«I input and administrate these systems.»

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PHOTO: Margus Ansu

Full conversations between journalist posing as 12th grader Heleri and IT-entrepreneur Fred posing as Mister X as they met.

First encounter on March 21st

H: But tell me a little about yourself. Who are you, you know?

X: I am ... Mister X.

H: Aha. You meet girls often, like this?

X: No, not every day.

H: Like every weekend, then?

X: No, not every weekend either.

H: But yes, why I wanted to meet ... it’s about some feeling of assuredness, you know.

X: Watched too many horror movies

H: But this isn’t the usual really …

X: You’ll be found in the River Emajõgi, half a year later ...

H: No, I just ...

X: Oh yeah, I understand. No need to explain.

X: Actually, you would need to be home studying, not coming here to Tartu.

H: That is the problem.

X: Parents not noticing? That 12th grader daughter goes globetrotting?

H: My father actually lives in Tartu also.

X: So you came to see your father?

H: Not this time. He’d not be happy if I drop in too early in the morning.

X: If you are interested in our plan, everything is possible.

H: But I would like to have the assurance that, at the end of these three months, something would really happen.

X: Yes yea, you need to study a bit yourself also, that’d do you good.

H: Sure, but I know I will not get the result I want.

X: Otherwise, you will have these big points and the teachers will say we need to show Heleri’s work to others as well, she did so well.

H: Yep. I’m not looking for some sci-fi result really.

X: So sometimes I may show you these IT-systems so you see how it’s done.

H: So you could just alter them that easy?

X: But the plan would be that you get 38 and we put 83, that would be too... everybody will see thru it. Makes sense to alter some 20 points, then nobody will notice.

H: Yes, I would like to come at 70 or so, because with my ability I will …

H: But, nevertheless: how do you get the access?

X: How? There, every student has a code, one that is on the exam paper. These will be sent to correctors, the correctors do not know each other. Then these get entered into the system, every paper has two correctors. If the results differ by more than ten points, one corrector will be added and then these will be entered into the system. Lots of mistakes made there...

H: And you then are the ...

X: System administrator.

H: And you have never got caught with it?

X: No, I have never done this much. Can’t get large volume, it’ll raise suspicions.

X: If it’s all to your advantage, it’ll be suspicious. But nobody takes a look. Exam results arrive a week fedora defence with a message or so and then come the graduation celebrations and afterwards all is forgotten. Piece of cake. No ID-card system there.

H: You have done that before, then?

X: Yes, I can change them, yes. I input and administrate these systems.

H: Okay …

X: My company has the contract for these systems. I am the owner of that IT-company.

H: Very interesting, really. Answering your ad, I could never have guessed that …

X: Yes, you could have attended a training also. We do have training also here. I just intercepted some emails. If a girl you know writes, she goes to a training. 

H: You do trainings also?

X: No, I’m IT-man, but I administrate them. Once I taught physics and math in school. And then I went to the ministry of education and now I’m on these systems. I also teach at the university.

H: Aha, a multi-talent?

X: Well it’s all the same, messing with the computer.

H: Well a very interesting offer, anyway.

X: If you are interested, let me know.

H: How will it look?

X: We need to agree. Mainly I vegetate in Tartu and rarely come to Tallinn. Maybe once a week.

H: If I’d agree, you’d promise like 100 percent that you do what you say?

X: yes, I promise. But you try hard also, so there will be no issues afterwards. In a word: you worry too much.

H: Well it’s a bit horrible too ...

X: Drink your cider, then life will be a lot rosier. In a word, we cannot really yell here.

H: No, sure. I would not want to, either.

H: But so you have done it before and nothing happened?

X: I do it every day.

H: What?

X: This is my job.

H: Yeah, but I meant something that you are not supposed to do.

X: How not supposed to? Your eyes are blurred, it’s 11 pm, and you are inputting something. Just a wrong digit. If we put too big a number, the paper will just be called back to school. All will look, aha here’s an error; and they correct it.

X: You get it, no foul play.

H: Come on. I’m not worthy of these points and then I get them.

X: Every year, five to ten percent of people get points they are not worthy of. Input errors. Very simple. The only problem is, if you put too much then you don’t get caught but the work will just be re-corrected and these 15–20 points will be withdrawn.

X: Some lunatics go to courts if they get too little points.

H: But have we agreed then that I’ll let you know in days ahead what I think, like?

X: Yes, you may write even today already.

H: You, then … how do I put it … have other girls also now?

X: No, I don’t. I’ll take the ad down maybe. To have less noise. The boys go to training Company. At one time we did ... it was some kind of EU support project, all kinds of trainings. You know in the evenings you can go to Tallinn Technology University, the preparation trainings. We used to do that in Tartu also so from Võru and any county kids could come study. Still going on, quietly. I’m not linked to it in any other way anymore than administrating the IT-systems. So in that sense the letters go thru me. So when I go to work, I stare at these systems all day long.

H: Will there not be a trace when you change these?

X: There will be a trace.

H: But no-one checks?

X: There indeed has to be a trace. I do need to do my job. In Police Board, indeed, it’s like is you do three inquiries a day etc then you will be of heightened interest.

H: Not so in the ministry?

X: There, everybody is nice and polite, nobody cares. The university system is public, totally.

H: But so the plan would be until that …

X: We can continue the plan of course. But you may run out of motivation. Until the school is over. Bu you can meet me in Tartu. I do go to Tallinn also, with in the week-days. Just write as you are coming.

Second encounter on March 27th

X: You on water only?

H: Yes

X: You might have said that the purse is coming soon.

H: Hah, okay …

H: had a huge birthday party?

X: 71, I don’t know. Not much anything. From three o’clock Friday night. The agreement was the hero was paying.  

X: You want something?

H: No, not really.

X: You do. Your face says you definitely do.

X: So what’s the plan then?

H: I don’t know ...

X: No birthdays today, anyplace?

H: No.

H: But I don’t know, could you show it somehow?

X: What?

H: How you do it.

X: Ah, that. That’s a bit complicated.

H: Why?

X: I can only show that in the university system. I am not in the intranet.

H: What does that mean?

X: Well I have to explain to you now. Intranet is like  local entranet, I’m in the outer net now.

H: I’m still not getting it.

X: On the internal IP-address they give you access to database, meaning the Estonian language one.

H: Aha, so you have to be ...

X: In the house, yes. Not outside.

H: Okay.

X: But some stuff is open. So much I have that I saw you wrote just in the nick of time for me to take a laptop.

H: But you realise I’d need some real assurance.

X: The assurance comes when mother tongue exam is done. When do you have that?

H: Yea I don’t know, not much left here.

X: How many days to go?

H: Too few.

H: But yes, I am not willing to do anything before I have seen ...

X: No yes I do understand. What you doing in Tartu, tonight?

H: No plans.

X: Nowhere to go? You might as well come to me, right.

H: There, at your place, you can’t show it?

X: No, I said at my place I will show. Here I have no computer. Into the intranet I get only on the job, Munga St 18 (address of education ministry in Tartu – edit).

H: But you told me last time you can show me.

X: I can.

H: You lied, see. Here come the lies.

X: No, no, no.

H: Can you do it at all?

X: This is no lying. I can take the screenshot when you get your mother tongue passed. I can show you then.

H: And not before that, at all?

X: Before that, I can show you ... your stuff isn’t there... You have a relative or acquaintance studying at the university?

H: University of Tartu?

X: Yes.

H: I do have a couple of these.

X: So we look at their data. Good?

H: I would not like to come to your place like that. I don’t know, uncomfortable.

X: it is uncomfortable, I realise. But you need to ... you will not be coming to me really. Actually, I live in Lähte. I have a room at the motel.

H: What motel?

X: Ah, no good. Won’t go there anymore.

H: You been there with other girls?

X: I have been nowhere with no girls, especially not there. Otherwise, I would not have returned. I figured it would be decent somehow. But not too lousy either. I was looking the football is starting.

H: You wanna go watch?

X: Well you know football was said to be better than this other thing. The song, by Smilers.

H: Yea, I’ve heard.

X: I switched the TV on there and saw the game was beginning. Hope you are joining me?

H: Well I can’t be like that right now. And I don’t really like football at all.

X: Well we may do something different.

H: Like what?

X: Let’s see, maybe we swatch the channel. I will examine you, say.

H: What will that mean?

X: Take off these three of four or five mantles off of you. Not too warm like that?

H: No.

X: I did live at the hostel once, when at the doctorate. Academus Hostel, right here at the top of the hill.

H: Aha, you attended University of Tartu?

X: Tartu and at Munich institute, of plasma physics.

H: Aha, so you studied physics?

X: Yea, plasma physics.

H: Very interesting. You really smart then, yes?

X: Sure, with a degree, schooled.

H: You got a Doctoral degree?

X: PhD, optics and spectroscopy.

H: Lots of real complicated words.

X: Ask something you think nobody would never know. Then you’ll know if I can answer.

H: I cannot even put together a question that complicated.

H: For a while now, I have no plans to come to Tartu.

X: What’s you doing? Preparing?

H: Yes, supposed to study. You told me the last time I need to study as well.

X: yes, but you cannot overstudy, see. Here’s the trick, it depends on what you have done these 12 years.

H: Yes, had I done all that I was supposed to do, I’d not be facing this problem now.

X: So what’s the problem? I’m not getting it. You’ll get your 20 points and ...

H: But I’d like to continue studies.

X: Where, then?

H: At the university here, in Tartu actually.

X: What?

H: Something related to natural sciences.

X: natural science? Aha, I know that the best. You know where the natural science dean’s office is at?

H: Nope.

X: Right here, at the top of the hill. That’s the largest faculty in the university. And the specialty?

H: I have not been thinking that specific as yet ...

X: Not been thinking yet? You want biology or the genes stuff? The genes stuff is very popular.

H: The genes stuff would be real cool. If I’d get admitted to biology, there the admission would be easier I guess.

X: Now I guess you do not have the exact same exams. It used to be that if you wanted to study math, you had to pass math exam. Not like that anymore, I think.

H: I was thinking you could show me today, but if I’m not coming for a long while now it will be difficult.

X: Not coming for a long while? Going off abroad?

H: No, not planning to come to Tartu, got stuff to do in Tallinn and ...

X: Doing what, then?

H: Studying.

X: Friday and Saturday nights also?

H: Not the entire time. Granny got a big jubilee coming and ...

H: In a word, you can’t shot is today?

X: I can show something, but I cannot outright enter. I need to go to Munga St but that don’t work.

H: Why? No entrance Friday night?

X: They think I broke in.

H: You don’t have a card to swipe at the door and you enter?

X: I do have the card. But what am I doing there at night?

H: You say you wanted to work.

X: Aha, so I got nothing to do and I’m a bit tipsy so I decide to go work...

H: Anyway, I’m not doing anything till I know for sure and as I’m not really coming to Tartu so it does not seem to work.

X: It’ll be hard with you yes.

H: So others usually don’t wanna see how you do it?

X: But you are discreet.

H: What way?

X: You know not the meaning of «discreet»?

H: No, what exactly do you mean by that?

X: By discreet? Discreet means disclosed from public.

H: Me?

X: You are discreet.

H: Shouldn’t I be?

X: Not like you put it up at «face» tomorrow that you were to Tartu, with the pictures.

H: Hey, what’s the point now?

X: Point? Being discreet is natural here, that’s the only way.

H: Well surely I would not, got some ... dignity?

X: Well usually it’s like you drink some more next time in Tallinn and here come the stories.

H: Come on now...

X: All kinds of murderers confess their murders. Down a beer with buddies, a second one, and at the third friend’s place they are already blabbing about killing somebody last week over there. And then the others call the police and say take a look at this guy. And that’s it.

H: I’d like to see the faces of the other girls in my class, at that... I’m the only one having trouble with this school. 

X: You’ve got these crazy university plans, then of course. Others take it easy. They’ll have a bunch of kids and ...

H: They do also wanna go to university, but for them it’s easier, as they are clever.

X: And you are not? Why think so low about yourself?

H: Can’t help it.

X: Aha, bad grades?

H: Yep, especially math.

X: We got paid studies.

H: Don’t have the resources...

X: The paid study ones are a bit funny too. Once I was forced to teach them. By their face, one was able to tell who were paying to study.

H: You were teaching plasma physics, then?

X: I can teach anything. Some old guy is sick or abroad, but the lecture must happen. I don’t know really what was the stupidest stuff I taught. All were the sciences, though.

H: So you taught several subjects? At the university?

X: Over there, there’s no difference between ‘em. Once, e had this special metrology practice. Fancy name, but it’s actually about how to measure something with some measuring device. At the university, the wages are so low I climb the hill as a hobby. There’s the ministry, there’s the institute of physics.

H: Getting some exercise, yes?

X: Yes, on foot you go, some two kilometres.

H: But... what next then?

X: I don’t know. Today, I’m inviting you for coffee at my place.

H: I got my coffee already.

X: Then, for the football.

H: But can you alter the results the very same day these are entered into the system? Or are you entering them?

X: No, I administrate the system. Some old gals enter ‘em.

H: You took the ad down or is it up still?

X: Well I’m not getting anywhere with you. Otherwise, I’d take it down at once.

H: But you are not showing me how you do it. I only have one requirement.

X: How can I show you?

H: But let’s go someplace ... we still got these public internet spots?

X: I do have a computer.

H: But I’d rather not come to your place. I don’t know what you are all about.

X: You have a knife with you?

H: Sometimes I think I ought to have grabbed one along. Main thing that you ain’t got one.

X: I don’t.

H: Go get your computer and bring it here.

X: I got my computer in that motel.

H: But what do we do then? If you could show me today...

X: How can I change if you have not done anything?

H: But some earlier year’s stuff?

X: I should have prepared for that. At the moment, I said I’ll get into the university system which is like the other one.

H: That’s what I want to see: you entering some system so you are not just talking.

X: Aha, I can show you. Tell me your student friend number, I’ll have a look.

H: What number?

X: Your friend’s name, I can look afterwards. You have someone you know studying at the university?

H: I was thinking ...

X: We can look at some I know, that’s securest. It’s more secure for me to look at my acquaintances than yours. Afterwards, you go run telling on me someplace.