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Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 3770
Location: Iddheim

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject: ECH:> "SILENT BIG BANG" Reply with quote

from the


"Yes! Ha! Fuckin' A, man! Gotcha! Ha!"

Miro [net-name: LinQ; rig: Ogre&North LiteStealer Wi-Jack Nivin, neon blue finish with yellow fox motif; barrier grade: Gold3; best softcode barrier break: Gold1; favourite food: salami & cheese toasties] disconnected from his net link node allowing the light cable to quickly retract into his collar rig like a beheaded serpent. Leaving his wi-jack collar on, as is all the fashion amongst the kit-kiddies these days, he hoped to his feet from his well bedded diving recliner, grabbed hold of his jacket, and ran out of his room like a man possessed.

"Miro," his mother called from the kitchen just as he thought he would make a clean break out of the house. "Don't forget that your grandmother is expecting you at about five. Don't be late!"

Oh god, I hoped she'd forgotten about that. Why can't the old dear just empty out her own damn gutters … or just die so that we can have her house.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Back later. See-ya."

I've probably just found the source of the silent big bang and she's stressing about gutters. She has no idea how meaningless all this could be.

Jason [net-name: Hopper; rig: ZuluTech Model 5 RadaR Wi-Jack, transparent housing with custom internal lighting effect; barrier grade: Gold3; best softcode barrier break: Gold2; favourite food: crab sticks] experienced a flash in his mind like no other as the constructs of the virtual world caved in around his mind. The sudden return to daylight stunned him for a moment as his the nervous system simulator on his collar rig gradually, and safely, weaned his body off the artificial stimuli.

"Jay! Jay! Come on, man. I think I've got it!"

Having been let in to the house by Jason's mother, Miro had gone straight up to Jason's room, unplugged him from his link node and started to rouse Jason by shaking his head and repeatedly punching him in the shoulder.

"What the … how did … " Jason gradually came round. "Stop punching me you dick! What the hell?! You could have given me NARS you limp penis!"

"No time to worry about that, mate. Switch everything off and fire up that jammer. I think I've found it."


A few weeks ago both Jason and Miro had come across a net-wide phenomenon almost by accident, and since that time they both had been skipping college, spending all of their time in at the public hotspots prowling the net architecture and system gateway datamines, all on a hunch; an activity that was put in jeopardy a few days ago when Miro's mum found out about the time off college an suspend his net account. Fortunately for Miro, his mum wasn't particularly technically minded and the removal of one of his many net portal accounts wasn't much of a hindrance.

What the two boys thought they had found was evidence of a net-wide explosion in a certain kind of packet traffic. Nothing particularly unusual about that as every time a new package is released, or a new construct is declared open, similar looking packet spikes do occur. However, Jason, something of a savant when it comes to spotting patterns in complex data streams, thought he saw something intriguing in one particular kind of packet schema - something that he described, to his best mate Miro, as, "finite, non-attenuating packet ripples."

It took a fair bit of effort explaining a complex metal pattern in terms of language to Miro as Jason's mind processed the information he was experiencing in terms of feelings, intuition and raw understanding rather than in terms of spoken language. Jason found the spoken word to be something of an inadequate method of communicating his understanding. If was for this reason that Jason demonstrated an profound interest in alternate methods of communication and could go on about the benefits of various mind farming techniques for hours - if anyone let him.

So, when it came to explaining his discovery, he settled for the best of a bad lot and analogised what he was seeing in terms of a vast lake that was covered in ripples, with each ripple representing a certain type of data packet schema. When the data reached the boundary of the lake, or anything on that lake, the ripples simply reflected back into the lake, often into the path of other oncoming ripples, adding to the strength of some ripples yet subtracting from others. With normal packet traffic, he explained, the data would eventually be collected and the ripple would, sooner or later, attenuate to nothing by the net's in built termination firmware to prevent data echoes from persisting. However, this strange pattern that he had observed seemed to be avoiding the attenuation firmware, so the ripples from this particular schema seemed to continue to rebound around on the surface of the lake without loosing strength or cohesion. Another puzzling fact that gripped Jason's desire to investigate all things unexplained was that there appeared to be a finite amount of these ripples on the lake at any given time. Never any more, and never any less. It was as if someone/thing, a few weeks ago, had cast a stone into the middle of the lake and the ripples caused by that act had never faded; they just rebounded around persistently. Jason described this creation event as the 'silent big bang'.

Since then the two boys had been sending out dataminer programs to gather up as much data as they could to try and identify either the nature of these non-attenuating packets or trace their life back to the point of the silent big bang. Jason hoped that if enough sample packets were gathered that he might be able to see a pattern and, from that, calculate the time and location of the mysterious creation event that passed seemingly unnoticed a few weeks ago.

Neither had any idea how many packets would be needed to achieve this, least of all Jason. For days on end he scanned the data streams that Miro’s programs were harvesting, hoping that he would see something. Anything. But, nothing. Something vital was missing from the stream. The original ripple. The very first ripple generated by the silent big bang. Jason soon became disheartened; his incredible talent came with one fundamental failing, a near chronic case of self defeatism in the face of failure.

Miro took over the mantle of responsibility and redoubled his datamining efforts, even to the point of taking a few silly risks with some restricted gateways. “A calculated risk,” he would tell himself just before throwing himself up against the barrier. His efforts would soon be rewarded with success.


Jason’s demeanour changed in a heartbeat. He quickly leaned over to turn on the EM jammer – paranoia, the preserve of any self respecting undercover dataminer - then turned on his isolated terminal to analyse the data stream that Miro had saved on his rig. Miro made sure that Jason’s bedroom door was closed and that there was no-one in the hallway. The two boys clustered round the small display screen as Jason hooked up Miro’s rig and navigated the iso-terminal’s operating system to access the encrypted files.

“You found the original ripple?” asked Jason, eyes fixed on the small display screen and fingers dancing across the compact keyboard.

“I reckon so, yeah. The quantum parity bit is the oldest one found yet. It’s only 0.21 seconds older than you said it would be. One of the dataminers called back about 20 minutes ago. I just saved it and came straight over.”

Jason, having located the innocuous looking file, dumped it’s contents to the screen. The file was far smaller than he had expected; only 14 bytes with 3 quantum bits.

“Yeah,” Jason said, “this is from the original ripple alright. We’ve found it, mate. This stream was created at the precise moment the silent big bang happened.”

Jason leaned back in his seat and looked straight into Miro’s eyes and said: “I was going to run this file through the decrypter to see if there was anything meaningful in there but I don’t need to. It was so simple I almost missed it. I was sure that it would be something complicated, some kind of recursive part-code encryption, but it’s not. It’s almost too simple to be true.”

Miro sat in silence. Transfixed by the moment. Frustrated at Jason’s need to make a dramatic announcements; probably his way of achieving mental closure.

“s&$t, Jay. Just spill it, man!”

“Okay, it’s as simple as this,” Jason decoded the tiny file and the results were displayed on the screen. “This message is running through the world net like some kind of undercurrent. It doesn’t do anything, it can’t, but it’s out there and it’s not going away.”

A single string of Romanji characters were being displayed on the iso-terminal screen:


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