Over the next few days, they compared the demo to the programs Erin had retrieved from the Academy's main server. And they could see that these had more or less the same libraries and the same instruction suites. From there to saying that these programs were programs designed to be used with the implant, there was only one step.
— "And suddenly, we test them!" Cherry asked. After all these weeks sifting through the paperwork, I can't wait to do anything. Besides, I would like to know what they were used for, and why they were kept in a secure part of the Academy!
— Not so fast, Quentin replied. We just know they are made to be used with the implant. But we don't even know what they are used for.
— What if we installed them on PCs under control, in a partitioned network? So we could study them safely? added Nightowl.
— Yes, but if they can only be used with the implant, it won't teach us much to rotate them on their own.
“At this point, I'm volunteering to test,” Erin said.
— It can be dangerous, said Quentin. I don't want you to go.
— Already, I don't think I'm the only volunteer. Cherry and the twins are in favor. Besides, I don't think the Academy has made any programs that are harmful to their users. Finally, zombifying people is dangerous, but it has no impact on their physical health. As Nightowl said, the biggest risk would come from snitches, but if you silo it all up there shouldn't be any problems.
— OKAY. It's not for me to forbid you anything, as long as it doesn't endanger # freedomnia, Quentin replied, defeated. I'll ask the guys to set up a siled network for you. Interactions with the network will be studied in real time while you are in the program. "
Within hours, # freedomnia had set up a sick infrastructure. From the initial idea, which was just to compartmentalize the programs, especially to avoid cookies that would allow them to be located, the members of # freedomnia had set up a thorough monitoring of the interactions between the program and the operating system .
— "Thanks for volunteering all four of you," Nightowl told them. Thanks to you and the actions you will take in this unknown program, we will really make progress in understanding the implant. All system calls and signals emitted by the program will be recorded. We will also follow everything that will happen on the network. All recordable information will be, in case it is useful to us later: memory, process, system changes, everything.
"Personally, I wasn't for it," Quentin muttered. But since you are motivated, you might as well collect as much information as possible. "
Erin, Cherry, Victor and Alexis connected.
And found themselves in the environment generated by the program.
Erin saw multitudes of flying rivers, crisscrossing each other. Digital rivers, made up of information. As she let herself be carried by the flow of a river, she suddenly felt the presence of Cherry. It was subtle. She didn't have a faithful representation of Cherry in front of her, but her digital representation. It was more of the feeling and the senses.
Erin concentrated, and what she felt took her breath away. It was no longer connected to the computer through a device that simply used a program. She felt like she was at one with the computer. Letting herself be carried on one side, and she could access the data present on the system, on the other, and she could follow the network flows ...
Erin followed these flows for a moment. She ended up running up against what, for lack of a better term to name it, one could call a wall. Countless amounts of data went in this direction only to disappear immediately. Which left Erin perplexed.
After trying to understand the phenomenon, Erin returned to where she had felt the presence of Cherry, and ended up finding her a little further. After a few tries, Erin realized that she too could emit data. She tried to get in touch with Cherry.
Then it was time to come back to the real world. But how to get out of this program? There was no way out, like in the programs she had tested at the Academy.
After groping for a long time, Erin finally found her starting point, from which a special flow was heading towards nowhere. She followed this flow, and found herself sitting behind the computer.
— " It's okay ? Quentin hastened to ask him.
— It's okay, she replied.
— We were worried about you, said Cherry. It's been a while since I came back. The twins did not even stay 5 minutes in the program. But you, it's been a good half an hour since you were there ...
— I got a little lost, and then I didn't see the time go by… But now it's okay.
— Tell me that! I thought it was huge, Cherry told him.
— Well ... it's a bit complicated to describe. I felt like I was on the computer. To be one with him. I could manipulate the data and the feeds just by concentrating.
— Some kind of improved interface? asked Quentin.
“More than that,” Erin replied. I felt it all, I was in the heart of it ...
— And what exactly did you see? Cherry asked. I was on the road. There was nothing as far as the eye could see, and roads going all over the place. I didn't dare to walk away for fear of losing the place where I came from.
— Me, it was rivers. Well, you could describe it like this ... And if not, did you understand when I tried to communicate with you?
— It was you ? I received messages, but I did not quite understand and I did not know how to respond.
"Anyway, I'm glad you're okay," Quentin added. We will do a debriefing and study the data collected. We may better understand what happened. "