The #NazandRoz #AndPenny Series - Chapter 10
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Naz and Roz Blog Series
New York: Part 2
“Are you fucking serious?”
“If you’re going to hover over my shoulder,” Naz snapped at Luca, “then do us both a favor and fuck off somewhere.”
“Naz, this is—”
“The only reason I came over to your place is because I couldn’t very well get my system up and running without Roz watching me do it. I don’t want her to worry about this. Got it?”
Luca paced behind Naz’s chair as several PC screens came to life in front of him. On his lap, the laptop was already booted up and ready to take a trip onto the black web where he knew with a few clicks and the right keywords, he was going to find forums.
“Give me a username,” Naz said.
Luca rolled his eyes and glared at the ceiling. “This is stupid.”
“It isn’t. And you’re going to help me round them up.”
Like pigs to the slaughter.
Naz didn’t add that part out loud.
“Do you realize how large these networks are?” Luca asked. “They span continents, Naz. So what, you pick off a few of them here, and then what happens you come across a fucking video of some little kid in Asia somewhere being—”
Naz let out a sound that ached when it came out of him. “Then, the next time I am in Asia, I will take a side trip.”
His friend cursed a blue streak under his breath. “You are inviting in trouble. If those fucks attention wasn’t on you or us before, they will be now. Is that what you want—when you have kids, do you wanna go on the dark web and find pictures of them being distributed because they’re a target? I hear two hearts inside each other, depending on the color stamped on the picture, means which gender they prefer. They’re pretty cool with listing the ages of preference right beside it, too.”
That made Naz hesitate as he found a forum called Little Dreams. Sickness welled in his gut because that was a lot more than he wanted to understand, but he had a feeling that wasn’t even the tip of the goddamn iceberg. Once he went down this rabbit hole, there was going to be no coming back from it—a picture of a kid as a target would be the least disturbing thing, to be sure.
Did he really want that?
“And what happens when they figure it out?” Luca asked. “What happens when they start putting it together than the man in the forum is the one hunting them down?”
“I actually like the sound of that, so don’t use it to discourage me.”
They were animals.
He didn’t mind hunting them like one.
“My point is, which you completely fucking missed, is that they’ll go underground,” Luca said.
“More than dark web forums and secret networks that even we don’t know about?” Naz returned.
“I hear what you’re saying.”
“Do you? Do you really? Because if you put me or mine in danger for this, I will gut you. Do you hear me?”
“I hear you.”
And he understood that, too.
“Good. Make sure of it.”
Luca turned to leave the secondary office space Naz had set up in his friend’s home as a backup just in case, for some circumstance or another, he couldn’t use the one in his own place. Naz spoke up to say one thing before Luca could leave entirely.
“Her father is a multi-billionaire,” Naz said.
Luca hesitated. “What?”
“Penny. Her father is a billionaire from Jersey. Made his money through an investments company that worked overseas. You mean to tell me that some fuck from down the street on these forums have the kind of connections and money that man does to network like her father would? I bet … I bet it’s a tiered thing, Luca. On the lower end, you’ve got people distributing the porn—videos, pictures, or whatever. And in the middle, you’ve got those who are a little better off, and maybe they have something to offer.”
Naz twisted that word because saying what it really meant made him want to fucking puke. Still, he continued on to drive the point home, adding, “They’re the people the lower fucks who can afford it are going to, and the top tier? They’re the ones using the middle of the spectrum when they find something specific … and I wouldn’t doubt for a second that they have their own—” Naz made another noise under his throat. “Like Penny … like Penny, Luca.”
“Naz, I get it’s fucking horrifying, okay? I get it.”
“No, you really don’t. Do you know what she told Roz?”
“God, don’t make me ask. I don’t want—”
“Just because it is not in your home, affecting your life does not mean you have the right to ignore it happening to someone else.”
Luca’s gaze hardened as he looked back at Naz. “What did she tell Roz?”
“She was four—her virginity was auctioned off by her father. Three quarters of a million. She was flown to Hong Kong to deliver for the buyer. Four, Luca.”
Luca was quiet for longer than Naz cared to admit. As his friend chewed on those words, and decided what he wanted to do with it, Naz turned back to the screen. Without warning, the username he wanted to use on the forum came to his mind, and before he could think better of it, he created an account.
At the doorway, Luca still hadn’t moved to leave.
“You can’t hunt them all down, it’ll be impossible,” Luca muttered.
Naz didn’t need to be told, although it hurt his chest like nothing else. “I know.”
“You’re going to chase a rabbit hole, Naz.”
“What if …”
“What if I made a program, Luca, that traced every picture, and every person in these forums. It’d have to advanced … crazy advanced, right? I can code it to run information through other databases.”
“Hack, databases, you mean,” Luca countered.
Naz shrugged. “But I’ve done that before—I’ve been in government databases and back out with no one knowing I was even there. It’s not impossible. I could do it again … if I could match information from profiles or pictures to real kids with real parents or the people doing this to them … it could be anonymously delivered to police across the globe. Everything is on the internet now. Everything has security cameras with facial recognition. I could make a fucking program—I could do it.”
“A program like that, one that could actually grab information when everything from IPs to … shit, everything and everyone on the dark web use proxy servers and VPNs, Naz. That’s before the fail safes put into place by the people running the forums and … You know it’s not that easy, we use it for gunrunning.”
“I know how they work, I made one, remember?”
A whole online, deep web network for the gun trafficking side of his father’s business. Yeah, Naz knew how it worked.
“But nothing is perfect and all I need is the right program to get past those safe guards,” Naz said. “I could do that—I could make it.”
Luca made a noise under his breath. “… fuck, Naz, that could take—”
“Years, I know.” Naz frowned at the screen in front of him as he scrolled through a forum topic that described the grooming and sale of a child from Alabama. Holy fucking shit. “But I don’t have years, Luca. I have nine months.”
“I have nine months before my baby is born. I don’t have years to do this.”
Because he couldn’t imagine his child coming into the world when this was all around them. And if he didn’t do something, then what good was he?
“Dinner tomorrow,” Naz interjected. “You should come and hear the news like everyone else.”
“And these kids … they don’t have years, either. Once was one too many. I can’t hunt them all, but I can get rid of a lot of them.”
“Except they keep coming back,” Luca replied, “it’s not something you can eradicate like a diseased animal, or something. When these ones are gone, someone else will take their place. Just like with anything else. All you can do is protect your kids from it the best you can, Naz.”
He didn’t need the reminder, but he still had to do something. For now, he would settle on doing this until he figure something else out.
But the ones at the very top? Ones like Penny’s father?
Naz would save those as a lesson—a lesson that would really hurt when he drove it home—for the rest that somehow managed to escape his notice. Someone was watching them, and someone was coming for them.
Every fucking one of them.