The Fall, a Personal Perspective

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This is a companion fluff story for the /tg/ homebrew game Server Crash.

The Internet was all around us at all times. Everyone had an uplink thanks to the bioreceptors passed down from parent to child for the past few generations; the only people without a connection were part of old families that had actively refused to Connect for generations. This era of web relations seemed to be the pinnacle of human achievement, but we just had to go and fuck it up.

The Internet couldn't stay a nice happy place, if it ever was; instead more and more of people's base instincts came out, with the trolls and flames increasing every day. Even so, nobody outside of bad sci-fi writers could have imagined something like The Fall.

It was a crisp December afternoon when it all went down. I remember laying on my bed, conversing with a friend halfway around the world about some trite subject on what was known as /tg/. There was a slight blur for a moment, and then everything felt so much more, well I guess I'd describe it as real. We call it integration now, but the sudden loss of the white noise that makes up the feelings of one's actual body was quite refreshing at first.

It was a giant burden, that of breathing, pumping blood, blinking, all those functions suddenly no longer being necessary. I stood there for a moment, basking in the feeling until the little rational voice in my mind told me to ask myself why this happened. No new patches or updates were showing, so I figured it was a momentary hiccup in the system, one that I could make a fortune off of by commercializing. The panic didn't kick in until I tried to log off and couldn't. I went with every damn command I knew, but nothing worked. That's when everything started to go to hell.

The first “explosions” as we now call them went down about five cycles after decorporalization. I had a front seat to all of it, being on the same server node as what used to be know as /b/. That's where it spawned, the damn Sentient. An amalgamation of all the rage, hatred and loathing on the web giving the form of data and it was pissed. /b/ was just about gone in a quarter cycle. The only reason we and a few other boards of the current 149 survived was thanks to the extremely paranoid people manning the Firewalls, Moot be Praised. The moment shit started to happen, some blessed bastard ran a macro and we our site disconnected from the server node. I'm just surprised that it happened so quickly; me and most of the rest of the board were standing there dumbfounded at what was going on.

We picked up the occasional databoat coming from /b/ containing those smart enough to have an escape route; we call them /b/arbarians now. I'm just surprised anyone had these kinds of contingency plans, as I never would have thought of anything like this happening. I guess we were lucky that the Sacred Mods took the Terminator series to heart, especially #27.

We floated along what we now call the Netstream for a few cycles without seeing anything, mostly because we were too busy panicking to do anything productive. Nobody knew what was happening, if the swarm of blackness and what some people swore were tentacles was coming after us or what our site was doing, as the server data kept changing. It took a few more cycles, but the Mods sent us all messages as we calmed down; something had happened to /b/ and it had look to be spreading, so the board cut all contact.

We were now moving from server to server as free data, leeching off the memory and bandwidth of whatever node we came across in order to keep existing. The Mods told us to remain on the site and not try to go through links; the few that did never returned. We were lucky in that regard as well I suppose, as I've heard tales of entire sites being wiped out in after escaping because some stupid fragment decided to take a scroll through their bookmarks.

Our navigator eventually brought us to port at the first safe haven we came by, a little site called BBC. I was part of the shore team, having had experience here, and was given the job of documenting everything we saw. The inhabitants knew less than we did and hadn't opened any links mostly due to a mixture of fear and paranoia; it probably saved them. I took down everything they said and gave it to our Mod, we set down a permalink (we weren't as cautious about those back then, but this one never bit us back) and set sail.