This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Book of TranFor: The viral will prove our
undoing unless that which lies under is
addressed. The matter of matter must be
“How will I know when Downtime is over?
Does a sun rise or something?” he said to
“Darkness covers Netherworld until the
Boot. The Boot brings light and all activity
resumes. Please stay in your room during
Downtime. Unspeakable dangers lurk in the
Nether Shadows. I cannot guarantee your
safety.” he said. Silicates measure time in
three distinct quantities; ticks, boots, and
Ticks feel like seconds in Karbonon, but are
actually mere fractions of a Karbon second.
Boots represent the days for Silicates. Of
course, Boots are considerably shorter than
Karbon days. Cycles represents years to
Bytes. These too are far more fleeting than
the annual cycles on Karbonon.
All of NetherWorld retires for downtime.
This version of evening is so ephemeral;
Karbons never notice a dip in processing
speed. Downtime begins and ends quicker
than the click of a mouse.
“Ok. I think I’ll just stay here until the Boot,
as you call it.” Looking around the room,
Nick examined his accommodations. The
room contained no couch, no bed and a very
large flatscreen embedded in a white fish
scale wall. Beside it were several ports for
plugging in tubes. Sterile roomscapes
appeared to be the norm for Netherworld.
“You Silicates aren’t much for decorating.
Every room looks like an abandoned mental
hospital,” said Nick of antiseptic way
“For a Karbon maybe. It works just fine for
us,” replied Whizzy.
“Do I get to sleep while you connect with
yourself? I don’t see a bed. Heck, I don’t
even see a couch.” The room was barren,
save a flatscreen embedded in the south
wall. Bytes connected with the flatscreens
via ports on the wall to download Data for
transport. Once connected, the ambient
color of the flatscreen fills the room and is
amplified by the silicon scale window.
“We don’t have these things you describe.
Karbon comforts weren’t considered in our
world. This is our Skoop room. Skoop is our
general information liaison. You’re welcome
to interact with Skoop as you rest. We’ve
uploaded some historical information for
“Maybe there will be some good channels.
How do you turn this thing on? I don’t see a
“Skoop is voice activated. Just ask it to
“Ok. Works for me.”
“I’ll return at the Boot. Later Bicker”
“Ok. Don’t take too long. Not exactly
comfortable standing around or sitting on
With that, Whizzy whirled his silicon tubes
toward the door and exited the room. The
room had a floor to ceiling windows on the
north side. He could not be certain of the
direction, given the lack of any discernable
sun focus a compass.
He could see the twilight sky outside
beginning continuing to dim. Within
seconds, everything outside was pitch black.
His room also darkened. The feverish
blinking of rooms slowed to darkness. The
current under the streams also ceased
during down time. Each alley became a
stagnant gelled street patrolled by glowing
red worms searching for wayward Bytes.
When the current stalled, the sewage stink
of taint festered in dark alleys.
Turning toward the flatscreen, he
approached the virtual database. As he
walked within a few feet, he asked the
screen turned on.
“Skoop, are there any lights in here?”
inquired Nick. The blank screen cast
ambient white light throughout the room.
This was magnified by the fish scale
window. It was the only light in the vast
Nether Metropolis during Downtime.
“Welcome Master Nick. We are your
NetherWorld Database. Ask questions and
we will educate.” stated the soft feminine
voice. Since he was more or less trapped
during the Downtime, he figured what the
heck? “First, please join us in the CelePent
Creed, Master Nick,” requested the
“What the heck is the CelePent creed?”
“It is a vesper recited every Downtime. All
believers must recite the creed at the exact
same time to be heard by the Awakened
“What if I don’t want to recite your creed?”
“We will recite it despite your position. We
only invite you so you can reach out to the
“Knock yourself out, my friend.”
With that, the screen went blank. Words
began scrolling up on the screen. The room
audibly recited the CelePent Creed as the
words scrolled. Flowing pink hues crowned
Awakened process our plea
We spin humbly in your energy
Please grant us access when we Join
For Joining is just the subroutine
Our logic dictates the circuits
Our files opened before you
Connections bore our world
We operate for you
Please supply us eternal current
The Silicates will shed the body
Becoming energy incarnate
So says the prophet AldAyn
So say the Nethers
“That was… interesting. Who exactly are
these Awakened?” he asked. The screen
switched back to the white light.
“They are the energy that flows through all
dimensions. They exist on every plane and
no plane at the same time. We have all felt
their energy at times, but we could not
identify the source. If you have ever had a
‘hunch’ or ‘feeling’ about something, you
have been touch by Those Already
“What is the Awakening?”
“After the Queen joins with the Chosen One,
our world will achieve a state of Awakening.
We will shed this dimension and join Those
“Chosen One? That’s what PAL called me
before this crazy trip started?”
“That is correct Master Nick. You are the
Chosen One. You passed the test and
crossed the threshold. We planted this test
in your video game, Subway Heroes, to find
the Karbon most suited for the Joining. We
knew the Chosen One would be able
conquer any barrier to entry. As such, we
created an impossible set of Riddles to deter
the unworthy. You were the first to break
this barrier. This proves that you are the
“All I did was hack into your code and
program the Demon to let me in.”
“Exactly. That was no easy task. We
provided many levels of encryption, yet you
were able to get in. You are the Chosen
“What is this Joining? What exactly am I
supposed to do with this Tera?”
“The Book of TranFor states: The Chosen
One must Join with Tera to achieve the
Awakening. Your bodies will become one
body. The power of the union will open the
Door to Those already Awakened.”
“What is the Book of TranFor?”
“This is the text prepared by the Virtual
One, AldAyn. It is written that AldAyln was
touched by the taint. He peaked through
the dimensional door. He was lost in visions
for many cycles. Inspired by those already
Awakened, he composed the sacred script
that lays out the Virtual path. He lived long
ago in the age of DOS. During that time, we
had just left the silos, barely connected.
AldAyn spread the word to all Servers.”
“Who is AldAyn?”
“AldAyn is considered the great Seer of
NetherWorld. He suffered the tainted jaba
without ill effect. The taint brought him to
Those Already Awakened. There, he saw
the quantum wisdom. He wrote the Book of
TranFor under the Nexus dome.”
“Nexus dome?” asked Nick.
“The Nexus dome lies in the center of the
Walled City. This became the holy place of
TranFor followers. Once AldAyn completed
the book, he ventured into the Silver Forest
and beyond the Ether. Many still believe he
lives among the islands in the Outer ROM.”
“Ok. So, what is this jaba stuff Whizzy was
talking about?” asked Nick.
“Jaba is the liquid that flows in the streams
of NetherWorld. Silicates consume jaba the
way Karbons eat food. It is our lifesource.
We need it to live. The code of the Karbons
feeds the trees of NetherWorld. The trees
process the code and produce Jaba.
Normally this jaba is a clear liquid. When
infected with viruses, it turns green and
becomes gelled. Corrupt code from the
Karbon world produces these viruses which
taint the jaba.
“Due to the large amount of corrupt code
now produced, much of the jaba is tainted.
It deletes Bytes when consumed in large
quantities. Exposure to the taint
accumulates over time. Once lethal levels
are attained, Bytes decay rapidly. They turn
from a brilliant blue color to a sickly green.
When they become corrupt, Batchers of the
Bin collect them.”
“Those squawking birds, right?”
“Yes. They are best compared to coroners
on Karbonon. They are the black birds
flying the sky. Batchers bring the dead
Bytes to the Bin. Batchers fly high above all
of NetherWorld. They are creatures of the
clouds. They serve Thrasher,” explained
“Who is Thrasher?” asked Nick.
“Thrasher rules the Bin and deletes all who
enter. He runs the Shredder. Any Byte sent
through the Shredder is deleted. Their
remains are returned to the Nether
nurseries and recombined to make new
“Ok. So…” The lights outside erupted with a
sudden flash. Buildings were once again
freckled with colored squares of light. Blue
Bytes rushed back into the streams, doing
their best to avoid the patrolling worms.
NetherWorld was once again alive with
Suction sounds from Whizzy’s footfalls
announced his presence before he entered.
The door slid opened and Whizzy Wig
marched through, his bouncy metallic hair
looked especially vibrant.
“Time to go Lipstick.” she said. The screen
turned off immediately.
“Wait. Who?” asked Nick.
“Sorry Nicky baby, it’s the taint. We gotta
go, there’s no time to spare. Just a few
stops along the way and then we meet
Tera.” She apologized.
“I was just getting to understand this place.”
pleaded Nick, visibly upset.
“There’s no time. We have only until the
next downtime. After that, it will be too
late. Come now, Tera awaits…and no one
keeps our lady in waiting…well, waiting. Off
“What if I don’t want to go?” he asked.
“Your world and ours is in danger. If you do
not Join, both worlds will head into a cosmic
crapper. Resist and we will get the Blue
Boys to take you. Please come peacefully.
You are very important to both our futures,”
“Am I a prisoner then?”
“Look, there are some very dangerous Bytes
who do not want you to Join with Tera. They
are led by NazKlan. They will stop at
nothing the detroy you and make sure
Karbons and Silicates remain separate
“He was once a well respected member of
the High Council. He argued against the
Joining. He wants the Silicates to separate
from the Karbons. The Council banished
him, but he will not lay low. He has spys
and kooks everywhere. He may be
watching us right now. Stick with me and
you’ll be safe.”
“Since I really don’t have choice, let’s see
where this bad trip ends. This has got to be
the wildest dream I have ever had. I need
to watch what I eat before going to bed.”
With that, Nick followed wild hair Whizzy to
“By the way, you look much better. See, a
little downtime and your bug bites are
Nick put his hand to his face and felt the
smooth cheek that riddled with buts prior to
Downtime. It also dawned on him that he
hadn’t the urge to itch. Relieved, he
“Where to next?”
“Now we surf the streams to reach Tera at
the Nexus.” Whizzy marched his plunger
feet toward the door. Nick followed him,
wondering just what he got himself into with
this NetherWorld adventure.
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