In Plain Sight – 4

Ian wished he didn’t burn his Starbucks card. In retrospect, it wasn’t even attached to his name. It just had about $70 on it that he won from a cancer awareness raffle three months prior and there he was, sitting in a Starbucks without a Starbucks card. The free Wi-Fi was a refreshing break.

The good thing about public Wi-Fi is that it any illegal activity that happens online gets traced to the IP address of the location from which the Wi-Fi is used. If anything happens, one can just leave. A perfect place to download an internet proxy like TOR, search the dark web for a way to get a new identity, and not get caught. Multiple layers of protection. Craigslist would be too risky – the equivalent of trying to buy cocaine on eBay. TOR, at least, was encrypted enough to slow anyone down and would make it difficult for law enforcement officials to find him. As far as Ian was aware, getting fake ID cards was a crime by itself as well.

He sat at a table and positioned himself against a wall so that no one could see his brand new laptop screen behind him. With a couple Google searches and a download, his brand new laptop acquired TOR. Thank goodness for his computer savvy acquaintances from his previous life in high school who showed him how to access this dark part of the internet.

The high school and college innocent hipster-esque students populating his Starbucks atmosphere enjoyed their time on Facebook, Twitter, and taking pictures of their frappuccinos for Instagram while Ian searched thoroughly on the painfully slow deep web for ways to change his identity. All he had was $3000 and a desire to not get arrested. Getting caught changing his identity and resisting arrest wouldn’t make his punishment any less severe. After all, murder tends to land individuals into some serious shit – resisting and running was the only choice he had.

An idea crossed his mind to simply walking to a shady part of town and ask someone of equally questionable innocence what the best way to chance one’s identity was. However, there would always be the risk that he’d be talking to an undercover cop.

With the Silk Road closed down, Ian’s hope rested with the hidden wiki, or at least that’s all he remembered – which had links to all sorts of interesting and illegal material; drug deals, stolen credit cards, weapons merchants, human trafficking, mercenary work, North Korea media segments, hackers, criminals and pedophiles. Navigating carefully to not accidentally stumble across a child pornography page right there in the middle of Starbucks, Ian browsed for almost three hours.

He had nothing to go by but his own instinct. A couple cups of coffee and a Starbucks sandwich later, he found a service that could very well get him a new driver’s license, a social security number, and a bank account attached to it. He figured that’s all he would need to jumpstart his new life. Through an unknown remote server called Cryptocat, apparently an encrypted and disposable chat room, Ian was put in contact with a person called “Jebon.”.

Jebon – $2000 new ID card, SSN, Nation Bank account. 257 S Tamarisk Rd, Eastvale. Ask for Jebon. Come alone.
Frogman4545 – I can be there tomorrow around this time. Is there anything else I should know? What does the building look like?
Jebon – Brown door
Frogman4545 – Ok see you tomorrow.

– chatroom disconnected –

He stared at the screen for another minute – processing what he had just agreed to.

Ian had no idea what he could be walking in to. For all he knew, this service may capture him, abduct him, rob him blind – with whatever he had left to steal. The interaction was quick but if it was legitimate, he would have to walk a few more hours in public to meet some Jebon probably in some dark alley with more graffiti everywhere. He could get killed. He could be used as drug mule. A slave. A sex slave. Either way, Ian had to change his identity one way or another and this was the only way that made sense.

Rebecca would never approve of this sort of thing, but that ship has sailed – Ian closed his stolen laptop and headed off.

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