Learning to Ride
I'm a netborn. Never seen the "real" world. I was lucky enough to still have a childhood though. My dad's friend was tired of living live on the Net, especially since he had given hope of finding his lost wife after the Fall, so he allowed me to be born in exchange for his permanent deletion. And my dad chose to let me born as a child instead of me being born a fully grown man that I could have time to grow and mature. Just like he did.
Anyway when I was a boy there was sight that I loved to see. It happened about once a maintenance. A virus rider would come into town. They weren't greeted too kindly. Risky business. But the coder's appreciated them a bit as they gave them some new samples to study. And I appreciated them because I wanted to be one. Now most people are scared of viruses, but I was entranced by them. Those big black spiky bodies were just calling for me to ride and tame. The power! Sometimes the Riders would let me sit on them and make the virus slowly walk around a bit. My dad scowled whenever that happened. He thought it was too dangerous, but I loved every second of it.
I loved everything about those Riders. The command they had. The fact that girls digged the mysterious and cocky attitude they had. So one day when I had matured enough...I approached one in the bar. Surrounded by women. That sight reassured me that this WAS the life for me. And I went up to him, faced him eye to eye and told him I wanted to follow him when he left town. I wanted to join him. I wanted to learn. He laughed. Told me you don't learn, you're BORN with the ability, so I replied I wanted him to test me to see if I WAS born with it. Gave me a look, not sure what kind of look it was even to this day. It was either a "You got guts, kid" or a "What are you, stupid?" look. Doesn't matter. He agreed. Next day I walked out of the webfort I had spent my whole life in to the great wild Net.
I trailed after that Rider for ages. I didn't get a virus to ride, but he got his virus to trot so I could keep up. I stayed close to him. I heard about what was out here, and it made me both excited and scared. I'm not sure how long it took us but eventually we found a small link. We jumped through it and into a seemingly bare page. But there was a small link at the end of it, tiny, but it was there if you knew to look for it. Then there was a page that asked us for a password. The Rider, who from my failed attempt at conversation during our short travel I had learned was called Dagger. Probably not his real name, but what did I care? So long as he taught me the trade I'd call him Duke Flaurence, anyway he typed the password in quickly. We gained access to a link and we went through.
In that link was a ranch. Well it looked like a ranch, I had once read an article about them brought from Wikipedia. Anyway it was a ranch of viruses. All sorts of different kind. They all looked fairly...well virus like. I guess the real world word for it would be insectoid. And I'm just stunned. it was both horrible and wondrous at the same time. And Dagger, well he sees the look on my face and he give me a big grin and says "Welcome to the Ranch, boy. You wanna be a Virus Rider? You gotta learn how to ride."
I can't tell you about my time in the ranch. Trade secret, y'see? But let's just say a boy went in and a man came out. And I learned the secret. I learned the history. Sure, a Virus Rider looks impressive when he bringing down a sea of death upon a Cyber, or he is scampering around on a fast Virus. And his lifestyle might seem ideal the way he has his women and drinks his drink. But there's a reason he lives life so fast. Because he is NOT impressive when he commands a virus to distract a Cyber and ends up being mauled and stripped of his code into nothing. And even worse is if he get corrupted and the virus takes over his mind....and all he can do is watch as he corrupts other and kills more, not being allowed the release of deletion but longing for it as he destroys any friends he might have made in his lonely life...
'Course that won't happen to me. Why? Because I'm the best. And don't you forget it, y'hear?