Author Topic: Shadow Runners  (Read 1635 times)

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Shadow Runners
« on: March 10, 2010, 10:41:31 PM »
The Shadow Runners

"They come at night, when I do not expect them."

Well, not exactly - I'm getting this feeling every time as I listen to my
fingers punch the keyboard typing the lines of code throughout the night -
I feel like the door should open and someone should come in, right when I'm
least expecting it. I wait for them to come and will them away at the same
time, not wanting anyone to break my solitude.

The past few days was filled with strange things: it seemed like my dreams
were interlaced with reality so tightly that sometimes I wasn't able to
distinguish them at all. I think that something in the Universe still
remains an enigma, a riddle I'm persistently trying to solve, and I feel
like I'm getting really close to that solution in the moments I'm
dissolving the barrier between virtual and real, sitting all night long in
front of a computer...

They come in as I'm closing the code window opening the word processor, and
typing in an old saying, that suddently gets to my mind:

"Life would be much easier if I had the source code..."

"Are you really sure?" - my guests inquire. How did they get here? Through
the closed door? Through the window?

"This doesn't matter" - says one of them. "The knowledge of our world's
source code is a rather unpleasant thing, you know? Although interesting,
in some sense, this knowledge is not for everyone. However, you're one of
the suitable kind..."

"Why should I trust you?"

"We wouldn't be here, if you didn't trust us and wait for us."

They're right in some sense, I did wait for them subconsciously, In reward
to my painful search of enlightement, to every day and every hour I burned
my own soul, sacrificing it to the shrine of virtuality, I did wait a
chance to get answers to my questions that, no matter how vaguely formed,
gave me no peace...

"Are you offering this to everyone?"

"Not to everyone. Only to those, who deserve it. Who can be the One."

"I don't think I deserve it" - I look away, thinking to myself - "Am I
sane? Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow, realizing all this to be just an ill

"All of our life is just a dream" - one of them smiles. "We're offering you
to exchange this dream for the only reality."

"I don't know..."

"This is a shallow doubt. It will pass away."

"We offer this only to those who are able to understand" - the second guest
joins the talk. "To those closest to understanding the edge between real
and virtual. Those who are looking for that edge between the dream and
reality, to wake up..."

"Who are you?"

"We keep the order. The order in this world. That is the best for everyone,
best suited for humanity itself. The Order that placed in it's base. That
is coded in the sources. That should not be widely known. We're protecting
the world from chaos and destruction."

"And what if... If I'll join you?"

"Many things. Something you'll have to step aside... it will become
unneeded. You'll get some new possibilities instead, you'll wonder how
great they will be. This is simply a cost for keeping the order... and
you'll need power for that."

He stretches out his hand dipping it into the wall - and slowly draws it
back. I watch it with more interest than amazement.

"To do this... one should know many things?"

"You'll get this knowledge. And all the means. We all will share our
knowledge. It will become a common experience for all of us, growing and
changing... and perfecting constantly. All our skills and power will be
yours too.

"And I'll... lose my personality?" - I do not wish that!

"Oh, no, you'll remain yourself."

His voice is sliding back and forth from scream to whisper, and I am hardly
able to tell his thoughts from my own inner voice:

"You had always felt your difference from all around, didn't you? What did
you look for, sitting for hours and hours, all those nights near your
computer? Did you look for the unified system of the universe, an answer to
all questions, the initial order? Did you find the structure and the common
laws of things completely different at first sight? Didn't you seen the
real happiness in that? You can get this all..."

"Is this hard to do?..."

"All you need is to understand the world as an illusion, to free your mind
- it's not very hard" - the third guest smiles, the one standing behind
them near the door...

I'm thinking. Thoroughly thinking it out. I did wait... maybe, all these
years... but I never expected the answer to my questions to come - not in
THIS way...

In some sense it's a transition to another form of being. Of course this is
not death. Here you'll never be afraid of waking up thinking whether it was
a dream or a reality...

"To free your mind. To become a thought." - the second one grins, looking
away to my computer - "To become a program. To accept a tiny piece of code
into you... just like ours."

A vague fright fills me, like I'm feeling a danger of finding some alien
will inside my mind...

"Alien? No way." - are they reading my mind? - "This will be only your own

I look around, and see the world becoming unreal. It's unsteady and
illusory... I stretch my hand and something that was only my dream becomes
true - my fingers dip into the screen. Its surface trembles like a thin

"How did you do that?"

"We haven't done anything yet." - my first guest smiles. "It's only your
own possibilities, those that were hidden before. But you can exploit and
strenghten them a thousand times more..."

"What will I need to do... if I accept it?..."

"You will know. Just when you understand you're ready..."

This didn't take long. Like a short blinding flash; my room, my guests,
myself - everything is blurred, just like a picture washed with rainfall -
and those rain streams become green rows of letters and digits... Something
is changed, the world is assembled again; I examine myself... is my new
look of any importance? No, another change is far more significant - my new
knowledge is filling me, surging through my mind. Tranquility. Confidence.
Coldness... The world around will never be alive again for those who touch
its source code.

I'm feeling something new inside of me, inside my mind - some dot, that is
sleeping now, but in any moment - I'm waiting for it every time - it can
flare with thought... an order... a wish... and I will not be able to
disobey it.

I turn to computer, touching a key. The mailer highlights an e-mail arrived
this morning... or yesterday? The "time" itself is changed. There is no
meaning in "day" or "night"...

"We've got to you first." - my friend says slightly narrowing his eyes.

Day after day - the cold eternity without nights and days. No food, no
sleep, no fatigue, even no breath. The call from inside - and you're
already rushing ahead, evading bullets, dying and being born again and
again, every time becoming aware of yourself, restoring from backups...
Again and again - what for? The phantasmal system, majestic Order... The
protection... of thousands souls dreaming. We need them. And they need

The nightshade spreads its wings on the City. I'm jumping from the
rooftop... I had dreamed to learn to fly one day. Incidentally, I treat
that calmly for a long time now...

Alien thoughts fill my mind. I hate all these speculations about viruses,
evolution, dinosaurs, synthetic heaven... what boring gibberish! Who is
choking the service channels with his meaningful meditations again?!

I have my own concept... I'll explain it more precisely some day. We're
Angels... Guardian Angels of the City night... Ehh, every one of us
is a bit of a romantic.

A flash... again...

I still don't know in these milliseconds of time where I'll turn out to be,
whose eyes I'll see the world through... the world I dream to see as it is
in reality some days... the only real world...

Maybe it's a pity I'd never found out what was in the e-mail that arrived
that morning. That letter from a man named Morpheus.


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Re: Shadow Runners
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 03:11:06 PM »
Huh....  An alternate perspective through the eyes of a lonely hacker, possibly Neo, in some split time frame where the Agents claim him before Morpheus can and similarly places him in the position of an Agent rather than being with the others.  A creative outreach to show your own twist and style to an already made concept, stealing some data yet making it new in a way that is fascinating and draws the reader in to wonder the What? and the Why?

Very well written and well done.  Though don't take this complement at the highest for there may always be someone who finds a flaw.  But this is a.... Milestone.
A letter, a word
A sentence, a paragraph
A page, a story
A book, a novel.
They all mean so little when you can't take time to put your soul into the work.


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Re: Shadow Runners
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010, 12:37:58 PM »
I thank you kindly for the comment.

You actually got it square on.

I believe highly that this is how it would have been had they found him first.