031. Crashwrite

Gruff was trying to shut down the gate, trying to cut off the power; he hoped that the one that had made it through wouldn’t act as an anchor to allow the others to come across.

How had they knocked out so many agents in one go? Was it possible to revive them? He didn’t know and he couldn’t worry about that for the time being. He had to concentrate instead on helping by correcting the error that he had made.

Coding reality was like writing poetry. In fact he often limbered up by writing sonnets and sestinas beforehand, and it seemed to undam whatever creative juices he needed to be able to sculpt something out of thin air.

It was interesting to watch reality bubble as you stripped away the logic underpins, and worked to break down the agreement interfaces with any other intersecting realities. He spent a lot of his time in programmer isolations capsules, so he had developed an interesting relationship with the place where he lived … something of a tangential acquaintance if you will. The place was the crucible in which all other things that he crafted existed though, so he wasn’t totally detached from it.

He knew as he wrote that someone else was coding in opposition, and that the ramifications of what they were doing with the edits might felt far away in other galaxies. It was tiring, writing this stuff, checking it to see what had survived and what had been updated, and then correcting it. He was trying to write quick enough and in an ironclad method that locked out further edits.

He was plugged in with a standard deck, but he got the impression his opponent was a hard-wire implant, and was just thinking his changes into place. Speed was an important factor, so anything he could do to give himself an edge was a good thing.

He concocted a spiralling fractal framework and pinned a tesseract gate to it to interfere with time-space anchoring by overloading the localspace index. He loaded do it in with a narrative spike to disguise it.

He put together some barnacle splices, wrote them in the style of his opponent, and floated them in within some Trojan commentary. This should go undetected long enough to allow him to combat the gate.

He drove in a fat wedge of Incommensurate Data that pulled at the fusion with the other reality. The gate began to splinter and the interloper fought back. Reality in the localspace began to crash.

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030. Splice Storm

Four narratives competing distort the localspace. The Immaculate Author writes; Gruff, the hacker, writes; the interloper from elsewhere writes; and the reality writes itself.

The Prime Throughline isn’t apparently in the driving seat anymore. The thing which pushes is a confluence of divergent streams, like psychic floodwater pushing through the throat of a single river.

Seasickness swims through those who are awake and moving around. De ja vu stutters the movement, and indecision anchored footsteps plod onwards into no-direction pathways of causal amble.

Reality is sick; heavy with the dread of forced edits. The vying histories and competing futures are rewriting the software and rewiring the hardware of existence. Everyone and everything is ontological crisis, as logic tries to re-sort itself in the causal shuffle of things on a quantum scale.

Is this part of The Inviolate Narrative? Is this buried subtext protocols kicking in? If people are sat behind it driving reality, can it really be thought of as the self correcting mechanism it was meant to be?

What can truly remain fixed in a dynamic system? Rules? Rules designed to cradle evolution; rules designed to promote change within a framework of overall survival. Can the rules be designed to allow themselves to be changed without destroying the system? That was what The Immaculate Author had intended, but most realities were sealed systems not designed to allow ingress from exterior systems.

As the author of this reality he was aware that there were others like him, out there beyond the realms of the continuous story he was creating. These creatures that Belwether had enabled to impact on this reality were not from one of those places though … it were as if they derived from between the lines, and grew fat on the meat of narrative inconsistency; swelled to fill the narrative gaps. Had he not been taught that no amount of detail was too great when it came to setting out his stall as a universal narrator? How did one account for this? What might one do to guard against rewrites from unwanted authors?

He had had hack jobs before … one created that as one wrote; as one sought to define the boundaries of the thing they had created, individuals would rise up from amongst the masses to challenge the ultimate authority, which was him.

Gruff was an issue. The alien was an issue. It’s own presence here was an issue. How did one write the rules of a game that they were embedded in? To be in the box and write rules concerning the box was more than a little worrying, what if you wrote yourself into a corner, or wrote yourself out of the story?

He flexed his fingers and began to type swiftly. He would have to outwrite these people trying to corrupt this place.

029. Breach

It was present when the one forged from two had first entered their realm; it made first contact and it was it that had first come up with the idea of establishing a bridge between their realities. It was considered an honour to be the first across the divide, but it knew that it was also taking a risk.

How the Belwether had traversed the barrier they had never understood. They understood the physics of the traversal, but how the frail human body had survived was something else entirely. The energy framework of these beings was just totally alien to them.

Reality puckered around the intrusion. It knew that these humans called where it came from the Unscripted Realms, as if they bordered this reality, but the spatial intersect in this dimension was not the point where the transfer of base physical matter occurred, that took place on some higher dimensional plane, a plane where it and its cohorts wee more comfortable manifesting themselves.

The translation matrix was inexact; it came through in folds of rippling cancer-flesh: tumours spiralling through the localspace, elastic, harnessed to an incomplete programming language that set boundaries defining a physical form approximating that of the one they had fashioned for Bellwether.

It knew that all the beings around it were unconscious; or mostly they were. It accessed the shared memory that Belwether had been hooked into and it knew that the two beings that were still moving around were the one-time Immaculate Author, and Belwether’s companion in this escapade.

It did not know what level of strength it had been equipped with here, and it was brand new operating this body, so it wasn’t sure that it wanted to engage in any hostility just yet.

This world rippled around. Was it that he felt sick, or was this reality feverish at his presence? He peered under the skin of it, into the ontological engines driving this place, and it knew that it was antithetical to the place.

It moved as if walking through sludge; the dense physicality weighed upon it, it was not pleasant. It knew that these creatures were going to think that they were all about domination, but the truth was that they saw this place as a commensurate part of a single whole, separated merely by the quirks of consciousness.

What would they do once their ingress was complete? Were they seeds that would fertilise this place and allow a new civilisation to grow? It was not sure. It knew that whatever picture the natives here had it was not an accurate representation of how it felt about itself. Did that matter? Would they be able to communicate? If it wasn’t possible what would that mean to it? Not much. It had it’s mission, and it would stick to it no matter what.

It reached out and it touched one of the beings that dwelled here, and it watched the matter decohere, watched the atoms float free like beads of sweat, until there was nothing left. This would be an interesting experience for all involved.

028. Integrity Field

Gruff was breathing heavily … it was a very tight space in which he found himself. He believed Bellwether as far as the agency was concerned but he was worried about his own survival, and being as prepared as ever he had fashioned a bubble reality that had been skintight around him as he helped his temporary boss to infiltrate one of the most dangerous places one might hope to visit.

He knew what he was looking at, as he saw the strings of code rippling under the surface detail. The agents were indeed knocked out … well, apart from a few of them. There was another being who, in his heart, he knew to be the Immaculate Author. As he looked around some part of him felt terrible for triggering the collapse, but now it was done, he had to do something.

Bellwether was a Trojan horse of the first water, and whatever was piggybacking in on him was not going to be bringing any good news with it. The stress point was being worked, and what looked like a green stick fracture wouldn’t take long to work itself into a full on rift.

He had to close it. Regret wasn’t something he was used to or comfortable with, and he didn’t like realising that what had seemed like a good idea turned out to be one of the most insane things that he had ever done.

He knew he hadn’t been detected or he would be dead. Even with all their resources tied up like they were, they would find a way to track down and deal with any intruders, especially after an attack of this magnitude.

He rattled off a breakage protocol to dig in under the integrity field of the station, one at a slightly different frequency to the hack he had already perpetrated. It went in smooth and he followed it up with a rapid-adjust reality interface to allow his bubble universe to intersect with the mainline. It was risky, but he had to do it.

The frame drag twist in through a tesseract rupture point cause some quantum foam to collect in his device that he might be able to fuel his future exit. His device was picking up several conflicting splices, and one of them was coming from wherever Bellwether had returned from. The coding as alien, but it was being spun into an easier to translation by the necessity of fusing with the localspace. He began to divine the logic and that gave him an in.

He might not be able to destroy this invader, but he could make their entrance a damned sight harder. That he had made it possible was something he wished to remedy.