SMSTSS 15: Tron Upgrade Edition! – By DS Wynne
Disclaimer: SM, R1/2, ST, Tron, OWoD and other properties belong to their respective owners.
Note: This is a three-part story.
Special Note: This story takes place before movie "Tron Legacy" (but will refer to previous).
In the beginning, the Immaterial World (called "The Umbra" by mystics) and Material World (called "The Universe" by rationalists) were one and the same. However, after Creation began, the Great Sundering began as well, separating aspects between what was material, and what was immaterial. However, even then, these aspects to Creation were just mere aspect of the same coin, allowing the first races to evolve into sentient beings, beings who instinctively knew how to translate ideas into matter, and back again. These "First Ones" would go on to create others beings, including those made in their image. But as time went on, the ability to create by translate one's thoughts into matter was lost to lesser beings, but not entirely so, thus began the push by lesser sentient beings to evolve from mortal to immortal, from man to god, by delving into the cosmic mysteries that drive all sentient beings to chase the spark of imagination. It is these few pioneers, the so-called 'Shining Ones', who could use a variety of means to return to a state when all was ONE.
One such path towards cosmic enlightenment was taken upon three individuals. These individuals were originally seeking a way to perfect their martial spirit by merging one's no-corporeal self with their physical being, through the use of a crystal-based mechanism, and thus exist as solid beings within a mindscape environment. This would enable them to train in secret, due to the fact that a crisis in their home galaxy was threatening to destroy all that they hold dear. However, what came out during these early was something…glorious.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
"Wow, Ranma, look at this," Usagi said, as she felt the floating, translucent goo-like substance of varying colors that seemed to float all around her. The Odango-wearing girl poked at the goo, as it seemed to form into an ice cream sundae.
"Hmmm," Usagi said, as she licked her lips, while getting ready to eat the confection.
"Usagi, this is no time to eat," Ranma said, as he continued to examine the substance. "The substance is some sort of 'outside plasma'."
"Is this stuff like that goo from that old American movie 'Ghost Busters'?" Usagi offered.
"What's 'Ghostbusters'?" Ranma replied.
"Whatever this plasma is, it's neither solid nor liquid," said Obi-wan, as he looked around. All around them, there was no sky, but an endless field of rock.
"Still, there are possibilities," Obi-Wan said, as he knells down to the ground. He touched it, and a patch of grass formed.
"You're right about that, Ben," Ranma said, as he touched a goo mass that nearly passed him by. The goo took shape, and formed an image of his lost wife…
The near-duplicate of his lost wife almost went to touch Ranma in return, before breaking down into its original substance.
"We should be careful, Ranma," Obi-Wan said. "This place is too tempting to abuse."
"Well, this place can certainly serve as some sort of 'virtual environment'," Usagi said. "But I think this place is much, much more than that. Maybe, we can use this place to find a way back home? After all, the power of the mind is not bound in a place like this."
"Since when did you get so smart all of a sudden?" Ranma frowned.
"It must be the result of consuming the ecto-plasma," Usagi said. "I was thinking about wanting to be smarter, and then I was smarter."
"Why are you calling this stuff ecto-plasma?"
"It is the closest description to what the substance is, Ranma."
"Well, it's good enough of a description for now," Obi-Wan said, as he rose to his feet. "Anyway, we better inform Master Windu and Master Yoda of our discovery…"
Thus, a virtual world was discovered by humans for the first time.
Over the course of a few years, Usagi, Ranma and Obi-Wan worked to establish a place where many experiments could take place, called "Primary Village", free from the eyes of the Supreme Chancellor Palpatine of Naboo and his Galactic Republic. Entirely new environments were created, based upon the experiences and memories of the three pioneers. Fantastical creatures would be created, creatures who could evolve into higher forms through gaining experience. And as other members of their order learned of this new environment, there was a need to create a custodian of sorts to monitor this fantastical realm. Obi-Wan, being the most level-headed of the trio, had been chosen as a template to create a doppelganger, one who could monitor and protect this so-called wonderland. In time, long after the Sith would learn of this place, and corrupt it, forcing the founders to close off this realm in order to deny its existence to their enemies, the guardian would simply be known as "Jedi", while the creatures, discovered by those who discovered this virtual environment through the use of computers, would be called 'digital monsters', or "digimon". But that discovery would not be learned until long after the demise of the founders' order.
But the realm would not be lost to the human condition.
Hundreds of years ago, on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula (Earth)…
"It is done," said Suleyman, as he completed his rote to establish "The Web of Faith", with the planting of the last node in Medina. Suleyman, who had been known as Solomon the Wise, understood that if the Devil King and his fellow "Nephandi" (beings who wished to destroy the world for their Dark Lords) were to be kept in check, a barrier had to be constructed based upon the Seal of Solomon. This seal would have to be large enough to keep them out. So, using the Seal of Solomon as a model, Suleyman created what he would call "The Web of Faith", where powerful mystics and alchemists could create not just a barrier against the darkness, but also create a network where defenders against the Devil King could communicate mentally almost instant from vast distances. Such a network could even be used by the mundane populace (called "muggles", in some circles) as a form of mass communication, although the princes and the sheiks will have authority over their usage. However, the side-effect of establishing such network, by cross the power of the mind with spatial dimensions, was the access of a familiar place…
"Excellent," said Sheik Ranma bin Al-Arabia, as he began to glow. "With my contribution, I will power this seal…"
A ball of energy glows, as it forms in Ranma's hand. It expands until it reaches the size of a basketball. He then slams the glowing sphere into a crystal that was embedded within the stone pillar that Suleyman had inscribed his seal.
"Now, to wait for the others to activate this node," Ranma replied.
Elsewhere, in Mecca, the vizier inspects his handiwork, as instructed by the Great Suleyman. The stone pillar had the same crystal and seal arrangement like the others that dotted the landscape of the Arabian Peninsula.
"We are ready, Your Highness," said the vizier, as he turns to a procession behind him. Flanked by Nubian eunuchs, maidens, and honor guard, Princess Usagi, wife to the Sheik Al-Arabia, removes the veil from her eyes. She hated her place in this…primitive society, since being a princess, however powerful, meant living in a proverbial gilded cage. Thankfully, her position did have perks.
"Thank you, vizier," Usagi said, as she was helped to her feet by one of her hand-maidens. "Sitting around and doing nothing is…boring."
"My apologies, but I wanted to make sure that everything will work in the end," the vizier said.
"Then, I shall proceed," Usagi said, cupped her hands. A ball of energy forms within her palms.
"In the name of our Great Maker, I bestow my life to the vision of the Great Suleyman," Usagi said, as she slammed the energy sphere into pillar, activating the node. "It is done…"
Once the nodes were activated, Suleyman and those who assisted in creating the Web of Faith met in a virtual realm, accessed only when combining aspects with the Mind and Space, which was named "Mt. Oaf". Mt. Oaf would serve as a place where Suleyman and his followers could dwell without fear, and where they would stand guard against the Devil King and other threats to the Arabian Peninsula. Essentially, access to the Web of Faith could only be done by using a mental disciplining technique that had the curious side-effect of rendering its possessors' presence invisible to others, even when standing in a crowded room. This technique would be later called 'Arcane' by the Hermetic wizards, while Suleyman and those who first practiced this discipline "The Subtle Ones", or the Ahi-Al-Batani. They would go on to help form the Council of the Nine Traditions (or simply, "The Traditions"), and remain a member in good standing, until their betrayal in the early 20th century, when the other members of the Traditions refused to help the Ahi-Al-Batani protect their Web of Faith from the Technocratic Union (or simply, "The Technocracy"). In disgust, the Subtle Ones withdrew from the Council, severed the Web of Faith's connection to the Earth, and disappeared into the mysteries of time. Ranma and Usagi knew what had happened to their old colleagues, but they were not about to tell anyone out of respect for Suleyman.
However, this would not be the last time a virtual "web" would be known…
Decades ago, in Manchester, England…
"Success!" yelled Alan Turing, as he removed his weird-looking headset from his head, as he moved away from a contraption that was a cross between a telephone switchboard and a radar panel.
Lady Usagi Tsukino, Duchess of London, was nearly startled by the outburst.
"Oh!" Usagi said, as she settled her teacup on her saucer. She was drinking her morning tea over her collection of scrolls, old tomes and textbooks, in an effort to recreate the Web of Faith, using science and technology instead of mysticism and alchemy. After the conclusion of the War, chief cryptologist Dr. Alan Turing, a mathematician, proposed an idea to wartime leader Prime Minister Winston Churchill of a radical idea of advancing the way people communicated and pass along information using mathematics in a 'virtual' environment. That was when Chruchill suggested to Turing that he could work on his concept with his personal assistant, Usagi Tsukino, on the project. Turing was not impressed with Usagi at first, thinking that she was a bit bubbly in thought. However, as time went on, Usagi impressed Turing with her intellect, and it was then that Usagi learned that Turing was a member of the Technocratic Convention's sub-group known as the Difference Engineers (a group who specializes in using technology and spatial dimensions for trans-location), as well as Turing learning that Usagi was the Founding Mother of his organization. And since then, they've been friends ever since. Most importantly, Usagi and Turing were on the verge of rediscovering the means of creating a spatial plane similar to the Web of Faith…
"Alan!" Usagi said, as she goes into the next room, only to bump into an excited Turing, as he suddenly grabs Usagi before dancing about in joy.
"Oh, this is a happy day!" Alan said, as he twirls about with Usagi in arm.
"Alan, knock it off!" said Usagi nervously. "What if people see us to gether?"
"It'll probably help my reinstatement case to the university, if nothing else," Turing said, referring to the fact that he lost his prestigious position at the University of Manchester, due to the fact that his homosexuality had been publically exposed. "But enough about me; let me show you what I have found…"
Going back to Turing's lab, Turing and Usagi hooked themselves up to the device that Turing was testing only a few minutes ago…
"Now, just relax, and enjoy the ride," Turing said, as he and Usagi puts on a pair of special goggles, while activating the device.
Usagi wondered what she would see, until her entire senses exploded with color and sensation…
"You did it, Alan," Usagi said breathlessly, as she surveyed the landscape. "I see…Primary Village in the distance, where Ranma, Obi-Wan and I had been…"
Usagi then turns towards a different direction.
"I…I see Mt. Oaf, it is very feint in the distance…"
"Yes," Turing said proudly. "The place that is the intersection of the Mind and Space will serve the needs of all who wish to create their brave, new world, without the need for approval from the political and religious authority."
"And, just like the Web of Faith, this virtual world exists along the lines of communications, from telephone wires to radio signals, instead of ley lines and nodes."
Usagi nods her head, as she looked down on the ground. On the ground, under her feat was a grid of some kind, consisting of white lines that crisscrossed into perfect squares.
"Did you do this, Alan?" Usagi asked, as she pointed to the ground.
"Yes," Alan said, as he knelt down. "As indicated by your notes, I have formatted the ground to represent a clear, mathematical foundation, from which a new reality can be created."
"Always thinking about numbers," Usagi said, as she shook her head.
"But more to the point, I discovered the mathematical basis for a true 'artificial intelligence'. Instead of binary to determine 'yes' or 'no', we can add 'neither' as the basis of machine code."
"You're talking about a…trinary numeral system," Usagi replied.
"Pretty radical, but I believe that such a system will be the basis of true AI someday…"
Alan gets up and surveys the scene before him.
"And it is because of that system that I was able to devise the means to recreate the conditions that enabled the existence of the Web of Faith."
"Then, what shall we call this new spatial reality, Alan?" Usagi asked.
"We can call it…the 'Virtual Web'," Alan said proudly. "And, you won't have to rely upon superstition to access what ancients once referred to as 'playground of the gods'. No, all people will have the ability to shape their own paradise."
"What are you going to do with this discovery?" Usagi replied.
"A gentleman never kisses and tells," Alan said with a wink and a smile.
"I figured as much…"
Alas, Turing would never explore his Virtual Web, due to the fact that later on that year, while Usagi was away, Turing had died. However, Usagi suspected foul play, considering the fact that he had everything going for him with his discovery. In the end, his death would inspire his colleagues within the Difference Engineers to break away from the Technocracy (although it was rumored that Usagi may have had a hand in this). Upon taking the place of the Ahi-Al-Batani's seat on the Council of the Nine Traditions, joining their like-minded brethren, the Victorian/Pulp minded masters of Matter "Sons of Ether" (who took the place of the Alchemist band known as the Solificati on the Council, with Ranma's help), the Difference Engineers became the "Virtual Adepts", and Virtual Web will never be the same again…