Vara Kylos, Pallad City Post

There’s a seedy underside to the Net that few know about—so well concealed that some might even believe it nonexistent. But this is no mere fabrication to bolster headlines or to intimidate gullible Netizens. For those of a criminal persuasion, this murky digital realm does exist—a virtual haven to peddle their illicit goods, or offer their services to the highest bidder. Protected by an intricate network of ever-changing encryption layers that provide users with complete anonymity, the ShadowNet is the premiere hotspot for illegal transactions and reprehensible dealings. It has never been easier for criminals to openly communicate with one another, all due to the ShadowNet’s varied selection of chat rooms, directory archives, and networking services.

Recent statistics claim that nearly 37% of all criminal activity in Pallad City is a result of perpetrators premeditating their crimes on the ShadowNet. But, even with this knowledge, law enforcement agencies have been unable to successfully infiltrate the ShadowNet and shut it down.

It’s believed that the ShadowNet is run by a group of Netravers—elite hackers—who have been able to subvert all outside attempts to bring their immense network offline. It’s still unclear how certain individuals are vetted and allowed to enter/join the ShadowNet, while others are denied access—including the Netravers that many law enforcement agencies have working in their Cyber Crime Divisions. It’s clear that whatever programs the individuals running the ShadowNet are using, it’s far more advanced than what law enforcement currently has at their disposal.

(Continued in Section 4B)

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Salaiix.