Upon getting settled into their suborbital flight back to Seattle, Wires immediately entered the Matrix. He detested these long flights and used the time to his advantage to improve upon his Matrix skills. Now, after their long adventure in Hong Kong, it was finally time to see that old program again.
He dove into his world, quickly locating the technomancer group he had found to help him with this. They were young, younger than him, but he didn’t mind. He’d rather keep the real technomancer community out of his dealings, considering his past indiscretions with them. With the grouping of young (nearly all of them newly emerged) ‘mancers, Wires assembled a difficult to construct piece of code and dove back into the that serene Resonance realm.
Opening his eyes, he found himself on the same path he started on during his last ordeal. Knowing the way, he quickly located the building that had called him before…the building that he wasn’t allowed to enter on his first trip here. Sure enough, the ever-pulling magnetism of the structure remained. It seemed to resonate into the very data core of Wires’ icon, calling him. The very unnerving and yet natural feeling of it filled Wires with a sort of unease that he normally didn’t feel while in the Matrix.
He slowly approached the building’s front door, his eyes fixated on the handle. He had to know what was behind it. He had to feel it. He had to experience it. He knew the answers to many of his questions were in there and he HAD to have them. Inch by inch, his quivering hand drew closer and closer to the handle, to the gateway that separated him from whatever it was inside.
“Hello again, my pupil,” a voice reverberated with the same soul-shaking reverberation that emanated from the house.
Wires spun on his heels to find the old monk program standing behind him, smiling softly.
“You, again!” Wires stated, both in surprise and frustration, “You are not going to make me spin more plates, are you?”
The monk seemed to chuckle as he strode over to the young technomancer. Head and eyes downcast at the ground, hands behind his back, he circled Wires slowly until they were side-by-side facing outward, away from the door.
“No, no, young one. That step in your training has long since been completed. Now, you have returned to seek what is in there,” the old man made a slight nod over his shoulder.
“Come,” the monk stepped off the buildings porch and into the courtyard adjacent. Crouching down into the dirt, he picked up a stick and began to draw something in the soft soil beneath their feet. Wires, curious, slowly approached and gazed over the monk’s shoulder to inspect.
The symbol drawn was not one unfamiliar to Wires: a simple yin and yang. The monk finished his drawing and stood back up, gazing down at his work.
“Are you familiar with the concept of yin yang, my pupil?” the monk asked. Not waiting for an answer he continued, “It represents the seemingly contradictory and polar forces that somehow exist in harmony and even essentially give birth to one another. Balance.”
The monk turned away from the yin yang toward the building.
“Inside is your yin and yang, young one. The two opposing forces that live in harmony with each other. Are you ready?”
Wires paused. The monk’s words held heavy in the air. After what seemed like an eternity, similar to the extended exercise with the plates in his previous visit, Wires nodded, eyes still locked on the building before him.
“Then your time with me has come to its end,” the old monk stated simply. He turned to Wires and smiled, “Young Wires, I permit you access. May our paths cross again someday.”
With that, the monk was gone. Wires stood alone in the courtyard contemplating the nature of his mentor program and of the program’s final words to him. The time had finally come for him to enter.
Without another moment’s hesitation, no longer able to resist the building’s call, he dashed to the door, flung it open, and threw himself inside.
He was surrounded on all sides by a familiar blackness, the same kind that had enveloped him in his first submersion. He examined himself and found that he was back in his icon’s body, no longer restrained by the limitations of his meat form.
Within the blackness surrounding him hummed a distant approaching sound, similar to how one can hear a train coming down a tunnel even when it is some distance away. The sound grew closer and louder with each passing milimoment until an earth-shattering THUMP shook him.
Wires breathed heavily. He blinked.
His hands were his own meat body hands again. He blinked several times, but to no avail as the hands remained as they were.
Again, the sound came from a distance and assaulted him with the pounding THUMP, knocking his concentration off once more.
[What is going on?]
The blackness around him seemed to fade away slightly as a view of the suborbital gave way. Not only a view of the suborbital, but the view through HIS eyes. His MEAT eyes.
The sound came again, faster this time, and much louder as the space around him literally shook with the powerful THUMP. Again, his form had changed back into the meat, his growing concern and doubt began to creep.
“What if I was not ready for this?”
Before he could think more on it, the image of the suborbital gave way a bit more, only this time, data streams and nodes seemed to merge with it. The THUMP came again. The blackness pulsed and receded each time. Again the THUMP. The nodes and streams and seas of information meshed more. THUMP.
Wires could feel himself being torn in twain.
Meat body. Suborbital.
Icon. Data streams and nodes.
Meat body. Data streams and nodes.
By now, the THUMPing was coming at regular, steady intervals. It was almost as if it was…
And suddenly Wires was awake. Not awake in the sense that he had come out of VR, but truly awake. He gazed about himself. His icon’s head and his meat head moved simultaneously and in tandem with each other. Surrounding him was his surroundings on the suborbital, including Bones sitting next to him, and the topography of the Matrix itself, meshed together into a seamless view of both realities. He could feel his complete connection to all these things at once.
He reached out and touched the video screen in front of him, at the same time his icon touched its node. They felt the same, at least to him. He had done it. He had finally unlocked the secrets. He had finally achieved…