A bored Joker is a dangerous thing. After a young hacker breaks into his warehouse, he agrees to reluctantly take up cyber crime. One thing is certain: Nothing good can come of this.
He was slowly becoming bored. He couldn't help it.
Watching the pimply face of the boy in front of him, listening to him lecture on about the techno mumbo jumbo about how he could bypass this and download that would make most anyone bored really. Bored and hungry.
He was starting to wish he had eaten before this. Cookies had been mentioned quite a bit during this lopsided conversation, but no real cookies were forthcoming. Unless Harley went and stole some. The chances of that happening anytime soon were slim though, as she was also present for this lecture-slash-sales pitch.
He peered sideways at his partner in crime. Harley was listening to everything the boy said while looking much more interested than he himself could manage. He didn't regret his decision to toss her into the same chemical mixture that he fell into long ago. He was getting tired of how much makeup she used to use to make herself look as white as he was.
Harley was as happy as he was, too. She said afterwards that maybe her skin wouldn't break out now that she didn't need that makeup anymore. Plus she claimed it saved a ton of money. Not that she had spent any money, since she just stole the makeup from various beauty supply houses.
He continued to try to listen to the boy, and boy he was. He doubted that the child in front of him was even fourteen. Closer to twelve years old he thought. But he seemed to know his stuff, as he had... What did he call that? Hacked? Yes, hacked through the security system in the warehouse they were currently at.
If this kid's proposal didn't get more interesting, then he would show him some hacking. Preferably with a large ax.
He longed for the days of simple, physical crimes. Putting chemicals in the water supply. Blowing up banks. Things that you could see results. Not like this cyber techno hacking whatever. You couldn't see anything with that. It all happened in the techno world, or cyber plain, or whatever it was. You couldn't depend on anything that happened there because the whole thing didn't really exist.
Now Chemistry? That he knew existed, and he was good at it too. Dependable as well. Two hydrogen atoms combined with one oxygen atom made an explosive reaction, but resulted in water. Always and forever too.
Oh good, the boy seemed to be winding down. Time to try to feign some interest.
"So what is it you need from me?" the Joker asked.
"Well, it is very simple really. The basics of the main program are ready. What I need from you is some creative input as to what you want the program to do once it is..." the boy started before he was interrupted.
"Simple terms please?"
"I need a basic concept as to what direction I should go with the programming. I can create the web site and the pages, begin programming for..." the boy started.
"Um... I need an idea of what you want to do," the boy finished.
"In other words, I give you the idea, and you go from there?"
The boy nodded.
"Any idea at all?"
"Well, anything that will attract interest obviously." As the Joker frowned again the boy added, "If no one clicks on the website, how will the program download into someone's computer?"
"We could offer 'financial services' Mistah J. Have people give us their money." Harley suggested.
"We can rob a bank and get the same result Harley." he grumbled. He got up and started pacing slowly, mulling over his thoughts. He glanced at Harley then at the boy.
'He certainly won't get a date looking like that,' he thought before turning to Harley again.
He froze in his pacing. A smile slowly made its way onto his face.
"Beauty supplies. Made in your own home," he said.
Chisame Hasegawa was tired.
Fifteen minutes to set up the photography equipment and set. Another fifteen to take the various pictures of her in the costume, which had taken several hours for her to sew and modify from its original. After that, the editing with PhotoShock took another four hours.
'One hour longer than normal,' she thought.
That was just to eliminate any trace of the pimples on her face. Not that she had many to begin with, as she rarely used makeup and kept her face clean with frequent washing.
Changing the color of her hair required only a few mouse clicks for each picture. The same with modifying... other aspects of her body, so to speak. Making the curves curvier was something she had practice with as she did it often.
But trying to remove the few facial blemishes that she had took more time than she felt it should. It was only going to get worse for some years yet, as she was still in puberty.
Admittedly, her mice that her artifact summoned could have performed the entire process of editing the pictures in one hour. They were powerful artificial intelligences in their own right, and they had the processing power to work all of the editing tricks much faster. But Chisame still held that she would be the only one to edit all of the pictures, if only to maintain a sense of pride. After all, she did the rest of the work herself. She knew that eventually, she would give in and allow the mice to do the editing, but for the moment, she was content to do the editing herself.
She sighed and leaned back into her chair as the modified photos uploaded onto her website. She had performed her customary double-check to make sure they were indeed the ones she wanted her fans to see. She glanced over at a shelf by her bed as she thought of her fans. The shelf contained several products that their advertisements promised to clear up pimples or prevent them from forming to begin with.
'Yeah sure,' thought Chisame. 'And each one works as well as just washing my face. I've spent too much money on those products that don't do anything.' She frowned at another shelf that contained various makeup products, many of which were created to cover pimples and other blemishes. She had become quite talented in using them, though she had discovered that her acne became worse the more she used them to cover her acne. It was frustrating to discover that using the makeup to cover the pimples also created more pimples that required covering.
The frown remained on her face as she started thinking. When her pictures finished downloading, she created the page for them and linked it to her site. Then she typed a few messages for her fans about the new set before leaning back in her chair.
When she saw her fans start making positive remarks about the pictures, she smiled a little. 'Worth the effort,' she thought, 'but it would be nice if I didn't need to use PhotoShock as much. Wearing a mask isn't that appealing as the fans have become accustomed to seeing my face. And wearing the covering makeup just makes the problem worse.'
She opened another window and typed "Free Acne Care Products" into the search engine. She was rewarded with over twelve million results.
Sighing, she started into sorting through them. After a couple of minutes of clicking on random sites, a pop-up window opened. Chisame frowned. She had programs that kept those from appearing. She'd had to clear up spyware and malware off her computer several times when someone hacked her website.
That was also becoming a routine she didn't enjoy as well, but she learned to tolerate the attacks as it meant she was becoming more popular. With her skills as they were, few things could bypass the defenses.
Something that managed to bypass the program that defended against pop-up ads merited special attention. With one eye on a certain indicator on the bottom of the screen, Chisame examined the ad.
'Clean and Clear Your Skin! Reduce the Breakouts!' the ad said. It didn't look garish or fancy, but it was obviously designed to attract attention. Underneath the text there was a simple web address: .
Chisame noticed that the mouse pointer did not change when she passed over the website address. 'That is a little suspect. They want me to type the address in, instead of designing the ad to allow mouse clicks?'
She typed the address into another window and watched as the page filled with various pictures and text.
'Thank you for being curious enough to type in our address. We are serious in our research to help reduce or eliminate acne and other skin conditions. We believe our customers should be as serious as we are. We do not want just anyone clicking on our address only to browse our products looking for temporary relief. Our company is focused on long term solutions, not short term coverups.'
That got Chisame's attention. Considering her experience with various cleansers and makeup to cover the blemishes, she had wanted something different. This company might be able to provide something that worked. She wasn't going to get her hopes up though, but it would be nice if there was a product that worked for her.
She scrolled down the page and discovered a survey. "In order to determine the severity of your condition please fill out the following survey," Chisame read aloud. She snorted derisively at the screen before glancing at the survey. As she read it, she frowned in thought, 'These questions are quite extensive. It's one thing to ask about other products that I've tried. But asking about how much oil my skin produces is another matter entirely.' She took her time in filling out the survey, including her Mahora email address at the end before clicking the 'Send Results' button at the bottom.
Chisame resumed perusing the site, comparing the Before and After pictures, as well as some pictures for makeup products the company also produced for almost a minute when a chime sounded, signaling that she had an email. Opening another window, she saw the subject line of the email.
"Participation in a Research Study?" Chisame asked aloud. She clicked on the email to open it.
'First, thank you for filling out our survey. You have proven that you are as dedicated in looking for a long term solution as we are in helping to provide one. Our automated collection program has calculated that your condition, while not severe, is problematic as you have indicated that you have an active social life.
'We would like to request your participation in a research study of a new bath product that has proven to clean pores and reduce blemishes. The product also seems to reduce blemishes in people with psoriasis, but we are not ready to test that yet.
'The product is simple to use. The concentrated solution is poured into a partially-filled bathtub. At least twenty-five gallons of water is required for this. Please allow room for yourself in the bathtub as well as immersion in the diluted solution is needed.
'We will provide the product, free of charge, as well as other materials for the study. Your prompt response is appreciated, but we will understand if you need time to consider this. We here at Super Skin Cleaner Inc. hope that you will participate in our efforts to provide relief from acne an other skin disorders.'
Chisame looked at her monitor with a mixed expression of curiosity and annoyance. She read the rest of the email, which was just more encouragement to participate in the study, and shrugged. 'It is a free study, and a solution to be used in a bathtub is unusual, but I can understand why they would perhaps try such a product. It would be easier to apply than using a cream or a spray.'
She sent her reply indicating her willingness to take part in the study.