His eyes opened. He saw... white. That was it. White. Not even a discernible line marking the horizon. Which way was up? Which way was down? He was laying down. He moved his arms up to his chest and pushed himself up. His eyes darted back and forth. Still just white. Scooting a knee under himself he was able to get his other foot planted and get to his feet. He was beginning to panic now. Everywhere he looked it was solid white. It was bright, but there were no lights. He possessed no shadow either. Just white.
His breaths quickened. He struggled to provide depth to the surroundings that defied such three dimensional properties. It was impossible to tell what he was even standing on. Where was he? How did he get here? Where the f**k is here!? His head began to get light. He was breathing too fast. If he didn't control he breathing he'd pass out. Okay, think about home!
He waited. But nothing came. The word flashed is his mind; 'home'. Again, no memories came. He didn't remember home. His breathing became even more rapid than before. What about the world? Nothing. Surely he'd be able to remember his name? Again, nothing.
"Hello? He asked.
There was no echo.
"Hello!?" he asked again this time louder and more frantic. "Heellooooo!"
His head became very light and eyes darkened. Everything began to blur, and then... nothing.
He awoke again. He opened his eyes and saw again the lifeless, plain, solid white. He stood again. As he scanned for any hint of normality, he felt again panic with a slap of disappointment to his hopes of having been dreaming on top of it. Again he tried to remember his name. Still the memory eluded him. Was he dead? Are the dead really damned to to stand alone in a solid white abyss for all eternity? Not knowing anything of what they had done in their lives? Standing alone forever. Standing? He looked down at his feet. The tips of his leather boots shined and were perfectly black along with the rest of what looked like military fatigues dressed on his person, which he hadn't even noticed until now.
Back to the boots. He couldn't tell if he was even standing on anything. For all he knew he was floating in the center of a perfectly white sphere. Carefully he took a step. His foot landed on solid ground. He took another step, this time more confident. Then another step. He looked ahead of him into the white. Well he couldn't see where he was walking, but what could that hurt. There was nothing here, but maybe there was something over there. He stepped lightly as he started his trek into the white.
As he walked further he became more natural with his steps instead of scaring himself by thinking he was going to fall and plunge into nothingness. The word "further' caught his mind. How did he even know he was going anywhere? He could be walking in place for all he knew. But how the f**k was he going to measure if he was going anywhere or not?
He pondered this just for a second. He had pockets! Lots of them why hadn't he thought to check them before? He searched all his pockets. The only things he found was a small metal rod about the size of a ballpoint pen and a laminated index card. It was a plain white card that read simply: "M-CHAOS". What the f**k could that possibly mean?
He looked at the metal rod. He placed the card back in his pocket. The rod didn't appear to have any buttons or seams. He ran his fingers across it. There were no bumps, creases, cracks, crevices, or holes. It was perfectly smooth and both tips were rounded. It was cold just as he remembered metal to be. Or at least how the thought he remembered it. There was something about it. It was important. Somehow more important than his own life but, knew not how or why. He stared at it for minutes, or was it seconds? Time seemed to have no bearing in this place either. He returned the rod back into his pocket and pulled back out the card. He started walking as he examined it.
"M-CHAOS"? He had no clue what it was for or what it meant. It must have been of some importance otherwise it wouldn't have been on him. He struggled again to remember what had happened before he awoke in this place. His glance moved back to his feet.
Oh god. He had forgotten why he'd checked his pockets in the first place. He slipped the card into his back pocket and removed his jacket. He threw it on the ground behind him and took ten steps farther. His jacket did in fact move away from him as he walked, just as he was experimenting to see. That did not necessarily mean he was going anywhere but that his jack only moved farther away from him as he walked but, It was good enough for him.
He returned to his jacket and replaced it on his person. Then he began walking again.
The scenery hadn't changed at all. He had no clue how far he'd walked or where he was even going. All he knew was that a small pen sized metal rod was more important than his own life and that "M-CHAOS" has some relevancy to him. His brain was wrecked. Because he knew nothing of what had occurred in his life before he had woken up, there was little for his brain to do besides ask itself the same puzzling unanswered questions of his surroundings and the position he was in.
He possessed none of of the answers however. That fact angered him. He hated having things happen that were beyond his control. Or did he? He didn't even know who he was. Regardless, that's how he felt now. He was who he was but, he had no memory of what had made him into that person.
As the hours passed, he began to get tired of walking. He threw off his jacket and used it to wipe the sweat off his head before tossing it on the ground next to him as he sat. Burying his face in his hands, he tried to block out the nightmare that surrounded him. There was no noise except for his own. His breathing, every step he had taken, it was so quiet he could hear his heartbeat. At least he knew he was alive.
He released a long sigh and lifted his head to stare blankly. Suddenly a small black dot appeared in front of him. It was very tiny. About the size of a pinhole. He reached forward to touch it but his hand never reached it. His depth perception had no bearing here which meant he had no perception of how far away this dot was.
Leaning forward, he tried again. Still nothing. He stood to his feet and took a few steps forward. The dot remained. He was a three dimensional creature stuck in a two dimensional world. Without warning the dot began to grow. He watched as the tiny dot became a small Red Square. He stared at it in astonishment. It was the first sign of change he'd seen in all the time he could remember. It was about the size of a quarter now, only square.
As it grew larger it grew faster. He took a step back but, it seemed not to make a difference. He was becoming nervous and again panicked. Though it was exciting; it was also terrifying. It grew until it was about the size of his chest. A dark Red Square the size of his chest. Then it just sat there. He stared at it with curiosity, but was too shocked to move.
What the f**k was this? It brought up all the old question again too. Where am I? How did I get here? He didn't know how far away it was either. He could be a mile from it for all he knew. It could be bigger than a planet and thousands and thousands of miles away. He slowly and cautiously raised his arm and extended his hand to touch it. His fingers were met with nothing. He took a step forward.
That action was immediately met by the loudest, highest pitch note he had ever heard. It rattled and picked at his brain. It f*****g hurt. His hands cupped his ears trying to keep it out and he screamed from the pain that it caused. It wasn't working. He stumbled back, shaking his head violently. Desperately he scanned his brain for any solution to keep the noise out, but couldn't reach any conclusion. He fell to his knees and pressed his head against the ground. Even if he had a solution he doubted he could have went through with it. The pain was just too much.
He slammed his head against the ground, but it refused to cease. The pain from that was not felt over the pain induced by the deadly pitch. It seemed to go one forever. Then, without warning it stopped. It was silent. He had been holding his breathe. He released the air in his lungs and sucked hard for more. His hands fell to the floor and lay planted there as he caught his breathe.
"F**k!" he yelled, obviously to no one.
Sweat poured from his forehead and he felt very hot. He raised his head and looked at the Red Square that was ominously still and continued to remain. He rose to his feet, still breathing heavily. His eyes stared deeply at the square.
"What the hell is going on here?" He asked himself without knowing the answer.
The square made not one more sound. Nor did it even make a twitch of movement. It was all silent again. Just him the Red Square and the white abyss. It was so quiet he began to wonder if the ear shattering noise had even sounded or if it was just part of a delirium. The Red Square could be a hallucination for all he knew and it was becoming more and more apparent that he knew very little.
Did it happen or not? He wasn't sure. He just stared cautiously and scornfully at the Red Square. It was a long time before he stopped gazing at it and sat down next to his jacket. He placed his face back in his hands and cried. The tears filled his hands and ran down him forearms and cheeks. He had to release all the built up stress and anxiety. He cried until he couldn't cry anymore. And then he slept. Again he didn't know for how long, but when he awoke; the Red Square was gone.
He scanned left. He scanned right. Nothing. Just white. Had that been a dream? Where did it go? He had fallen asleep and he lost the only thing that had shown any contrast to his surroundings.
"S**t....s**t." He said. "F*****g s**t!"
"You are an odd creature." A voice said.
It startled him and he jumped out of reaction. Quickly he scanned his surroundings again. Nothing. Who had spoken to him? Was it in his head?
"Who said that!?" He demanded to know.
"I did." The voice answered.
"Who are you? Show yourself!"
"I'm right here."
He scanned three hundred sixty degrees again, but saw nothing.
"You lie!" he screamed.
"I speak the truth."
There was nothing there. Just white! He looked all around him again. He glanced down and saw more nothing. Finally he gazed upward and it was there. The Red Square was planted above his head. The square? Was that what had spoken to him? Had it just been floating there watching him sleep?
"Is that you?" He asked pointing at the Red Square.
There was no response. It did not move, just simply remained. He quickly found himself shaking. There was too much adrenaline pumping through him. Still he looked up at Red Square. It was honestly the only thing to look at.
"Yeah, I'm talking to you!" He stated loudly.
"How is it that you've achieved three dimensional properties?" The voiced asked.
"What are you talking about? Who are you? Are you the Red Square?" He asked still not sure if it was the square talking or not.
The Red Square then moved from above him down to the level of his face. His eyes watched it the whole way. Then it began to circle him as if examining him. It was a perfect square the entire way. Never a hint of a corner or anything else to suggest this was anything but a flat two dimensional Red Square. It remained 'flat' the entire time it circled him.
"I am referring to your existence as a three dimensional creature." The voice replied. "How did this come to be?"
"I was born this way! Now tell me who you are!" he spun around as he said this.
The Red Square could be some kind of device for monitoring him.
"I have no name. You may call me... Red." the voice complied.
He turned to look at the square. It was in fact the Red Square that was speaking to him. But how? It had no mouth or eyes, nothing that would even indicate that it could contact or much less know of the world around it. Its not as if there was anything to touch or run into in this vast white nothingness. So it wouldn't have the concept of 'touch' either. This was all considering that the square or self proclaimed 'Red' was in fact a sentient being at all.
"Red." he said quietly.
"Yes, that is the name you have labeled me with. 'Red Square'." Red said.
"But, that's just it. You're just a Red Square." He replied voicing his confusion. "How can you speak or move or be capable of intelligent thought? How can you even exist? The properties-or should I say, the lack of property in this place is impossible."
"I should be the one to riddle you with queries, thick one. You are a three dimensional being in a two dimensional world. How did you come to existence?" Red retorted.
"I... I don't know." he explained. "I woke up and I was here. I can't remember anything. Not how I got here, where I even am or who I am."
"An 'awakened'. I have heard of your kind."
"What!? There are more people here!? Where!? Show me!" He shouted frantically.
"I cannot." Red replied plainly.
"What!? Why the f**k not?"
"I know nothing outside of this place."
"Well how did the others get here? There has to be a way back to my world if others like me have gotten here before!"
"Before?" Red asked quizzically.
"Yeah, you know, 'before'. As in..." He thought for a moment. "...time."
"I do not understand, thick one."
"Time!" He said it again as if the repetition would help the Red Square comprehend its meaning. "It... it's a form of measurement designed to catalog a chain of events."
"I understand the concept of what you are explaining to me. I will ponder this 'time'."
"Yeah, that's great, but how do you know of others like me if you've never left here and there are no more like me here?" He asked.
"There are others that exist in this place. I have heard of another place, with many similarities to the one we are in now, only its' properties are three dimensional. I have heard of more of your kind being there. They do not belong, but they appear from nothing. Or so I have been informed." Red explained.
"So if you know there are more like me why are you so surprised to see me here? Why is my 'existence' such an anomaly?"
"Well, because, thick one, it has been said that it is impossible for your kind to be able to sustain any type of existence here."
He wasn't supposed to exist? What the f**k was that supposed to mean? He was definitely here. The news of other humans was an absolute delight to hear but, the fact that he was most likely stuck here was nerve wracking and overwhelming in contrast. He needed to get out. Find the other humans and figure out just what the hell was going on.
"Can you take me to the one that told you all this?" He asked.
"Of course thick one." Red replied, seeming almost eager.
"How far is it?"
"I do not understand your word."
"Which one? 'Far'?"
"Affirmative. I have no knowledge of its meaning."
"Distance. Do you understand that?"
"No." Red replied.
"This is going to be a long walk no matter how far away this guy is, I can tell."
"I am going to assume that your meaning of that sentence is that you have no desire to explain further, so I shall merely commence leading you."
The Red Square slowly began to shrink in size. It was the only form of depth he had seen here other than when the Red Square had appeared. He had assumed it was only growing in size but he now realized it was because of its distance away from him, which the Red Square obviously had no comprehension of.
He picked his jacket up from the ground and followed the Red Square.
The Red Square continued to lead him across the white. He had been walking for about an hour he guessed. He didn't know for sure; it could have been two, or maybe three. He had tried explaining the concept of distance to the Red Square, but it couldn't even begin to fathom the idea so he gave up after awhile. He figured since there was no such thing as depth here, there would in turn be no sense of distance. He guessed that to be true since, again, he couldn't even tell how far he'd walked.
Red walked beside him, but still remained flat. It seemed as though no matter which angle, if those even existed here, he looked at it from, it would remain a flat two dimensional form. Was he the only three dimensional form in existence here? Red had said so. Then he remembered the metal rod. That was three dimensional. so was the card that mysteriously read "M-CHAOS". He hadn't even asked Red if he knew what that meant.
"Hey Red?" He asked.
"What is it thick one?" The Red Square replied.
"Do you know what 'M-CHAOS' means?"
"Negative. But the one we are going to see will know." Red answered.
"Are you sure?"
"Of course. That one knows many things."
Speaking of which how does this Red Square know how to speak English?
"How do you know how to talk?" He questioned.
"I... I am unsure. We have always communicated this way. Again, there are many things I do not possess knowledge of because as I stated; I have never left this place."
"How does The Other know so much?"
"The Other came from the outside." The Red Square explained. "In what you refer to as 'time' there have been many events that have occurred since The Other came here."
"So I'm not the only three dimensional entity here?" He asked almost as a statement more that a question.
"No. You are in fact the only three dimensional entity residing here. The Other was stripped of his three dimensional properties upon arriving here. You are unique."
What!? How could an entity be stripped of their own physical form? That would be impossible! Then again, this place itself existed, which was... what? What was this place? He couldn't find a word to label it with. It was... detrimental to his mind's capability of perception? Well yes it was, but no it was... Frightening? Fascinating? Yes and yes. He didn't even know where he was going with his thoughts.
"You mean he's a human?" he asked.
"What is a human, thick one?" Red asked in return.
"A human, does he look like me?"
"No, his appearance is far from yours. He is the shape of a circle and the color of black."
What the f**k? Are all the creatures in this white hell shapes? What next a purple hexagon that can juggle? He laughed out loud.
"What are you doing?" Red asked with a puzzled tone.
"What is laughing?"
What was laughing? He would try his best to explain it.
"It's just something you do when you find something amusing or humorous."
"Yeah, like funny?"
"You are indeed an odd creature." Red stated.
"Forget about it." He said raising his hand so his palm faced the square.
They walked in silence for awhile longer. The scene was the same. Still white. He began thinking of all that had happened in the past however long he'd been here and one memory stuck out from the rest. When that high pitched screech had pierced his head. He still didn't know if that had been the Red Square or not.
"Was that you that made that awful noise when you first show yourself to me?" He inquired.
"Yes it was." Red answered.
"Why did you do that?" he asked. "That really hurt"
"I had to keep you from touching me."
"What? So you were scared of me?"
"On the contrary, thick one. I was protecting you."
"Protecting me!? You almost killed me! What the hell were you protecting me from? There's nothing here but white!" He exclaimed.
"I was protecting you from myself. If you had touched me, you would have been immediately de-atomized and you would not exist at present to inquire such matters."
De-atomized!? This made him very nervous to know that Red had that power just by touch. But, obviously the Red Square hadn't desired to impose that fate upon him. Not yet at least. He gazed down at his feet as he continued to walk.
"Well thank you for not wanting to kill me." He said sincerely.
"Is is of no praise thick one. I have heard of your species and find you all very intriguing. You could say I have an unexplainable infatuation with your kind."
"We call that a soft spot."
It had been about an hour since any words were spoken between the two. He was still in a little bit of shock that he was conversing with a square. He wanted to break the silence, but had nothing to say. What do you say to a Red Square? He released an imaginary sigh of relief when the Red Square broke the silence.
"I see him." Red stated.
He scanned the white and it wasn't long before he found the tiny black dot. It wasn't growing as far as he could see though. The Red Square had been coming up to him way faster that this. The Red Square must be fast as hell.
"Good, I'm getting tired." He said.
Using his jacket he wiped the sweat from his brow. He was pretty sure his ankles were blistered from the rubbing on the back of his combat boots. He constantly reminded himself why he was walking. He would get out of here. We would make it back home safe. He was dreaming. Okay, he wasn't dreaming, but he definitely wished he was. Each step hurt.
Silence ensued once more and it was maybe another half hour before the Black Circle was sizable. When it was nearly the size of the square a new voice cut through the white abyss.
"Stop where you are." the rough voice said sternly.
He ceased his treading immediately.
"How have you come to this place and what is your business?"
It was definitely the Black Circle that spoke.
"I don't have an answer for either question," He said plainly.
"If you have no reason, you would not be here. And to retain your three dimensional properties is quite a feat. You are here for a reason and it is best not to provide myself with false information. I am much more intelligent than the rest of the programs here."
"Yes, programs. You are in the Quarantine Zone of the Chaos Network after all. Humans don't just end up here, its a death trap. Where did you think you were?"
"I... I don't know. I can't remember anything. Not even my name. All I know is that I think I'm supposed to find something called 'M-Chaos', which I'm not quite sure what it is. Am I in a simulation?"
"Ha ha, 'M-Chaos' stands for 'Mainframe Chaos'. So, you were send to find the Mainframe were you? But you do not remember why. Which means that there is a great deal many things you do not remember. I can guarantee you however you are not in a 'simulation'. This place is real. There are other places in this world as well, all real."
He took a glance at the Red Square. It had not moved, or spoken the entire time.
"The Red Square brought me here. He said you could help me get out of here."
The Black Circle cackled maniacally before speaking again.
"On the contrary human. It is you that is going to help me."
"What are you talking about!?" he demanded.
"You came from outside of here and although you ARE here, you remain three dimensional. I don't really know how you arrived or why, but your data codes may hold the secret to my escape."
The Red Square twitched visibly in his peripheral view as the Black Circle continued.
"You see, I've been trapped here for a very long time. The other Shadows underestimated me by sending me here instead of destroying me themselves. You friend here the 'Red Square' as you call it, is actually one of a handful in this area. They are called Reapers, and they are responsible for uploading the programs that get sent here with a deadly virus. However, I figured out how to reprogram them to do what I want.
And now that you've been retrieved, your data codes are now mine."
"The f**k they are!" he rejected taking a few cautious steps backward.
There was no way of telling how the Black Square planned to accomplish his so called 'data theft', but he wasn't about to find out.
"Now, now, where are you going to go? I am infinitely faster here that you could ever imagine to be."
"Why?" asked the Red Square.
"Why what?" the Black Circle questioned in return.
"Why are you doing this, you had told I that humans were to be saved, and that was why you had sent me to retrieve this one."
"Yes, but that was before I realized the full situation."
"I will not allow you to end the Thick One's life." the Red Square stated firmly.
He continued to retreat backward as the two began quarreling. There definitely was no where for him to go but, he would make sure he had the biggest head start to wherever he was going as possible.
"Reaper Two, I command you to stand down!"
The Red Square suddenly moved and over lapped the Black Circle. He assumed the Red Square had just gotten in between him and his would-be killer.
"I conclude, you have falsely informed Reaper Squad Red long enough!"
Suddenly, without warning a doorway sized hole blasted into tiny pixels to his right. He threw his arm in front of his face but the clearly digital rubble came nowhere near him. The pieces fell to the floor and brought the first sign of depth he could recognize. The two shapes stopped fighting immediately. Another human male stepped into view of the hole and partially blocked the view of a grassy horizon in the background.
"Norton! Run! C'mon!" the man screamed as he waved his arm.
Norton was HIS name! He glanced at the two shapes before sprinting all out toward the opening.
"Noo!" Norton heard the Black Circle bellow.
"This ends!" the Red Square announced.
He dared not look back. As he drew closer he could see the man was wearing the same uniform as he was. Only this man had what appeared to be a rifle in his hands. He came within a stride of the man before he grabbed Norton by the arm and flung him onto the grass.
"Close it! Do it now!" the man said.
"Yes sir!" replied another he had not noticed, nor did he bother to look at now that his face was planted firmly into the odd but familiar feeling of grass.