modemstudcover1

Computer Piracy

He placed his briefcase at the end of the table, and in unison unlatched the case’s automatic openers. Before the latches came undone, my hand was inside of my breast pocket. Simon waived off a purple velvet cloth formerly on top of whatever was in his briefcase. Before the cloth unveiled the contents below my finger was on the trigger of my starting gun. The briefcase was loaded with rows of five and a quarter inch disk carrying cases.

I took off my imitation jacket and placed my piece on top of the Apple II+’s disk drive. Simon took off his red Member’s Only jacket and placed his switch blade next to my piece.

“I thought your brother might be here.”

“Don’t think too much. You’ll just get more confused.”

Simon offered me the disk carrying case on top of all of the other disk carrying cases in the briefcase. Without looking at the writing on the labels, I thumbed through the collection of single sided disks.

“Old wares!” I exclaimed.

I threw the disk carrying case down onto the den’s clay colored terrazzo.

Simon passed the next stack of disk carrying cases, a few more, and then offered me another disk carrying case. At least holes were punched in the sides of the disks. Maybe the wares on the double sided disks were newer, but I had seen the trick before.

“Simon, you’re trading with the Lemur Brothers. Haven’t you seen my list of wares?”

He went towards his Member’s Only Jacket. I leaped for my piece. Before he reached into his jacket pocket, my piece was pointed at him. Luckily, all he did was pull a heavily folded list out of his jacket pocket. Immediately, I recognized the paper was an outdated list of the Lemur Brothers’ Wares.

“Save us some time and let me reach into your briefcase,” I said.

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 The Apple II+’s full spectrum of sixteen colors appeared one by one until colors scattered the screen. Green screen asterisks “*,” at signs “@,” and number signs “#” appeared in random locations on the screen. I hit the Return Key, the screen garbage went away, another screen loaded, and the face of the Lemur appeared. The pitch of the Lemur’s roar intensified. Brown graphics stated, “A LEMUR BROTHERS HEIST, CRACKED BY LEMUR JR.” I hit the Return Key and a new screen appeared that read, in purple, “THIS WARE HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED BY CAPTAIN LEMUR EYES.”

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Over Christmas Break, the Lemur Brothers used their gains from the sale of pirated wares to buy an APPLE-CAT II modem. The Hayes was a better modem, but the APPLE-CAT II allowed Apple II+ trades to come in at 1200 baud, half duplex. Once the new ware was on an Apple II+ disk, Captain Lemur Eyes opened a new box of floppies and ran off copies for the worthy members of the Lemur Brothers. In those days, besides being worthy, the member had to provide a blank disk and be current on their $20.00 a month membership fee.

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Within a week, eighty-seven sysops and modem studs returned signed copies of the trade embargo Colt drafted. On most of the extant BBS systems in California, Colt posted the relevant provisions of the trade embargo prohibited trades with Conspiracy and The Wasted. Signatories of the embargo were instructed to make similar posts in other states, and they did.

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Mizer was no longer well patrolled by the Lemur Brothers, neither attending any longer. The Tomahawk was installed the lieutenant of Mizer. However, he was on the take. He mis-reported the receivables on trades. Even worse, he traded with remnants of conspiracy. Throughout the Fall Semester of 1983, The Tomahawk tried to organize Mizer’s computer users for his own benefit but Colt did not care.