Total Drinks: 17
It's party time at E-Com-Con Corporation in Vienna, Virginia. As people filter in, the camera pans up to the rooftop, where two figures are hurrying for the ventilation shaft. Inside, an E-Com-Con publicist is welcoming guests when an unknown agitator in the crowd steers that conversation toward the new Octium IV chip, claiming that it has a tiny little modem embedded in every chip that uploads its users' files onto the internet. The agitator is none other than Langly, enjoying a chicken-kebab. Meanwhile, Frohike and Byers are setting up the computer-controlled winch that will lower Frohike into the high-security room that the Octium IV chip is being kept in (a la Mission Impossible). While Langly provides the distraction (faking an alergic reaction), Frohike is lowered into the room. However, not everyone is distracted by Langly's convulsions. A mysterious bearded man checks up on the security cameras in time to see Frohike's descent, and shortly thereafter, Byers becomes alarmed when the winch program is hacked. The security guards notice a radio transmitter in Langly's ears and become suspicious. Just then, the mysterious bearded man enters the Octium IV room, setting off the alarm system. Frohike recognizes the man, "You!" which is cut off by a big, passionate kiss. The mysterious bearded man grabs the chip and takes off, heading for the men's bathroom, just as the security guards escort Langly into the room. Discovering the chip missing, a full body cavity search is ordered. A mysterious woman emerges from the men's bathroom and deposits a wig and a beard into the trash on her way out the door.
The boys return to the Lone Gunmen Headquarters, in Takoma Park, Maryland. Without the Octium chip in tow, they have no proof for what they hoped would be that week's cover story. Frohike, figuring their plans were known about in advance, performs a sweep of the place, while explaining that the one who stole the chip from them was a hacker by the name of Yves Adele Harlow. He discovers a bugging device which Langly disposes of after venting some frustration. There is little time to stew in their juices, as Byers receives a call that his father has been killed in a car crash in Reston, Virginia.
At the funeral of Byers's father (Bertram), Mr. Helms, a colleague gives a moving speech about how Bertram's received his middle name by being named after Franklin Roosevelt. John Byers being named after Kennedy, it's probably a good thing that Byers doesn't have any kids (Carter? Clinton?). During the service, Langly notices a mysterious bearded man in the crowd, and as soon as Byers commends his dad's ashes to the air via model rocket and the crowd disperses, Langly takes off after the bearded man, only to discover that it is not Harlow. Also, Frohike tells Langly of how Byers and his father had a falling out in 1989, when Byers left his cushy government job to hang out with "a couple of hippies." As the three regroup, Mr. Helms joins them to let Byers know that his father's death might not have been an accident. He suggests grimly that Byers's father knew something he shouldn't have, and was targeted for assassination as a result. The Gunmen, though suspicious, are determined to look into it.
Their first stop is the home of Byers's father. Frohike slips on a freshly-shampooed carpet and checks into that, while Byers and Langly check his father's computer. Langly discovers that the computer has been cleaned out, leaving nothing but an operating system. After running a sector editor, Langly is able to retrieve a list of deleted files, including a Department of Defense file named "Scenario 12-D." Meanwhile, Frohike discovers that the carpet was shampooed because of a conspicuous blood stain that he discovers under a black light. Byers comes to the conclusion that his father was dead before the car accident, which takes them to the demolition yard. Unfortunately, they're a little late, as the car has already been cubed, but they haul it back anyway.
While Byers and Frohike start to peel apart the car, Langly heads over to a virtual reality shooting range to pick up a fellow hacker, Kimmy. Apparently, Langly can't hack the DoD alone, and needs Kimmy's assistance. While Kimmy is reluctant to help, Langly spots Yves Harlow, and rushes over seeking vengence. He's not too good at convincing her to give back the chip, and Kimmy agrees to help Langly because Langly doesn't realize the implicit dangers of threatening a woman who's carrying an uzi. As Kimmy settles in to help the boys out, Frohike discovers a circuit board attached to the car's steering system. The board contains a grafted antenna, which meant that the car could have been controlled remotely.
Kimmy hacks into the DoD and locates Scenario 12-D, which is a airline counterterrorism wargame. At Byers's instruction, Kimmy begins to download it, and, in a poorly lit room, a man at a laptop discovers the intrusion. He alerts his shadowy superior and begins to track the connection. As the text file is being downloaded, the laptop guardian cracks into the Gunmen's computer and begins to scan for files that will reveal their identity (userdata.ini). Despite the threat of discovery and prosecution, Byers insists that the download continues. The laptop guardian is just about to complete the upload of the .ini file when Frohike pulls the plug on the download process. We return to the poorly-lit room, where the shadowy superior is revealed to be none other than Mr. Helms.
At this point, the Gunmen contact Mr. Helms to ask him for his DoD password, which is "Overlord." Byers reveals that his father was not murdered, that the body found inside of the car was that of the would-be assassin, who slipped on the freshly-shampooed carpet and shot himself. Bertram Byers then faked the car crash in order to make his enemies think he was dead. Mr. Helms becomes very adamant about finding Bertram, and Byers goes to his father's house for some soul-searching.
He finds that his father has a stack of Lone Gunmen editions in his desk, and turns around to come face to face with his father. Byers is overwhelmed with emotion and goes to give his father a hug, but his father slaps him and scolds him for searching for him. Byers Sr. finally explains that the people who invented Scenario 12-D are planning to use it on a highly visible flight over Manhattan. The resulting security frenzy would mean an increase in arms sales. Bertram reminds Byers that it is a small faction, and that it is not "the whole government," and that he also knows the flight that the group is planning on targetting.
Byers and his father go to the airport to board the flight from Baltimore to Boston, armed with portable hydrocarbon sniffers. Midway through the flight, Byers and his father realize that the plane might not be carrying a bomb, and call Langly and Frohike to ask them to hack into the plane's navigation system. Under the "Navradio" field, Langly discovers modem protocols, indicating that the plane is being controlled remotely, and according to the pre-programmed flight plan, the plane will be making an unscheduled stop at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets in Manhattan: The World Trade Center.
Langly doesn't have enough processor power to decrypt the system. His system keeps overloading, and he doesn't have enough time to decrypt in background mode. Frohike takes off for the shooting range, where it appears Yves never left. While Yves talks tough, Frohike tells her he's discovered her secret, that the name "Yves Adele Harlow" is an anagram for "Lee Harvey Oswald." Yves patches into Langly's computer with the Octium chip, and the two of them are able to override the protocols and return the power to the pilots. The plane pulls up just in time, knocking an antenna off the top of one of the towers as it passes over.
As the passengers disembark from the plane, Byers can barely contain his excitement. With his father's testimony, the Gunmen will be able to publish a paper that can bring down Overlord. However, Bertram is not interested in speaking, thinking that if he says nothing, they will stop gunning for him. Finally, Byers retires to the paper and Frohike reveals that he swiped the Octium chip from Yves, and they have a cover story after all.
If Byers's father really thought his silence would keep him alive, he's more naive than Byers is.
We all know Langly can hack DoD--he's done it before, he'll do it again.
Scenario 12-D was listed as a text file. This is unlikely because text files offer no form of password protection. But allowing that...
...Text files don't take long to download--especially on a DSL connection. It would appear from the way the scene played out that the text file was taking at least a minute to download, which, even on a slow 56K/sec connection, would have meant that the file was over three megabytes in size. Even larger than the text file for War and Peace.
There has been some discussion about the feasability of the Octium IV chip. Most would dismiss it right off the bat simply for the fact that, in the day of networking and TCP/IP protocols, it would make no sense to embed a modem inside of a processor, when it could just be sent over existing phone and network lines. This would do fine for "small change" networks, but there are still high-security closed-circuit networks out there--which is where the money information would be. In such an instance, an embedded modem would be the only way to lift the information out of such a network. However, the actual modem itself presents another challenge. Processors do not have the ability to store information--they simply make the calculations. If we grant that the Octium people invented a way for the processor to "know" what it was processing--and not upload the entire Windows 98 startup process every time one of its users turned on his/her computer--there is still the problem of a finite phone pool the chip is trying to dial to. Imagine the Octium chip is just about to send an entire list of CIA operative passwords, but the line is busy because another Octium chip is uploading grandma's apple pie recipe, or Mr. Stickyhands' comprehensive porno site listing?