Rainbow (pt. 4)

Part four in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)


The network is vast. Described by romantics as the physical manifestation of the sum product of human knowledge. The closest thing to it that could exist in the real world would be an ocean made entirely of light. Like the ocean, the network captures the unprepared. It drags them deep into itself and from beyond the reach of hope, it crushes them without mercy.
Since the networks inception at the turn of the century, the vast collection of human creation has cast a shadow on the world across the divide. In spite of the fearful warnings of its opponents, on the third day of October, under the direction of CEO of Wèilái Jìshù, Yuan Zhihao, the network was born. With its birth there was no singularity, the human soul was not destroyed nor did any other apocalyptic event occur. With its creation all expectations were completely surpassed. The true extent of its nature continues to grown with every improvement in it’s understanding. Unlike the internet of the past, the network does not rely on physical backups to truly exist. The network exists regardless of our connection to it, some even challenging the notion that it was truly created by humanity and not simply discovered.
Modern computers could connect to the network in much the same way as they once connected to the internet. Biotechnology advancements allowed people to cast a shadow of their consciousness onto the network. Called a dive, the connection is imperfect and taxing on the body. While the extent of the connection varies based on the tech and individual aptitude, the rule of thumb for an average netwalker equates every second spent in the network to the energy requirments of seven times that on earth. The disconnect between the individuals mind and their body carries a dangers of dying while on the other side. As precautions most dives are taken with a sitter to monitor the body or a timed withdrawal.

A shadow cast upon the ocean, Sonorous feels without feeling. Internalising the knowledge as a sensation she finds herself adrift within the alien precision of the network. The overwhelming shock of her first dive is dulled by her knowledge of what was to come. Able to comprehend what made up her as distinct from the world around her, she focuses now on the static points of her program and casts them out into the emptiness the surrounds her. The limits of her self expand, forming an area more conceivable by her mind.
The featureless white void freezes, suddenly giving meaning to the concept of space. With the knowledge of being in a place once more, a deep unease is released from her mind. Next she creates for herself a body, dispersing the instinctive terror of not being. The process was slow, dragging on for an uncertain span of minutes. Already her focus was weakening. Drawing her area in closer to herself eased the drain somewhat. The sense of the energy cost shaping the network put on her was growing more apparent. She wondered how long she had been under, surely it couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes and already she was struggling to maintain her reality.
Remembering what Faith had told her, a dive begins at the shallow depth where creation is simple. The longer one remains, the deeper one sinks unless they reach an anchored point. The depths of the network exert greater pressure on the minds of divers the deeper they go while their energy is already depleted from the time spent. A fifteen minutes for a netwalker is a walk in the park. Before long her concentration flickers and the creation of space winks out of existence. She is ripped out and back into her body, shivering and panting in exhaustion while Faith turns back the chair and throws a blanket over her.

“Do you always try to run before you’ve learned how to walk?” she chides, watching a screen while staring sidelong at Sonorous.

Unable to formulate a response, Sonorous looks around the room in dazed confusion. No chance that dive was fifteen minutes, Faith must have triggered an emergency withdrawal. She grits her teeth in frustration as well as the pain as her muscles seize and cramp painfully. An unexpected pinch in her arm as Faith attached her to an IV drip. After sitting in silence for a time to recover, Sonorous asks, “What happened?”

“You tell me,” Faith replies, “Things were going fine for about a minute then suddenly your vitals are going crazy like I’d run a current through you. In less time than your first dive you’re critical and I have to pull the plug. What were you doing in there, trying to rebuild Dvorovoi?”

“Nothing like that,” she answers. Faiths unbelieving stare forces her to continue, “I just made a body and a small pocket to exist in.”

Faith rolls her eyes, hitting a button on the IV before daintily sweeping her skirts and sitting by her students side, “Oh? And who told you you were ready to do that? Because I certainly don’t remember telling you to do anything more than observe.”

“No-one.”

“That’s strange, because I quite specifically recall telling you not to do anything other than what you’re told to do today.”

Feeling heat of shame rising in her cheeks, Sonorous averts her gaze and remains silent. Progress was frustratingly slow, if she kept it up at this rate she’d lose any chance of being ready in time.

“I wonder if you’re worth my time. If you die before you pay me back, I’ll be out a lot of time and a decent cost of equipment, you know.”

“I’ll pay you back,” Sonorous whispers, the lightness in her head stubbornly persisting and keeping her lain back in the chair. Faith’s stern look seems out of place on her doll-like face, for a moment the teachers true age shines through her eyes passing her adjustments. At last the sternness cracks and a cutesy giggle fills the room.

“We’ll see.”

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

3 thoughts on “Rainbow (pt. 4)”

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