Duel of the Hackers: Reviews


ConstructFic.org Hardline – 2004

Act I: The Challenge


okay, where to start?

firstly, i like this fic alot, the idea is fabulous, Neo and Trin duelling! genius and the loser has to be the winner’s slave…i can just imagine…

I like the screen play format, it’s good and works well for the fic, however sometimes your stage directions stray from stage directions (state characters’ movements/costume/expression) into running narrative (tell something of what’s going on in the characters’ heads). I realise that if you changed this from the novella format, then it might be hard to get rid of all your description of thought processes etc. and some bits of that discription definitely add to the fic, they’re well written,

Morpheus. In the Matrix, his name conjured the most-sophisticated conquests in hacking history. Government complexes. Military installations. Financial institutions. Even intelligence headquarters. His name was legendary. Even mythical. Some in the BBS community believed he was just that, a myth. Others believed he was a fictional character played by several real hackers. Then there were those who believed he was the greatest hacker who ever lived.

this is a nice piece of writing, gives the character background, good discription and general writing style, but doesn’t realy fit the screenplay format, as is not direction or dialugue.

having just criticised this aspect of the fic alot, i have no idea how you could change this to make it a total screenplay format, while still keeping your descriptions etc. and to lose them would be a waste cos there’s some good writing here.

also the amount of detail in each of your fics never ceases to amaze me. did you get all of this from research, or is it from experience… don’t answer that actually. anyway it really adds to the fic if you seem to know what your talking about and you definitely do (although you could just be a really good bullshiter…)so congrats.

i like the way you write your characters, especially morpheus… he’s so in character. kudos to your beta, cos there’s not much scanny grammer or nonsensical sentences in this fic, there aren’t even many typos.

anyways nice fic, dunno about the format, but aside from that it’s very good.



Wow, loadsa research! I love fics with loads of research, gives them more accurate facts and stuff (that would be the logical thing that it gave the fic). I think it works really well in the screenplay format, with the slight crossover into novella. Honestly, I think screenplays might work better with more background info in, as it gives, at least it gives the actor, a reason why they react like however they react, so I like that. I did have one crit, but it turns out thats just my putting it into word and printing it, so never mind. I love the idea of a challenge, its not something I’ve seen done before, and its a really cool idea. By moneys on Trinity winning! Can’t wait to see what the winner makes the loser do! Update soon,


thanx naidel ~ you’re 100% exactly right about the “background descriptions vs. pure screenplay” dilemma… i want to keep both!… the dialogue part of me wants the screenplay, yet the novella part of me wants the descriptions kept in… *smile* we’ll see how the rest of the “ficplay” goes.

i agree, i won’t answer your question *chuckles*… but if you thought there was detail here, wait till the next act. *deep breath* right now, i’m taking a break before i work on my outline and really get back into it.


thanx strawberry! ~ yeah, that’s why i like the background descriptions. as for your “almost-crit,” one of these days i’ll format the screenplay properly in Word/PDF with Courier font, etc… maybe sooner than later! *laughs* and i’ll try to complete the next act as soon as i can. i have a general outline of how it’ll go, but sometimes a fic can have a mind of its own.

Act II: The Duel


Hey there,

I finally got a chance to read through this. If you’ll give me your email address, I’ll send it back to you with my comments in red. And you can send me any updates you have to it as well if you want – I’m enjoying this so I’ll beta the rest of it when you’ve written it.


As much as I love the prose and background info, if you really want to stick to script format, you’re breaking all the rules. But you probably know that so it’s your thing

Damn, you are thorough (looking at the ‘production notes’ below). This is a good start. A fun idea and I like how you don’t bog us down w/techie stuff by keeping the revealing conversation going. Except for the part I called you on, the dialogue is all really in character. I love having Tank back. I love that they get to do something fun and creative for once.

Please let me know when you finish the other acts. I’ll gladly look over those for you as well.


Like I said, go ahead and send me more of this when you’ve got it done. I don’t have time to do more fics, but this doesn’t take long and it’s enjoyable.



zeph ~ i knew it was a good idea to have this beta’d… great catches and suggestions. i find myself agreeing with you on almost every point…

> i agree, i’ll tone down the forced-ness of trinity’s pisces info (yeah, more teasing… maybe turn it into a question/questions) and the “first kiss” description (yeah, a little too adolescent)…

> as for the hacking, several of the more popular ports to exploit windows nt 4.0 (to gather network information) is on ports 135, 137, 138, and 139. i left these ports off in trinity’s scan (act II, scene 5) to make this IP address a poor candidate for her attack. i won’t tell you which one she’ll use, not yet!

> as for trinity’s birthdate, without any substantial film/canon evidence, i looked to the next best thing: keanu’s and carrie-anne’s real birthdates. since neo was a couple years older than keanu, i figured that trinity was a couple years older than carrie-anne, as follows:

> Keanu Reeves (born September 2, 1964) –> Neo (born March 11, 1962 from M1 canon)

> Carrie-Anne Moss (born August 21, 1967) –> Trinity (born November 7, 1965 in jayman-fic)

> so if trinity was 27 and neo was 37 in M1, that would be a pretty big 10-year age difference. my wife is 5 years younger than me, and even she didn’t think trinity was that young *big-smiles*!

thanx again. you’ll be the first to know about the next installment!


You’re welcome. The hacking port thing still makes no sense to me but I am totally ignorant with that stuff. *shrugs*

Look forward to reading the rest of this.



hmmm, maybe this’ll help…

let’s say the ip address is like a home address. and the operating system (windows, linux) is the type of house/building. and the ports are like the available entries — doors and windows and more-inconvenient windows — to that house/building. in fact, there are thousands of possible entries, like door #135, #137, #139, etc. some are open and some are closed/locked.

now for windows nt, ports 135, 137, 138, and 139 are some of the more-popular easily-accessible doors. in many cases, the default is to leave these doors open. consequently, they are vulnerable to attack. which is why security firewalls are used to close/lock these doors.

so when trinity does a scan, she’s looking for any left-open doors to the house/system. in act II, scene 5, she scans some open doors, but nothing particularly useful or convenient. and she moves on to scan the next house/system.

so you can’t claim total ignorance now! *smiles* ;)

p.s. hmmm, this analogy could be incorporated into the “duel” story, couldn’t it?


Ha. Thanks for going to the effort to quasi-enlighten me. The open door thing makes sense. You could use some of that if you want. I could see Morpheus explaining the intracasies so…someone…like that. But I’m not sure who wouldn’t understand hacking in that realm since I’m not there to be clueless. ;)


Back to Act I

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