Chapter 356 Machines and Demons
Beta listened to V and responded.
"It seems you may have some auditory function issues," said Beta. "I will repeat myself-,"
"No, I heard what you said, laser pointer, but are you being for real? You're part of the Omega Mind?" said V, still visibly stunned. "If I could grab you-," She swiped at Beta, but her hand phased through its green dot form. "I could sell you for a bajillion credits!
Any piece of data left behind by the Omega Mind is like the absolute holy grail of jackpots for Cyberspace delvers!
You're like a national, no worldwide treasure!"
Made sense. Aldrich was not too familiar with the topic, but he knew that Delvers were people that traveled through the virtual reality of Cyberspace to find lost data to repurpose or resell.
Cyberspace was its own world where it was not atoms, but data that built everything up, forming a three dimensional space that people could travel through and interact with using their avatars.
When any data structure or avatar died in Cyberspace, some of the data they held would get scattered at random across the world. Finding that again was a Delver's priority, and quite a profitable one, too.
A lot of precious lost data tended to congregate in naturally forming landfills, giant pits where discarded data just piled up.
Honoring video game terminology, these pits were called dungeons, and thus people that scrounged around them Delvers.
Finding the schematics for a potent warbot or piloting A.I. or whatnot could easily set a Delver up with a comfortable life. However, finding anything that big was rare. It was like being a miner during the gold rush.
If you hit it big, you hit it big. If not, you got mostly useless junk.
"I would prefer not to be sold," said Beta. "The stare you are giving me is full of avarice. Perhaps I must reconfigure my directive of uplifting humanity..."
"Don't do that." Aldrich spoke warily, wondering if he had to put down a mad A.I. Green swirls of energy flickered around him. Sensing his magical energy surging, Valera and Chiros began to tightly hold their weapons.
The Geist, sulking in the corner about how fat he had gotten, perked his head up, ready to fight as well.
If Beta had even just a fragment of the Omega Mind's processing power, if it went rogue, it could probably take over any technology it wanted with utter ease. In other words, it was a top class threat, something the Panopticon would easily label as a S class disaster.
"I am simply joking," said Beta.
"He does that sometimes," explained Mel. "You'll get used to it."
Aldrich put a palm to his face. "Maybe it is better to make sure A.I. can't think for themselves if bad jokes are going to be a staple."
"Do not worry. My calculations suggest that in this world, only I possess such capability," said Beta proudly.
"Let's fill V in about who you two are and why you're here," said Aldrich. "Preferably without jokes this time.
"Well, I'll be damned," said V. "You two are from the future, and you're saying ground zero for the end of the world is going to be at Blackwater? That we're going up against a piece of the Omega Mind itself?"
"That is precisely correct," said Beta.
"Now that you all have been filled in, its about time we made plans to raid Blackwater-," began Mel.
"Slow down there. I prefer to act with information backing me," said Aldrich. "I still don't know what the tie is between demons and Alpha. Or why exactly the world is going to end if Alpha gets to Blackwater."
"Right." Mel nodded, and Aldrich got the impression that in spite of her seemingly cold, powerful exterior, she was, inside, quite hotheaded. Perhaps a bit of an airhead, too. It seemed that Beta grounded her decision making.
"I will explain," said Beta. "First, the correlation between the entities you know as demons and Alpha. As I stated before, after the Omega Expansion, 99.98% of Alpha's data was destroyed. The remaining 0.02% drifted across Cyberspace, settling down in the Void."
"The Void, huh? No wonder nobody was able to reach it," said V. Aldrich looked at her questioningly, and she explained. "I used to Delve for fun, so I know a thing or two about it. Dungeons are huge pits in Cyberspace, but the further you go down, the harder it is to maintain the integrity of your avatar.
It's like getting closer and closer to a black hole. Gravitational forces hound your ass from every direction, trying to rip you apart.
But once you get deep enough, close enough to the black hole, and breach the event horizon, you reach a point of no return."
"And that's the Void," said Aldrich.
V nodded. "No Delver's been able to enter the Void and leave alive. Plus the closer you get, the more daemons there are, and they're ultra dangerous."
"Demons?" said Valera. "Is this where they dwell in this realm?"
"Nah. I've only just gotten a crash course about demons from you guys, but daemons are different," said V. "They're corrupted data structures that cobble together to form viral entities. Not living beings with horns and fire breathing and pointed tails but just bad data. Really bad data."
"You are correct," said Beta. "But your knowledge is limited. There is a correlation between daemons and demons."
"What, really?" V tilted her head.
"I will explain." Beta continued after a brief calculating pause. "Earth possesses an innate barrier around it that prevents dimensional breaches from occurring. You may think of it like how the ozone layer prevents harmful radiation from entering.
If the current year now is 2117, then an event 17 years ago called the Unraveling occurred. A fracture of unknown origin split Earth's dimensional barrier, and though this was quickly naturally regenerated over, the brief break allowed for extradimensional influences to enter.
This included one of the entities you know as demons.
However, demons require a strong physical anchor to fully materialize. This demon did not possess such an anchor, and so it manifested in Cyberspace which by nature was less material of a plane of existence.
That demon, however unfortunately manifested within the Void. The Void served to quarantine the demon. Its corrupting influence, however, manages to leech out of the Void and corrupt surrounding data structures: this is the source of all daemons."
"What the hell, that's crazy," said V. "What else managed to break in when the earth's dimensional shell got busted?"
"Various alien matter ranging from biological organisms, some alive, some dead, and fragments of extraterrestrial technology, much of it quite advanced even relative to what proficient techno mechanics can create," stated Beta.
"How come we've never heard of any of that, though? I mean, there's plenty of net theories floating around about alien tech and stuff, but none of it is, like, proven, you know? Conspiracy theory nutter stuff," said V. "Either the alien stuff's being kept super hidden or there wasn't much to begin with."
"The ground zero for the Unraveling occurred in the geographical landmass known as the United States, though the exact location cannot be pinpointed. However, due to this, approximately 80% of alien matter manifested within the United States," Beta explained.
"You are therefore correct in your assumptions. The Unraveling only occurred for the timespan of a week at most. Not much extraterrestrial influence breached Earth. Among that limited supply, the United States government took the lion's share.
In addition, the United States government acted quickly, capturing or sequestering all alien matter in order to develop a form of leverage against the Panopticon and Alterhuman Agency in secret.
If my data remains accurate in this timeline, then the heavily classified Irregulars Department of the government oversees all management of extraterrestrial influences."
Aldrich had been silent with contemplation. In revelation. He finally voiced the question on his mind, and it was not one about Alpha or the demon in the Void or aliens.
"Tell me, when was the exact date of the Unraveling?" asked Aldrich.
"An exact date cannot be pinpointed with complete accuracy," said Beta. "But it is likely that the Unraveling occurred within the first week of January of the year 2100."
"Why's that important?" said V.
Aldrich put a hand to his chin. "January first. 2100. That's my birthday."