Breaking a Code

Bach made the code into a hedge maze. The white room shifted form and expanded from the infinite nothingness into a massive maze about 100 acres in total with elaborate and tall hedges, neatly groomed and maintained with beautiful sunshine far too bright to compensate for its impossible vantage. Even through the thick interwoven foliage, an aura of sunlight could hardly be seen. There was a complexity and busyness which probably amused Bach, the encrypted code flickering along the lines of hedges like inquisitive eyes watching his progress. Bach looked around and smiled. He liked to have interesting visuals while he decrypted.

Decryption, Bach had learned, is the only true art form available to him. As he walked through the maze, no idea where its beginning or end was, he simply observed the code. There were letters numbers and symbols all together, like some primal language of computerized thought. Bach walked through narrow hedges of hieroglyphs, around bends of babble, and stopped at a crossroads the whole of which was a vortex of one hundred thousand characters or more swirling around the maze and launching him in different directions unless he stood his ground. It was a mess designed to obfuscate and infuriate.

Bach reached his hand into a hedge comprised of mostly letters with some numbers. Something interested him in this cluster, though it seemed as random as life and within the space of thirty minutes of analysis, trying different decryption programs and writing his own decryption program, he felt he had unlocked a key in this cluster. It was like a puzzle; he started off small and worked from there, hoping that his initial find wasn’t shrouded in presumption and inaccuracy.

Whatever the case, the hedge opened up for him so Bach walked through. Now it was like music for him, as he waltzed through the code that portrayed noticeable patterns based on the previous cluster. There were hundreds of thousands of lines, and it would take time. Excessive time. But he would be patient as the music of decoding played through his mind, the maze crumbling before his eyes. If he could see himself from a bird’s eye, he would see a very small figure crawling towards a very far off goal, cutting a path from the fringe of an extraordinarily large maze straight to the center.

At the center of the maze was a small cylindrical pod, no bigger than a triple A battery. It was a datalink and it hovered in mid-air, connected to Bach through cybernetics and mystery. If he had been dreaming, it might have been covered in tobacco, or in the eyes of a monstrous machine, but here it waited innocuously and ominously. It was an old shepherd waiting to tell the story of Oedipus with crushing truth and Bach wondered if opening the datalink would cause him to rip his eyes out. Chasing Truth can be dangerous, perhaps more so than Shadowrunning.

Breaking a Code

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