Excitement overload! She was about to plug in for the first time, her new interface stylishly disguised as a hair extension. Her rig was a present from her uncle, he knew about these things and was going to teach her. At least that’s what he said, his light was still off, he wasn’t online and she wasn’t meant to plug in without him, but…..what’s the worst that could happen, she rationalised.
She was almost overwhelmed, the information, the data, it was incredible. There were a few tutorial programmes her uncle had installed and she ran through them but quickly got bored, she wanted to explore, she was a natural with computers, she didn’t need tutorials to help her. So she flew, flew around the web, around servers and corporations, around countries and empires. There was so much to explore and yet the data floating around was useless junk, mostly spam and inane conversation, nothing interesting, nothing exciting. There must be something juicier she thought, it was just a case of finding it, a hunger for knowledge stirring within her.
The rig was basic and had no breakers for her to use, all that delicious information and she had no way of accessing it, it made her sigh. But wait, what had she just seen, she backtracked, yes, a bare server, no protection no nothing. She dived for it without thinking, her mind on a desperate quest for knowledge, her desire to know what it contained overwhelming. Too late she realised her mistake.
As she accessed the server a wave of pain like nothing she had ever felt filled her mind, the web was gone, the server was gone and she was blinded in agony. Her body no longer responded to commands, her virtual presence was frozen too. She heard a voice, a deep foreboding voice, “Foolish girl, this project is off limits to all….but we are in need of new specimens’…consciousness is useless of course, we’ll get rid of that first”, a definite smile creeping in at the end. The world faded around her, there was nothing she could do, all her previous excitement and hunger had been obliterated by pure terror and in the next few seconds she knew she would lose her grip on what was left of her mind.
And then it stopped, as suddenly as it arrived. Her mind was clear, the pain was gone, and so was…everything else. Not just the server, the whole web, what the hell was happening? She was floating in a blank virtual space. She was about to try jacking out when another voice spoke, a voice she recognised instantly.
“I thought you might want to go running off on your own Aleesha, so I made you a little playground. I could see the hunger in your eyes, that’s why I bought you the rig, hunger is important for a runner but it can also get you killed. I needed to show you what could happen and it’s always best to learn these things the hard way. Do you understand now?”
With everything clicking into place, she checked her social status feed and sure enough her uncles was lit, ‘Omar’.
“Yes uncle”, she replied quietly, submissively.
His avatar appeared next to her and smiled, “good, now let me show you a better way of running, I’ll give you a hint, it’s all about misdirection”.