Origin of Darkness
By Sithking Zero
"Now, behold, my greatest creation ever! The world's first independent Net Navi!"
A figure with pale skin, clad in a black jumpsuit with twin jagged white lines on his sides, Gold-and-black gauntlets and boots, white gloves, a stylized, lowercase "f" symbol on his chest, and a twin-yellow-finned helmet with a four-pointed star between the two was on the massive meeting room Plasma screen.
In front of the screen, a golden-blond haired man with a mustache and beard was talking animatedly about all the advantages and leaps forward this represented for all of mankind.
"…and without the need for an operator, this will allow for the creation of better, more independent net navis, including customized net navis that people will be able to order! Or even programs and navis designed to handle specific tasks, such as the operation of traffic signals, water treatment plants, and other similar tasks that will allow for more efficient society." He said.
Meanwhile, the figure on the screen was perfectly rigid, with green, blue, and the occasional red ring floating over him, re-enforcing his programming and fixing minor glitches.
An older man with a bushy white beard stood up. The blonde man took notice.
"Yes, Dr. Hikari? What is it?" he asked.
"Well, Dr. Cossak, you mentioned that the new program… 'Bass,' is it?"
"Bass, sir, like the foot of a structure would be the base. You're saying it more like the fish.." Dr. Hikari shot a small glare at the blonde, and he wilted slightly. "Sorry, sir."
"Well, it mentions that Bass has power levels far above that of any other net navis that we currently have."
Dr. Cossak nodded. "He was specifically designed to be a defensive program of the highest class, capable of terminating even the most powerful foes."
Dr. Hikari looked back at his papers. "Without a netop, how will we know that he will make the right decisions?"
Dr. Cossak bristled slightly. "I trust Bass, I made his brain, for goodness sake!"
He turned around. "In fact, you can talk to him right now. , Command program set! activate!"
The finned figure behind Dr. Cossak sleepily opened his eyes and blinked once or twice before yawning. Then, he looked much better. "Oh, hello Dr. Cossak. What can I do for you today?" he said, in a cheery manner.
"Bass, I'd like you to meet the board of directors of Scilabs." Dr. Cossak indicated the group of men seated behind him. "They haven't gotten a chance to meet you yet, so I figured they would."
"Okay!" Bass cheerily responded. "I am Bass, the world's first independent Net Navi. I have been specifically programmed to defend the expanding Alpha-internet system from viral, human, and navi assault."
The scientists and department heads stared at him for a bit. Then, the same scientist from before, Dr. Tadakashi Hikari, stood up. "Dr. Cossak, you're sure that he's safe?"
Dr. Cossak looked irritated for a moment (Bass, in the background, grumbled "I'm right here, you know!") before responding.
"Yes. I believe that, after hours of complex testing, and personal interviews with Bass, I believe that he is trustworthy."
ONE MONTH LATER…
A new-model security navi, the last of its kind, raced through the paths of cyberspace, trying to escape its tormentor. It turned, only to see…
Almost immiediately, his left arm disintegrated under an energy burst.
"Targeting enemy… firing in 2.10035 cycles… SQWARK!" he cried, as the enemy grabbed his remaining arm and wrenched it out of its socket.
The black-garbed program looked up at a link window. Several scientists were glaring angrily down at him.
"WHAT?" he asked. "I'm trying to protect the Alpha-internet system!"
"HOW?" cried one scientist. "Those were the new security navis!" cried the second. "Destroying our security system defends the internet HOW?" yelled the last.
Bass sighed. "Listen, it's simply Darwinian. If they couldn't stand against me, then they couldn't have defended the internet at all. Survival of the fittest."
"Yes… but… WE SPENT THREE MONTHS ON THOSE!" yelled the first scientist.
"And now you need to work harder on them." Bass responded pleasantly.
The second and third scientists were livid, and the first was looking like he was wishing Bass had a self-termination command. Bass was saved from being programmed into having four extra heads by the appearance of his father, Dr. Cossak. He took one look at the disintegrating blob of data that used to be a defense navi, then at Bass, and shook his head.
"Bass, that's the ninety-fifth-" "Ninety-sixth!" "Right, ninety-sixth net navi you've deleted this week. Why are you doing this?"
"I'm protecting the internet from dangerous defects and errors!" he said indignantly. "There were so many things wrong with the new design that the benefits it would have had would have been cancelled out!"
Dr. Cossak sighed. "No real harm done, though, right?"
Bass brightened considerably at this. "Right! The only damage was to the defects."
At this, the three scientists indignantly began to protest. "We worked for three months on those!" one cried.
"…Sorry," Bass said sheepishly.
"Dr. Cossak!" cried the three scientists. "Can't you control your program!"
"I'm still here, you know…" Bass muttered.
ONE WEEK LATER…
Dr. Cossak was back in the board room. This time, he was in deep trouble.
"Dr. Cossak, you assured us that Bass would remain under control." Came the voice of a beurocrat, Mr. Barnes. "Now, he's destroyed thirteen vital programs, one hundred netnavis, hacked his way through our most powerful firewalls, and," he looked at his sheet, "last Tuesday, he shut off the power to all the employee break rooms and bathrooms for fun."
Dr. Nemoy nodded in agreement. "Bass has set us back two years, and destroyed over a million Zenny worth of experimental programs!"
Dr. Mendel growled, "Bass has become a menace to Internet Society. If he continues to exist, there can be no hope for the future of this type of technology."
Dr. Cossak slammed his fists down on the table. "How can you possibly say that? Thanks to Bass, we're rid of countless dangerous defects that could have done immeasurable damage in the long run!"
"That may be true, Mikhael," came a softer-spoken voice. Dr. Tadakashi Hikari stood up next to his young son, Yuuichiro. "But the fact of the matter is, Bass has proven himself to be impulsive, brash, and aggressive. He has to be restrained, at least for a little while."
"No! But… I… He's not a danger!" Mikhael Cossak cried, looking at the nodding heads of the scientists.
"He will have limiters designed and imprisoned." Came Mr. Barnes' voice. "All in favor?"
Dr. Cossak didn't even need to look up. He knew the result already.
THE NEXT DAY…
Two security navis walked past a cage of pure energy, watching the motionless navi in the center clutch his knees. Around his wrists and ankles, perfectly round, totally seamless discs of energy rotated noiselessly.
One navi pointed at Bass. "Look at the 'Great Bass,' now! With those limiters, he's only one/tenth our strength."
"How the mighty have fallen." Then both navis walked away, laughing at the Independent Navi's misfortune.
Behind, Bass sniffled back tears, but at the same time, clutched his hands into fists until they hurt.
A link window opened behind him, and Dr. Cossak's face appeared. "Hello, Bass. How are you feeling?" he asked, sadness in his voice.
Bass looked at him, pointed to the discs, then glared at him.
"Aaah. Right. Stupid question to ask." Dr. Cossak said. "I'm sorry, Bass, but the board of directors are afraid of your power. So they told me to design these limiters for you until I can get this straightened out…" his voice trailed off.
Bass sighed. "It's okay, Dr. Cossak, I don't blame you for trying. I just want to make the world a better place, you know? And whenever I try, I get yelled at and pushed away, or;" he gained a humorless smirk, "I get locked up."
Dr. Cossak smiled sadly at him. "I'm doing everything that I can, Bass."
"I know, father." Bass said softly. "but on a brighter note, How do I look?"
"What?" Dr. Cossak was completely startled by the question.
"The anklets and bracelets. I understand that some humans find them fashionable."
He struck a pose and said, "So, am I "stylin?'" Am I 'Tight?'" he laughed for a bit at that.
Dr. Cossak smiled, but his voice contained a hint of sadness. "Yes, Bass, you look spectacular." He paused for a moment, and then added with a weak grin, "In fact, you look fit to kill."
Dr. Yuuichiro Hikari watched the Net Navi and its father for a moment, then turned and walked back to his own father. "Father, do you think it's right to imprison Bass?"
"I don't know, son," came the tired reply. "Bass has enormous potential to shape the network… but right now, he's just too dangerous to be left to his own devices."
Unnoticed to Bass, the security navis, and all other beings at Scilab, something was wrong with the Alpha-Internet Core. It was becoming more… malevolent. Powerful.
Tendrils of lightning coursed through the system, draining non-vital systems of power. It knew, in but an instant, that it would be destroyed if its creators knew of its existence, so it looked into human history, looking for ways that the humans had overcome similar problems.
And there, obvious as a diamond in the sun, was the answer. So Alpha exerted a fraction of its will…
And chose a scapegoat.
Bass was drawing patterns on the ground when it happened.
Suddenly, and without any warning at all, the energy cage surrounding him vanished.
Bass stood up and looked around for a moment, before, quite unexpectedly, internet buildings and links around him started to explode. In defense of his person, he threw up his arms to block the blast, and fortunately, escaped the worst of the blast.
However, the worst, as it were, was yet to come.
A massive line of fire crossed itself in front of him, deleting a section of the ground into nothingness.
"Massive system failure…" he mused, looking closer at the deleted section. "This is why I always intervened…"
Then, the first slugs from a submachine gun hit his side.
"ATTENTION FUGITIVE BASS!" came the amplified voice of over one hundred security net navis. "YOU HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF THE CRIME OF SYSTEM DESTRUCTION. WE HAVE ORDERS FOR YOUR DELETION. THANK YOU, AND HAVE A NICE DAY."
"Wha-… System destruction?" responded the panicked navi, "No, it wasn't me! I swear!" but the security navis were already moving into a circular formation around him, ready for the kill.
With all the speed he could muster, Bass raced along the ground, punching through the line of navis that had moved to cross his path. However, he was blocked with more programs, all intent on his destruction.
Cossak watched the events unfold with a sense of detached horror, knowing that his only son was totally doomed. Nothing that he could say or do could possibly save Bass' life now, and the doctor was beginning to wish that he was able to do more to save his son's…
Mikhael Cossak typed in a few codes, hit the enter key, grabbed his things and discs, and raced off.
Moments later, Yuuichiro Hikari burst into the room. "Dr. Cossak! Bass is… Where'd you go?"
"YOU IGNORANT PEONS!" Bass yelled, smashing several more security programs to dust. "GET OFF OF MY BACK!"
For the last ten minutes, Bass had been pounding away at the security programs and net navis. Even with his strength down to 1/10 its original power, he was still going to town on the rent-a-cop navis.
Dr. Cossak, please help me! He thought. You know I'm innocent, you know I am! Why haven't you said anything? Oh, no. No, Dr. Cossak, you wouldn't!
And with that moment of horror, Bass paused in his beating of the security navi.
This provided the opening that another navi needed to attack. His firey heatblade tore through Bass' vulnerable chest, bisecting his crest and leaving a massive scar from his left shoulder to his right hip.
Bass remained upright for a moment longer, than thudded to the ground, writhing in pain.
The security navis finally stopped shooting, and began to laugh. "Good thing you got him, Charlie!" "Yeah, and that those limiters finally did their job." "Good thing Dr. Cossak knows his stuff."
Bass could only hear the last one, ringing in his ears, echoing through his mind. Dr. Cossak knows his stuff.
That's right, he thought. Dr. Cossak was the one who made the limiters.
That means that he… could… turn… them… off…
Suddenly, a massive explosion de-atomized several buildings.
Charlie, the head of the security navis, listened intently as his netop provided him with a new update.
"System destruction is continuing in other areas! The cause is now believed to be not Bass, but the Alpha-internet system itself! All units, Jack out now!"
Bass was lying on the ground, extreme agony wracking both his mind and body. One by one, the security navis evaporated away, returning to their safe PETs (PErsonal Terminals). Only Charlie was left.
"You know," Charlie said, "The order for your deletion still stands..."
Charlie walked forwards, sword arm raised above his head.
"You should have known better then to rebel, Bass. It's time to DIE!" he punctuated the last word with a yell.
As soon as the blade got within a foot of Bass' finned helmet, Bass vanished within a brilliant white glow.
"What the hell?" Charlie exclaimed, leaping back.
Within the white orb of light surrounding Bass, the green, disc-shaped limiters were devolving into pixels, which flew into Bass' scar, altering his programming irreversibly and granting back all his power.
Charlie had barely finished his curse, when suddenly, a red, burning blade bisected his body, cutting him in two from his right shoulder to his left hip.
"I… AM SICK OF THIS!" Bass growled. "I AM THROUGH… WITH MY FATHER! WITH EVERYONE!"
And after that day, things never were the same. Scilabs contained the internet program "Alpha," that had caused all the devastation, and the programs were fixed. Bass and Dr. Cossak, however, were only heard of in rumor and hearsay.
It was around that time, though, that legends of the "Black Shadow," began to circulate around the Undernet…