The Silicon Kid was born in the first hard copy edition of Say What published in the winter of 1994 with “The Virus: A Cyber Tale”. Anyone who has a copy of this will notice that The Virus has changed, actually, I pulled this version, the original story, out of my diary. I changed it in the first edition because I felt it was a bit too technical for most people to understand, but I think most people who have access to the Internet will be able to understand it.
“The Further Adventures of the Silicon Kid” was published in “Random: First Offering” a magazine published by Mountaintop Publishing.
The Virus A CyberTale
That night, me and the Kid had been planting logic trees. The Kid was real good at it. A logic tree is basically a question you ask the new_NET, the new_NET takes the question and answers it, big deal, right? Well, the question is answered kinda like the way a thesaurus defines a word, by giving any and all information associated with the question. It’s called a tree because the NET presents the “answer” in a series of paths of logic, like trains of thought branching out. The Kid was brilliant at asking questions in such a way that the branches would continually reconfigure themselves, like a thought in flux, never quite resolving itself.
The Kid planted a bunch of “seeds” in one of his hard drives, then linked up to the NET, which fit itself holographically into the Kid’s available memory, including the hard drive containing the seeds, then he disconnected. As the trees grew, the Kid displayed them to look like a 3-dimensional orchard we could “walk” through. Each tree was a thought unique, you could look and see each branch was a series of sentences all branching out from a base idea, it was beautiful. That’s when the virus hit.
It looked like one of those old security programs from before the SYS_wipe of ’99. Back then the control freaks were getting way outta hand, they developed security programs that didn’t just block unauthorized access, but would trace back to the intruder, and eradicate their system, blowing out all their onboard memory AND plant viruses that destroyed all their hard drives. Pretty scary.
No one knows how the SYS_wipe went down. Just that it was sure chaos until everyone got used to the new_NET! Pretty strange system, the new_NET, seeds a microcosm of itself into any system it comes in contact with, as well as absorbing any and all the information. The ultimate virus of sorts, no way of purging it. That’s okay though, the new_NET has its advantages. It’s the ultimate number cruncher, has this way of folding information into itself ad infinitum. Each time you go online, the whole system is downloaded, reconfiguring ALL the information into the size of your available memory. You can’t keep any secrets on the new_NET, so don’t keep any diaries, or personal information on your hard drive when you go online, or anybody who wants to look, will be able to see it! The control freaks hated it, information couldn’t be used as currency anymore, nor could any “banking” in the old sense be done. Everything is based on exchange now, no imaginary numbers representing abstract notions of worth, just open acknowledgement of who did what and a convivial exchange based on need. By the time the control freaks realized what was going on, it was too late, the change had come.
I don’t know how the virus had survived, no one else had seen one since the SYS_wipe, but then again, the Kid was no ordinary user. I never seen the Kid move so fast. Within a microsecond, the Kid did a reset, but the virus downloaded itself into the hard drive with the logic trees in it, and started destroying the orchard. The Kid was PISSED!
He pulled out his HEX keypad, linked straight into the central processing unit, and started doing battle… realtime! His hands flew like a digital hummingbird above the buttons blooming from the keypad. The Kid told me afterwards that he can do that by letting his instinct take over. He says his brain works in loops, with the main one overlooking everything, providing direction, meanwhile, a series of smaller and smaller loops running in parallel look after specific tasks. “It’s like walking,” the Kid says, “you think about the direction your walking in, not how to move your legs to make you go.”
I watched in amazement as the Kid chased the virus around his system. He told me the virus was self modifying, re-adapting itself from one situation to the next. That’s when the kid really freaked me out, he actually made self modifying subroutines to combat each new virus! The virus bounced from one peripheral device controller to the next, the Kid hot on its tail. Bits of subroutines littered the data path. The Kid finally trapped the virus in a floppy disk controller, caught it in an infinite for-next loop, and wiped it from memory.
Then he sat back, gave me the strangest smile, said “Sure am glad that didn’t get on the NET!”, and then broke out laughing. I just sat there scratching my head.
Further Adventures With the Silicon Kid
I just got back from an astonishing visit to the Kid’s place, my perception of myself will never be quite the same.
I was meditating on my mandalagram, doing some Alpha wave exercises the Kid had taught me about a month ago, when I heard him fly in.
He was shuffling restlessly outside my door when I opened it to greet him. The reflection of the outside of my house distorted in the rust pocked chrome plating on his boots, the form suggested in movement, deteriorating to abstract when viewed in the specific. I have never seen the Kid so excited, his eyes sparkling wide under dreadlocks strewn with electronic parts. So, I grabbed my jacket, and went out to help the Kid adjust his airswing for two people.
The Kid used the propeller mounted on the seat to inflate the airhook (a rectangular chute), and got us air borne. We rose to about a dozen feet above the tree line, then the Kid adjusted the airseat to cruising position. The Kid sat in a tense silence as we coasted up the valley to his place, which was very unusual for him, but, having just finished my meditation, I was calm and ready for anything.
It always makes me laugh, walking up to the Kid’s place, and seeing his communication dish mounted on top of his outhouse, he says to him it represents how communication comes out of all the shit in human heads.
He quickly ushered me into his house, rushed off my jacket, and put me in his visitors chair next to the computer. He pulled a wired headstrap from the pile of stuff next to his computer, it was a headstrap like the one I got from him to do my Alpha wave exercises with. He handed it to me, motioning for me to put it on. After I had it secured, he turned out the lights. In the darkness, I heard his finger hit a button. The click seemed to hang in the air like the after spot from looking at a bright light…
The sensation started with a gurgling in my toes, it was laughter long and sweet, deep like chocolate. It curled my spine backwards, not painful, but releasing, like my body was being unlocked by the key of mirth, the laughter sloshed out between my ribs. My belly, cavernous, sounded like the sea inside, and I rained down, washing up on the shore of my feet, it started to loop again but the Kid hit another button and my body clasped back around me again.
He turned the light back on.
“What the hell was that?” I stammered after getting my eyes to focus on his face.
“It’s a programmed sensation that I made, I call it Liquid Laughter. I ran it to see if you were ready to connect with yet. You are. You’ve been doing well with your exercises. Now the fun begins.”
He then put on a headstrap of his own and shut out the lights again.
I now know more about the Kid than I ever did before, more than I know about any other person I’ve ever met before. In an instant, the Kid’s memory, his whole memory, downloaded from his head into mine! The fight with the virus had been staged! He programmed it himself, that’s what he used to do for a living, he was a security programmer, one of the best, hell, the best. At one point he got pissed off at the control freaks that were his bosses, and decided to plant the ultimate virus and let it loose on the NET. That’s what the SYS_wipe was, but it did something the Kid didn’t expect, it became nearly sentient, reprogrammed itself and became the new_NET.
The Kid then talked to me from this new space inside our minds.
“OK, now you know who I am and I know who you are, I want to take you someplace very special.”
He then helped ease me out of my seat of consciousness. I looked back and saw my mind from an aerial view, familiar but new. We journeyed into a dream realm beyond any dream I can ever remember having. We ended up in a place that reminded me of geometry, not the boring stuff from school but something like M.C. Escher in motion, it was amazing!
The Kid directed my attention to one particular form that seemed to spiral in and out of itself, rising and splitting into symmetry, then spiralling into itself again.
“Anything you can perceive in here, you can change with your intent. Focus on this form, sculpt it, don’t try to change it completely just suggest it into slightly different forms.”
I did what he said and found that I could mould it in any way I wanted, I could even turn it into a sound and then change that, too.
“OK, you seem to have the hang of it, now let it go and watch it for a while, see how it looks and feels when it’s on it’s own.”
After I did that for a while, the Kid guided me back to my mind. Coming back into it, I saw my seat of consciousness in a whole new way, I could see that I had a lot of house cleaning to do the next time I was meditating!
When I opened my eyes, the Kid had already turned on the light and was loading a new program into his computer.
“Take off that headstrap, and come here and look at this.”
I took off the strap and went over to the computer. On the screen was the shape I had seen in our mind.
“This is a chaotic system, like a fractal, supposedly random, now focus on it with the same feeling you did inside, change the shape with your mind.”
And I did! I couldn’t believe it, without any form of electronic link, I was able to manipulate the image on the screen, with my mind!
The Kid just dropped me off before I started to record this entry. Now that I’ve got this done, I think I’m gonna go meditate.