Operation Camilla

By: Tabitha Ormiston-Smith


He generated another listing containing cross-references between each member and those members with whom they had hooked up. Perhaps there would be patterns Uncle Don would find useful. A third listing, of enormous size, dumped out all the messages that members had sent each other via the Yarralove website. All three reports went onto a USB stick. Then, feeling something was lacking, he reran the main report and included thumbnail photographs.

Job done, he hesitated for a moment. The database was fun to play with, and perhaps Uncle Don would ask for something he hadn’t thought of. But Uncle Don had been very clear about the need to leave no traces. He copied it, however, onto another USB stick, of larger capacity than the ones he kept to trade with his friends, and slipped it between the covers of his battered copy of Lord of the Rings. Then he deleted all the files he had created on his hard drive and, for good measure, started a defrag, with initialisation, to erase any traces. Another time, he thought, it would be better to do the whole download onto an external hard drive, of which he had several; the drive could be formatted afterwards for maximum safety.

Blackman was delighted with the results of his nephew’s hacking operation, and paid him $100 for his trouble, and a further $50 to set him up with a free, untraceable email account and website hosting. Once the boy had left, he settled down to plan his next move.





CHAPTER THREE





Blackman groaned in frustration. He had been at it for six hours, and his new website, godhateswhores.com, still looked like shit. The free hosting service provided an easy-to-use template, or so it claimed, but easy-to-use for most people didn’t seem to mean easy-to-use for a middle-aged solicitor who still used a Dictaphone and got a secretary to type everything. He wished he could just dump the job on Shelley and shout at her when it wasn’t up to the standard he wanted, as he ordinarily did with anything involving technology. He had had to resort to barring her from his office and telling her to reorganise the filing cabinets, which were located in the outer office. At least she wasn’t enjoying her day any more than he was; the hanging files were stuffed past capacity, and the outer rims of the hanging bits had sharp edges. When he’d come back from lunch, her fingers had been covered in band-aids, and he’d shouted at her for looking sloppy, and ordered her to get rid of them, which had relieved his stress even more than Beef Wellington and half a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The website was modelled on that of the Westboro Baptist Church, with an ostensible focus on Public Morality. He’d even copied a number of articles from that well-known site, altering them as needed to replace their obsession with homosexuals with one with chastity. There needed to be plenty of content, to make it look real. He surfed the web for more extreme right-wing religious content, plagiarising freely since the whole thing was anonymous anyway. For variety, he added a number of racial hatred articles, concentrating particularly on refugees and Stop The Boats rhetoric, of which he found plenty. He mixed these in with his morality content and backdated everything to make it look as though the website had been around for a while. By the time he stopped work at seven, he had a basic website that he thought might be believable. He would sleep on it and look at it again in the morning before deciding to hit the Publish button, which Josh had explained would make the website visible to everyone on the web.

***

Tammy had not slept well, despite having got up super-early the previous day to see Ben off on his plane, spent the day setting up her painting project, and then worked an exhausting night shift at the supermarket. The second bedroom, where she’d dragged her mattress after Ben had left, was all wrong; the light came from the wrong side, and there wasn’t enough of it, as the front room faced north, and she kept half-waking all morning. Most of all, though, the double mattress was horribly empty with just her and Tom. Tom was a comfort, of course, and she had finally managed to get to sleep, burying her face in his black fur and listening as his rumbling purr gave way to scratchy little snores. He was gone when she awoke, out the makeshift cat door in the front door (she really must get that pane replaced) and away on whatever cat business called him out each afternoon.