Bach stood in a white room on the Matrix. His coat was sleek and black, his hair springy and unkempt, and his eyes a deep blue that had a natural look he had since lost. In front of him was a screen hanging in air, code flying past quickly as a thirteen day countdown ticked. Bach walked all around it, examining the screen from every angle as though it mattered, hearing the click of his boots on the gridded floor. The code was simple; efficient and untraceable through simplicity. There seemed to be nothing there besides the need for procreation in the virus; it was truly just a countdown that propagated faster than rabbits, at least as far as Bach could tell.
Yet… something is there.
Bach altered the appearance of the code into a cigarette. He looked at it curiously and wondered, watching as code appeared on the paper, wrapping around and smoldering at the tip, the countdown flashing out ashen warnings. It seemed familiar to him, the structure of the code. But how could he say it was something he knew, when he didn’t know who made it, or when? It felt like when he first tried cigarettes, the same sense of understanding and intuition. He hated intuition. Cautiously he grabbed the cigarette, examining the code in greater detail. He tried rewriting it by smoking the cigarette. The code collapsed and the virus stopped for a moment. He sighed, and reloaded the virus onto his comlink, the cigarette reappearing, smoldering with a fresh intensity.
Perhaps… a person I know?
He gave the code form, an amorphous shape that stood before him with programming flashing from the chest and a countdown where the face should be. Male? Before him, a man took shape, one he didn’t recognize. Bach looked into the eyes of the man before him. The eyes looked familiar, the smell of tobacco thick in the air and glossing over his pupils. Female? The man changed shape into a woman who looked just an enigmatic, except for her eyes, burning a smoky red familiarity that bothered Bach.
Bach loaded up a public white room and looked for one of the exclusive hacker forums. The environment changed to a full and thriving Metropolis at night, neon lights and street lamps flooding the area with luminescence. Bach walked around people milling about, walking with a purpose, smoking, talking, laughing. All around he heard the different topics and threads and none of them where what he wanted. He posted a thread asking about the countdown and then lit up a cigarette and blew smoke into the air, letting the responses forming in the smoke. Immediately links to other threads appeared and he opened all of them, people appearing besides him so he could hear their online conversations, words forming all around him. He took in everything, breathing smoke out steadily and listening, watching, and waiting for a hint of something that might sound familiar. It could take days of analysis, he knew.