Alex Jefferson and Cal Jordan are on a planetarium field trip to Campbell County Community College (CCCC). They see Eugene and say hi, but... he ignores them! They decide, or at least Cal decides for them, to go see what the problem is. When they get stopped by a security officer, they realize something is definitely going on. Meanwhile back at Whit's End, Connie is telling Whit that the phone lines were out that morning and that a lady came by to fix them. Connie says "It was weird - I didn't have to call them or anything."
At Alex's house, the boys decide to go on the CCCC website to see if they can find anything. They find something in Eugene's profile called RWS (Radio-Wave Study). But to get more info they need to have a password. Suddenly, they get an instant message from someone named AREM. He asks them if they want the password and Cal, to Alex's dismay, says yes. He says the password is "Red Herring". They type it in and the computer crashes. Later, Alex's mom walks in with his dad saying that the College accused her of hacking into the college computer. Eventually, they figure out that it was the boys who were responsible.
The boys are told that they need to come down to the police station. When a policeman asks them which one of them is AREM, they say that neither of them are. He believes them and tells them that AREM is a professional computer hacker who has broken into many systems. He also says that they should go back onto the college website so they can try to trace AREM. AREM is there once again and with a little trouble they figure out where AREM is hiding. He is hiding at...Whit's End!
The officer asks Whit about it and he says he hasn't even been in his office today. But then he remembers about the phone lines. They go up to Whit's office and find a modem that Whit didn't install in there. The officer tries to take it apart but it self-destructs. It looks like they are right back where they started.
- Why didn't Whit want Connie talking about Eugene on the radio?
- What did Alex's dad tell him about being too curious?
- Have you ever been really curious about something?
- How can curiosity be a good thing?
- When is it a bad thing?
Heard in episode
Mentioned in episode
- While searching Eugene's personnel file in this episode, Cal mentions the "Holstein Computer Sciences Grant" last mentioned in #373: “For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll, Part 2”.
- The commercials that Connie plays during the break of her interview of Cal and Alex includes ads for both Dreams By Constance and Cookies by Connie. The latter "business" has never been heard anywhere else on the program and seems odd considering Connie's previously-established (and self-described) poor cooking skills as evidenced in #358: “The Secret Weapon” and #443: “Changing Rodney”.
- A "red herring" is a piece of information that is meant to distract someone from what's really going on. This episode does that with the Novacom saga.
Detective Mark Maddox: Somewhere out there is a professional hacker who's been repeatedly breaking into the college computer system over the past two weeks. We've been trying to follow the trail, but he—or she—is very slippery. However, thanks to Alex and Cal's little misadventure yesterday, we now have a name: AREM. And a possible way to catch our hacker.