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Netherworld

Netherworld

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Published by Daniel Pagan
Transported to a Silicate dimension he never knew existed, Nick thought it was just a dream. Before long, he was on a journey to save two worlds. His guide, a dizzy blue sphere named WhizzyWig, takes him deep inside a Walled City filled with Bytes, Beserks and Phish Pirates. On his way to Join with Tera, Queen of the Silicates, he encounters a host of strange places, unlike anything on his home world of Karbonon. Dark forces are at work to make sure the Joining between Karbons and Silicates never takes place. NazKlan and Hacker are determined to stop Nick and WhizzyWig at all costs. Deploying nefarious viruses and ravenous worms to thwart them, danger lurks around every corner. It's a race against time as the fates of NetherWorld and Karbonon hang in the balance.
Transported to a Silicate dimension he never knew existed, Nick thought it was just a dream. Before long, he was on a journey to save two worlds. His guide, a dizzy blue sphere named WhizzyWig, takes him deep inside a Walled City filled with Bytes, Beserks and Phish Pirates. On his way to Join with Tera, Queen of the Silicates, he encounters a host of strange places, unlike anything on his home world of Karbonon. Dark forces are at work to make sure the Joining between Karbons and Silicates never takes place. NazKlan and Hacker are determined to stop Nick and WhizzyWig at all costs. Deploying nefarious viruses and ravenous worms to thwart them, danger lurks around every corner. It's a race against time as the fates of NetherWorld and Karbonon hang in the balance.

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Published by: Daniel Pagan on Aug 08, 2010
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04/24/2013

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Downtime

Book of TranFor: The viral will prove our
undoing unless that which lies under is
addressed. The matter of matter must be
solved.

“How will I know when Downtime is over?
Does a sun rise or something?” he said to
Whizzy.

“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
cycles.

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.

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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
station.

“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

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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
you.”

“Maybe there will be some good channels.
How do you turn this thing on? I don’t see a
remote anywhere?”

“Skoop is voice activated. Just ask it to
activate.”

“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
the floor.”

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

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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
flatscreen informant.

“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
Ones.”

“What if I don’t want to recite your creed?”

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“We will recite it despite your position. We
only invite you so you can reach out to the
Awakened.”

“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
the flatscreen.

CelePent Creed

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

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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
Awakened.”

“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
Already Awakened.”

“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

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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
Chosen One.”

“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
One.”

“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

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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.

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“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
Skoop.

“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
Bytes.”

“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.

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NetherWorld was once again alive with
activity.

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
we go.”

“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,”
explained Whizzy.

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“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
species.”

“NazKlan?”

“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
the elevator.

“By the way, you look much better. See, a
little downtime and your bug bites are
gone.”

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

116

hadn’t the urge to itch. Relieved, he
pressed on.

“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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