Day 1: June 1, 2106
Before me shimmered an alphanumeric message:
Local Node Reports:
Unterminated transit query at
System Check Monitors request:
Transit query termination.
I had no idea what an unterminated transit query was. The message faded, replaced by a set of twelve doors, all different colors, and each marked with an icon, none of which resembled those on the keys. One was marked with an interlocked C and P, which I judged must stand for Central Processing. I examined the door (really a box or cube hanging in space, but somehow it felt like a door). I could see no way to enter.
I pressed the key with the brain icon.
The figure appeared in front of the doors and said, "We regret that mindlink remains inoperative at this time. Local Node diagnostics are working on the problem. To enter a dataspace, please look at the desired doorway and press the key marked with the datacrystal icon."
Of the four keys, only one even remotely resembled a crystal, so I looked at the CP doorway and pressed it.
CENTRAL PROCESSING opened swiftly, exposing a room of shifting shades of yellow and gold, empty. Then a table (no, not a table - a flat horizontal surface) appeared. On it were three objects. They reminded me of mayonnaise jars, squat cylinders of a brilliant blue. I couldn't think of anything else to do, so I looked at the one closest to me (labeled in hanging text, "PRIORITY THREE MESSAGE: CCNode") and pressed the key again.
The figure reappeared. "We regret the loss of vision and voice data from data storage modules. At the present time all information is textual. Local Node diagnostics are working on the problem. Worldnet thanks you for your patience."
The figure vanished.
Then the data storage module seemed to open and text appeared in the air:
Keywords: data, appeared, figure, key, pressed, icon, marked, processing, central, query, transit, node, local, message, storage, text, table, looked, doorway, problem, working, diagnostics, time, regret, enter, hanging, door, keys, resembled, doors, unterminated
All text © 1986 Rob Swiggart. "Portal : A Dataspace Retrieval" is available courtesy of the Author's Guild Backprint Programme. ISBN: 0595197841All programming and software © 2002 Salim Fadhley. Released under the GPL. Code available on request.
Updated: Sun Apr 14 2002
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