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Authors: Matilde Asensi

The Lost Origin

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THE LOST ORIGIN

A riveting journey into the Amazonia in search of a lost civilization

A strange disease has left Arnau’s brother in a vegetative state. A hacker and computer businessman, Arnau Queralt undertakes an archeological research in order to find the cure for his brother’s illness. Surprisingly, Arnau finds himself immersed in an exciting adventure that takes him to the Inca Empire, the ruins of Tiwanacu and the Amazon rainforest, following the trace of a lost civilization.

Arnau and his friends, Marc and Lola, take the readers on a journey through knowledge, unearthing some of the uncovered mysteries of Humanity, the paradox of the Evolution Theory and the truth about the role Spanish Conquistadors really played in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. A fascinating novel that challenges the readers to take part in a guessing game, and whose key lies in discovering the power of words.

The Lost Origin

Matilde Asensi

Translated by Nuvo Sky

This is fiction. The names, characters, places and events in this book are the product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real people (living or dead), companies, events or places is pure coincidence. The editor has no control over the author’s or third party’s websites or their content and does not assume responsibility for anything deriving from them.

The Lost Origin © Matilde Asensi, 2013
Translated by Nuvo Sky

Cover page image: © Jacobo Blasco

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About the Author

Matilde Asensi
(born 1962 in Alicante, Spain) is a Spanish journalist and writer, who specializes mainly in historical thrillers.

She has more than 20 million readers worldwide and has become the reference of quality bests-sellers in Spanish language. According to the magazine
Que Leer
she is the ‘Queen of the adventure novels’.

Her books, of an indubitable quality and proven historical documentation, have been translated to 15 languages. The English translation of
The Last Cato
won the
2007 International Latino Award
in the category ‘best mystery novel’ and an honor mention for ‘best adventure novel’. The following year, Everything
Under the Sky
won the second place for the
International Latino Award
.

In 2011 she received the Honour Award of Historical Novel Ciudad de Zaragoza for her career in this genre. She also was awarded the Premio Juan Ortiz del Barco (1996) and the Premio Felipe Trigo de Relato (1997)

OTHER BOOKS BY MATILDE ASENSI

 

Everything Under the Sky
The Last Cato
Checkmate in Amber
Peregrinatio
Iacobus

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

Contents

Copyright

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Epilogue

Notes

I

The problem that I could just make out that afternoon, while standing motionless in the dust, the shadows, and the scents of that old and closed building, was that being a progressive urbanite, skeptic, and technologically-developed man from the beginning of the twenty-first century made me incapable of taking into consideration anything that fell outside the purview of the five senses. At that moment, life for a hacker like me was only a complex system of algorithms written in a programming language for which there was no manual. That is to say, that afternoon I was one of those who believed that to live was to learn every day to run your personal unstable computer program without the opportunity for prior studies or tests or essays. Life was what it was and, what’s more, very short, so mine consisted of keeping permanently busy, without thinking about anything that didn’t have to do with what I was doing in every moment, especially if, as at that time, what I was doing was, among other things, a crime punished by law.

I remember that I stopped for a second to consider with astonishment the worn details of that set that, in a time that to me seemed very distant (twenty or maybe thirty years), had gleamed and hummed with the lights and the music of live orchestras. Although the last hours of that day in late May still hadn’t completely passed the sun already couldn’t be seen from behind the buttresses of the old Miramar television studios in Barcelona which, although closed up and abandoned, were again about to serve, thanks to my friends and me, what had been their original purpose. Looking at them from the inside, as I did, and listening to the echo of the famous voices that would always inhabit them, it seemed impossible to think that in a few months they would be converted into one more luxury hotel for tourists.

At my side, Proxi and Jabba worked to mount the equipment over a veteran wooden grandstand with peeling paint on which the splendor of the lamps from the street fell with difficulty. Proxi’s pants, black and marked with ash, barely covered her ankles and those sharp little bones, those ridges, threw enormous shadows over her legs, long and contoured, thanks to the neon flashlights that were resting on the dais. Jabba, one of Ker-Central’s best engineers, connected the camera to the portable computer and to the signal amplifier skillfully and quickly; despite being so large, stocky, and gelatinous, Jabba belonged to that race of intelligent guys used to being in the air and the sun, who, besides having been hardened in a thousand battles against code, still retained something of the confidence of the primitive man in the modern man.

“I’ve finished,” Jabba told me, raising his gaze. His eyes, nose, and mouth were crammed into the center of the circle of his round face. He had pushed the strands of his long red hair behind his ears.

“Are the connections operational?” I asked Proxi.

“In a couple of minutes.”

I looked at my watch. The hands, which stuck directly out of the bearded Captain Haddock’s nose, showed five till eight. In a little more than a half hour everything would be finished. At the moment, the parabolic antenna was already oriented, and the access point ready to open so all that remained before I could start working was for Jabba to finish mounting the wireless connection.

At that moment I discovered what it was that for a while now had seemed so familiar about that set: it smelled the same as the attic in my grandmother’s house in Vic, a smell of old furniture, mothballs and oxidized metal. I hadn’t talked to my grandmother for a long time but
that was not my fault because whenever I decided to go see her she was leaving on a trip to some remote part of the globe in the company of her crazy friends, all of them widows in their eighties. Surely she would have loved to visit those old Miramar studios because in her time she had been a passionate follower of Herta Frankel’s show with her little dog, Marilyn.

“Okay,” announced Proxi. “Now you’re in.”

I sat on the moldy floor with my legs crossed and rested the laptop between my knees. Jabba settled in next to me and leaned in to watch the entry process on the screen. I slipped into the TraxSG Foundation’s computers using my own version of “Sevendoolf,” a well known Trojan horse which, using back doors, allowed entrance into remote systems.

“How did you get the passwords?” Proxi wanted to know, positioning herself on the other side of Jabba and adopting the same posture. Proxi was one of those women that one never knew how to look at. Every part of her body was perfect in and of itself and her face, framed by brilliant short black hair, was very attractive, with a cute sharp nose and big dark eyes. Nevertheless, the combination lacked harmony, as if her feet belonged to a different body, her arms a couple of sizes bigger and her waist, although slender, too big for her narrow hips. “By brute force?” she ventured.

“I’ve had my home computers doing tests since this whole business started.” I replied, smiling. Never, not even under the effects of Pentothal, would I reveal my most valuable secrets to another hacker.

The system, which worked with a Microsoft SQL Server and used Windows NT for its local network, didn’t have the smallest security measure at its disposal. That network didn’t even have an updated antivirus. The last update was from May of 2001 exactly a year before: It was depressing to pirate in such conditions especially after the effort invested in an operation of that magnitude.

“They’re completely irresponsible....” For a good hacker, a life-long one like Jabba, there were things that were neither humane nor technically conceivable.

“Careful!” Proxi suddenly warned me, leaning over my shoulder to better see the monitor. “Don’t touch any files. They’re probably full of viruses, worms, and spyware
1
.”

Proxi, who in real life worked in Ker-Central’s Security Department, knew in gory detail the terrible consequences of a few lines of malicious code. In fact, it was not even necessary to open those cyber-poisons to activate them; it was enough to pass the cursor inadvertently over them.

“There’s the folder of logos,” Jabba pointed out, touching his index finger to the plasma screen which rippled like a pool of oil.

He hadn’t had to work too hard to find it. The engineer responsible for TraxSG’s computer system, based on very good criteria, had baptized said subdirectory as “Logos,” and afterwards, I supposed, had gone to drink some beers to celebrate his great intelligence. I would have liked to leave him some congratulatory message, but I limited myself to examining the contents of the computer and transferring a new set of logos that would be substituted for the famous designs of TraxSG—the name written vertically with lettering in different fonts, sizes and colors—allowing the phrase “no fees, no corporate thieves” to be read every time someone from the Foundation turned on a computer, started a program or simply wanted to log off. I also sent a executable file which would remain hidden in the depths of the machine and that would renew the modifications every time someone tried to erase them in such a way that it would cost them a lot of time and
money to recover their original brand. This file, among other things, would print on all documents a pirate skull over two crossbones and, again, the phrase “no fees, no corporate thieves.” Lastly, I made a copy of all the documents that I found relating to the cursed fees that the Foundation had managed to impose on software manufacturers, and I distributed them generously over the internet. All that was left was to launch on the net, from those Miramar studios, and for as long as it took them to find the broadcasting equipment and turn it off, the campaign designed by us, asking for the boycott of all TraxSG products and encouraging people to buy the same products in foreign markets.

“We should go,” Jabba warned with alarm, looking at his watch. “The security guard will pass through the hall in in three minutes.”

I closed the laptop, left it on the floor and stood up, shaking my jeans. Proxi covered the dais with a thick canvas that would hide the equipment from the eyes of possible viewers; that cover would not keep it from being discovered, sooner or later, but at least it would give the protest a few days. It was going to be fun to see the news in the papers.

Taking advantage of the last few seconds of our stay there, while Proxi and Jabba worked to pick up the scraps of hardware, I took a small can of red spray paint out of my pack, put the Harcore valve on it for large thick strokes, shook it until I heard the little metallic clicks inside that meant the mixture was ready, and with a good dose of personal vanity, I drew on one of the walls a very large sphere in whose interior I traced a long and dramatic loop, filling it up horizontally, and signed it with the nickname by which I was known: Root. This was my tag, my personal signature, visible in many supposedly impregnable places. If, on this occasion, I hadn’t included it on the TraxSG’s computers—I always left it in pirated places, real or virtual—it was because I was not alone and I was not working by myself.

BOOK: The Lost Origin
3.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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