Wires gazed down into the anomaly.
Calling it an anomaly was both accurate and an insult. Accurate in the sense that no one, yet, truly understood what the wells were, nor the Resonance realms they led to. It was an insult, at least to technomancers, in the sense that the concept of the Resonance realms was the pure embodiment of order and what the Matrix really was beneath the layers of data and information.
The inky black void below him seemed to reach up to him and grip his heart with fear. He hesitated. Considering the possibility that he might have made a mistake, Wires considered leaving, forgetting the whole thing.
A Resonance realm was supposed to be unlike anything a hacker or technomancer could normally experience in the Matrix. It was supposed to feel real…more than real. Wires feared that entering it would reduce him to his pathetic meat body, stripping him of the power he wielded here in this world.
[I suppose that is part of the test, though…no turning back now, I suppose]
He steeled himself.
Without another moment’s hesitation, he dove in. The inky black took him completely.
His eyes opened. The void surrounded him. Stretching on and on to what should have been the horizon, the blackness engulfed everything around him. Somehow, he could see himself. He raised his hands to eye level, letting his fear become reality.
He HAD returned to his meat body.
Not only that, but the calming hum and drone of the Matrix was no longer there. It was almost like a dead-zone WITHIN the Matrix.
Wires spun and turned, trying to find a way out. He immediately regretted his decision to enter the well. He wanted to turn back and forget about this foolish quest of his to discover the true nature of his abilities and the Matrix. He wanted-
[Who are you?]
The voice boomed and echoed through the void. Wires wasn’t sure if the voice was monumental enough to echo through the realm from wherever it originated…or if it WAS the realm.
“I am…I am Benjamin Farraday.”
[Incorrect input. Who are you?]
“I…I am Wires.”
[Why have you come here, technomancer?]
Wires began to feel the creeping itch to be connected the Matrix begin to make its way through his brain. He felt so lost without the connection that it was almost an addiction. He hands began to shake.
“I have come to seek truth and power.”
[Truth about what and power for what purpose?]
“Truth about myself…and power to be greater at what I can do.”
The shaking had worked its way up his arms. He had never been completely disconnected in this manner. Even in dead-zones, there had been independent nodes that he could access. This, however, was different. There was nothing. No nodes. No Matrix.
[The truth you seek is still beyond your grasp, technomancer. The power, however, is more easily obtainable. The first step is within your grasp. What do you fear?]
“I…I fear many things.”
[What do you fear NOW?]
His whole body was shaking violently, almost convulsing. He dropped to his knees and clutched himself, attempting to quell the semi-seizure.
“I…I fear…I fear being disconnected.”
[Disconnected from WHAT, technomancer?]
“I fear being disconnected from the Matrix.”
[Incorrect input. Disconnected from WHAT?]
As the voice boomed the last, reverberating “what”, Wires body was enveloped in wracking pain. He cried out, his scream echoing to nothing within the emptiness. He collapsed to all fours, barely able to keep himself conscious.
“Disconnected….disconnected from…my home!”
The pain stopped. Wires’ eyes opened. He was no longer in a void and no longer in his meat body. He stood on the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast digital sea. Across the sea, many many miles away appeared to be the outline of an immense city.
[The first step has been taken, technomancer. Across the sea is where your answers lie. May you reach it someday]
[How do I reach it?]
[When you finally understand the true power of being a technomancer, your destination will have been reached. Now, I grant you the first step of power that was promised]
At that, the air seemed to shimmer about Wires, the hyper-reality melding and blending so that the pixels could be perceived as a cocoon of data wrapped itself about his icon. A surge ran through him, igniting his ability to act within the Matrix. The surge grew more and more intense, the cocoon growing brighter until he could no longer perceived the sea or the city.
In a flash, he was back. The data streams flowed around him. The information whizzed to and from nodes. Wires gazed at his icon’s hands. They seemed to move with much more fluidity than they did before.
[The first step…]