"Is the system up and running?" Garrick asked, eyeing the monolithic flatscreen monitors as he traversed into the basement. It was a decent set-up, with the highest tech available at the time.
"It would appear so," Ian replied, spinning oh-so-coolly in his large, leather swivel chair, "I just have to make some adjustments to the GSI network… Not sure what the difficulty has been there."
"Hit it with a hammer!" came a voice nearby, watching a pirated subtitled episode of an anime in a soft, plush couch. The voice was male, but the sort of brash, almost high-pitched male that gave the impression of some feminine qualities.
"Always works for me!" came a female voice situated next to him.
Garrick sighed, "How long have those two been over there?"
"Too long for me to be comfortable with it," Ian replied.
"HEY WAKEY WAKEY!" Garrick said, throwing a wireless mouse that hit Kieran straight in the head.
"OW!" He said, removing his lips from Jenna's, "What was that for?"
"That was the signal to stop making out and get to work! The more help we have on this, the better. We've only barely cracked through the main firewall, we need you and Jenna to get the viruses in."
"FINE fine fine fine," Kieran replied exasperatedly, standing up, but not before adjusting his jeans for God-knows-what-reason.
Kieran quickly rushed and jumped, landing in the seat. The screen in front of him immediately shifted, under his guidance, to a light gray program containing several green letters and numbers. Jenna gave him a light kiss on the lips, before adopting a taking of her own at a different screen entirely.
The three of them had cracked through much of the code surrounding the "Digital World," as it chose to call itself. "Rather arrogant name really," Sadie once said of it.
Speaking of her, she made her way down the stairs just then, coming from behind Garrick to wrap her arms around him gently, before taking up a position at one of the other computers.
"They're on me," Ian projected loudly to the others.
"I gotcha!" Kieran replied, decrypting the trap Ian fell into.
"Thanks…" Ian muttered before beginning to work on another part of the system.
"I found it!" Sadie said excitedly, drawing Garrick's attention over to her monitor, "I found the hole in the—oh no nevermind."
There had been a lot of situations like that. Traps and ruses mashed themselves between layers upon layers of encrypted code. Their hardware had been replaced four times by this point, but they weren't about to give up. They were each accomplished code crackers and hackers, having dealt with systems far beyond the understanding of most mortals for years. They had slid into the Pentagon's supposedly "secure" network, looked around, realized it was boring, and walked back out without being noticed. They had broken into Bill Gates' system and wiped out all the porn, leading to bafflement and surprise from all. Breaking into this "Digital World" was the hardest task they'd ever taken up, though, which makes you think they might be deterred. They only realized halfway through how much of a challenge it would be, and by that point, it had become just that—a challenge.
"I've got this one," Garrick said, taking Jenna's seat after seeing that she was having some difficulties. She ventured over to stand behind Kieran, massaging his shoulders as he took care of a particularly pesky bit of programming.
Page after page of code covered Kieran's screen at that exact moment. "Guys, I think we're gonna need the controllers for this one…" he told the rest of them. Jenna gasped as she stared at the miles of text.
Sadie and Garrick groaned simultaneously, while Ian simply took his hands off the keys, reached into his pack, pulled out a modified NES controller and hooked it up (via USB) to the computer.
"Tell me when you're ready," Ian said as the others took their controllers out.
The controllers were something Ian and Garrick had cooked up in a moment of peculiar genius, the kind that strikes only certain folk as those you read about here. In conjunction with several very detailed programs, Ian and Garrick had essentially taken complex hacking techniques by way of DOS and C++ to the next level, giving it a sort of game aspect. Each bit of programming had different image attached to it, a different level of strength. Each of the controllers could make shields and tear systems down, simplifying a process that actually takes a significant amount of effort. The controllers themselves were incredibly powerful AI's, considering the jobs they were required to do.
Jenna took up the controller at Sadie's console, and immediately went to work. The walls were different this time, the programs tougher than before. The four of them had to fire several successive shots at each bit of protection, which was something they'd each only had to do a few times in the few months they'd been working on the code.
"I think we're getting closer, guys," Kieran said, echoing thoughts that each of them was already having.
Sadie took up a controller and sat down at the slightly-less impressive fifth screen, knowing better than to refuse a piece of this action simply because of her distaste for the game-controller method. Jenna was the first to speak up.
"I'm in," she said.
The others soon followed.
Surprisingly, Sadie was the second, then Ian, then Garrick, and finally Kieran, all saying those two words that signified their entry into the Digital World, "I'm in."
"Guys, there's something wrong with my handle…" Garrick said, feeling it throb and twist in his hands.
"It's a controller!" Kieran replied, ignoring that he was feeling the exact same thing.
"What is it that we're saying here?" Sadie asked the group, the screens twisting and warping with vibrant colors, all focused in the center of the screen. It was almost as if the screens themselves were shifting inward, sucking them in…
"I'm not entirely s—" Ian said.
And then the room was empty, except, of course, for the quiet dachshund laying in the corner, who perked his ears up as soon as he noticed the absence of the humans, but then fell back asleep, having decided it best not to worry about it anyway.