0's and 1's: Book 1 CBDT (Cyber-Bullying Defense Team)


Chapter 1

(Hunter Douglas)


               Ryan was dead, I was alone. For the first time, I realized how small I was with my lanky 6 feet 5 inches of 15 year old flesh standing before his casket as it was being lowered into the ground. Before me was the future that I will forever be denied: a strong friendship to weather the day's worries, a loving partner to share the night's loneliness.

               I took in one last breath, one last taste of the air, praying for even the faintest scent of his musk. I used to joke that I could smell him from two blocks away, because he had the weirdest pituitary glands I have ever encountered in a 15 year old boy. It wasn't out of malicious intent, he just smelled different. I guess my nose was the first thing that fell in love with him, followed closely by my cock and balls.   Before we became boyfriends, we were best friends. Before we were best friends, we were rivals. Everything I did, he had to compete with me; everything he did I just had to beat him in. When we were 11, we made robots that could pound, slice, and dice at engineering summer camp. At 12, we got into designing websites, and his mysteriously got infected by a code eating java script. He balled his eyes out at the loss of his hard work and I realized at that point that I wronged him. I told the teacher what I did and got my first and only F on a project, but the teacher was impressed that I could write such a destructive virus. She forced me to do an "extra credit project" that turned into a multi-platform app. By 13, we became best friends; we got into a heated argument over whether Elves or Wizards were cooler, of course Wizards, and then had our first kiss. We spent the rest of our first year as teenagers exploring and realizing we loved each other. At 14, we began to get serious about creating software and hardware for next generation integrated technologies, so we started a little tech business that got big really fast when Google Venture became a partner. Plus, I got to leave my first load of cum in his ass.

               Now at 15, he's dead, because some asshole went online, hacked his personal information, and used it against him. At first, it was just his social network, then his cell phone kept getting pinged with abusive text messages from unknown senders, and the jerk sent a naked picture of him to everyone in school. I told him his ass was cute no matter who saw it, but Ryan was always a sensitive guy and the constant negativity got to him. If only it had stopped there. I'd begged my parents to let us move like a thousand miles away to some private island; I heard the Florida Keys were really gay friendly.

               It didn't stop with a naked picture. Someone used Ryan's name to order like a hundred pounds of fertilizer and send a bomb threat to the school. He got suspended, pending an investigation that broke him.

               When I first found out he was dead, I denied it. I kept texting him messages, expecting a response:


Hunt: Like dude, faking your death, tres original, Love ya

Hunt: We should really get a picture of your mom when she figures this was a joke, she'll freak

Hunt: Lol, I thought Stevenson was good and all about "beatin' hate", but he's getting too preachy!

Hunt: Like when are you coming over, we got a lot of stuff to catch up on?"


               It took me 5 days to this very moment to realize, you were gone from my life forever. I am pissed that you died, I am pissed you didn't talk to me more before you went Robin Williams on me, and I am pissed at myself for not doing more. I'm supposed to be this genius with an IQ of 153, I was on the cover of Fortune's Rising Stars, and all I can do is stand here.

               If I had my license right now, I'd probably try to get away from all this crap, but I don't have the choice and my parents want me to confront this like an adult. I know they mean well and I do get what I should do: move on, find another boyfriend or turn into a Silicon Valley gay playboy, and get a life. I want to do that, but I can't. There's this hole in my life only Ryan could fill. Mom thought I should try a therapist, but I quit after one session.

               I went back to my advanced placement classes and tried to get my thoughts away from Ryan without success. The stuff was really easy, despite being in senior level classes. I know other guys my age were still going through freshman year, but I just knew intuitively how knowledge gets applied to reality without guidance. Biographers say tech mavericks like Zuckerberg, Gates, and Jobs were born smart; my bet is they just knew how to make stuff work, so school became a casual thing for them.

               Outside school work, the social aspect at least redirected some of my focus. The soccer team for me was what got my mind off Ryan at least a little. People think guys like me, geeks basically, spend all our time in front of computers, but in reality, we're normal people too and enjoy things like sports. Looking for the right routes, countering a pass, intercepting a cross, and scoring that beautiful goal after everything else, soccer is like a living Rubik's cube. It might seem boring to some people, but playing it and living it is a whole different level of experience. Still, it didn't completely remove my emptiness or my loss. If anything, not seeing Ryan at my side passing the ball like I want it, just made it clear he was gone. The other guys on the team, some of whom were our closest friends tried to get me out of the slump, but they knew it was hopeless, because they felt his loss too.

               After a week, another gay teen committed suicide just like Ryan. Same pattern of hacking, abuse, and slander was present. It kept happening all over the city, across different schools, different neighborhoods, and different backgrounds. Some people in the conservative media said it was the work of a massive gay "murder-suicide" pact amongst high school kids. When I heard that, I threw the remote at the TV. My mom and dad nodded in agreement at the stupidity of the statement. I had low opinions of those people before and I had even lower opinions of them after. Did they just come out of their little caves to be stupid?

               After Ryan's death, I did a complete "net" overhaul of all my accounts: new passwords created with a customized Tor Browser, enhanced digital, biometric, and image encryption on all my private documents, and finally I built my own partitioned 1028 bit encrypted server with 4 additional levels of protections. It makes my data even more top secret than the Pentagon's old 256 bit system. I also built a new app, I called Ryan's defender, which would identify any hacks or data releases from PC's and mobile devices. I was working on this damn thing when Ryan was alive, but never got the chance to use it. Why I didn't conceive of the necessary programming language faster, or pushed myself even harder to completion, will continue to haunt me throughout my days.

               Not only did Ryan die, but others did too, while I was working. Even with this tool, it only serves as a warning, not a counter to hacks, and distribution is limited. Apple, Google, and Microsoft keep their developers on a short leash, so no universal version of an app is possible without paying ransom. The limits of App licensing means I am only able to reach 40% of the Market.That would violate their agreements with other App developers like Twitter and Facebook. We live in an integrated society; building new technology has risks to other players and other users.

               With the death of the 7th victim, Mayor Adam Chance, our first openly gay mayor, sent out an email invitation to parents, school administrators, and local public organizers for a meeting to deal with this epidemic. I liked our mayor and I liked his idea, but I think he was attacking the problem in the wrong way. He's using a 20th century mentality of community organizing to fight a 21st century problem, but you can't really blame him. Gay bullying has existed for decades, no matter how much more "accepted" we have become. I read an online news article that the Mayor faced bullying when he first came out at 17 in high school, and how kids used to mock his clothing, his hair, and went as far as slashing the tires of his car. He fought through it and came out on top as the 1st gay mayor of a major city on the eastern seaboard. It was a different era with different challenges. People like Mayor Chance are our heroes and should be on pedestals, but they're not our examples to follow. Gay teens today face constant reprisals and attacks on a daily basis, with or without physical evidence; harassment is now on a stream of consciousness level. The inescapable fact that technology is part of all our lives has made this issue go beyond what the last generation of gay advocates can deal with.

               My parents were invited to the conference, but I, being an underage student, was not invited to the adults table for discussion.  While my parents felt a student representative should be present, they did not act, or say anything to the Mayor's office. After all, they are adults and they are my caregivers as the old fashioned concept goes. Though, I've had an open offer to attend MIT for a year and I pull in about $300K per year from my tech start-up. Sure, I don't get to use most of that money due to rules on banking for underage account holders, but as a majority partner in my tech company, I have free control over corporate discretionary accounts that are not limited by antiquated US laws as Mr. Thatcher, Ryan's dad, taught me and him that lesson.

               Beyond my special conditions, I know they were wrong about freezing me and other gay kids out. This is a battle fought by gay teens and should involve us on the deepest levels possible. Prior to the date of the scheduled meeting, I began to gather up the information, notes, and data I started collecting when Ryan was first attacked. There was something bigger going on here than the traditional bigoted teen bully with a closet case mentality, but I doubt the authorities will figure it out or even realize we're under attack. A plan formed in my head for something different than the usual ad campaigning of TV spots and YouTube videos. Someone has to stand up and make a difference; Ryan would have wanted that.


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