Appearances can be deceiving. A lazy appearing software geek working from home goes on a trip to Europe and Middle East. Follow his adventure as he plays the role of the pawn that triggers Geico, a secret plan masterminded by the underground society of web connoisseurs.

Its pouring in Vancouver again....  Karan is sitting at his desk working on his site away from his home office in yaletown. Its friday night. There is some hussle - bustle in the streets downstairs but he is not interested in it tonight. Two years ago, when he first moved here at the expense of fifty percent of his salary and a sturdy corporate job, this was all he wanted. He wanted to live his life in the heart of the city, wanted to break the chains of the corporate world, meet new girls and live like a free man. But two years down, sixteen one - night stands, 3 bad relationships, bunch of flings, five unsuccessful site launches and one semi-successful site later, he is at the cross-roads tonight. He is not interested to go down and meet someone tonight. He doesn't want company. Solitude is all he wants right now and a clear mind and one glass of green tea.

Karan makes his way to the kitchen. He opens the kitchen cabinets. One after another. The dark wood with black lines he recalls, is the first thing he had noticed when he saw this place first. He didn't know what kind of wood it was then, neither does he know now.  He reaches out and grabs the tea bag from the cabinet and pours himself some hot water. He walks to the patio and looks outside onto the Hamilton street: there are some trendy young ladies giggling, some older women smoking, couple of men with umbrellas walking away from the scene, everything is damp. For the last 10 years since he has moved here, he had hated this dampness, yet every time he went away, something inside him pulled him back to Vancouver, the same city he is in a love hate relationship with.

His door bell rings.  He knows its time. He takes a deep breath and casually ignores the bell and sips his tea. Its really coming down now. He can hear the rain make clattering noise on the glass windows of his building.  He starts thinking of the time he met first met Istevan.

December 15, 2010:  Istevan came to Vancouver as a company ambassador from Spark Communications, Russia. Karan was put in-charge of entertaining him and showing him the city.  Istevan came with a proposal that was too good to be true and Infotron didn't want to make a mess of this opportunity. Karan's instructions were simple: Keep him happy. During their first meeting, neither one of them said anything other than the usual pleasantaries.

The first night on the town, Karan took Istevan to Rasputin, a popular Russian diner in Vancouver. He was cold clear Vancouver winter night. Karan was not really interested in knowing much about Istevan, that was not Karan. Karan didn't like mixing his work and personal life. Work was just something to pay bills with to him and Istevan just another project. 

Istevan: I am told that you are quiet the programmer.

Karan: Who told you that?

Istevan: Your boss, who else?

Karan: Thats not what I hear.

Istevan: Hahahaha, of course not, he is your boss isn't he? His job is to keep you feeling worthless.

A short silence follows. Its almost as if Karan's thought train collided with an oncoming train.

Istevan: Am I right?

Karan: Yea Maybe.

Istevan: I know how you feel? I have been in your shoes. Working for large corporations thinking your job is to make a difference in the world but all you end up doing is fulfilling one stupid customer requirement after another. It used to drive me insane. But not anymore, I am free now.  I found the doorway - the doorway to Rasputin . .. . hahahahaha  .. . .. god I swear we don't even have food this good back home.

Karan: Well I am glad you liked it. I hope you ll like your accomodation tonight as well.

By the end of the week Istevan was staying at Karan's place instead of the hotel and during the next 3 weeks, they both just stayed in Karan's place in the suburbs discussing the meaningless existence of a common worker in the grand scheme of things, the power of technology and how if put to right use, can revolutionize the world.

The police siren in the background is getting louder and louder and it brings Karan back into present day.  He  wonders if it had something to do with the door bell. He runs to open the door and quickly grabs the envelope outside his door slamming it shut. He knows its time. He has known this for the last year or so and in many ways been afraid and excited about this day at the same time. The envelope is labelled Geico on the seal. Karan breaks open the seal and opens the envelope. Its an airline ticket and a letter.

Ticket says YVR to DXB Nov 19, 2012 Departure time: 7 am. Travellor: Karan Singh Randhawa. That is only 5 and a half hours he thinks.

The letter says its from"SID". 

Karan recalls SID, Siddarath Kapoor. If it wasn't for Istevan and Sid, Karan would have never come to this day, the door bell would not have ringed, there would be no envelope and there probably would not have been no GEICO, a sheer thought of which gave Karan chills up his spine. But now was not the time to ponder about what ifs. The sirens were getting louder and the police would be here in no time. He gulped the rest of the tea he was sipping and started packing. 

Karan was calm as he had been planning for this in his head even though in his version there were supposed to be no sirens. He quickly estimated that he had 4 mins and 12 seconds left to get going. He knew the they would not have his picture or identification, they wouldn't even have his IP address. It was not the police he was worried about. He was worried about GRAVITY.

The only reason he had that time was because on one lazy long weekend during the last 2 years, he had found a way to hack into his elevators and stop them when the time came. Even with the fittest men on the planet, GRAVITY team could not make it to his 27th floor apartment in less than 5 minutes. He starting grabbing his essentials for this journey. He grabbed his hard drives from his computer, needless to say they were all external, grabbed his laptop, grabbed a carry on bag from the closet and sat on his computer on last time.  

He logged into a remote machine and sends an email. 

"GEICO team 14 for Halo 3 reporting. We are going to be the best Halo team ever !!!!"

Karan logged off and started a program on his desktop named affectionately "Destory.exe", a clever little script he had written to delete everything from the computer and completely fill the hard drive with text files with random 0 & 1 s. On a 24 core machine, he had calculated that it will take about 5 mins to complete the task which left him vulnerable for about 2 minutes. He immediately recognized that he had completed his tasks in the wrong order but now was not the time to reflect on his execution. He grabbed his cellphone and put on a longish fashionable coat and left his apartment.

His toothbrush

Mistakes on the plane - name GEICO, order of things, 2 mins vulnerability, fact that he wasn't even sure if someone was coming after him 

town car or uber. 




The End

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