Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gideon's Chip, Part Nine


Gideon's Chip, Part Nine

***

   The thready scent of lilac drifted on the breeze. I drank it in.
   Looking across the grass carpeted field toward the pond and bud of a
forest beyond, I realized I had stepped into somebody's toy. From the quality
of this virtual simulation, it had to be a rich somebody's toy.
   But why?
   Virtual realities are fairly common place. Hell, lower end ones are
becoming cheaper all the time. But this one, this was just about as virtual
as they come. I could smell things. The breeze was warm. If I had allergies,
I would be sneezing. This had cost someone more money than twelve people made
in their lifetimes.
   So why was it here? And protected by a simple Wall?
   My mysterious benefactor had given me nightmares and cold sweats for day.
The shoot out on my porch and subsequent chase had me thinking I was going to
die with a bullet - probably a clip full - in my back. But now...Now I was
truly terrified.
   A white rabbit ran by. It glanced at a golden watch on a golden fob,
muttering about the time.
   I turned to run...
   And found the exit gone. I called up a program, the far away part of me
listening to the sound of my hurried typing like rain on a tin roof.
Invisible fingers probed the virtual pocket for its invisible egress.
   But it had vanished.
   Impossible, I thought. Then a strangled, no!
   My fingers were now pounding at the keyboard. I called my probes back and
modified them as fast as was possible while I was still jacked in. Codes
flashed through my inner, electronic eye. I overwrote them. When I was
finished, I unleashed the program again.
   Two computers spoke while I waited, my flesh body sweating.
   Find it! Find it!
   My deck began to feed a trickle of data to me through my interface. I
sorted it out in a hurry. The program was now examining the nature of this
place on a very detailed level and sending me information about every
electron it could find.
   Find it!
   Something intruded in on the flows of data. It was a routine message from
the deck: someone else had just popped into the virtual reality with me. My
fingers sputtered on the keyboard.
   I couldn't see the intruder.
   My program was talking to the trees, dissecting the wind...
   The other ICON was behind me in the forest, my deck reported in a silent
whisper.
   Information poured in through the interface...Find it!
   "Hello, Thomas," said a voice. "I've taken the liberty of disconnecting
this node from the Net so we could talk."
   My fingers stilled on the keyboard.
   I turned. The Mad Hatter was smiling at me.

***

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