isn’t anything more than a label affixed to a mindset. It wouldn’t be until later that the world would forcibly open David’s eyes to the cause he was part of.

It was this evolution of mentality that brought David to this exact tipping point that would thrust him over the edge into a world of politics and aliens. But I am getting ahead of myself. Back to the precipice, back to the original unending quest for the perfect exploit; the exploit that to David consciously meant unlimited money and power, but subconsciously meant so much more.  It meant the quenching of an unquenchable thirst; the scratching of an invisible ever-present itch; the completion of his greatest work of art.

I mention all of this not to ruin the readers surprise, but in hopes of whetting their appetite. This exact day was the day David succeeded in breaking the system so completely that his dream was realized.

So once again David uses his awesome Social Engineering skills, mixed with fraudulent information hacked into the bank records (recall that Nicky the dog’s “legal” name is David Nicholas Stone) to avoid his mortgage payment. This exploit is particularly interesting in that it’s a variation of identity theft where rather than stealing someone’s identity you give your identity to someone who doesn’t know or doesn’t care – like Nicky, David’s canine roommate – such that they are responsible for your debts. Now, granted this exploit only works this well in Trustonia, but I suspect there are variations that work quite nicely here in reality. To the extent that we live in reality.

The last part is an interesting discourse on the hacker mindset from the thinly veiled pen (er… keyboard) of the creator of Captain X-ploit. Certainly something to think about while you are planning your next exploit (er… adventure).

Captain X-Ploit: Sara and Maxi’s magnificent monetary mischievous maneuver.

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Sara and Maxi’s magnificent monetary mischievous maneuver.
– Part 4 of the epic chronicle –
Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met.

After the alien left, restoring time to its usual single dimensional, flowy self, Max and Sara found themselves at the library. Hunched over a computer, Sara was reading her way through the wiki entries on several celebrities as Maxwell was standing next to her with an awe-filled grin plastered on his face.

“Sara?” he asked, “Yes, Maxi?” Sara responded with a stunning smile on her face. “So like… wow, you’re telling me I can take any of these books and no one would care?” he asked. His fascination with this concept had less to do with the concept of taking things without people caring and more with the concept that other places were supposed to operate differently. Being famous, handsome, and lucky he had never found people to be opposed to him taking whatever he wanted anyway.

“Well, yes… but you have to run them through the little machine over there,” she gestured with a hand, not removing her eyes from the screen, “before you can leave with it.”

“Weird,” Max said trailing off, distracted by a girl walking by. “I think I’ve got all the information I need,” she said snapping Max’s attention back to her.  “So like… what are we doing again?” Max asked, looking confused as Sara began to scribble several notes onto her hand. She smiled at Max without a hint of exasperation even though she’d explained it over thirty times on the way to the library.

Later that day at the bank:

Sara walked in confidently, leaving Max outside to ponder the complex plan. “Hi, I’m Sara Paylyn,” she said to the teller, “and I’d like to withdraw all my monies.”

“Sure thing Mrs. Paylyn, we just need to ask a question. For security reasons, of course.” Sara nodded and the lady began her list of questions.

“What is your pet’s name?”

Sara hastily glanced at her hand and responded quickly “Birstal.”

“Fantastic, Mrs. Paylyn! How much would you like to withdraw.”

Sara pretended to think for a moment before responding “All of it, I think.”

Several moments later:

Sara was standing outside the bank with $4,312,632.13, explaining to Max how she would surely win the contest now, when Max interrupted, “CONTEST!!! Oh man, I love contests… I wanna be a part of it!” Sara smiled at him wondering if every clone had hacking skill.

“Go for it, Maxi! What’s your plan?” she asked.

Max just shook his head, not wanting to reveal his brilliant plan, and walked confidently into the bank. At the counter the teller looked at him and said, “How can I help you, handsome?”

“Ya, hi, I’m some, like, rich dude and I want to, like, get my money… you know, like, for spending.”

“Okay…,” the lady said, her smile wavering for a moment, “What’s your name.”

“Maxwe…,” he stopped himself, “ahh… I mean,” his eyes dashed about wildly for a name he could use, “Trisha Smith” he exclaimed with a smile as he read her name tag.

Her eyes went wide for moment in shock as she responded “That’s my name, sir… what is YOUR name” she said.

His eyebrows furrowed in deep thought before reading another name off the business card on the counter. “Emmet Brown” he responded with a smile.

“You’re not Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown owns this bank and you’re far more handsome than he is.”

“I had plastic surgery…” Max smiled his perfect smile at her.

“Okay, well I have to ask you this question to be sure. What is your favorite color?”

Max puzzled for a moment thinking how to respond before he finally decided to guess at random, “Hot Pink”

Trisha looked astonished, staring at him “Emmet, is that really you?”

“Yes, now, I’d like to take the money please.”

“Of course, sir,” she said shuddering a little, “How much do you need?”

“All of it would be nice,” he responded without hesitation.

All of the money in the bank?” she asked in amazement.

“Yes.” He responded politely with a smile.

That night at midnight:

Sara and Max were standing waiting for David to appear. Sara couldn’t help but feel a little crestfallen. As much as she liked Max and enjoyed seeing him win, she had only $4 million to her name whereas Max had walked off with the entire contents of the bank. Which happened to be transported at the moment in the truck of a man he had paid $1,000.

At least I can still beat David, that smug jerk, she thought as she saw David and Tedward walking up the street toward her.

At last we’re back to the hacking contest betwixt David and Sara – and Maxwell it seems – with Sara (and Max) using a tried and true exploit against weak authentication. I love the part where Maxi (AKA the stupidest life form in existence) is the one to hit the mother-lode by sheer dumb (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) luck. Much like the “hackers”, script kiddies and others who are routinely publicized by the panic-stricken (and panic-mongering) popular press. It ain’t rocket science folks. But it works. Really, really well. I’m still pulling for David and his mouse minions, though. How can you not be partial to plans involving cohorts like Mr. Biscuits, Señor Sparkles and Dr. Whiskers?

Captain X-Ploit: Maxwell D. Higgens

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
A life without love is a life wasted… or whatever. ~ Maxwell D. Higgens
– Special Edition –

This is a story about Maxwell, it begins in the lab of an alien ship floating somewhere in the Betelgeuse system.

Stan cast his eyes around the lab looking for someone to exclaim in amazement to. He had done it! Finally and definitely done it. In the DNA of one human baby named David Nicholas Stone he had found what he had suspected all along. What he had found was in fact, a gene that actualized only favorable outcomes for its owner.

It had been speculated that such a gene existed ever since Blungo of the Solaris Nebula placed a million cat-like creatures in a million boxes that released poison randomly and found after 20 trials that only one cat remained. Having based his trial more on a hatred of the cat like creatures rather than an actual belief it would yield more information than was already known. In anger at his failing Blungo promptly threw the creature out the window where it fell 400 feet landing on all fours comfortable on a mattress that by incredible odds was being delivered to the building that day. Blungo then spent the rest of his life following the cat-like creature. That is to say, Blungo followed that cat until Blungo died… the cat still lives on due to randomly gaining immortality by being struck with lightning while lapping up some particularly tasty cream in a field of warm pillows that smell of tuna.

Stan, desperate to prove to the world he had indeed found the gene proceeded to clone David and activate this gene as hastily as possible, cutting out any dominant traits that even looked like they could limit or cause the “Luck Gene” to not display properly. 9 months later the baby was placed on earth to be examined by a universe full of excited scientists. He was left in the care of an extremely lucky couple who had wanted a baby since the first time they had won the lottery but had never managed to conceive.

It was a perfect summer night when Mrs. Higgens found a baby had been left in front of their mansion with a note reading “The fate of the universe does not lie in his hands, but he’s pretty cute. He represents hundreds of years of work and I’ll miss him. So take care of him. Or I’ll disintegrate you.” The Higgens couple just assumed it was a joke and the child was left by some teenage girl not ready to raise him. This mattered little to them, however, because their final dream had come true. They had a son.

Maxwell grew up different from most of the children. Statistics didn’t seem to apply to him, his brilliant blond hair and stunning blue eyes, the fact he had never been sick a day in his life, the mind boggling circumstance that whenever presented with an exam he circled at random and received 100%’s.

His life was magical and beyond perfection. He was everything everyone wanted to be, stunningly handsome, unfathomably lucky and inconceivably wealthy. His luck gave him everything, save for one part of his being, his intelligence.  It became blindingly obvious as Maxwell grew that in addition to being unbelievably lucky he was also profoundly stupid.

At the tender age of 18 Maxwell found himself in California after leaving his house in hopes of finding the one thing his luck had never given him, a girl he could love. His quest began shortly after the 37th girl, an international super model in this case, that pledged her undying soul in devotion to him. After hearing how she said he made her feel he knew he must find a girl who could make him feel that way. He began his search in his usual way, by wandering around aimlessly for several hours.

After finding himself in California, roughly 1000 miles from where he started, he figured he’d better buy a house and some food. A few charges to his credit card later he found himself living in Beverly hills with a piece of pizza in his hands.

Several years and 462 girls professing their love on the first date later, he found himself to be one of the world’s most esteemed and famous actors, having won countless awards after accidentally wandering onto the live set of a movie and as he put it ‘just going with it’. But countless awards, unheard of amount of money, and innumerable numbers of nights with super models seemed to bring him no closer to his quest.  The universe couldn’t deny him his dream endlessly, however. One day an alien walked into his bed room with news that would bring him one step closer to his true dream.

“Did Ryan send you to show the girls out?” Maxwell asked from his bed which happened to contain and indeed be surrounded by 8 of the most beautiful human females the alien had ever seen. The alien, who was about 9-feet tall, grey, with an odd shaped head and pitch black eyes, was momentarily confused by the question.

“No, I’m here to collect the David clone. You were supposed to be in Trustonia months ago!” the alien replied.

“Really? Is that what all that mail I kept getting that said ‘fate of the universe’ and crap like that, was all about?” Maxwell asked simply.

“Did you not think it odd that your butlers keep moving to Trustonia to prepare your house?” the alien asked in amazement at Maxwell’s stupidity.

“That’s what they were doing? I thought they were moving there to look for more girls to bring me,” Maxwell replied.

“Look, just come with me, I’ve paused time and I need to introduce you to the other,” the alien explained.

Several (what would have been, if time was not paused) hours later in Trustonia:

“Greetings Miss Boulder, I bring with me…” the alien was in the middle of saying when the gorgeous man interrupted hastily “Wow! A world full of people who don’t move! Oh, I know, we must be in Canada! Yes that’s got to be it.” The alien looked pained by the handsome man’s obvious stupidity as he finished his thought “Maxwell Damian Higgens, perhaps the stupidest life form in existence.”

Sara’s jaw dropped in amazement. A more perfect face she could not dream of. Her soul all but wept for wanting of the visage that danced in front of her believing eyes. At that point she knew two things. One, she would pledge her every breath to him and two she would have him.

Note from the author:

Well at long last I finally offer you the back story of Maxwell Higgens. I feel this release has to come with an apology for its lateness. Believe it or not I actually wrote three different introductions for Maxwell.  But each of the others didn’t quite capture what I wanted Maxwell to be. I will make no more promises on release dates since work, school, friends and life keep getting in the way of my weekly goal of writing Captain X-ploit. I will state however, if you wish to get updates on what’s going on in the world of Trustonia, hop on over to Facebook and fan this series. I will post updates there.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Nicholas-Stone/115707671857486?sk=wall

Captain X-Ploit Halloween special: 28 Stores Later

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 4 of the week long Halloween special –
28 Stores Later

David boarded the first flight to Minnesota on his way to The Mall of America. Surely he could spend a relaxing Halloween in a mall he thought. Never have malls been a scene of horror he thought.

Several hours later at the mall:

David walked from store to store enjoying the sights and sounds of the biggest mall he’d ever visited. After a while, however, the people seemed to start acting strangely. Their normal strides devolved to leg-dragging hobbles. Their eyes glazed over and their ability to give him proper change had all but vanished. David continued to shop, determined to not have his Halloween ruined by the simple emergence of zombies.

Try as he might however, it did interfere with his plans, because after about four hours all of the dead-eyed monsters promptly dropped their thin pretense of humanity and wandered out of the stores and began to commit, what David considered the most disgusting, vile act imaginable. They started distributing advertisements for Viral-agra.

A well dressed, clearly non-zombie man walked up to David and spoke hastily. “My name is Joseph Webster. President Ted has sent me to ask if you could help fix this zombie outbreak. I am to lend as much aid as possible.”

“I think fate has destined me to have a crappy Halloween,” David sighed, “I assume simply killing the infected is unacceptable?”

“Ted said he’d prefer an outcome in which the infected NOT die. After all, election season is upon us. He said we don’t necessarily have to cure them, just stop the outbreak and preferably stop them from distributing those tasteless ads.” Joe paused gauging the scowl on David’s face, “In case it matters, I have managed to track the source of the infection.”

“Really?” David brightened visibly, “That’s certainly a step in the right direction. Take me there.”

A few minutes later:

They were standing outside a local adult bookstore. David could see how Joe had discovered this. Healthy patrons walked in and monsters walked out. David bowed his head in shock and shame. “They are disgracing the once respectable name of porn.”

After walking into the store it was immediately apparent what was going on.  People were filing into a room with a door labeled “free porn” one by one. Those leaving seemed to have some strange device attached to the back of their heads. After entering the room they saw that people would walk-in, sit in a chair and put their face into a view screen expecting porn, but instead a control device was attached to the back of their head and they were kicked out of the room. David promptly walked over to the machine and when the room was empty, placed an “out of order” sign on the machine and waited for the next group.

After informing the next group that the machine was broken he wandered out of the room, over to the counter and promptly demanded to speak to the owner of the store. The attendant walked off and returned with the owner, a tall dark haired man who’s outfit and demeanor all but screamed “hacker”.

“The ‘free porn’ machine is broken. I sat there, like forever, man, and NO PORN!” David said, attempting to sound stupid enough to impress the poser, “I’m pissed man, I want my money back!”

The owner raised an eyebrow, “You want your $0.00 back?”

“Yes! and I want it fixed NOW!”

The owner agreed to fix the machine if David agreed to be first in line once it was fixed. When they entered the room David explained, “See dude, when I sat down there was no porn! All I saw was these stupid credit card numbers flashing with names and stuff.”

A huge grin appeared on the owners face as he promptly sat down and put his face in the view screen.

A few minutes later:

The owner of the store was trying to sell them “Viral-agra”, while Joe and David discussed what to do next. “I’m afraid if we destroy the machine it might kill the zombies for good or at very least return them to their previous pseudo-zombie existence. Besides this situation seems too potentially beneficial to just destroy,” David remarked.

“Agreed,” Joe said, “Any ideas?”

“Well, yeah actually. I was thinking, if you could reprogram the machine, I could stop people using it.”

“I can do that!” Joe agreed, happy to assist, “But what do you want the zombies to do?”

Several hours later:

Joe had reprogrammed the machine and David had changed the sign from “free porn” to “free print newspapers” they found themselves back at the mall enjoying the rest of the shopping day. They were only occasionally interrupted by a dead eyed shopper asking if they had heard the million reasons they should re-elect Ted for president.

David shoveled another handful of candy into his mouth and looked at Joe saying “You know, I think my Halloween is finally going to be normal… well, as normal as a Halloween spent in a mall full of political zombies can be.”

“I’m glad, Ted’s told me about what you’ve been through,” Joe said, “It sounds like you could use a rest. Especially with this competition with Sara coming up.”

“Indeed.” David said, “Yes, indeed. But, that’s another story for another week I believe. For now I’m just going to enjoy the candy and watching the zombies try to walk up the down escalators.”

“Sounds like a plan. Mind if I join you?” Joe asked.

“Not if you keep that candy coming,” David responded as his default, worry-free smirk crept across his face.

So finally after all these episodes of Captain X-Ploit, I get to make an appearance! Not just a cameo but an actual feature performance! And it is in an homage to one of my all time favorite horror masterpieces, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. While the title of the episode makes a perfunctory nod to the more recent, and vastly inferior, zombie flick 28 Days Later, it’s all about Dawn. I love how these zombies exhibit behavior we’ve all come to expect – distributing spam for erectile dysfunction products. In a stroke of classic Captain X-Ploit genius, rather than shut down the zombie network our heroes – that’s right there’s two of them now counting moi – decide to exploit the network for their own ends. Namely to distribute campaign spam for President Ted. Happy Halloween from everyone at Security For All!

Captain X-Ploit: Nightmare on Dream Street

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 3 of the week long Halloween special –
Nightmare on Dream Street

David was lying in bed reflecting on the bizarre circumstances that would lead to his life being threatened not just one, but two days in a row. It usually took at least a week before danger threatened him twice. “Why does it feel like nothing happens to me right around midterms and then the week after, my life is in mortal peril not once but twice,” David pondered, his eyelids getting heavy.

Next thing he knew David was running for his life. A maniac in a dirty sweater with a bladed hand was in hot pursuit. An evil laugh filled the room and David turned to check if he was gaining or losing distance on the horror. He slowed his run when he saw the man was no longer behind him. He slowed more and turned his gaze back to where he had been running.

*SLAM* David’s mind barely had time to register what had happened. The man had somehow appeared in front of him. He had grabbed David with his un-bladed hand and slammed him into a pipe. At this moment David realized he was in some sort of boiler room.

“Who are you?” David squeaked.

“Call me Freddy” the man said.

The man cut David’s shirt with his blades from his stomach moving toward his throat. It was less than an inch from his face when *BEEP* *BEEP*. David awake to the sound of his alarm shocked to see his shirt was cut exactly like it had been in the dream. “So… now I can’t even sleep without someone trying to kill me? This is getting ridiculous!” David thought as he drew a ragged breath and reached for the phone to dial who he always called when his life was in danger.

“What now? Is an axe brandishing fiend perched over your bed and you require my assistance to collect a hundred supermodels to protect your existence?” Ted asked.

“No, a creepy guy named Freddy wants to slit my throat with some hedge trimmers taped to his hand.” David replied.

“…and you wish me to find supermodels to remedy this?”

“No… I need you to heat up some coffee and fire up the Google.”

Several hours later:

“So… This guy was killed… and he’s pissed… and now he’s going to kill me in my dreams.” David said.

“It would appear that way,” Ted responded.

“I think I can work with that.”

“Pray tell, friend.”

“Well, anyone who has to kill people in their dreams clearly doesn’t like themselves very much. So, I’ll just listen to a self-help sleep tape as I go to sleep. Once he realizes that he just needs to love himself more all will be well.” David said mater-of-factly.

That night:

David found himself in a bright meadow, words like “synergy” and “trust” were etched into the sky above him. Looking around, he was taken aback to see Freddy marching purposely toward him with a look of unrestrained hatred on his face. “I don’t think it mellowed him as much as I had hoped,” David thought.

“Look, all I was going to do was kill you. But YOU… YOU torture me with THIS?!?!?!? And they call ME the evil one.” Freddy whined.

“Are you going to kill me then?” David asked meekly.

“Oh believe me, I’d like nothing more. But honestly I can’t stand another second of this hellish place.”

As if on cue a voice broke into the dream “This the first day of the rest of your life. You will find that your hold the keys to your future. It’s up to you to drive your dreams.

With a flash of fire and screech of metal blades on a chalkboard, the Freddy character was gone.

“As soon as I wake up, I’m going on vacation,” David thought to himself.

Somehow I never would have guessed that Freddy Krueger could be thwarted by some Self Esteem building schlock. Although, come to think of it I probably would have pretty much the same reaction (sans screeching hand blades of course). With this foray into the world of Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street our intrepid Captain falls back on one of his favorite, tried and true exploits: social engineering. It’s interesting to note that like any good Social Engineering attack, David’s begins with a visit to the Google. Although it doesn’t work out exactly as planned, it still works. Which is the goal of all exploits, no? Keep checking for the next terrifying[ly ridicules] episode in the week long Halloween special.

Captain X-Ploit: Movies Can be Fun

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 2 of the week long Halloween special –
Movies Can be Fun…
(but usually not the ones with creepy chicks who need a haircut.)

David slumped quietly on his couch and flicked on his TV hoping to forget the mess with Michael Myers. He decided to watch a movie he’d found on the internet. After firing up the stream he became mesmerized. A series of strange and dark images flashed on the screen ending with a shot of a girl, badly in need of a haircut, crawling out of a well. As the video abruptly ended he was left in horror, silence… and boredom. “That was SO not Inception,” he carped.

These thoughts were interrupted by the shrill ring of his telephone. His heart leapt and he nearly fainted. “That thing I plugged into the wall has never done that before! Maybe it’s broken.” David had only plugged that strange antique into the wall for decoration sake. He’d never actually received a call on it. He had always figured everyone text-ed now. “Seriously, if this is a political ad for anyone but Ted… Heads will roll.” He picked up the phone and heard a ragged breathy voice say “You will die in 7 days.”

“We’ve been over this. I still have at least 45 years left.” David replied.

The voice drew another ragged breath and repeated “7 days,” then hung up.

He set down the phone and did what any sane, normal, healthy human being would do in his situation. He whipped out his laptop intending to do two things: Post a negative comment on that crappy video and WebMD creepy telephone calls. He was shocked when activity one made activity two unnecessary. Reading from the comments with links posted to news articles he quickly gathered that watching that video, in fact, results in death 7 days later. Fear crossed his face and he whipped out his real cell phone, calling to alert Ted to this new development.

“Hmmm… I see your predicament, my friend. Death WOULD be a great inconvenience to our mission,” Ted responded.

“Like I don’t already know that. Look, just get on Google and let’s sort this out,” David replied.

A couple of hours later:

“ OK, so it looks like I’m going to die. UNLESS I show the video to at least one other person,” David reported.

“So our research would appear to indicate. As your President I highly recommend displaying this cinematographic lethal weapon to someone else. Post haste!”

“Feel like firing up your TV, old buddy?” David said snarkily, “No, but seriously, the part that
worries me is that I couldn’t find a consistent answer on exactly how many people need to view the movie for the magic to work and un-curse me. I think I’ll show it to a few people to be safe.”

The next day:

David was at the movie theater talking to one of the attendants. “So, this job seems neat… do you get to watch the movies when they play?” he asked.

“We sure do! We get to watch them from that little room upstairs where the projectors are,” the fellow said excitedly, “I get to show the next one, actually. I’m excited ‘cus I haven’t seen it before.”

David considered this for a moment then said “I’ll give you $2,000 in 8 days if you show this short video before the new Tom Crap movie.”

Several minutes later:

David stepped merrily from the movie theater, waiting for all those phones to start ringing and thinking, “Oh well, the world could do with a few hundred less Tom Crap fans eating up my precious O2. Damn, this whole ordeal has left me really exhausted I think I’m going to go home and sleep for a while.”

Another classic horror film,  Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, gets the Captain X-Ploit treatment. Seriously, how cool is the idea of a Denial of Service attack on a cursed video. And how about the promise to pay the poor movie theater stooge the day AFTER he’s toast if the curse still works since it’s possible that the 30-year dead psychic who placed the curse [from the original movie Ringu] has the malevolent bandwidth to foil David’s DoS attempt. I’m pretty sure that David doesn’t really care. At least he’s off the hook so to speak. Stayed tuned for more Halloween action in Trustonia.

Captain X-Ploit Halloween special – The Devil Walks Among Trustonians

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 1 of the week long Halloween special –
The Devil Walks Among Trustonians

David woke that day with a curiously plot convenient bout of forgetfulness. He had completely forgotten what he was supposed to be doing and instead focused on his morning and preparing himself for what would turn out to be the most terrifying week of his life. As David slumped in front of his TV with a bowl of cereal and flicked on the news he nearly dropped the bowl when he saw the face of the most evil man Trustonia had ever seen! David’s stare intensified as he sought to gobble up every scrap of news he could from the story.

“Earlier today the notorious babysitter/family killer known as Michael Myers was spotted in Trustonia. Undoubtedly everyone remembers when Myers escaped from the Trustonia insane asylum. He left over 15 bodies in his wake as he butchered his way through nearly every mildly slutty babysitter in town. The only living survivor to see him, known as ‘the one with the modest sweater and glasses’ has refused to comment stating a ‘severe case of teenage angst’ and requesting to be left alone so she can cry. Dr. Clearly Amoral has stated his fear that Michael will return to the house ‘where it all began’…”

David actually DID drop his cereal as the words “where it all began” were spoken and the camera cut to a picture of none other than David’s own house. David immediately grasped the danger. If this was Michael’s childhood home where he had murdered his family, then he would definitely be back and not too happy about David being there.

He thought for a while, debating whether or not to leave his house. He finally settled on not leaving. “There has to be a way to keep my house AND my life,” he thought.

Time slipped by, as it so often does in horror movies, and about an hour later David had his complete, formulated answer. He picked up the phone and called Ted. “Ted!” he screamed with barely restrained panic in his voice, “I’m in mortal peril! I need sleazy, promiscuous baby sitters… LOTS OF THEM… FAST!”

There was a quiet pause on the phone for a few moments before Ted slowly, but politely replied “I fear you may have ingested some form of hallucinogen whilst sampling the Halloween candy early, my dear friend. Might I suggest navigating your way to the nearest hospital?”

“Oh Har-de-har-har [sarcastic laugh], Ted. I’m serious. Deadly serious! Serious like ‘Michael Myers is going to kill me’ serious! I need you to use your power as president to host some sort of national competition for the best sleazy, promiscuous babysitter costume at my house.”

After explaining the situation and his plan to Ted, David prepared his house for that evening’s festivities. After boarding himself up in his room with all his valuables he sat with his laptop and prepared to watch the carnage unfold.

Several hours later:

Surrounded by a large number of dead babysitters on David’s now gore-streaked lawn lay Michael Myers, quietly napping. The reporters and police rushed on the scene and officially pronounced him exhausted but available for sequels. Apparently he had “slashed and stabbed to the point of exhaustion”. One police officer slapped a pair of handcuffs on the masked, serial, slutty babysitter killer remarking, “Aww… he looks just like a sleeping baby.” The reporter agreed, “The big guy’s all tuckered out.”

David couldn’t help but feel like something equally crazy was going to happen tomorrow for some reason. Maybe he’d watch a movie to try and forget this nonsense.

Welcome to part 1 of the terrifying[ly ridiculous] Captain X-Ploit Halloween week special wherein the good Captain finds himself matching wits with some famous horror movie villains. Unlike the hapless teenaged gore-fodder in the original cinematic shockers, our [sorta] hero must use his unparalleled hacking abilities to save the day. For himself at any rate. Not so much for the sleazy, promiscuous, babysitter costumed extras in this homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Stay tuned for even more terrifying, yet amusing  horror send-ups during the Captain X-Ploit Halloween week special.

Captain X-Ploit: The Throw Down

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
The Throw Down
– Part 1 of the epic chronicle –
Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met.

David locked eyes with Sara. He stared into her piercing, expressive honey colored eyes set in a soft, flawless face framed in shimmering matching honey hair. David drew a ragged breath as his eyes drank in the most beautiful sight he’d beheld in his life. Behind her the sun was setting in the distance softening her outline and bordering it with a shimmering glow of soft orange light. Her eyes seemed cut him to his soul and read his substance.

A sharp slap on his back brought David back to reality. “I see you have at long last met the one called Sara, David.” Ted exclaimed joyfully. David didn’t speak and instead continued to stare at Sara. “Not to understate your physique or allure my friend but I do believe our alien companions managed to improve on a few of your features and convert your icy stare with a piercing gaze of pure honey warmth.”

The girl’s smile shattered and her eyes turned dark. Her angered stare seemed to rip from him every emotion he had and replace them with a dark gloom. What did I do? He wondered. He shook his head Wait, why do I care? Damn it! It’s those eyes, they’re controlling. He concentrated and managed to break her stare. As he did she opened her mouth.

“So this is the famous ‘David Stone’ who stole my rightful spot as ruler of this town, who caused my father to leave me alone and helpless.”

“What?” David said confused.

“Did you think the aliens just conjured me up? No, they cloned me from you! Ugh, the thought that you and I are almost the same makes me sick.” She spat out the word you like it left a bitter taste in her mouth. “They put me on earth 6 years ago as a baby under the care of my ‘father’ to grow up into the next generation of hacker. Everything was fine until you duped my clueless father into trading his car for a drawing. A drawing I made to boot! He was so ashamed when he found out it was a hoax that he left town. Leaving me to starve in the street.” She turned her destroying gaze to Ted.

“Then YOU couldn’t even keep the government off his back and the aliens abducted me and force grew me 13 years so I could take his place early. Only to have no effect because you two managed to ‘save the day’ somehow, leaving me out in the cold.” She turned back to David and said “So, why don’t you prove you’re so damn good that you deserve the job I was made for. Why don’t you and I have a little competition?”

“I’m game.” David said, angrily taking her challenge. “What did little missy have in mind?”

“The person to exploit the most money out of this town by midnight tomorrow seems fair.” She said.

And so we have it, the gauntlet had been thrown. Can the original beat version 2.0? Log on next week to find out!

David is back! And doubled to boot. Sort of. This exploit contest should be extremely amusing for us. For the luckless inhabitants of Trustonia, not so much. And even in this there is a deeper message [to the extent that there is a message, deeper or otherwise here]. One wonders how often in the real world outside Trustonia truly epic exploits arise from a simple challenge between hackers.

Captain X-Ploit:
Too cool for babes.

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Too cool for babes.
– Part 4 of the epic chronicle –
Captain X-Ploit vs. The Law

And so life returned to normal for David… at least, he settled into a new normal, being part time vice president and full time hacker. Yes indeed, a quiet boring normal life… was never really something David had or wanted. So this slight normality bothered him to an extent. After his adventures getting Ted into office then making his conveniently named dog the vice president so he could step in the position whenever the need arose, life was feeling rather empty and dull.

There were however several things that loomed in the near future that threatened to destroy David altogether… or at least keep him pretty busy. We shall learn of some in the future but for now two major things were about to hit our happy protagonist like a freight train. The aliens’ plans to convert Trustonia into a “land of hot college girls ready to go wild, and old people shaking their walking sticks in anguish at the former group” had hit a snag. It seems the climate control mechanism broke and threw Trustonia into record breaking low temperatures. The aliens were, of course, outraged and called Ted to yell at him. Ted having been promoted to HUMAN REPRESENTATIVE to the aliens.

Ted’s promotion came when he was declared president; the aliens felt it would be a good idea to have contact with a powerful human leader. Ted agreed because he rather enjoyed being a “Human Representative” as opposed to his old position “Cheap Human Unable to Protest.” Or CHUMP for short. Although Ted had nothing to do with the breaking and less to do with the fixing, he’d become the person the aliens enjoyed yelling at. There’s something universally satisfying about yelling at a president in a Tuxedo, it’s like sticking it to the man on a somewhat literal level.

The machine breaking was little more than a minor annoyance for David. But, he was beginning to enjoy the warm and now it was freezing. He scowled as he walked down the street wondering how he’d deal with it. Those bloody aliens and their crappy machines. You’d think they could at least get global warming RIGHT. We were doing a fine job with cars and air conditioners anyway. I hardly think…. Wait. AIR CONDITIONERS! The thought dawned on him like… Something that… dawns. In a flash he had his cell phone out and had Ted on the line.

Ted held up an index finger to a particularly loquacious alien and answered his phone with this observation, “I find the fact that my cellular telephone works in space to be genuinely shocking.” David replied,  “It’s a little known secret that cell phones are actually powered by magic and voodoo, it has VERY little to do with those big towers with the red blinky lights. Anyway, that’s not why I called.” David said, “I called because I need you to schedule a presidential press conference, I think I have a way to fix this damnable cold weather in Trustonia.”

That evening Ted and David appeared on every news media outlet explaining how recent science has proven that the part of the brain responsible for making you feel cold can be semi-permanently reprogrammed if you spend a long enough time in a cold environment. Unfortunately to achieve a “cold environment” one would have to run their air conditioner at full blast during winter.  They recommended a large scale test of this new scientific theory in the town of Trustonia.

It took about a week for David’s plan to take full affect but with every single person in town running multiple air conditioners at full blast the outside temperature began to rise steadily. Smiling David shed his annoying coat in favor of his favorite worn t-shirt. He had almost completely forgotten about the other thing that loomed on his horizon. He had forgotten about it right up until he walked into it. “Ow!” David thought as he corrected his balance and looked into the eyes of Sara Boulder.

So it appears that the office of vice-president is a big snoozer. That’s probably why Nicky [David's dog] isn’t interested in it either. At least there’s still hacking going on in Trustonia. This time the good Captain uses a classic hack – exploiting an unintended side-effect of a seemingly unrelated process to get around the controls of the process of interest. Definitely a classic. Now we’re left to wonder who this “Sara Boulder” is. I have a feeling we’ve seen her before.