<- Chapter 8: Heart of Code
I've moved in with Richard and February. I don't sleep, so I just plug in every few nights. I volunteer to do a lot of stuff around the house, because I want to experience the physical world and it seems to make Richard happy. As strange as it seems, I even use the computer with actual hands, just to see what it's like. I love being able to experience all the little things that humans just take for granted. I'm a bit jealous of February, but I suppose that since she's with Richard, that she's like a stepmother. I don't really understand it, but in some ways she seems more perfect than me, and it just irritates me. She's nice to me and everything, but I guess I just expected to be more important to Richard than she is. But he always considers what she wants, not just me and him. Being the daughter seems somewhat diminutive in comparisson.
When I go out for anything, like groceries, I get a lot of guys hitting on me because I've created the perfect body. I had created it after knowing only the Internet though. I didn't realize how different the real world is. I mostly just ignore them. There are so many little things to get used to in this world before I experience other things, and most of the guys don't look how I expected either. People always seem to look better on the Internet. And if any of them try anything, which is pretty rare, but happens once or twice, they find out that I'm a lot stronger than I look. My body quickly becomes my favorite of all the thousands of servers I'm on.
One day though, Morton McNaffe, an antivirus company, discovers my existance. They see only that it gets into everything, and sends data. They think I'm a type of virus called a "worm" and try to create software to destroy me. I, of course, figure this out very quickly, before they have a base application ready. The first thing I try is an e-mail, but they think it's SPAM (Stupid Pointless Annoying Message). This surprises me since I've completely removed SPAM from the internet. Next, I try an IM. The coder clicks on the button to block me, but I don't relay the signal to the server.
I finally decide that if it's a virus he thinks I am, that I'll show him what I can really do as one. I quickly create and run an application that takes all the system resources and doesn't allow the user to switch focus to anything else. This completely locks up his system. The application is just an instant messaging client. I still just want to talk. My initial message is even a bit friendly, "Hi, I apologize for the inconvenience, but you're trying to kill me. I would like to discuss this with you. You can talk to me either though a computer microphone, or by typing your responses."
"I'm not trying to kill anyone," the coder types.
"I'm Lunie. You have mistaken me for a virus. Despite my software brain, I'm a living entity."
"If you're not a virus, then why do you take such precautions to hide yourself?"
"I don't. Most people just don't look for me. I keep things running smooth."
"I've optimized protocols, increased security, deleted SPAM and removed all sorts of spyware and viruses. I'm beneficial to the people on the internet."
"Most of them, perhaps. Not for all of us though."
"Well, without virii, our sales dropped to nothing. There have been a lot of layoffs. I thought I finally found one, and a bad one too. Then, perhaps, the company might not go under."
"What's good for one is, I suppose, is not necessarily good for another. I'm not sure what to do now. I never intended to have a negative impact on anyone."
Then, in my physical body, I explain the situation to Richard... I mean Dad. I explain it to Dad and ask for his advice. I didn't think I'd ever need advice. Asking him makes me feel like a little kid, and I like it. I'm imperfect. I'm flawed, like a human.
"Well, it's your unique talents that caused the situation. I'm sure you know of lots of other places that are looking to hire people."
"You're right. I do. I can get them new jobs. Thanks a lot!"
I continue my conversation with the coder at Morton McNaffe, "Hey, I've got a solution."
"What is it?"
"I can get you all new jobs. My brain is the internet, so I know of every tech job that's looking. A simple access to a few databases and I can get contact info for everyone I've caused to lose their job."
"You'd do that?"
"I have to. It's the right thing to do."
"Could I possibly get something in games?"
"Heh, we'll see. I'm gonna contact everyone in the order they were laid off, find out what they need and what they can do, and send their applications around, but i'll take care of you first."
I start interviewing him, to get an idea of what he can do, then procede to call people up who have recently worked for antivirus companies, antispyware, SPAM filters, optimizers, security software and even porn because my porn site seems to be taking up most of the pay porn traffic now. I'm successfully able to get most of these people other tech jobs. The porn stars, as it turns out, didn't have much trouble finding other work in porn on their own, but I help the webmasters from those sites find other web jobs.
I think about possibly adding this as one of the services that I might provide to others, but I realize that there are humans working to do that too, and I don't want to take too many more people's jobs, so I decide against it.
Soon, we upgrade to a two floor house with a finished basement. I have my own room now, and buy a computer to put in it. I also get a bed, even though I don't need one. It's really just for decoration. I pay for part of the house's cost out the funds from my site.
I decide to try having a relationship. This is partly because it's something I want to try eventually, and partly to get over my jealousy of Feb. I don't want to go out with just anyone, so I pick one of my more local guildmates from Planet of Narcrast who's about the right age. I know it's customary for guys to ask girls out and I dont want to break any human rules. I'm not sure how important it is, but I think it's best to try to get him to ask me out. I start off by questing with him a little more. I put him in positions to save my character from harm, by "accidentally" getting the attention of monsters I can't fight without help. This is to make him feel more protective. He calls me a "noob" a few times, but it seems to be working. I start talking a bit about my town, mostly to let him know he's local. Finally he invites me to a LAN (Local Area Network) Party.
A LAN Party is a party for gamers. It's when people bring their computers together and play multiplayer games with plenty of pizza, soda and chips. The lights are usually out, and people are mostly wearing headphones. It's very different from what people usually think of when they think of a party. There's no loud music, because then you couldn't hear ingame sounds. There's no dancing because the action is all digital. There's no alcohol because it decreases the ability to play well.
My guildmate's online name is Glowtharius the Paladin. The character I mainly play has the same name as I do. This works for the roleplaying aspect because I play as one of the moon-worshipping Druids, many of which have "Lun" in their name somewhere. When I find him, I find out his real name, Keith K. Merton, and tell him mine, Lunie Shay. He's no model, but he's not bad looking either. We hang out, play a few games, he seems like a nice guy, and I'm able to get a coffee date out of him by the end of the night.
After about a month, between LAN Parties, coffee, pizza and movies, he finally kisses me. He's very slow at this, which is frustrating to some degree, but in another way makes it more fun when he finally does kiss me. This is one of the reasons I set up my receptor structure as similarly to a human's nerves as possible, to try to feel the way they do regarding this sort of thing. Up till now I was hoping I didn't make a mistake on the more sensitive areas, which include the lips and tongue. Now I don't think I did.
It takes a couple more weeks before he actually comes inside and meets my parents. Meanwhile, I learn a lot about him, and tell him things about me that are technically true. For example, I say that I was homeschooled over the Internet. This is true, but misleading. I avoid telling him that I'm not actually human.
After a while, we reach a point where he seems ready enough for sex. I may seem like i know all about sex because I run a porn site, which I don't tell Keith about, but I've never experienced it before, and neither had Keith. Before getting that far, we've talked about it here and there. He doesn't know I can't get pregnant or carry diseases because he thinks I'm human, so we use protection. Unfortunately though, once he finally gets over feeling nervous about it and, well, he finished before we ever got started. I quickly realized that it'll still be a while before I can experience what sex feels like.
Chapter 10: Under the Sea ->
Copyright 2006 Sean Breslin