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The Astral Hacker

Cryptopunk Revolution Trilogy

Book 1


Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Chapter 1 – A Girl’s Hope

Chapter 2 – Entering Hell

Chapter 3 – Beware the Fire

Chapter 4 – Self-Aware

Chapter 5 – Hidden Conspiracy

Chapter 6 – Chaotic Dangers

Chapter 7 – Insanity

Chapter 8 – Connecting the Dots

Chapter 9 – A Sickening Realization

Chapter 10 – Profound Corruption

Chapter 11 – Comrade in Peril

Chapter 12 – Remarkable Ally

Chapter 13 – Greater Appeal

Chapter 14 – No GMO’s for Us

Chapter 15 – Puppet Master

Chapter 16 – Shocking Betrayal

Chapter 17 – Guns or Words

Chapter 18 – It Ends Now

Chapter 19 – Critical Mistake

Chapter 20 – Bring on the Pain

Chapter 21 – Haunting Regret

Chapter 22 – The Pledge

Chapter 23 – The Eye of Providence

Chapter 24 – Renewed Determination

About the Author

Copyright © 2021 by Brian Terenna

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

First published: March 2021

Sunset over Peconic Books

ISBN:  978-1-7367451-0-6


To avoiding our dystopian future.

“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetuated in the name of the noblest causes.”

Thomas Paine



I’ve survived demons and defied the Archfiend. I’ve clawed through five levels of hell and survived the fires. I’ll never stop fighting, and I’ll never break.

I had a real mother once before I was subjected to foster care. She held me, cared for me, and was proud of me. But she died eleven years ago when I was six. My memories of her are only fleeting whispers in dreams.

The years of one foster home hell after another have shaped me. My skin has become like iron, my will unbreakable, but my confidence has melted, and my anxiety dominates. For a long time, I dragged through life, trying to figure out how to eat and survive.

After a run-in with the law, I knew I needed a better way. My solution was coding, and now it’s my entire life. I went from long days and late nights of driven studies at age nine to winning the NIA hacking challenge at ten. At eleven, I designed a life-changing program, but I shouldn’t talk about that. And for the last six years, I’ve learned and practiced relentlessly, constantly striving for perfection.

I went from a half-starved wraith, wearing stained hand-me-downs, to a healthy teen with an elite reputation on the mesh-site, Progs. I have hundreds of royalty generating applications now. When I move out in a year, I’ll be able to support myself, use my resources to improve the foster care system, and hopefully, make some real friends. Maybe I’ll even find love.

My life improved even more when, six months ago, I moved in with my kind and caring foster mother, Barbra. She cooks delicious meals, talks to me, and plays games. She even has me considering opening up to her, even though I haven’t had a real human connection in years.

A loud pop and flash draws my gaze out the bedroom window to the sunny, tree-lined streets. I smile at the excited kids, too young or sheltered to be scared of the world yet. They wave New American flags and set off fireworks, too eager to wait for the night’s celebrations. I shift my position on the bed and adjust my black dress, the first new one I’ve had in…maybe ever. Barbra wanted to celebrate our first Freedom Day with style. It’s another positive on the unexpected and growing list of them.

“Fae? Are you asleep?” asks Sunny, my best friend, who happens to be a three-foot-tall humanoid robot.

I pull myself from my musings with a shake of my head, my dark curls whipping around. “Is this another one of your jokes? I know your sensory data would tell you if I’m asleep.”

His glowing green mouth stretches into a grin as he shrugs. “You’re distracted. You were going to tell me what a blockchain is and about your foster care blockchain idea.” The humanlike inflection in his slightly robotic voice indicates his genuine interest.

“A blockchain is a distributed ledger for decentralized data storage. It requires no third party. Because of that, administrative costs could be decreased to make foster care more efficient. You could even automate the financial jobs if you integrate a cryptocurrency into the blockchain. That way, foster parents will be paid directly, and children can be paid a stipend.”

Sunny pushes aside some gears and wires as he works on some mechanical invention he’s making. “That would have allowed you to buy food.”

“Right. Even though I figured out a way, I went through some rough years.”

He sparks the soldering gun he recently installed in himself and attaches a computer panel to whatever he’s building. “What would you use the saved money on?”

“Maybe give more to parents to get better applicants. Or you could put more into the vetting and training process.”

“You could also allow foster children to rate their parents on the blockchain,” he says.

He’s so clever. Despite his eleven-year-old body, his mind is only six years old and still developing. “That would be great. Low ratings would get them investigated, and several low ratings would get them dismissed.”

He solders some wires as he nods. “That would have saved you much trouble.”

Sure would have. “It will take a while to program the entire blockchain and devise the rest of the

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