This is a continuation of the short story “Torching Neon Moonlight” to read the other stories in the series, click on the title.
Yesterday’s worries in their entirety were gone. As soon as we stepped out of the north clock terminal we felt new issues arise immediately. Solomon Xa led us through since we programmed his memory with a virtual map application. The city was getting their dose of a sunset and this was the perfect entry time, night time.
The war had a giant impact on my life and my family, I hardly remember, but I know it affected them as well as me. My mother and father were murdered by Peppercorn Corporation thugs, my sisters were taken away. My siblings were Sarah, who was the oldest, then I was the middle child and then it was Camille my younger sister. Sarah was turned into a cyborg and was reprogrammed with an Octo core and rebuilt micro-mainframe by Peppercorn doctors, they programmed her BIOS on her spinal column and brain stem with a coding language that has a secure encryption which could only be extracted by the developers. The coding was experimental, therefore leaving her as the beta tester. I tried to investigate on “Sarah Centennial” as she was called but last I heard, Sarah was still a project to them, her body is motionless and all she can do is talk and have her heart beat. Camille was taken also, she broke free and now I have no idea where in the world she is at, I will always be on the lookout for both of them.
When I met Duo Smith I was all alone. I was trying to avenge my sisters and my parents, alone, in a cyberspace filled with duplicity. I could feel myself as if I was running in a treadmill in that part of my life. I was trying and trying to make an impact and find Sarah and Camille but I couldn’t find them, all I kept doing was digging me a hole. Duo Smith was the lead digital engineer at Peppercorn, he designed many things and he took me under his wing over there. I accepted, only to get a glimpse of what goes on in that corporation. Duo Smith was releasing himself from the Peppercorn Corporation; he worked with all of the corporate leaders and felt that they were running things the wrong way. As he realized what he was doing was wrong, he gained as much knowledge as he could and found a way to remove himself from their database while they did an entire system debug. Log files, BIOS’es, Memory leaks of all sorts were now in Duo Smiths control because of the debugging. Varsity Fox, the Peppercorn Corporation leader, or so they call him, found the memory leak through a hard reset of the entire mainframe of the Peppercorn Corp. Smith was accessing all the memory, hundreds of Zettabytes were being sent into a removable storage device. He linked himself to the mainframe and sent the encrypted file off to his hard drive implanted into his ribcage by the Peppercorn’s lead doctor
The night I arrived with Xa I heard that story for the second time, you know? Usually it ends right there but I heard it all that night. I heard the truth and it gave me a stronger motivation, it gave me a certain drive that my missing sisters and murdered parents couldn’t give me.
To be continued…
As the moonlight burned neon blue in this mechanical and busy world, my clone and I navigated through the streets of the network. Up above, the clouds turned sky blue to the color of a plain cubicle; Stationary and dull, dark colored and grey. Tall towers and sky scrapers were clear and made of glass with red neon lights glaring off of each other reading “Peppercorn” and others had the company logo only. Four circles that lit up red, black, yellow, and light green were mounted near the top of the buildings emitting their light which bounced off the LED torching moonlight and reflected off the wet and rainy floor. The rain was a constant thing and once it stopped there was too much blue in the sky. The blue gave everyone a feeling of security and a feeling of reality to their constant insecurity. During the day, or whenever it wasn’t raining, people would gather at the large circuits in the Motherboard Stations beside an artificial fountain and recreation areas. That’s all anyone would do for fun here in the cyber-life as a regular human would call it. No real human would be living here by choice, but these people did. I guess you could call the people that transferred themselves here (via data cable) things and not people. They had all their lives in this digital world which was only, digital. The real world, outside of this virtual reality was a mere memory. Nothing we saw in our walk to the base was appealing.
The city was very secure. People who went in and out of their homes were monitored by cameras on each and every corner of the city. There were Peppercorn security guards on duty every day in their two wheeled cycles. The cycles were about 35 inches wide and big enough to fit a well proportioned man on them. They were white and rose about 4 feet high and had very wide wheels and tires in the back. The cycle’s body was protected by a glass-like cover on both sides and the top. The glass cover was tinted with a thick white tint which made it semi-transparent. The motor glowed red and ran on hydrogen and water. The cycles were intelligent innovation, propelled by elements that only Peppercorn could supply. We designed them; I knew what had gone into building one of these for I had built the first generation of the Class L Cycles. Several of them had advanced lighting systems, just as a regular 4 wheeled covered vehicle would. Distinct Peppercorn CLC’s were all white with LED front and rear lights, those which seemed to burn and glow an impossible mixture of ultraviolet and neon red. Those cycles were fast, and I had three of my own at the warehouse we were heading to…
We entered the OII through the north ports where most people, who come from reality, do. As we arrived in the outskirts of the North Bridge, we needed to head south west toward our base. There were currently 7 main parts to the OII, as it was just a beta project and was never complete. The North Clock Terminal was the securest, high speed, port of arrival for all. The North Clock Terminal received as many as 250,000,000 arrivals per day, all of which were secure and verified by Peppercorn Corporation programs and security officials who inspected each incoming individual with a port scan. Nobody was insane enough to pass unsecure through the Peppercorn security, immediate deletion from the OII would occur and then one would be forced to become a Moonlighter in the real world.
Any type of death or removal from the OII would be traumatic to the User. A death in the OII could release valuable information to the user to the person which was the killer. Basically, you die in the OII, you live in a terrible earth as a drug dealer, a moonlighter or a prostitute. Things in New York City were detestable and people often were forced to commit suicide. Moonlighters would hack into the main server of the building and attempt a direct deletion to your Protocol v.8address. From there, the moonlight hacking team would send information to their gang leader. The gang leader would moonlight you and turn your home or apartment into another one of their safe houses or rob you until only your console and cables are left and assign you targets to take down. Moonlighting was big but they were no match for the Peppercorn Corporation who bought steel doors and bank vault-like locks for New York’s powerful and wealthy. Common citizens became users and paid off their steel doors/vault locks by contributing to the OII’s society. Peppercorn brought safety home to nearly everyone in New York City except for the lower class. Consoles were available to all, security was not. Hustlers began to sell consoles along with drugs, console theft became an epidemic and hackers were in demand. Life without the OII was havoc.
This is a continuation of the Story “The Development of a Distinguished Man”. To read the begining to this series please click here.
The structure of the OII consisted of many beta projects that were never completed; just left as is: betas.
We, and any other human who would want to enter the world of machines, bought our SILPCS (Sleep Induction Life Protecting & Conserving Systems). It was a 4 foot tall, boxy machine on wheels with a vertical rod on one corner for the medical tubes that insert into your veins. It resembled an IV therapy set with an infusion pump, just ten times more advanced and bulkier. Liquid Benzodiazepine being frozen and blended with other sedatives then being melted and dripped down into the body.
Humans had more work done to them, in this time of earths history, more than ever. Everyone had connector ports. Everyone had some way to be linked up to the OII. I had 10 plus years of work and constant updating to my data ports on my shoulder blade. Technology was advancing and I was just trying to keep up. The module and motherboard inside me were from an OctoCore server back home in the future.
Once the assistant snapped us in with the cables and situated us on the chairs we sat back and let the mainframes and routers lead the way. I kept my eyes open for as long as I could, the sedation kicked in and I began to dream…
In my dream I stood partially clothed in an Orchard. It was night time and from a distance I could see the yellow glow of the home. Within the yellow light I saw flies and insects that belong in a farm area flying in the distance. A cold wind blew my long hair in my face, it also blew my loose t-shirt close to my body. I began to walk rapidly to the glow and the home. The yellow light slowly began to disappear and I arrived to the white home. I opened the door to find the house empty. I walk outside to find a family standing at the fence of the orchard. They stare as I exit, they are 4. The youngest, a girl, walked toward me. I paused and stood still, I felt threatened. “Listen stranger, you don’t belong here” she told me, then she duplicated. There were 5. I was terrified then I began to run, away. As I was running I heard chatter amongst them, then they chased me. I ran through the orchard scared and barefoot until I saw the father of the family in front of me. I stopped and he held his hand out to me, he had a tablet. I swiped my finger to view it. A snowy screen came up, digitally broken with an analog feel to the display. I looked up and my surroundings, everything around me was becoming snowy just like the screen on the mobile computer.
My dream was over, I had already woken up and the OII was waiting for me.
To be Continued…
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