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(MSDWC) 404 pt 1

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posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 02:46 PM
The insistent pounding of the door woke Colin Bradbury from his drunken sleep. One eye opened and peered painfully at the dust motes that glowed briefly incandescent in the light streaming through a gap in the curtains.
Groaning, he hauled himself out of bed, and went to check who was calling at his home.
The hangover wasn’t to last. As he saw the logo of the delivery van downstairs, his pulse quickened and anticipation hit new levels.
He briefly opened the window yelling, “coming - just a minute” to the driver, hoping it would keep him there for another couple of minutes.
Hopping into his jeans, and pulling a t-shirt on, he wondered where his wife and kids were - then he saw the time, 11:27 - “christ” he thought “I must have had more than I realised last night”

Opening the door, he saw the rather impatient delivery driver. Mumbling an apology, he directed him to the study, and where the boxes should go.
“Sign here mate” and he was gone.
Noticing the trembling in his own hands, he wondered whether it was an after effect of all the beer, or simply the fact that he had been waiting the best part of a month for the delivery.
“Ok, ok, first things first - some coffee and some toast first”
This habit of talking to himself was something which had started in childhood, and had continued ever since, despite the best efforts of well meaning people: and what was more important, Colin simply didn’t care who heard him.

Coffee and toast consumed, he washed the dishes and went to his study.
On the side of the box, was the legend:
Exstatron 7500GT, BioSynth PC.
As the purchaser, he knew that it also contained the new ‘neural interface’ and ‘total immersion virtuasuit‘, as well as a more mundane monitor and keyboard/mouse.

Quickly now, all anticipation replaced by childlike glee, he opened the packaging and started to assemble the machine, taking care to read the appropriate wiring directions. He noticed with pleasure the neural interface headset, and then frowned at the virtuasuit as he tried to work it out.
Putting it aside for the moment, he finished connecting the parts, and with baited breath, switched on.

The computer hummed gently as it came on, and started to go through the initial set up and passwords which would give him access not only to the PC, but also the SSWW - the advent of colonies throughout the solar system had given rise to the SolarSystemWideWeb, back in the first half of the century, and had pretty much rendered the WWW obsolete. It was now possible to communicate with every part of the solar system via the satellite relays orbiting the earth and moon. Of course the time lag was a bit of a pain, and real time conversations were next to impossible, but he now had access as close to real time as possible.

He rather gingerly picked up the neural interface before setting it down onto his head, and adjusting the straps.
The biosynth PC immediately started to connect to the communications part of his brain, reading the unique signature of neural activity it found there and calibrating itself to establish contact/connection.
Once done, he found that he only had to think hard about an application, and it appeared on the monitor screen.

“Ok, control, settings, voice settings - hmmm, might be fun to try and give it a nice, sexy voice, especially if I’m going to be spending a lot of time on here”
The message flashed up, ‘use a default voice, or download from selected source’
“Download from selected source”
‘specify source’
‘source confirmed, downloading voice software’

Hearing the door open, and the voices of his family, he left the study and went out to greet them.

“Hi honey, the new PC arrived”
“I’m surprised you heard it, the state of you last night” came the reply from his wife, Tabitha.
“Yeah, well, all work and no play - you know how it is when I’m bored”
“The new PC should cure that - I’ll finally be able to get you out from under my feet, and you’ll be able to do some proper work”
“Hey Dad” said Phil, his son, “when can I use the new machine?”
“Come on now Phil” replied Colin, “you know this is for work, I’ll explain what it does, but you’re not to touch - that’s why you have a computer in your room, and I have one in my study”
“Aww geez Dad, Ok” he groused, “can we do it now?”
“Sure, come through”

Entering the study, and keeping a wary eye on his son, Colin started to describe the computer:
“This is the newest biosynth computer” he said, “it’s a synthetic imitation of how a human brain works, and it uses a new biological process exclusive to the synthetic simulation. Basically, what this means, is that it’s faster, has no chips or circuitry apart from in the start up process, and can connect directly to your brain using the neural interface. If you use the suit as well, you become totally immersed in a virtual world that is a lot easier to use than conventional systems. It also has the ability to learn, after a fashion, and because the memory capacity is so big, can keep doing so for a number of years. This system is nearly future proof, and won’t be obsolete any time soon”
“WOW! So where’s the suit?” asked Phil.
“Oh, I haven’t got round to that yet” came the reply, “now go and get busy with something else, I need to finish up in here”.

His son gone, Colin started to browse the instructions for the suit, and finally found that he didn’t need to do much at all.
The suit had been made to measure, and all he had to do was drape it around himself, and the suit would mould around his body, from back to front, before meeting at the front and fastening itself, due to a new intelligent polymer, there were no actual fastenings - the suit simply moulded around his form and then met seamlessly at the front.

Seated now, and with the virtuasuit and neural interface calibrated and working, he set about opening the voice program that had finished downloading.

“Just as long as it doesn’t sound like H.A.L.” he muttered
‘new voice options, play files?’
“Play files”
As the voice files began to play, he quickly skipped through the voices that he didn’t like, until he heard the one he wanted. He sat stunned, as he listened to the voice again, it had a quality that reminded him of honey. It was soft, mellifluous and sensual, with a touch of throatiness.
“Select file”
‘install voice personality?’
‘installing - this will take no time at all.’

Looking into the virtual world he was in, Colin noticed a face appear. It was a beautiful female face that perfectly matched the voice.
‘what would you like to do now, Colin?’
“open file,` Password is oxford”
As the work began to load up on his eyescreen, Colin forgot about the real world for a while, and buried himself in work.

Almost immediately, to his mind, came the call for dinner. He went through to the dining room and sat down to eat, the customary glass of wine at his left hand.
“So, how’s the new toy?” asked Tabitha.
“It’s just marvellous,” replied Colin, “I wouldn’t have believed I could get so much done, so quickly - I’ve been really nervous about leaving everything to the guys on moon base, and now I can oversee them properly”
“Well, just be careful, you don’t want them to think you’re looking over their shoulders all the time.”
“I take your point, but it’s my company, and I have to make sure that everything’s ok.”
“Of course, but just take it easy, until they get used to seeing you on a regular basis on the neural thingy, whatever it is”
Colins face grew quickly red as he struggled to contain the laughter and swallow his food at the same time.
“Sure honey” he finally gasped, “but why don’t you try it sometime - it’s not good to be a complete technophobe in this day and age”
“That’s ok,” said Tabitha “I know how to turn it on, browse and maybe download the odd file - but Colin, I’m never going to be as into it as you, and nor do I want to be”

posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 02:59 PM
Part 2

“Sure, whatever you feel comfortable with” - an argument was the last thing he wanted after such a good day.

Dinner finished, Colin returned to his study, and re-immersed himself.
The face floated in front of him ‘what would you like to do now, colin?’
“control, settings, voice settings, personality, name”
‘select or enter name’
“enter name, Salma”
‘name entered, you may now address me as Salma’
"How are you Salma, may I say what a beautiful voice you have"
'thank you colin, would you like to see my full range of programs and add ons? there are clothes and styles that can be added to suit your needs. All you have to do is ask'
"Sure, Salma, let me see what you can do"
The displayed image went through a change, and appeared again in a cocktail dress made of what appeared to be crushed silk.
The image changed again, to become a casual outfit of jeans and t-shirt.
Once again the image changed, becoming a lace teddy with matching stockings.
'whatever you like, Colin, I've got something for every occasion. Remember, I'm here to please you'
"That's very nice Salma, can you also change your basic appearance?"
'I can, Colin but I would recommend against that course, as it invalidates some of my more interesting personality traits'
"Ok Salma, whatever you say"
“Salma, goto work file again”
‘re-open work file colin? Are you sure? All work and no play, colin - you know what happens’

Shaking, Colin wrenched the headset off and quickly shed the suit. Beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead as he tried to rationalize what had happened.
Grabbing the phone, he called the helpline number that appeared in the warranty.
“Oh, balls, I can’t go through all these menu’s, I just need to speak to someone.”
Eventually, got through to an operator and told them what had happened.
“That’s perfectly normal sir. When you first connect via the neural interface, there is sometimes some residual thoughts picked up if you spoke to someone immediately before interfacing. This happens more often if you download the voice and personality add ons. Think of it as the machine trying to please you and make you feel more comfortable”
“Well, it bloody didn’t - it frightened the life out of me. Are you sure this is normal?”
“Perfectly sure, sir. Was there anything else? No? Thank you for calling” said the disembodied voice.

“All right, all right. That was pretty freaky, but nothing to worry about. It’ll just take some getting used to. I think I’ll call it a night though, and maybe have a chat with Tabitha about it, might help calm me down.”

In the living room, as he spoke to his wife, the conversation became more tense.
“What do they mean, trying to please you?”
“That’s what the guy at the company said, presumably it’s to make you feel pleased with the product, you know, like a personal customer service rep, that kind of thing. Although I have to admit it freaked me out a bit.”
“A bit! You had two brandy’s! That’s more than a bit, that’s bordering on shock! Look at you, you’re still shaking!”
“I wasn’t expecting it, maybe I should have read the manual more closely.”
“Yeah, like anyone can understand those things” she sniffed.
“Look, I don’t want an argument about it, I’ll have another look at the settings tomorrow, and see what the options are. I mean, I don’t want a tool treating me like a long lost friend every time I want to use it.”
“Ok then, let’s just go to bed and get some sleep. I’ve got to take Phil shopping tomorrow for some new school clothes, and you know how stressy that is.”

The next afternoon, as Tabitha entered the house, she noticed how quiet it seemed.
“Colin?” she called
“Colin?” louder this time.

Checking the study, she found that the computer was still switched on, although the neural headset and virtuasuit lay on the chair in front of it.

“Where’s Dad?” asked Phil.
“He must have just gone out for something, I’m sure he’ll be back soon.” replied Tabitha.

Dinner time came and went, and as there was still no sign of Colin, she started to get worried - after all, this just wasn’t like him, he always phoned when he was going to be late.

Nine pm, and getting closer to panic, she decided to check the study once more, before calling the authorities.

As she entered the room, she saw the screen flicker briefly, and text appeared: go to
She frantically typed in the address, and stared in disbelief at the screen.
Located on the page was a facsimile of her husband, waving frantically - a new message came up: put on the headset, so I can talk to you. I can’t get out of here, the suit and headset won’t respond, and I don't know where I am, help me please, help me! Where am I? Please Tabithat, you have to help and help quickly.
“Colin, you’re in the computer! How do I get you out!” becoming hysterical was not a good idea at the moment, she had to calm down, and try and help.
Call the helpline, see if you can get a technician or something - this isn’t supposed to happen. The voice download said it loved me and wanted to be with me, and now I’m stuck here, and I don’t even know where here is!

Picking up the phone, Tabitha called the number, a recorded voice said:
“for servicing and promotions, press 1.
for hardware issues, press 2.
for software issues, press 3.
for all other enquiries, please hold while we connect you to one of our customer service representatives, this may take some time as we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls. Thank you for your patience.”
Five minutes passed as she listened to the turgid tones of muzak green sleeves, before she spoke to a real person.
Quickly, she told them what the problem was, and was surprised to hear in the background, “OHGODNO, not another one!”
“You mean this is happening to other people?”
“We are aware of the problem madam, and will have a service technician with you as soon as possible. Can you be available between the hours of 8AM and 6PM tomorrow?”
“We are currently experiencing a high volume of call outs, please be patient and someone will be with you as soon as possible” and with that the line went dead.

For the next ten hours, Tabitha paced frantically around the house, stopping in the study to communicate and try and reassure her husband.

Finally, the technician arrived, looking harried and unkempt as if he had been working non stop for days.

“OK, show me where the computer is”
Tabitha hurried him into the study, and stared in horror at the blank screen, “OH MY GOD, HE’S GONE!”
“He should be still, there, the machines gone into idle mode. Can you remember the file path or domain name?”
“Yes”, she replied and typed in Colin and hit enter.

The screen flashed up
404 error: page not found.

Panicking and swearing she typed it in again and again, each time, the page came up:

404 error: page not found.

The technician whispered, “There’s nothing we can do, he’s gone.”404 error: page not found.

posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:14 AM
Very interesting story budski! Well when these things come out i will certainly NOT be buying one now

posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:33 AM
the next time i get a 404 error i'll be sure to think of poor colon and his family.
that was a nice little story. good work i wasn't sure what to expect and got more then expected unexpectedly.

posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 04:57 AM
Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments.
Here's fingers crossed that people who read it, like it - as you seemed to.

By all means, buy the pc when it comes out - just don't get any voice/personality downloads.

[edit on 15/8/2007 by budski]

posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 05:40 AM

Originally posted by budski
Here's fingers crossed that people who read it, like it - as you seemed to.

Absolutely bud! I wish you luck. There are some great stories this competition is offering. Some healthy competition at that.

posted on Aug, 16 2007 @ 03:39 PM
Antar bows and then raises her glass in a toast to Budski ... Impressive work my friend. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

posted on Aug, 16 2007 @ 05:43 PM
thank you, I worked a bit at that one.

I wanted to do a different story, with the same name, except it was going to be about a really inept IT technician who kept screwing things up - every time he tried to remember how to do something - 404, except my bother talked me out of doing that one.......

Thats the latest joke with my mates:

"He's a bit of a 404"

[edit on 16/8/2007 by budski]

posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:34 PM
At first you had me worried the story was getting a bit too kinky.I must say OMG.Fabulous story.

posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 02:43 PM
Thanks very much - it's really very flattering that people like it.
Who knows - it might even encourage me to write some more

posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 11:30 PM
Ahhh, nice choice of genre, budski. I always love a healthy dose of pure sci-fi. Nice work!

posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 07:35 AM
Thanks flatwoods - I have to say, I do love a bit of sci-fi.
And you don't have to let annoying things like facts get in the way of a good story

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