This is a rewrite of an old story that I did under a different name (DarkStorm3, if you want spoilers and…less quality writing). Names have changed, trims have been made, but the essential story is there. Enjoy.

Upon the awakening of the One, the Internet exploded with speculation. There had be eyewitnesses everywhere of the terrorists that was what the news had called them- escaping from a government building. The witnesses who had been found, those who had stayed out of curiosity had been rounded up, briefed by the police and let go. A few people had disappeared, although that had not made to news. The hacking community in general seemed to be losing people weekly, at a rate that alarmed the more outspoken of their groups and drove many further underground. The world at large went on, but a new tension filled the air. The world felt a little colder, a little starker than before.

Three weeks after the incident, a young student sat before her computer, reading over the first draft of a paper for her elective philosophy class.

The Cave theory in Plato's Republic: A group of people are chained up in a cave, to the point of complete immobility. A fire burns behind them, although they cannot see it. An overseer makes a shadow play on the wall, and convinces then that this is all the reality they ever need. There is nothing else for them outside. Then a change occurs; someone smuggles one person out, possibly at great personal risk. How would the prisoner react to this new world. Shock is a given. Yet beyond shock there might be denial, anger, possibly even violence before settling down into a new environment, if that person is even capable of adjusting.

The French revolution- meant to be about liberty, but human nature fucked it up; people still starving, taken over by a dictator; but the Enlightenment (see Voltaire works), through bloody, laborious and almost fatally premature birth (in some cases) led to a revolution of thought, in the idea of our own self-worth. This kind of thinking had not been around for nearly a millennium, when Rome collapsed and Europe was thrown into anarchy, and chaos before the seeds of democracy and free thought, scattered to the wind, finally took root once more.

What is the next step? We are anesthetized by media. No one bothers to take to the streets anymore, yet views are polarizing in the wider world. In a world overwhelmed by both constant low-level anxiety and creeping apathy, by pills and pop stars, what will it take for a people stand up once more? Do we fight to pull our friends out into the light, or attempt to crawl back into our innocence?

That last sentence pulled the student out of her fog, and she jerked back from the monitor. She couldn't even pretend this was an intellectual exercise anymore, no matter how she buried what she knew.

She had been walking, that was all. She had been in a café reading bloody Plato, Aristotle, wishing she were at home, in bed, coding, with friends- anywhere else. But no. This was her minor. This was the balance the department had mandated, and now she was in philosophy reading on dead white guys while her classmates took a day off. Not bitter. Nope.

Still, it was an interesting exercise, arguing different ways to view the world. She was trying the to that with her code- make it shorter, take creative chances with it. One day she might elevate it to art. She had laughed at the pretentiousness of that back then.

But damn, it had been a gorgeous day. Anyone would agree that it was a shame to waste it, she wagered.

A helicopter approached a building up ahead. It was clearly having trouble. The pilot was trying to get out, and she realized that she was about to see some die. There was a crash.

But first there was a ripple. A stone in a pond. The pilot swung away on a safety line to the adjacent building.

Physics reasserted itself seconds later that yes, this was a glass building and behaved as such. A dissonant terror seized the girl and she ran, cutting down a side street and sprinting until the next major street, where the crash had not been visible. Calm, her mind whispered. Be calm. Everyone else is calm. You're not crazy. You're not crazy. But be calm.

Walk.