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The utopia of the New Economy disappeared. It had to go somewhere.
The Dot Com era ended, rather badly. It could be that those dreams were unrealistic all along, and it could be that unscrupulous investors inflated the economy upwards beyond its value, planning to make money on the boom, then get out before it collapsed again, but the truth was that there was a dream there. For a while, people believed that the economy was changing permanently, into a new world of plenty, where old laws of scarcity didn't apply. Those dreams are gone now, but in some small way, the place remains.
The Unburst Silicon Bubble is empty now, a large dimly-lit bubble in Otherspace, lit with digital lights. It takes the form of a large sphere, and plugs on the walls connect the room to the power and communications networks of the outside world. You can reach it by elevator, if you've got the specially-created key.
The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system is the subway and metropolitan train that serves the San Francisco Bay Area. It connects most of the Bay Area, but despite grand plans, it never reached San Jose or the Silicon Valley. To get onto the train, you buy a paper passcard with a magnetic strip. This card holds money on an account, and is used to enter and exit the system - the ticket's funds are deducted upon exit from the station, with a variable charge depending on the distance travelled.
With a special passcard, enter any BART station. Take the elevator, not the escalator - every station has an elevator, but it's much slower, and mostly used for disabled patrons. Stay in the elevator for about ten minutes. When you're alone on the elevator - or only in the presence of others who go into the BART system with a special passcard - the elevator will sink below its usual level, and open up into the Unburst Silicon Bubble. The elevator can return anyone in the Bubble to any BART station at any time, though they'll need to use their BART ticket to exit the station again. You can add more money to a ticket at any time, but if the account ever reaches zero, it's kept by the gate machine and lost forever.
Creating the special BART tickets to enter the Unburst Silicon Bubble is a minor ritual, which was described on a website which otherwise contains meaningless garbled text. The ritual seems to have appeared on its own, along with a description of it. It can be found by searching online for the phrase "Unburst Silicon Bubble."
The Unburst Silicon Bubble
Cost: 6 minor charges
This ritual can only be used within the confines of Santa Clara County, in California, commonly known as Silicon Valley.
First, construct an altar, using a solid desk made from synthetic materials, a computer built before 2001 (any kind of computer will do as long as it's able to access the World Wide Web), two hundred and fifty-five peacock feathers, and two hundred and fifty-five corporate logos for bankrupt corporations (any company will work). Dress in the same outfit as a person on the cover of Wired Magazine. You don't have to look like them, as long as your clothes and makeup are the same.
Before this altar, burn borrowed money - at least one dollar more than your yearly salary or income. Yes, this definitely favors students, volunteers, and unprofitable entrepeneurs - these are common professions for those who survived the bubble, and symbolically favored. However, those who are completely unemployed or idle cannot use this ritual.
Once you've burned the money, work for 24 hours without sleeping or taking any break longer than thirty minutes. The work must be substantial work for your daily vocation, and it must be done in front of the altar. Extra credit, special projects, or other side work are fine, as long as it relates to your vocation. You don't need to use the computer built into the altar, but you can. During this 24 hours, receive a massage, and have someone cook a meal for you. You can take breaks up to half an hour, but you must not sleep. The last hour must be a stretch of constant work - no breaks longer than a minute.
Once the 24 hours are up, get up and walk away from the altar - you have about a ten second window to do this, so a good timer is highly recommended. Find a BART ticket that isn't yours, and isn't given to you. This can be tricky and could require a lot of work and scrounging. Picking pockets works too. You must find the ticket before you sleep. Once you've got the ticket, write the word "ZENADU" on the ticket in black magic marker. Then you can change your clothes and sleep.
After you've slept, photograph the BART ticket and put it up for sale on an online auction site. Any auction site will do, except for the most popular auction site on the web. Once you've put the ticket up for auction, write down the URL for the bidding, on the ticket, with black ball point pen. The pen must have a red ribbon tied around it. You can list it on more than one auction site, and write the URL for each one on the ticket, to make the ticket more robust.
As long as the ticket is listed for sale on at least one active auction site, but hasn't been purchased on any of them, the ticket acts as a key to the Unburst Silicon Bubble. If it's sold on any site, it immediately stops working. If the auction site removes the listing, the listing expires, or the auction site's server goes down, it will continue working, as long as it's listed on at least a single active auction site. You can add more auctions as time goes by, as long as you write the URL on the ticket. The ticket is fully transferable - anyone can use it.
It's rumored that this ritual can be generalized to any concept of Utopia that has come and gone, by dressing in the imagined vestments of a priest of that Utopia, burning appropriate sacrifices before a constructed altar to the Utopia, then finding and activating a key for that Utopia to travel on a vessel that was intended to go to that land but never did. Perhaps a similar ritual may lead a person to Shangri-La, the City of Gold, or Big Rock Candy Mountain, or Plato's Republic. Most likely, the destination will be fairly barren Otherspace. No such ritual has ever been found, though.
and what's so special about the silicon bubble when you get there?
Well, it does exist inside every internet firewall in the world allowing someone with the right skills unrestricted access to every computer and network in the world, and hey! Free electricity!
Miniature Wicker Zombu | profile | Dec 23, 04 | 9:00 pm
This is appealingly recursive.
Sonnlich | profile | Dec 28, 04 | 9:38 am
It's probably because it decereases the chence that all the sites will take it down.
M121 | profile | Jan 04, 05 | 11:51 pm