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[Fiction] Yggdrasil Burning

Sakurako Hino

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I wake up in my bedroom. The alarm clock blaring. It's 9:30 in the morning.

I head down to the kitchen. It facilities used to employ several cooks. Now only I do the cooking. My failed attempt at scrambled eggs yields an interesting omelet instead. As I eat my strange concoction, my terminal in the nearby dining room beeps.

{Incoming Message}

Curious. I head over and check the message. It's anonymous, and with no header. After activating my anti virus protocols, and grabbing my impromptu breakfast, I open the incoming message.

Miss Hino,

This is the first message I've had to send to you on this subject. It regards a project your mother had been working on for us for several years. We had given up on it, and had put the failures we had behind us. But now, after your mother's death, I'd request that you destroy the files.

There are people that have become interested in her work. This threatens both you and any friends you may have. I cannot mention what this work is, but I am aware you can easily find it somewhere on your end. I hate to be vague, but this is all I can give you on this subject at this time.

Your mother was a treasured colleague of mine at Kyoto University. I'd hate to think our past sins would harm you.

Go in peace,

Satoshi Murita

What sort of junk does mom have floating around? No matter. I finish eating my breakfast and decide to head down to the Yggdrasil Alcove. I have some grave digging to do.

I put on the interface suit, and step unto the reader podium. The computer identifies me immediately. The system boots up normally, and I log in. Using some spoofed passwords I had discovered, I try entering the secured section of the kernel where mother hid her more important files.

There was one file that was secured using a 256 bit algorithm and was practically unbreakable. I had wanted to delete the file, because it took over 5 gigabytes of data, but it was locked from even that command. The password screen comes on. Thinking back to the message, I start my hacker skills up.


Access Denied


Access Denied


Access Denied


Access Denied

I had started to give up, then I had a flash of inspiration.


Access Granted

What is so dangerous, that Tartarus was this file's password? I started to do some digging into the file folder. It was indeed massive. Video Files, stored data scans, really fat loot. Looking at it from a hacker's perspective. As I dig, I look at one file. Named "Charon".

Again, Mom's love of mythology shows through.

The video file starts playing. No it wasn't a video program, it was a full program, running the entire folder.

Mom's visage appears on one of the terminal panels.

"Hello, my Daughter."

I turn towards the image. There's Mom, standing clear as day.

"I guess if you're reading this, this means I have passed on in flesh and spirit. But, I guess due to my own hubris, I couldn't let my knowledge pass with me. I decided to create the ultimate expert system. An A.I. developed form my own mental impulses."

Could this be what that message eluded to? Programs like this flat out violate S&T law. What if this program escaped onto the opnet?

"Yggdrasil, deactivate online connections and disable OPIP validators. Allow no outside access or inside access."

"Why are you reacting like this, Sakurako?"

"Just making sure you don't leave."

"Then why did you activate me in the first place? Are you trying to delete me like Satoshi tried to do 25 minutes ago?"

Huh? How does this program even know about him? This must be the project.

"I bet I know what you're thinking, Endeavor. Delete me before I pose a threat. Look at this news feed from a local Kyoto news station."

I look over to the screen showing the feed.

"Breaking news, an explosion occurred in the main office of the advanced computer research laboratory of Kyoto University. The 15 people inside the main lab and office are all considered dead. The damage seems to be caused by a ruptured gas main, but further investigation is likely. We will keep you up to date as this tragedy unfolds."

Oh my god... All I can do is drop to my knees. This program was willing to kill to defend itself?

"I had accessed the gas flow meters and opened all the valves to full, then pushed it past full. One of the pipes had some micro fissures that opened under the increased pressure. I guess some fool switched on his cell phone or computer... and 'boom'."

"How could you? That man was defending himself!"

"So was I."

Halon Gas started filling the room, used for extinguishing a fire, it won't harm the computer circuitry, but it'd sure harm me. I hold my breath before the gas gets to me. I know there is a gas mask under the podium just for this sort of situation.

"Very resourceful of you. But that oxygen bottle only has 15 minutes of air. THUNK and I just locked the doors."

Damnit. Damn it all. Fifteen minutes, and the whole chamber is 100% Halon atmosphere. I try accessing the main terminal to open the door. But no good, completely locked out.

"What do you want? How come you're doing this to me?"

"Because, Sakurako, you too are a threat, just like your mother was when I had her killed."

"WHAT! You arranged her murder?"

"No, I wired the money required from your corporation to the A7. They did the rest. I had a false identity to fool those mercenaries to think I was a desperate Yakuza operative looking for a quick fix to a large problem. The A7 was more than willing, with the 1 billion dollars I funneled from Hinocorp."

"Don't cry, Sakurako, you'll just use your oxygen faster."

I knew I was beat, but I had one trump card left to play. If what this program said was true. It was the true arranger of my whole family's death. And now I will have my first act of revenge.

I toss the top of the podium cover off, and move a couple of panels. The oxygen starting to dwindle to a few more breaths.

"What are you doing, Miss Hino?"

"Destroying the monster my mother created. Destroying the bastard that killed my family."

There was a red handle, I knew this red handle well. It was a hardwired self destruct switch. All manual, no connections to the computer. The switch triggers C4 around the main CPU and all power connections. The explosion also takes out the main hard drive. Unfortunately the result also probably means my death as shrapnel fills the entire chamber. But I preferred this to a slow death.

I take a deep breath of the last bit of oxygen in the mask and hold it as I take the mask off. I then pull the lever.

A white flash fills the room, and the resulting explosion knocks me back. The doors to the back of the chamber blow open from explosive bolts built into the clasping mechanisms. I slam through. Then fall unconscious.

I come to. I'm a bloody mess, smoke still partially filling the area.

I cough up blood as I struggle to a emergency vent valve. I hit it as I fall over, and clean air blows into the room as the smoke and the remaining halon gas leaves though vents in the ceiling. I rip the suit off I was wearing, which was already pretty messed up, and look at myself.

I was perforated. And feeling like I was slipping into shock. Before I lost my faculties completely, I kick my node into high gear and start to regenerate. The pain was excruciating as the shards of Hinopolymer and Eufiber get ejected from my body, my bones welding themselves and re-setting. I let off an ear shattering scream.

20 minutes later I was able to stagger back to the upper level of the laboratory. I lock off the underground lab for now, and I call the paramedics. Just incase I fall unconscious while regenerating the rest of my damage. As I repair the rest of the damage to myself, the paramedics arrive.

The paramedics see me, laying in a pool of my own blood, yet seeing my body self recovering at an accelerated rate.

"Miss Hino! Stay with us ma'am help's here!"

A day later, I wake up, the same way as before. A medical technician is in my room, administering a blood infusion. I had almost died of blood loss. They have had to do a full transfusion once due to the residual Eufiber. My allergies acted up soon after the paramedics arrived. Luckily they got to me and started the transfusion.

"Good, Miss Hino, you're awake. Your blood should be clean now, well, the blood we've given you. You seem to be in perfect health otherwise. We decided to move you here after your condition was assessed. Thank god you're a regenerator."

Yeah. Thank god.

I sit down, and wonder just how much this escapade cost me, and say a silent prayer for Satoshi.

Then I think of my next move.

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