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   To those scientists and engineers who had been with Galileo from the

   start, it must have appeared at that moment as if fate really was

   against Galileo. As if, for some unfathomable reason, all the forces

   of the universe--and especially those on Earth--were dead against

   humanity getting a good look at Jupiter. As fast as NASA could

   dismantle one barrier, some invisible hand would throw another down in

   its place.

  

                            [ ]

 

   Monday, 16 October, 1989

   NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

  

   Across the vast NASA empire, reaching from Maryland to California,

   from Europe to Japan, NASA workers greeted each other, checked their

   in-trays for mail, got their cups of coffee, settled into their chairs

   and tried to login to their computers for a day of solving complex

   physics problems. But many of the computer systems were behaving very

   strangely.

  

   From the moment staff logged in, it was clear that someone--or

   something--had taken over. Instead of the usual system's official

   identification banner, they were startled to find the following

   message staring them in the face:

 

          W O R M S    A G A I N S T    N U C L E A R    K I L L E R S

         _______________________________________________________________

         \__  ____________  _____    ________    ____  ____   __  _____/

          \ \ \    /\    / /    / /\ \       | \ \  | |    | | / /    /

           \ \ \  /  \  / /    / /__\ \      | |\ \ | |    | |/ /    /

            \ \ \/ /\ \/ /    / ______ \     | | \ \| |    | |\ \   /

             \_\  /__\  /____/ /______\ \____| |__\ | |____| |_\ \_/

              \___________________________________________________/

               \                                                 /

                \    Your System Has Been Officically WANKed    /

                 \_____________________________________________/

 

          You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war.

 

   Wanked? Most of the American computer system managers reading this new

   banner had never heard the word wank.

  

   Who would want to invade NASA's computer systems? And who exactly were

   the Worms Against Nuclear Killers? Were they some loony fringe group?

   Were they a guerrilla terrorist group launching some sort of attack on

   NASA? And why `worms'? A worm was a strange choice of animal mascot

   for a revolutionary group. Worms were the bottom of the rung. As in

   `as lowly as a worm'. Who would chose a worm as a symbol of power?

  

   As for the nuclear killers, well, that was even stranger. The banner's

   motto--`You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for

   war'--just didn't seem to apply to NASA. The agency didn't make

   nuclear missiles, it sent people to the moon. It did have military

   payloads in some of its projects, but NASA didn't rate very highly on

   the `nuclear killer' scale next to other agencies of the US

   Government, such as the Department of Defense. So the question

   remained: why NASA?

  

   And that word, `WANKED'. It did not make sense. What did it mean when