Monday, April 30, 2018

8. The Wabbit and the Bit Coin Miner

Wabsworth led the way and he was grinning, because the Wabbit had devised a way of salvaging Hardhack Rat. "Where are you taking me?" asked Hardhack. "To your new workshop," replied the Wabbit. "I thought I was going to jail," smiled Hardhack. The Wabbit chortled. "Who do you think we are - the FBI?" Lapinette called from the door. She waved a box. "I found one. I got it, it wasn't easy." Wabsworth forged ahead. "Hardhack, you're going to be a Bitcoin miner." Hardhack smiled. "There's hardly any left to mine." He extracted his USB drive and gave it to the Wabbit. There was a lightning flash. "That's what they said about oil," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette knew the Wabbit was concocting something for his Dinosaur Fund. The Fund underwrote unorthodox missions, but no amount of massaging could prevent falling returns. "Economies are struggling," mused the Wabbit. This fell on deaf ears. The Wabbit grew impatient. "Eh, Wabsworth?" he prompted. Wabsworth nodded. "Currencies are failing, they will adopt Bitcoin, there's nothing else." Lapinette wasn't so happy. "It sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me." Hardhack nodded too, clasped his claws and looked at the box. "Early in, early out. Is that an ASIC miner? I'll need blades." Wabsworth mused like the Wabbit. "We'll have cryptographic, frictionless, programmable money." "Half of it maybe," grinned the Wabbit.

Friday, April 27, 2018

7. The Wabbit and the Block Train

Hardhack Rat wasn't hard to follow. The Wabbit watched him look left to right before opening a concealed corridor door. He gasped. It led to a bunker containing the biggest computer the Wabbit had ever seen. Something glinted in the light and the Wabbit picked it up. Lapinette took it and scurried around the stacks. "Professor Rat, Professor Rat sir, you dropped this." She threw it. The USB fell short and slid along the floor to Hardhack's feet. "I told you, my lady, that students may not enter the facility," snapped Hardhack, seizing the USB. Lapinette put her paws to her face. "Oh, tell me Professor, where does it go?" Hardhack snorted. "It goes here of course." Wabsworth perched on the stacks and waited. There was a snick as Hardhack plugged the USB in a slot on his side. Wabsworth heard it and dialed. The USB flickered. Hardhack froze. Lapinette poked him and yelled, "What is your intent?" Hardhack's eyes glazed. "I forgot." Lapinette looked up. "Wabsworth. Hack off." Wabsworth dialed a series of digits. The USB flashed. "Now start remembering, Hardhack!" shouted Lapinette. Hardhack started to sing. "Oh, the block chain train is a mighty good chain. The block train chain is the train to hack." He just wouldn't stop. "Wabsworth!" yelled Lapinette. Wabsworth chortled, swiped keypads, then frowned. Now Hardhack's singing was frantic. "He's rocking round the block," said the Wabbit.
[Background photo credit: ESO (under the license specified)]

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

6. The Wabbit and the Lair of the Rat

Hardhack became increasingly desperate as his bus pirate was nowhere to be found. Lapinette loped after him. "Professor Rat, Sir. You dropped your bus." She caught up with him and panted. Then she thrust something into his claw. "You dropped your bus, Professor Rat." Hardhack took the red case without looking. His teeth chattered nervously. "Students are no longer permitted in the building." He clutched the bus to his chest. The Wabbit groped in his fur for something he'd bought in a market because it looked technical. "You might be interested in this, Professor." He produced a shiny USB drive and offered it to Hardhack, who snatched it away. "I'll be going now," he snapped. Without a backward glance, he bolted to a stairway and disappeared. "He took the bait," chuckled Wabsworth. "And now the switch," grinned the Wabbit. "Clickedy click," murmured Wabsworth. He pushed two walkie talkies together and made a series of keypad entries. "Streaming," said Wabsworth. From the corridor came sounds of glee. Wabsworth typed on. Now Hardhack's cries were pure joy. "Now I have everything, everything and more!" Lapinette nudged the Wabbit sharply in the ribs. "Everything tastes of porridge""

Monday, April 23, 2018

5. The Wabbit and Hardhack Rat

They tracked down Hardhack Rat in an old abandoned technical college, long forgotten on the edge of town. Wabsworth said he might be there, and he was right. There, Hardhack paced dusty corridors in search of something he appeared to have mislaid. "The bus, the bus," he chittered, "where's my bus?" The Wabbit nudged Wabsworth. "If he wants to catch a bus round here, he's won't get a sniff of one." Wabsworth gasped and whispered a stream of technical jargon. "A bus pirate! He's sniffing traffic." The Wabbit scowled. "Our traffic." Suddenly Hardhack's ears twitched. "What was that?" He glanced from side to side. The Wabbit threw his voice and it bounced a whispering bounce from a far wall. "Mice, ice, ice ..." "I hate mice," squealed Hardhack, "but not as much as I hate rabbits." He turned without warning and glared, but the team nestled neatly in the shadows. Hardhack turned back and chittered to himself. "Years at Hacking College and they ask me to fix phones. Now it's payback time." He scuttled down the corridor like Nosferatu. Lapinette drew close to the Wabbit. "Does he sound disgruntled to you?" The Wabbit's laugh was wry and dry. "He was the last winner in the rat race." Lapinette waited until the scuttling died away. She wrinkled her nose and twitched her ears. "Let's find him his bus and give him traffic." "Heavy traffic," hissed the Wabbit.

Friday, April 20, 2018

4. The Wabbit and the Rathole Update

The big balloon made an unexpected take-off and confused everything. Susan the Biplane crash landed, narrowing missing it. The Wabbit pulled out his special screwdriver. "Is everything connected to the Internet now?" he asked. "Not me," said Lapinette. She vaulted down from Susan's wing. "I don't suppose you got an update?" said Wabsworth. "I give updates, not get them," answered Lapinette. The Wabbit prodded Susan with his screwdriver. "Looks like Susan got an update." He prodded again. Nothing. "There was a virus attack," he explained. "Name?" asked Lapinette. "I'm still Wabbit," said the Wabbit. Lapinette sighed. Wabsworth smiled. "Hardhack Rat. That's what we're calling it for now." The Wabbit tapped his screwdriver on the fuselage. "Hardhack sends Logic Bombs via the Internet, timed to initiate at vulnerable points." Wabsworth nodded. His circuits whined while he considered. "And he breaches our protocol parameters without difficulty." "But what's the motive?" asked Lapinette. "These sort of types don't need a motive," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette shook her head. "What types?" "Evil Computers," replied the Wabbit. "They're all evil," said Wabsworth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Alphanumerics

The Wabbit hauled Wabsworth to a discreet location and removed his maintenance panel. A green glow pulsed. The Wabbit tutted, clenched his teeth and produced his favourite screwdriver. He jabbed swiftly at a point just under Wabsworth's shoulder. Wabsworth jerked and his head slumped. Now the Wabbit worked frantically on a concealed keypad hidden in Wabsworth's fur. He turned the screwdriver handle three quarters and murmured, "Sniff 'em out!" It whined like an old fashioned modem. The Wabbit's ears quivered and his eyes narrowed. "Aha!" he yelled. He placed a paw on Wabsworth's head, just under his glasses. He spoke into his radio. "Transmit logic bomb cleaner." He nudged the radio into contact with the screwdriver and waited. Wabsworth suddenly shook his head, sneezing phantom alphanumerics that glistened and died. "Where in the binky was I?" He gasped, convulsed and expelled a series of equations. The Wabbit tried to catch them but to no avail. He scowled. "We were compromised." Wabsworth's circuits whirred. "Did you get an update?" The Wabbit laughed. "I don't get updates. I'm kept completely in the dark." "There was a DWA update," insisted Wabsworth, "it took all binking night." "What did you do?" asked the Wabbit. A silence fell as Wabsworth thought. "There was a movie with it..." The Wabbit's stare was a question. "It was 'Hackers'," groaned Wabsworth.
[A Logic bomb is a piece of malicious software often delivered via the internet, timed to initiate at specific intervals.]

Monday, April 16, 2018

2. Lapinette and the Byzantine Failure

Susan the Biplane had reported bugsy software. The Wabbit wasn't around - so Lapinette took her for a test flight. They soared over the mountains, buzzed down the river and for a while things seemed normal. But suddenly Susan looped, spun and dropped. "Sorry ma'am," said Susan. Lapinette's tummy went walkabout but she pretended she was fine. "Hold attitude, Susan." Susan wobbled and shook like a jelly. "I'm having an attitude problem," she said. "Not for the first time," thought Lapinette. "It's my instruments, Ma'am," said Susan, "they're beeping and bopping, bipping and burping, blabbing and .." Lapinette threw several switches, one of which was the radio. She ran a silent diagnostic, ran it again and switched the radio back on. "I need oil," said Susan, "poodles of oil." She lurched dramatically and stood on a wingtip. Lapinette spoke into her radio. "Come in, Control." The radio crackled. "I haven't been out, have you? Would you like to go out?" Lapinette sighed and looked at the instrument panel. "Can you switch to analog," Susan?" "I love Kylie Minog," replied Susan. She began to sing I should be so lucky and dropped so dangerously low that Lapinette spotted people she knew. Lapinette flipped the switch and grabbed the joystick with one paw. With another she grabbed her radio and selected shortwave. The Wabbit's voice cut through the whine. "Having fun?"

Friday, April 13, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Sudden Seizure

The Wabbit paused on the cinema stairs and looked down on the foyer. This he did for amusement when he was bored between missions. He was there only a moment when he heard a vaguely familiar voice. This was followed by a thud, then a crash as Wabsworth pitched down a flight of stairs and lay prone at the Wabbit's feet. Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double and although he was somewhat similar to the Wabbit, much had changed since he was made. The Wabbit frowned and stooped close. "Wabsworth?" Wabsworth stirred and spoke in a slurred voice. "Wabbit, rabbit, grabbit, nabbit." Usually the Wabbit could hear Wabsworth's circuits quietly whirring but there was only sporadic grinding. He lifted Wabsworth's radio and flicked to his personal channel. It hissed violently. "This is Department Compartment." The message repeated several times and then cut off. The Wabbit slammed the radio against the balustrade. Several bits flew off and the radio sprang into life. "Unauthorised user detected. Access denied." The Wabbit scowled. He lifted Wabsworth to his feet and threw a paw over his shoulder. Wabsworth stiffened then swayed and spoke in Tipsy's voice. "Buy me a dwink. Take me to the flick-flicks." His circuits whirred at an alarming rate. The Wabbit shouted in Wabsworth's ear. "Can you walk?" "Walk walk walk the Wabbit walk," mumbled Wabsworth. "Just do it!" yelled the Wabbit. He grabbed Wabsworth by the ears and hauled him from the cinema ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

It was a pleasant afternoon at the Adventure Caffè and, as usual, Skratch made a sudden entrance. "Sorry I'm late," he meaowed; "I was detained by the movies." The Wabbit grinned. "You're nearly too late for the big question." Skratch made for a spare seat. "Cats are never late," he purred. He looked down at Spring Rabbit, who had mysteriously appeared next to Wabsworth. "What is your critical view of your adventure, Spring Rabbit?" Spring Rabbit sprung into Wabsworth's lap and spoke in a soft voice. "It falls into the category I recognise as trickamagical. A silence fell. "Please elaborate," smiled Wabsworth with interest. Spring Rabbit settled. "The discourse was mobilised by magic, executed by tricksters. We all transgressed the boundaries of empirical fact." "Skratch nodded gravely and was about to hold forth. But Wabsworth was anxious to give his opinion. "Real sorcerers resort to tricks when magic doesn't work. The line between the two is fuzzy." Lapinette was impatient. "It doesn't matter, because the exclusive aim of magic is to produce results." Spring Rabbit laughed, then vanished briefly and reappeared. Everyone gasped. "You'll always work," laughed the Wabbit.

Monday, April 09, 2018

8. The Wabbit and the Money Form

The Wabbit lifted the remaining coin and looked at Spring Rabbit. "What's it to be?" he asked. Behind him, tourists scattered into the city taking their free coins with them. The shapes separated from the coins and became listless untethered shadows. Spring Rabbit briefly touched the coin that was left, then sprang back. He looked into the distance. "There go the shapes. How did you know?" The Wabbit shrugged. "We gave the coins away free, gratis and for nothing. It was more than the shapes could bear." "Poetic justice," observed Spring Rabbit. The Wabbit turned to watch. The shapes looked without hope. They could no longer live profitably in the coins, so penniless and homeless, they shuffled into the night. The Wabbit tapped the coin. "What do you want to do?" "The coin is a prison house," said Spring Rabbit; "I will not return. How much is it worth in your money?" "It might fetch a million euro at auction," said the Wabbit. "Keep it, it's yours," said Spring Rabbit. The Wabbit mentally consigned it to the Museum. "Now I need work," said Spring Rabbit. "Can you remember any magic tricks?" asked the Wabbit. Spring Rabbit vanished momentarily then returned. "That's all very well," smiled the Wabbit, "but can you saw a scantily clad lady in half?" "I can pull one out of a hat," said Spring Rabbit.

Friday, April 06, 2018

7. The Wabbit and the Sudden Census

The Wabbit and Spring Rabbit couldn't haul the ghostly coins all over town, so the Wabbit came up with a plan. Together they stacked the coins and piled them neatly on the tramway. Then they waited. "Some days you get lucky," muttered the Wabbit. The historic tram clanked into sight, full of tourists. The Wabbit plucked a police stop sign from his fur and signalled the driver to stop. There was a hiss and a spray of sand as the driver braked the tram. "This is a census," yelled the Wabbit.  The driver leaned out and spoke grouchily. "What kind of census?" "Spending census," shouted the Wabbit. "Obligatory!" He waved the sign. Had it not been for the sign the driver would have proceeded, but he was cautious. Only the police could use that sign and he worried for his pension. The Wabbit continued in an official manner. "Everyone on the tram is obliged to say how much money they spent today." Spring Rabbit looked through the door and saw tourists hastily making notes. "Each participating tourist will receive one of these coins entirely gratis," shouted the Wabbit. He tapped the piles of coins with the sign. Tourists stepped from the tram until it was empty. The Wabbit waved the sign at the driver. "Proceed!" he yelled. The tram rattled into the distance. Spring distributed the coins - and one by one the tourists drifted away. But there was one coin left ...

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

6. The Wabbit and the Shape of Money

The Wabbit and Spring Rabbit made their way down the gloomy porticos in search of a hiding place for the coins. But the further they went, the heavier and the hotter became the coins. They had no option but to put them down. "Not a great place," murmured the Wabbit. Suddenly the coins moved and clunked in a dull way that froze the Wabbit's bones. It was a slurping slapping noise like chains dragging through oil. The Wabbit drew back behind a pillar and watched as shadows emerged. At first they looked like floating wisps of oily smoke, - but as they grew, they changed into shapes that stepped from between the coins and walked and talked. The shapes spoke of exchange, of buying and selling, of old deals and new deals. Their conversations turned to speculation and profits and accumulation. They argued about power and how to get it. They looked in the shops and laughed and wished them closed so they could make fast cash from the empty site. Spring Rabbit motioned for stillness and that was hard for the Wabbit to do. So he shrank back against the pillar and gritted his teeth. With lightning speed, the shapes wheeled and returned to the heap of coins. An eerie devilish chant echoed along the arches. "Pecuniate obediunt omnia!" They vanished into the coins. Spring Rabbit breathed a long sigh and translated. "All things obey money." The Wabbit snarled. "Obedience is over-rated."

Monday, April 02, 2018

5. Mitzy, Tipsy, Fitzy and the Money

Lapinette's Guard swept into the deserted space, turned to face out and bowed. "Anyone here?" asked Tipsy. "Not a soul." said Fitzy. "Where is the Wabbit now the dust has settled?" said Tipsy. "Gone looking for trouble?" said Fitzy. "Gone with the money," said Mitzy. "Gone with the golden rabbit," said Tipsy. She pirouetted and yelled. "The Wabbit prefers trouble to money." Using a mosaic as a skateboard Mitzy coasted around and back, then she shrugged and sang. "Money won't buy him trouble." Fitzy swayed elegantly. "Money's short, always tight, can't buy you love, it's never right." "Money!" yelled Tipsy. Now Mitzy sang. "But if you happen to be rich, turn a switch, it's no hitch." The three stepped forward and shouted simultaneously. "The Wabbit is not rich and he's looking for trouble." Mitzy spread her paws. "He will find it." Fitzy swayed. "He already did." Tipsy plunged a paw into her frock and pulled out a coin. "Could you change a rouble?" Fitzy stuck out a paw. "I'll give you double." Mitzy grabbed it away. "Even though it might be trouble, I'll double that again." Tipsy took the coin back. Her paws blurred. "Abracadabra!"  She held up four coins and smiled. "Look how much money we made." "Hubble bubble ..." murmured Fitzy.