This submersion is a bit more light-hearted (possibly even comical) than the first :)
This is for the Multiprocessing echo
A nineteen hour orbital flight.
Wires determined that the best use of his time is spent submerging for a second time. The first time he did it, in the recent past, he had found the benefit to be overwhelming useful. Now, however, he was faced with a new and much more crippling weakness.
The fact that his meat body is constantly being left defenseless in these high-risk situations concerned him. After getting injected with what very easily could’ve been something deadlier than Flipside (he had been lucky), Wires made the decision to see if he could discover a means of counteracting this.
Upon materializing in the Matrix, leaving his teammates to bicker or discuss on the suborbital, Wires began searching in the cracks of the Matrix to see if he could find information on what he sought.
Eventually, after a few hours, he came to discover some information boards dedicated to unusual Matrix phenomena. Many users spoke of hackers that somehow were able to stay full VR while maintaining control over their meat body AT THE SAME TIME.
Wires was intrigued.
He dug a bit deeper and discovered that some of the aforementioned hackers were, in fact, technomancers like himself. Wires had enough mental acuity to deduce this had to be the work of the Resonance realms and the echoes.
He set about locating his prize.
Floating there in the data streams, Wires let the Resonance within his icon reach out and seek the Resonance realms, hoping to find the one appropriate for what he sought. The feeling was indescribable, reaching out into the Matrix and being able to have a part himself be integrated into its very nature.
After some time, he felt a “vibration” come from one his Resonance “tendrils”. He followed it without question, allowing himself to be pulled by the forces of Resonance both within and around him.
Finally, he was led to what looked like a tear in the Matrix. Wires had encountered tears before, knowing that they were bits of broken or corrupted code that created anomalous-looking manifestations in the Matrix but were harmless if left alone.
Apparently, he couldn’t leave this one if he was to obtain the new power.
Approaching the tear, he analyzed it carefully, determining its nature before attempting any sort of manipulation or repair on it. He found, after careful examination, that it wasn’t a tear at all but rather a node that was barred from access and hidden from casual observation by an altered external reality representation. Quite literally, it was the “locked back door” into a Resonance realm.
Wires’ icon raised an eyebrow.
[All right…time to work on my ‘lockpicking’ skills…]
He dove in without hesitation. He hacked his way through the code and found the node’s source material. Unsurprisingly, there was an underlying layer of Resonance with the source material that was allowing the node to escape detection from normal hackers and Matrix users. Additionally, Wires discovered that with a simple manipulation of the Resonance source allowed him access.
[Created so that only technomancers could access it. Clever.]
The node, perceivable only to him, changed its form and opened itself to the young technomancer. Wires paid the proper respect to the Resonance and glided into the waiting door into the realm.
He found himself free-falling downward. Further and further he went before everything went dark and he awoke to find himself, once again, in his meat body. However, this time he still felt a connection to the Matrix.
“At least that is not a problem this time.”
He stood and found himself in what appeared to be the garden of an Asian temple of some sort. The peaceful serenity of the place washed over Wires as he walked about to get his bearings straight. Eventually, he found his way to a building within the heart of the garden. Outside of its doors sat an ancient monk, sitting in meditation.
Wires perceived the building and the form of the monk, coming to the decision that it was best place to begin searching for the echo. He approached the monk, being careful not to be too disturbing until he was within speaking distance.
“Excuse me? Can you assist me?”
The monk didn’t respond.
“I was wondering if you know your way around here?”
Again, the monk didn’t reply.
Wires rolled his eyes and passed by the monk in a huff.
“Frelling faulty programs…”
He approached the door of the building and was about to open it when a voice rang out from behind him.
“You are not ready for that, my pupil.”
Wires turned to find the monk, now standing and facing him. The elderly man came to about Wires’ chest in height, bald head, Buddhist monk adornments, and had a strange look in his eyes. A knowing look.
“Why not? Is what I seek in there?” Wires asked.
“The ability to perceive multiple realms of reality? Yes! Of course it is in there!” The monk replied with an unusually exuberant tone.
“Than I will go in,” Wires moved to open the door once more.
“Trust me, my pupil. If you go in there now, your mind will be lost.”
Wires stopped. He turned back to the diminutive monk, eyes narrowed on the strange entity before him.
“Explain,” Wires demanded calmly.
“You see, one cannot simply be given the ability to perceive multiple realms of reality! You must first train your mind to be prepared for it! That is what I am here for. If you can complete my training, than you will be ready for what is behind that door. If you can not, well than you are not ready. Simple, eh?”
The monk seemed almost giddy to give his long and slightly redundant explanation. Wires stared at the monk for what seemed like an eternity before finally deciding to play along.
“Very well. What must I do?”
The monk gave a boyish laugh as he gestured for Wires to follow him down a trail off to the right. Wires, happy to oblige the strange being, followed. Eventually, he found himself in a clearing within the garden where there lay something he could not believe.
“Plates. On sticks.”
“Yes! You must spin the plate on the stick!” the monk clapped with excitement.
Wires approached the plate, picked it up, balanced it on the stick, and spun it.
“Oh! Oh! Keep it spinning, my pupil!”
Wires carefully kept the plate balanced and spinning.
“Is that all? If that is your training, than I must say I am well beyond qualified for what is in that building.”
The monk laughed again and with a wave of his hands, another plate and stick appeared.
“Now! Keep both spinning!”
Minutely more difficult than the single plate, Wires found himself able to keep the two plates spinning simultaneously. The monk watched, apparently satisfied with his pupil’s progress, as he waved his hands again to summon a third plate/stick combination.
“Now! You must maintain all plates!”
And so Wires began his training. Starting with three plates, Wires found the challenge to be rather easy. It wasn’t until the monk summoned an additional three plates did Wires realize the difficulty he was facing. Faster and faster did he attempt to move, dividing his focus. When a plate dropped, the monk made him begin again. When Wires finally got the hang of keeping whatever number of plates spinning that were present, the monk would summon more.
On and on did Wires undergo this training. Days, weeks, possibly months passed as all he did was balance and spin plates, more and more plates, with each passing hour. He felt exhausted…strained. The monk merely watched, speaking only to summon more plates or begin Wires anew.
Eventually, around what Wires guessed might have been 40-50 plates, did he realize how simple it had become to divide his focus amongst the many plates. His attention focused, obviously, on the plate he was currently spinning and balancing, but other portions of his brain kept track of which plates were in need of more spinning and which weren’t.
Eventually, the monk clapped, and the plates vanished.
“Very good, my pupil! You have done well!”
Wires heaved and panted, exhausted from the extensive movement he had extended.
“So…I can…go into the building…now?”
“Oh, no, my pupil! You must first put what you have learned here into practice! When we next meet, you will truly be ready.”
Before he could finish, the monk made a gesture, and Wires suddenly jolted awake back on the suborbital. Bones looked over at him.
“Wires okay? Wires have nightmare?”
“No…no, Bones. I am fine. Thank you…”
When we meet next, old man…