Somewhere in the various depth of a college computer lab is the enthusiast, the guy researching ways to get around the school’s blockers. People go to that guy to play online console games or even to look at content that would hardly be considered appropriate for school. Ethan wasn’t really like that though, no, he had more ambitious ideas to get past school security. It wasn’t the idea of what was out there that fascinated, but how engrossed could someone become in the internet. There’d been new advances in tech that improved on the whole Rift idea where it wasn’t just seeing cybertronics, but fully engaging in it as well.
Just a freshman tech student, Ethan was still learning everything there is about the advanced tech. Still, he had been interested in it since high school and received pretty good grades on his intro classes.
Last week, Ethan’s professor was talking about how the internet connects everyone in the entire world. The though, be it simple, really was fascinating to Ethan, which led him to the computer lab today. He had drafted some theories that if it was true that the internet did connect everyone in the entire world, that there must be places that people haven’t even discovered yet that the internet could connect. He just had to see how far this could go and just how engrossed could he become. Could he relocate himself through the internet as well, once he found some new place?
He’d been working since his first fall semester, and had made some breakthroughs. It seemed as if he wasn’t the only person thinking about finding places beyond human reach nor the only person trying to see if someone could become one with the internet. It was him, though, that wanted to combine the two ideas.
Ethan made a few final adjustments to the code he had been working on for the last week or so. Looking at the screen, everything looked correct, though this didn’t stop him from re-reading it over a few more times. He took a deep breath then let the air ripple through the spaces in his teeth and out through his loosely shut lips. He slipped on the helmet and carefully placed each of his fingers into the vortex gloves.
The helmet was old tech compared to the top of the line implants out these days, but this was all the school could afford in advanced tech. The interface flickered on and Ethan was greeted by the thousands of informative texts identifying what he saw in the room. Annoyed, he passed through this menu to where he really wanted to go: Internet 9.
It was here in Internet 9, where people were making these advances. So far, Internet 9 was only really stable in the online game world, where players could play games like Slayer and really feel their death. That was hardly the surface of Internet 9.
Ethan brought up a menu that allowed him to access the code he wrote on the desktop. He worked a little bit more in the code to make Internet 9 accept it. He had hoped that it was correct otherwise nothing would happen.
Internet 9 took a second to process the code and spat out what Ethan feared: Error.
Defeated, Ethan began furiously typing some rerouting codes on the interface in hopes he’d bypass the error.
ERROR the screen flickered again, and again as Ethan kept trying, tirelessly. After a few more tries, Ethan decided to finally stop. With one final attempt, he tired one last code which he had put out of his mind because it was so basic. Internet 9 took another second, but this time something made Ethan have a sinking feeling in his heart.
He heard a loud groan, so loud that Ethan tried to rip off his helmet to prevent his ear drums from bursting. With one try, Ethan couldn’t rip the helmet off his head. It was as if someone vacuumed out the air and it held on to his skull now. The interface now flickered between green, magenta, and blue neon lights. Ethan’s heart was racing. His arms were bubbling; he felt a wet sensation just above his abdomen.
The groan got louder, more clear. The bubbling stopped.
Ethan couldn’t breath. There was no air.
Music? Was it music?
Ethan felt the previous wet sensation turn white hot and advance to his back. Ethan opened his eyes, but the green light blinded him. The groan was even clearer.
“What is it?” something said, through a very reverberated voice.
Now there was nothing. Ethan looked, but only saw a bright blue light. He could feel the floor. Carefully Ethan reached out for the chair he was previously sitting on, but couldn’t life himself. His body, limp, collapsed. He let out a deep breath.
There was a vibration on the floor. Then another.
Ethan felt it again, the wet sensation, but this time on his back. He tried to roll over to make it stop, but his body wouldn’t allow it.
“What is it?” the voice said again? “Error.”
Ethan tried to focus again. He though he saw an outline. Maybe it was someone that came to the computer lab after hearing his ruckus. The figure grew a little closer. The magenta light was back, but only in two spots in the blue light. Ethan looked at it for a few seconds.
“What…is it?” the voice said again. Ethan tried to say something, but the trauma his body felt prevented him.
“Error,” it said, “Discard.”
Then, everything went red.