System Crash

Originally written July 2010

For six years she’d been on a quest.  For six long years she’d been putting it all together.  She’d scraped, fought, stole or fucked to get everything she’d needed.  She’d been chosen.  She had worked in pointless labor from one unhappy job to the next, surviving before it all began.  The kind of life where you don’t notice when it’s raining.  Then her dreams began changing.  They grew dark, ominous.  They flashed with visions of death and madness, rotting corpses, ancient structures few had ever laid eyes on and were filled with a sense of dread power.  They were unrelenting, covering her mind’s eye as soon as she was asleep.  Any ordinary person would’ve called them nightmares.  But not her.  No, not her.
       She felt arousal at the sheer power she felt enter her dreamscape.  It was like nothing she’d ever known or heard of.  Alien and massive.  It shook the foundations of what could be loosely called her life.  A few months after the dreams started, her arousal was blatantly exploited as ancient tendrils caressed her to the sound of massive, membranous wings flapping.  The movements and rhythm were slow, steady, patient and as the tendrils sought to penetrate her dream self, she would awake, her groin aching.  As time passed, these dreams grew in scope and horrible pleasure and she stopped waking from them so soon.  She saw creatures from the deep parts of the ocean as much as she saw the death and madness and chaos of what she came to understand was the outcome of the purpose she’d been chosen for.  Months later, she overslept for work.  When she finally came to, she was drenched with sweat, feeling euphoric and a deep sense of preparation.  There had been no words.  Just that purpose filling her.  She knew what her destiny was.
       Her boss at the courier shop was her first pawn.  The lecherous fool was all too easy to ensnare.  He’d been making passes at her since she started working there.  Though he would never realize what happened, she would make him wish he’d never seen her.  He funded the first trip and the first batch of equipment.  Cyberspace decks that she ultimately modded to be automated, equipped with icebreakers and under her command.  Hoshitsu, Daihashi, Zaibitsu, whatever she could get.
       She found the hackers to rid her of the her former employer and teach her how to ride.  It was a simple matter for them to re-write his books and alert the authorities.  Away he went to prison and away she went into the system for her first lessons.  She learned quickly and became a console cowboy in her own right.  She got a new job during this time, beginning the process again.
       Businessmen, hackers, bankers, clerks, whatever she needed, she got.  She set the decks up all over the nation.  Planting them with an undoubted blueprint stemming from her dreams.  Dreams she had even while awake now.
       She worked until her preparation was complete.  Until she sat quiet and still in the middle of a dingy basement not remembering or caring what city it was.  The gravity of what she was about to do pushed down on her.  The moment had come at last.  “Finally,” she thought, her hand creeping down her stomach, aiming for pleasure.  She halted, reminding herself that the pleasure would come after.  Before her, was a pile of conquered technology.  The Hoshitsu deck and its accompanying gloves sat waiting to engulf her eyes, entering her into the great hallucination that was the maxim.  She gathered the deck and gloves to herself.  The gloves were light, sheer and covered in electrodes.  She had then covered each electrode in a small gold piece with a strange symbol upon it.  She slipped the left glove onto her slender hand.  The glove swallowed her hand.  She slipped the other on and adjusted them, checked their connections and when she was satisfied, she picked up the deck.
       She picked up the deck, likewise now covered with gold plates and eerie symbols, and slid it on, pushing back her dark hair.  The eyepieces slid into place comfortably and she jacked in.  She went high, viewing the continent digitally.  The cyberspace map showed her what anyone could see.  She performed a motion with her left hand.  Cyberspace melted into new signals.  The outline of countries remained but the data flows were blank now.  With her right hand she sent the start-up signal, linking with all her other decks and watched as they began lighting up.  Each one shone red, forming a pattern she’d been shown in the dreams.
       She’d learned much during the horrific ecstasy of the dreams.  She’d learned the where, the who and the how of it all.  She’d learned that the symbol forming both digitally and literally right now was the origin of the pentacle.  The symbol vaguely resembled one or rather the pentacle vaguely resembled it.  The pentacle had been a corruption of it.  The first vessel had failed, she had not.
       She moved her left hand again to show any ice that would come into contact with the program she was about to run. When the decks had all activated, she flipped the regular flow of data back on, underneath the ice, underneath the decks.  With another motion, they began their coordinated attack on every other system on the planet.  They started with small systems, infecting everything.  She began chanting as she worked the programs.  Words no one but the most esoteric of academia might chance to recognize.  The deck signals glowed brighter.
       In Beijing, several planes went down.  In London, subways crossed tracks, hurdling passed their destined stops and collided into each other.  The whole of Japan nearly imploded in the attack.  Chiba City shutdown completely.  All the major North American cities began systematically crashing.  No defense could stand.  The decks and the icebreakers had been imbued with power.  Remade into instruments of an eldritch power.  The now supernatural program crashed through any ice like it wasn’t even there.  By the time military and corporate ice started shattering, she no longer had to direct anything.  It was now automated and hands free.
       The damage was done before anyone could know what happened.  A deluge of blood flowed across cities.  She checked the news networks and smiled as their sketchy signals were reporting death tolls in the thousands.  Deep in the south Pacific, the ocean bubbled violently.  A maelstrom began forming quickly and every living mind heard a deep, inhuman laughter.  Cyclopean architecture began poking through the surface of the water.  In the middle of the Atlantic, water exploded and then was sucked down in a massive whirlpool.  Rotting spires began their ascent.  Lakes boiled, rivers overflowed and the earth shook.  All houses of power eons old awakened once more.  The world howled.
       The process as she viewed it through the maxim was breathtakingly beautiful.  The destruction aired to her in a gruesome definition of data.  She began breathing heavily and let a glove fall to the floor.  Her hand wandered across her stomach and made its way down.  The elders were rising.  She caressed herself, shivered.  “Hallelujah.”

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