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Magic - its not really all that hard. All you need is the right mindset and some programming knowledge. This is a story of the adventures of a programmer from the near future who fell into another world. Follow him on his epic journey across this new world! 

2-4 new chapters every week! 

Translated from the story originally written by: Andzej Yasinsky

Part 1, Chapter 1


I stomped grimly through the puddles, mentally cursing my boss. Nikolai Petrovich, my boss and owner of the company "Analytics and Business", called me up at one o'clock in the morning and demanded that I to go to work on Saturday. I could have disabled all communications, but I just jumped out of the virtual space and still unaware of my surroundings gave my computer the command to pick up the call. Now I have to walk to work and get wet in the rain. We finally received the servers that we ordered last month, which now suddenly need to be connected to our cluster right away. Although our company's last order was processed only a couple of days ago (for which we received good bonuses), we have not had a new job yet. Why couldn't my boss just schedule the set-up to Monday? In any case, the work of the whole cluster would not have to be stopped - the process of connecting additional servers has long been worked out. Before I had other plans for today, but now they just go out the window.

I work as a programmer in one, now serious, company dealing with the analysis and processing of various kinds of information. We also issue forecasts for the near future for various chains of of events. Most often, trade organizations commission us to analyze the developing trends in a certain market niche, but sometimes we get interesting work from different institutions lacking their own computational resources or intelligent programmers. Personally, I get the greatest pleasure from such orders - one often has to dig deep for the knowledge required for their completion, which allows to learn a lot of new things. I always had an increased curiosity and craving for knowledge.

In addition, my boss turned out to be a clever and active man who is also well versed in modern technologies, even though maintaining a high level in this field is not easy. In the past, having borrowed some initial capital, he found and appealed (not only financially) to many sensible programmers, bought equipment, and set up a company for data analysis and issue forecasting based on this analysis. Some of the forecasts that we made for people not very friendly with the law, saved us from major troubles, and we earned a reputation for accurate predictions. All this brought a good profit to the company.

Here I work as the lead software developer. You ask how my development work is related to these new servers? Very simple, I am also the system administrator of the computer systems. It so happened that at the initial stage of the company's development Petrovich could not find a sensible system admin for a long time. Then, unexpectedly for him, it turned out that I had good knowledge of this subject. So he put these duties on me for some extra pay, and I did not refuse. After looking at the results of my work, he was satisfied and stopped looking for another administrator. I spent a couple of months finetuning the whole system - a computing cluster, distributed and remote work for programmers, which allowed them not to sit in the office all the time, but to work at home or elsewhere only appearing as needed. I also setup some good virus protection and after this everything really just works on its own without any interventions from me, while the extra money still comes in.

... Tired of mentally swearing at my boss, I put on my glasses, which are connected to my body-comp, opened an unfinished book to the left display, turned on the music, adjusted my bag with some tools that I might need, and a powerful subnote with a bunch of admin software and staggered to the bus stop. I do not like to carry a lot of equipment with me, although it is not that heavy (all together it hardly exceeds a kilogram), there is some discomfort. In my laptop, I also store all the software developed in our company, just in case. Although if the boss would found out - he would kill me on the spot and say that that's how it was. However, everything there is so encrypted its impossible to extract any of the information, but the boss still better not know.

Arriving at the bus's last stop, I trudged across the park. Our office is located pretty much outside the city, since the boss rented an empty building in a former military plant as the office. God only knows what they used to do there. After he remodeled and arranged everything it turned out quite well. In addition, there is a plenty of space to walk around, think, and smoke. There is also a nice park nearby where you can relax. There is usually hardly any people in it since it's not in a convenient location, so I sometimes go out for a walk there.

In the office I was met by the boss. He was alone. Making a cheerful face, Petrovich loudly exclaimed:

- Hello, namesake, come in! - while excitedly waving his hand.

"What's wrong with him?" I thought glumly. "Is he drunk?"

- Boss! You just had to make me come in today, huh? - I immediately exclaimed. - We could have done everything on Monday!

We actually have a pretty nice relationship with each other. We have deep respect to each other and even sometimes we are friends, so informal conversations are normal for us.

- We can not, Kolya, it's impossible.

The boss, lounging in the chair of Olga, his secretary, sipped coffee, smoked a cigarette, and smiling at something looked at me.

"Once Olga will see ashes on her desk - she will be really mad at him," I grinned maliciously. Olga is a perfectionist and does not tolerate any disorder in the workplace. I periodically try to casually flirt with her (read: seduce her), but so far she has beaten all my attempts. She likes this game, but, unfortunately, I'm not sure she likes me.

- All right, lay it out. What's going on, - I muttered as I threw my bag on the table, and went to make myself some coffee.

- You see Kolya, - I hate being called by my name, usually everyone just me calls Nick, but the boss likes to get at me. - There was a new order, - he raised his index finger, - a large order. It is necessary to begin work on it immediately, maybe tomorrow, and I don't want you to be distracted by the server configuration on Monday. So, I'm sorry, we need to do this today. In addition, the additional computational capabilities will come in handy for the new order.

It looks like the boss snatched this large order right from under the nose of his competitors and now rejoices at his cunning marketing skills. Although if you really assess the situation, then in our city we have practically no real competitors, but the boss still loves to enjoy every victory, even the minor ones.

- I'm going to send you the information on this order. Read it at home and send me your thoughts. First of all, I'm interested in how long this project will take as well as which of the developers you would like to have on your team.

The boss took his body-comp from his pocket and mumbled something into it. My computer displayed the information about the direct connection before the eyes and started downloading the information. Our body-comps were already paired to each other, so I did not have to do any unnecessary gestures to confirm the connection.

- All right - I sighed. - Did they bring exactly the hardware that we ordered, or did the same thing happen as before?

Previously, they tried to throw us under the bus by sticking in a few old pieces of hardware, but that didn't work on us! The boss quickly made a scandal, and since then he checks all of the incoming equipment himself. He likes to work with hardware, probably in order to keep his qualifications up to date.

- Not this time. Moreover, everything is already unpacked and ready to go, all that remains is to connect the blocks and configure the system.

He took another puff of his cigarette and let off rings of smoke into the ceiling.

- Where did you put the equipment? - I asked.

Fact is, in some of the distant rooms the electricity did not come from the central switchboard, but went somewhere through the walls and into the basement. We tried not to put any equipment there, because power from our backup generator did not go there - the boss could not get around to renovating those rooms - and he did not want to risk the equipment.

- In the fifth office, - the boss replied.

- That's what I thought! Have you forgotten about the wiring? - I was angry with all my heart, almost breaking the cup of coffee as i put it on the table. My sysadmin spirit did not tolerate disorder on my entrusted site. - What if the power goes out? You'll be angry at me for problems with the computations or, God forbid, the hardware! We have plenty free space in the existing racks!

Nikolai smirked slyly:

- You see, Kolya, I received hardware even more advanced than we ordered, I will not go into the details, but it comes with its own racks and its own power supplies. So go and start working. By Monday everything should be a in tip-top shape. I'll deal with the power next week. Don't worry, everything will be just fine.

The boss waved his hand and plunged into his thoughts.

Still mad at him, I grabbed my bag and I went to the office with the new equipment. I was curious about what was it that the boss was so excited about. Initially we ordered some pretty powerful hardware, so I don't know what could be that much better.

Entering the office, I saw scraps of wrapping paper scattered around the room and a rack looming in the center. Opening the door, I immediately realized that the boss was fabulously lucky! This hardware was much more powerful than we ordered. The information from the identifiers, helpfully highlighted by the body-comp when looking at the hardware, showed that this equipment was almost experimental.

"I wonder where the boss got such a miracle!" - I thought as I rolled up my sleeves and set to work. First I threw all the packaging out of the room, connected the blocks in the rack into the test configuration and plugged in the power.

- Well, let's do this, - I muttered, happily rubbing my hands, as I pressed the power button.

Nothing happened.

- Come on! - I exclaimed.

Looking at the socket, I noticed that the indicator light that indicates the presence of electricity was not lit. I took my tester and I stuck it in the socket. As I expected, there was no electricity. The device showed the absence of a short circuit and that the automatic protection in the outlet was working fine, which meant that the problem is a break in the circuit elsewhere.

I spat into the corner of the room, and sent a curse through the body-comp to the boss with a message that I will be going to the basement to deal with the power supply. He ignored me.

After collecting all my tools in my bag, I began to descend the stairs. The basement, I must say, was huge - by my senses, larger than the building itself. We never even explored it completely - just near the entrance.

Having descended to the basement level, I approached a metal door with a code lock. I don't know from which power line the lock was powered, but it worked. A red LED was lit on it. After connecting to the office server through the body-comp, I quickly found the access code to the basement and typed it in. The lock was thoughtful for a couple of seconds. "What"s taking so long?" I thought, "is there a mechanical calculator inside it?" On the door next to the lock, the indicator "Clean" lit up and the indicator on the lock changed color to green. The internal latches opened loudly inside the door. Judging by the sound, they were quite massive and were along the entire perimeter of the door.

I shivered as I got an unpleasant feeling. The servo motors began to groan, and the door slowly began to open. "I wonder what they used to store there!" I can't even begin to guess why such doors would be needed in a basement. Meanwhile, the door opened completely. It was dark inside. "Come on!" - I thought. Obviously I forgot my flashlight. I dropped my glasses from my forehead to my eyes and changed the body-comp into night view mode using the cameras on the glasses. First I saw only colored spots, but after a couple of seconds the computer set up the video processing program, and I had a good image of a small corridor, partially generated by the body-comp based on the data it received from its built-in sensors.

"Well, where should I look and, most importantly, what should I be looking for?" - Looking around, I saw the switchboard, from which the sockets in the room had to be powered. I poked the connections inside with my tester. Strange, there is power here, but there is no light in the corridor even though it should automatically turn on when you open the door.

I scratched my head in thought. I decided to go along the power line to the next switchboard and check everything there until I find the problem. I adjusted my glasses and went on down the corridor. There was a dead silence, the only thing that I could hear was water dripping somewhere. A herd of goosebumps ran across my back. For some reason, I really did not want to go into the dark anymore, even though the road is visible through the glasses. Silence, darkness and the sound of water drops reflect unpleasantly on the shaken nerves of a seasoned gamer. However, there is no other choice. Slowly, peering into all the corners, I moved along the power line. After walking a few meters along the corridor, I stopped and began to look for a plan of the building and a wiring diagram on the Internet. To my surprise, I could not find anything that I could use. I had to rewind the video and copy the evacuation plan hanging on the wall at the entrance, translate it into something usable and put it in front of my eyes. On the diagram I immediately marked the already inspected switchboard, scribbling a couple comments.

For about an hour I worked, moving from the switchboard to switchboard checking each of them. Around the second one, the body-comp beeped, and a message appeared on the screen about loss of communication with the network. Looks like I was very deep, indeed. I walked, probably, around a kilometer and everywhere everything was fine. Very tired, I decided to check a couple more switchboards and take a break. Approaching the next one, I saw some kind of flicker. Upon closer examination, the switchboard turned to be melted, and small discharges of electricity were visible through its openings. Obviously this was where the circuit was damaged. After putting on rubber gloves, which I had prudently kept in my bag, I opened the lid with great effort and made a long whistle. All the wires were melted. Its unclear why the automatic disconnect did not work. After a little rest, I began to work: carefully cutting the melted wires, I started making the repairs. Of course, to really be safe, one would have to go to the next shield and turn off the power there, but it's a long way to go, judging by the distance between the previous switchboards, and I decided against it. As the work was coming to an end, I was about to connect the last wire, a loud sound came from behind me. From the surprise and fright that struck me, I jumped up and turned around, completely forgetting about the wires I had in the pliers. I did not have time to see anything as I arched from the high voltage. Sparks sprang from my eyes from the pain, and my consciousness graciously left me.

Part 1, Chapter 2


I came to from the sound of dripping water. With great effort I opened my eyes and tried to make out something. However, there was complete darkness. Suddenly, I felt pain all over my body - looks like my nerves decided it was time to turn on. I tried to remember what happened. Yeah... it seems I was really hit hard by the electric shock. I wonder what scared me? Clenching my teeth until I felt pain in them, I tried to move my arm. It twitched slightly. After a short rest, I continued trying to reanimate my muscles. One-two. One-two. Clench-and-let go. That's how Sensei taught me, right? After pumping some blood through my muscles, I began to feel better. Half an hour later, I managed to crawl to the wall and lean against it.

In the meantime, I was trying to understand what had happened. It is clear that I was hit with an electric shock, but its not clear how that happened - my hands were in gloves and I kept the wires in pliers. Then I smelled some scorched hair and decided to feel my head. On the back of my head, I felt an extreme wave of pain. All my hair was burned off there. Now it is seems clear what happened. After turning toward the sound, I involuntarily leaned back and touched the back of my head to the bare wires. Thinking this over, I was surprised that I was still alive. In addition, the wound on the back of my head hurt only when touched. I tried to figure out whether that was good or bad, but I could not think of anything.

I felt my forehead again. Seems my glasses are not on my head, I need to find them. Whistling a special pattern, I was relieved to see the flashing light that blinded my eyes, which already became accustomed to the darkness, and I heard a weak buzzer. Back at home, I was constantly losing my glasses, so I set up a program that reacts with light and sound to a certain whistling melody. Judging by the reaction from my body-comp, he remained intact. Though this really isn't surprising, since usually they are made to be protected from numerous external influences, because people always carry them with them. Some freaks even bathe without taking it off.
Anyway, it took some time before I managed to get up, put on my glasses and look around. At first I was going to check what happened to the switchboard, finish the work, go back to the office, and take care of my head later. It was not hurting so much anymore. However, the first glance at the wall, where the panel should be located, made me freeze motionless. The wall was empty. No switchboard in sight. "Maybe I was thrown back?" - I thought and walked along the wall to the left and right about twenty meters. I did not find anything. As far as I was thrown back, the shield should be close. However, it was not. Then I looked at the walls. For a some time now something was nagging at me, but I did not pay attention. Looking closer, I realized that the walls were different. Not believing myself, or rather, my body-comp - because a it was currently the one synthesizing the image - I turned on the LED flashlight on my glasses, which looked like a bright strip along the border of the glasses. Visible space was reduced to several meters and synthesis of the graphics automatically stopped. The sensitivity of the body-comp sensors was enough to scan the surrounding space up to a dozen meters in total darkness. Based on the results of the scan, in real time it generated a realistic picture of the surrounding space, in which it is much easier to navigate than in the small light of a headlamp. In the presence of at least weak illumination, this visible area increased further. In the afternoon, it just passed though the real picture, and any further image processing was dependent on any customized programs for generating the surrounding world.

But now I needed a flashlight to see with my own eyes what the computer previously showed me. The sight was not much different from before. The wall turned out to be metal with a silver surface, while in our basement the walls were concrete. I cautiously touched it. Nothing changed. All this really stressed me out. To have a complete picture, I set the computer to scan my surroundings using the flashlight in order to expand the visible area. Almost instantly, the image before my eyes cleared up and I looked around.

I stood in the corridor, but the corridor was different. Not the one I was in before. Instead of damp, dripping concrete, there was metal around me. Dirt with layers of dust including dry leaves, branches, wood dust and even bones of small animals rustled under my feet. I shuddered, I really do not like rats. "Perhaps," I thought, "the problems with my head are much more serious problems than I guessed." I spent a minute re-configuring the body-comp health monitor. This program can not replace real medical scanning and analysis systems, but thanks to the built-in sensors of the body-comp, the rapid analysis performs quite well. After I started the analysis, I also decided to check whether I had become a sleepwalker after the electric shock, or whoever it is who walks while dreaming - somehow I had to have gotten into this new corridor! But alas, the system showed no such thing. Just an immediate change of scenery. After checking the results of the scan, I found out that I have no serious problems, except that it is worth visiting the hospital for further analysis and treatment of the burns on my head and that I can take some light painkillers or do some relaxation therapy, but that is optional.

After picking up my bag, I carefully moved toward the exit. That is, the former exit. Here, who knows where it is. In order to not go mad with fear, I decided to stop trying to form any hypotheses. I'll think of something else later...

In general, it's hard to scare me with something. Physically I'm strong, I've trained in combat Sambo, not as intense as I used to in college, but I try to keep in shape. I am a mentally stable person, however, a situation like this will worry even the most oblivious person.

Slowly walking along the corridor, I realized that the sound of water drops was getting closer and that it was coming from around a corner. Carefully peeking around the corner I saw exactly the same corridor, only very damaged. The ceiling sank and both walls were penetrated by some pipes. From one such pipe a liquid was dripping. The puddle below was small. Apparently, some of the water (is it really water?) is going somewhere. Strange as it may seem, after only 20 meters behind this blockage the corridor ended (even though in my "basement" I walked more than a kilometer).

"Stop," I said to myself, "does it make sense to go through the pipes and look at the end of the corridor?" Maybe I should go back and examine the other end of the corridor? But who knows how far I will have to go that way, here I have already arrived somewhere. Okay, I'll check everything here and go back if I do not find anything special. With great effort I made my way through the blockage of pipes. Along the way I checked the liquid dripping from the ceiling. Strange, but it was water. Ordinary water. As shown by a simple analysis from my body-comp, the water is not only safe to drink, but also contains some healthy minerals. After another hundred meters, I was at a dead end. Well, why was this corridor even here then?! That's it. I must rest and think. Who am I? Where am I? My glance fell to the floor and slowly rose higher. Nothing. I sat down, leaning against the wall, and, as I was closing my eyes to fall asleep, noticed a silvery line at the junction of the wall and floor. The hard carpet of garbage and dust hid it quite well, so I did not notice it right away.

Okay, before I do anything else, I need to rest a little. I'm extremely tired. Once I returned to the water, I took a couple of sips. It tasted like a normal mineral water. I analyzed my sensations: seems alright. It seems the water is actually safe to drink, the body-comp did not lie. Now I'm glad that at least I will not die of thirst. I drank as much as I could, just in case crawled to the wall, relaxed my body and closed my eyes. Then I decided to check on that relaxation therapy that my body-comp suggested. I set up my computer to stop the session in case someone appeared nearby, settled down and selected the link to the proposed therapy

After about an hour I felt quite cheerful, even my head stopped hurting. I wanted to jump, run around, and was really just full of energy. Realizing that this is abnormal for my condition, I began to think about it. So to sum it up, I suffered from a large electric shock recently, my muscles were wadded and overall my sensations were horrible. Now I feel fine, I do not even feel hunger. How could this happen? An increased effect from the relaxation session? The only thing that occurred to me: I drank this unknown water. "Is this Living water [refers to a traditional Russian folktale], or what?" I tried to joke, but I actually did not feel like joking at all. Okay, let's accept the hypothesis that it is the water that helped, I can't think of anything else anyway. An hour has passed, my stomach does not feel hungry, and my sensations are normal. Just in case, I drank some more water and moistened the back of my head - "what if it really does help?" - and went to explore the end of the corridor.

So, what do we have here? I squatted down and within a few minutes I scraped the dirt and dust off the joint of the wall and floor that I had previously noticed. After finishing the dust and mud removal work, I mentally gave myself a pat on the back for my previous observation. The "dead-end" wall turned out to really be a door. A little researching revealed that the door moves into the wall and at the moment is not covered tightly - there is a gap between it and the riser. I took a screwdriver from my bag, with great difficulty put it into the slot, and pulled with all my weight. Well, at least the screwdriver is thick enough and made of good metal. The door slowly began to move to the side, I helped it by pushing it away from the door-frame using my feet. As soon as the door was fully opened, a soft light turned on in the room in front of me. Surprised, I jumped back into the corridor. The light turned off. Ugh, one can get a heart attack from surprises like this! Interesting, what kind of automation mechanisms does this use? Judging by the condition of the corridor, it hasn't been serviced for ages, even so the devices still work. I took a deep breath and took a cautious step into the room. The light automatically came on again.

The room turned out to be large, around the size of the gym we had in college, only round. I was especially surprised by the walls - a shiny metal, divided into sections with some inscriptions or drawings in each of them. The soft gloss of the metal did not strain my eyes. Along the walls there were some devices, from the far wall to the center stretched a smooth a table or rather, more likely, a control interface. In the center of the room, in front of the interface, was an armchair turned away from me, it also seemed to be metal. Where the light was coming from, I still did not understand - its as if the air itself was glowing. Slightly hesitating and, just in case, shooting a panorama of the room on my the body-comp, I walked slowly to the chair...

Part 1, Chapter 3


I was sitting by the wall trying to get a handle on my situation. Unfortunately, it really did look pretty bad. I lost consciousness in our company office's basement and woke up who knows where. Most of the time, people don't travel in space from an electric shock. In fact, many people simply die. I can only assume that this is the result of an unknown series of events and that the electric shock was only an episode within the chain of events. Well that, or my actions caused current to go to the factory's power system causing something to turn on. The factory was originally built by the military and was terribly secret - although a few dozen years passed since then. Who knows what they used to do there! In addition, I had a strong suspicion that it wasn't simply a factory, but also a research laboratory. There was a strong premise for such thoughts. The place I ended up at looked like an alien spaceship or station. A brief examination of the corridors and "control room", as I called this room, spoke in favor of this theory. And what I discovered in the chair, also confirmed it.


I carefully approached the chair from its side and looked at him. My heart almost stopped beating. My nerves were already on edge and now an ugly, frighting monster looks at you with a grin on its face. Only later, after calming down and going back to the chair (I didn't even notice how I ended up at the other end of the room), I realized that it was not actually a monster, but instead a mummified creature very similar to a human being. Strangely enough, the clothes of the creature did not decay with time. Obviously, they were made from some kind of special material. The fact that the mummy was not human was visible by its skull (it had a third eye in the middle of its forehead, albeit a small one) as well as a slightly different structure of its hands. On the head of the creature was a simple diadem, without any decorations. I probably just stared at him for around half an hour with a blank mind. After finally waking up I went to investigate the equipment. Although I'm a quite knowledgeable in electronics, I could not determine the purpose of the devices. Everything was completely embedded into the metal, on the surface of which were numerous inscriptions or drawings, similar to those on the walls. In general, the metal seemed to be strange. It didn't seem to be just a cover, perhaps it carried a different purpose. I tried to scratch it with a knife, but it didn't even leave a scratch. After wandering around the control room, I returned to the chair and the console in front of it. The console was also made of metal - not even a single button or display. After a closer inspection it became clear that the inscriptions (or drawings, but for simplicity, we'll consider these inscriptions) carry meaning. They were grouped together in a certain way, while some of them seemed repetitive. I did not think of anything meaningful right away, so I decided to sit and think.


So, here I am sitting and thinking about my options. I can explore the station. Although it is unknown for sure what it is, I will consider it a station. However, I might run into some unknown danger. Another option is to first try to investigate the control room itself in greater detail in order to figure something out here. Unfortunately, this option also has a problem - there is nothing to eat, and who knows how long the investigation will take. Both options have their own pros and cons. However I still don't feel any hunger - whether because of the water I drank earlier or my raw nerves. Although it's unknown if my body really does not need anything, or if I will die of hunger without even feeling anything... Okay, I'll do this: I'll deploy my computer here for research, set it up and while it runs its calculations, I'll go on a walk nearby. Thankfully, I didn't lose my powerful subnote - there I have software for pretty much any occasion and most importantly, the numerous analytical programs developed by our company (some of which I created). By the way, among them there are also programs for linguistic analysis. Previously, one of our company's clients gave us an interesting order: a rich relative of his died hiding his savings so that not even his relatives could find them. The only thing that the deceased left was a piece of paper with an encrypted letter that no one could read. For a small percentage of the inheritance, which was huge, we set to work. Surprisingly, we managed to complete the task. It turned out that the letter was actually not encrypted, but simply written in one of the dead languages which are ​​known to only a few world-class linguists. The deceased was one of these world-class linguists. That guy really had a strange sense of humor. Overall, the development of the program took several months. Naturally, using our company's analytical system and some linguistic algorithms that we found in the internet. We even had to contact a major linguistic institute for consultations. After that, it took another week for the program to run its calculations. As expected, the letter contained information about the money of the deceased. The joyous client even ended up overpaying us. It turned out that the relatives of the deceased appealed to his coworkers, but they all refused to help, justifying their refusal by a personal request from their late colleague. Probably, the deceased wanted to take revenge on his family for something. As it turned out later, the institute where the late linguist worked took two years to decipher this dead language, while we did the same in just six months. That's really something to be proud of! However, at our company we had a supercomputer, which we assembled from purchased components, while now I only have a subnote. Of course, it is weaker than a supercomputer, although it's much more powerful than a body-comp... I hope I will not have to wait around here for months... At least there will be no problems keeping a constant power source - a few years back power sources based on radioactive elements became available on the market. One should last for a few decades... Anyway, enough thinking, it's time to get to work!

I decided not to move the mummy since I was very reluctant to touch it. After pulling out the subnote from my bag, I turned it on and left it to start up. Meanwhile, I walked around the perimeter of the room, making a panorama of the inscriptions on the walls. Then I took pictures of all the inscriptions on the consoles, trying not to miss anything.

Returning to the subnote, I saw that it was all ready to work. Now it will take quite some time to set up the analytic system and the corresponding linguistic modules. I worked on this for several hours (periodically going out to drink the "Living water"), trying to ensure that all of the test cases ran successfully. Then I uploaded the images containing the written language and within a few hours converted them into the required input format. By now, my back and neck already became so numb that I could barely stand up. After a small warm-up for my muscles, I returned to the subnote and started the process. Unfortunately, it was impossible to calculate how long the decryption will take, so I began to think of a plan for my next actions. First I need to sleep, but then I will go out and explore the nearest vicinity of the control room, maybe I will find something interesting along the way. Now my minimal list of things to do is complete and its time to start working on it.

Although it was unpleasant to sleep indoors with a mummy, I did not want to go into the corridor. In addition, the dead don't bite, as I assured myself. Fatigue eventually did its job and I fell asleep.

Part 1, Chapter 4 (new)


"Wow, what a weird nightmare," I thought, stretching. Wait a second, something's wrong. For some reason I'm lying on a hard surface. I opened his eyes: ugh, looks like it was not a dream after all. I looked around - nothing had changed: the mummy was still grinning in the armchair (I shivered) and on the floor next to the console the subnote's screen glowed. Sighing, I slowly got up and did some exercises to get the blood flowing and warm up my muscles. I mentally scanned my body. It seems that nothing hurts. I carefully touched the back of my head. There seems to be some kind of crust, although there is no pain. After a moment's thought, I took out my glasses, put the body-comp into record mode, and filmed the back of his head. Then I watched the recording. Hmm... looks very scary. Although it is good that the wound is healing after all. Apparently, the water really does has a positive effect on the body.

My attention returned to the mummy. Still, I wonder where I ended up... Since I am breathing easily, it means that air does come from somewhere. So, the station, judging by its dried-up inhabitant, is very old, although there is no dust in the control room But I suppose this can be attributed to some unknown mechanisms. Several possibilities lined up in my head. First, air is created by some kind of mechanism, which is probably impossible; the second is that these are the remains of air that was originally in the closed space of the station (I do not like this option, since it implies that the station can be located somewhere in space); the third option, which I really like, there is contact with the external environment. If so, I can get out of here, even though at the moment there is no real reason to leave the station - how often do people meet such a miracle, - but I still have to find a way out. Additionally, I should find a way get food, since it would be unwise to rely exclusively on this "living" water. I should also somehow let the boss know  that I'm alive. At my home, nobody is waiting for me - my parents live in another city, my little sister studies at the university and lives separately with her friends. But even then I'm not going to tell anyone about this station. It's mine! I guess I'm just that greedy... I connected my body-comp to the subnote, which I took to the far end of the control room and set up its camera so that it would cover the entire room. Now at any moment I can find out what is going on in the room as well as the current stage of the decoding process. After giving a command to the body-comp to record my route and build a map along the way, I moved to the exit. As I passed the blockage of pipes I drank some more water. Interesting: I already drank quite a few gallons of water, but I still do not have any desire for a trip behind some shrubs. Why is that?

After a while, I reached the place where I woke up after the electric shock. I carefully re-examined the entire area - maybe something else got transported with me? However, apart from the pliers and rubber gloves, I did not find anything. Putting them in my bag - maybe they'll come in handy, - I went on. I walked for a long time. Along the way I came across more doors, but I could not open them. There were no forks in the corridor, in fact, there was no other way forward. It was a continuous, periodically bending, corridor. It's strange that I did not come across any air-tight bulkheads. If the station traveled in space, then they should definitely exist - it's simple logic. No matter how intricate and complex the system, there is always a possibility of depressurization, and the easiest way to deal with it is to block off such places with bulkheads. However, there were none here, or they are very well hidden. 

Judging by the body-comp's map, I walked about a kilometer, when I felt a slight movement of the air. Ah, looks like the exit is somewhere nearby! After a few more steps, a dim light appeared. After turning the corner entered a corridor which ended with a door similar to the one I found at the opposite end. This part of the corridor was also all bent out of shape - as if a giant squeezed it in his palms. The only difference is that there are no pipes here, and one of the walls was torn, as if pierced by a spear. It is through this gap that the light came through. On the floor under the gap there is a knee-high pile of mud and dirt. Looking into the hole, I blinked for a while to get used to the lighting, the body-comp-generated light in the glasses is much less intense after all. The body-comp showed that the thickness of the wall from edge to edge at the hole is about twenty meters. That's one fat wall! But, after looking closely, I understood: actually there are two walls, and between them run communications and pipes. I visually inspected everything and came to the conclusion that it is possible to pass through it, but very carefully since it is very easy to break a leg. The diameter of the gap increased outside, reaching around 3 meters in the widest outer part, although it looks like I will have to crawl through the first couple of meters.

Well, I guess this is the way out that I have been looking for. I contacted the subnote to find out how things are going there. Information processing progressed slowly. It is still working on the first stage: the computer tries to determine the relationship between the symbols and the pictures, and builds up possible strategies for further processing. The fewer options, the better. Ideally, there should be one. After all, each option will have to be completely evaluated through the remaining stages of processing, and that takes time. Well at least my subnote has a hypernuclear structure, although it's a pity that there is no quantum module. This is a very expensive device - it costs an order of magnitude more than the computer itself - and it can only be used for certain types of calculations. So I did not buy it, even though I had the money. Now it would have really come in handy. After I left the room, the light in it turned off, so the camera in the subnote showed a synthesized picture, such as the one my body-comp gave earlier. By the way, I completely forgot, since I left the subnote to keep watch on the situation in the room, I can also let it signal about any change in its environment.

Now then, lets finally get out of here. Wearing my rubber gloves (they really did come in handy), so as not to cut my hands on the metal's edges, I gently squeezed into the hole. After almost falling in between the walls a couple of times, I finally got to the exit. With an inner trembling and impatience I looked out: there was a mighty leafy forest around me, the tops of which almost reached the height at which I was. Immediately from the hole began a cliff of immeasurable height... Wait a second, why immeasurable? As I looked over the edge, the computer showed a height of 53 meters [175 feet]. Hmm, the trees are mighty tall, indeed. I looked up at the sky. The sky seems to be the same as before, with some clouds floating across. The sun is normal - I felt a little better. It seems, I am on Earth after all. Looking to the right, left and up, I saw only stone. I do not understand, is the station actually embedded in the rock, or what? After analyzing the side of the cliff I determined that after some (mostly mental) preparation I can climb up. The walls are not that steep, and there are also plenty of cracks, bushes and ledges.

Wait a second! What an idiot I am! I should have just checked the body-comp's network connection right away. I even tapped my forehead with my finger. I gave the command to connect to my network operator. A couple of seconds passed during which my body-comp honestly tried to establish a connection, but it was all in vain. Hmm. I frowned in displeasure: well, maybe I am in some remote place with no connection, although there are almost no such places anymore. One can establish a connection even from the North Pole. It is understandable since people often go there with expeditions. So, I guess it is necessary to check if there are any other communication providers accessible here. The body-comp scanned all the frequencies within a couple of seconds, but gave a negative result. I sighed, as I looked at the sun distrustfully... Once again I slapped my forehead and, pulled out the antenna used to receive shortwave radio transmissions, gave the computer a command to scan all of the available frequencies for the presence of music stations, these frequencies should definitely give some result. It takes a couple of minutes, but for now I can look around. After setting the computer to calculate the route upwards based on the captured images, I began to look around. The forest was not continuous - there were some fields and glades. From the corner of my eye I noticed a spot in the sky. Turning my head toward it, I increased the image zoom to the maximum. The body-comp, although not without difficulty, managed to stabilize the twitching image and I managed to examine the bird. It was something like an eagle, but I've never seen such a species. The comp estimated the size of its wings at two meters [6.5 feet]. I shivered: I hope they do not eat living programmers... Then I returned my attention to the trees and examined them already with the zoomed image... Of course, I am no biologist, but I know the most famous types, although I have never seen a tree with leaves such as these... 

Then the computer beeped. It finished scanning the radio waves, and returned some highly disappointing results: all of the radio frequencies are completely empty. I stood there for a while with my eyes closed, trying to calm down. This is just awful. I simply had no thoughts. None. I wiped the sweat from my forehead with my sleeve - it seems it's hot in my jacket, probably it's around 25°C [77°F] here. Still, it's too early to draw any concrete conclusions. "I'll just assume that this area is some kind of anomaly," I tried to reassure myself. However the uneasy feeling in my heart remained...

Part 1, Chapter 5 (new)


Meanwhile, the body-comp finished calculating the best route up the cliff. It returned two options, each with an accuracy of about fifty percent. Looks like the pictures taken from this angle were not enough to accurately model the cliff's surface. One of the routes is longer, but not too steep, while the second option would mean that I would have to climb almost vertically. I tried to evaluate both options, but in the end I liked the first one more. It has more ledges, where you can relax. If it does not work out, I'll try the second option.
I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist, I spat on my palms, rubbed them against each other and carefully began climbing up. It was pretty difficult to climb. Although, there were some places where you could just walk without even holding on. Once, I nearly fell off when, while pulling myself up using my hands, my nose leveled with a flat ledge causing me to sneeze from the dust that I raised with my breathing. Thank God, I managed to hold on. Resting on that ledge - about thirty meters above the exit from the station - I slowly looked at the landscape through the computer's different levels of zoom. Wow, the nature here is really breathtaking... It's full of greenery and the air is so clean - just now I noticed that breathing here is actually much easier than even in our park back home. I finally admitted to myself that this could really be another planet or parallel world. In fact, this thought no longer caused such rejection and panic. True, this theory has yet to been proven, but now I am mentally ready for such a scenario. I decided to check if my body-comp can still contact the subnote that I left inside through the thick layer of stone and the walls of the station. It turned out that they perfectly see each other and, in fact, the signal quality here is even better than near the exit. This is very strange. This should not be possible. The presence of a signal at the exit is understandable, but by now it should have been lost. I thought of only two possible explanations. Either the metal of the station's walls is somehow special enough that the radio signal passes though it and the thickness of the stone above it is small enough. Or there is some kind other exit from the station that the signals pass through and I'm not too far from this exit. Fine, I'll remember to try to climb around here to figure out where the maximum signal level is.

After resting, I continued to climb further. An hour later I reached the top, flipped over the edge and, turning on my back, took a deep breath. After a little rest, I sat up and looked around. It looks like I climbed onto something like a meadow around fifty meters in diameter covered with grass and flowers. After the meadow began a rare forest with trees of usual height - unlike those giants I saw below. The trees, as well as the flowers, are unfamiliar. Wait just a second, I remembered something very important (it seems that after that electric shock, I'm really getting even more stupid): below I have an entire subnote packed with various software and databases. Back at home, in order to fill up the virtually endless subnote hard drive, I uploaded all the informational databases that I found on the sites of our helpful software pirates. I don't remember for sure if there was a database for flora and fauna, but I still should look around there. After contacting the subnote (the signal on the meadow became even better) I rummaged around on the hard drive and found the right database. A few minutes later I set it up and uploaded images of the trees, flowers, and leaves, as well as that "eagle" that I had saw before for identification. The program ran perfectly for all the specimens. Except there was one problem - it did not find any matches. Of course, it is possible that the database is incomplete, but at least something should have came up. After some thought decided to not draw any further conclusions for now. I got up and went to examine the place where I now was.

Spending around three hours for the investigation, I found out the following:

It seems that fate brought me to a large hill with a stony base, or rather, a granite rock, split in two. The remnants of which were covered with soil. For some reason, it seems to me that the land did not appear here on its own, but instead from some kind of explosion, or from a hundred bulldozers at the least. On one side, the rock abruptly ends with a cliff, which is where I crawled out. On the other sides the hill descends smoothly into the valley. The slopes are covered with trees of ordinary size, while in the valley the trees are huge, like the ones I saw at the beginning. There seem to be a lot of animals in the forest: a couple of times I saw some funny creatures, similar to a cross between rabbits and dipodidae [a medium-sized rodent], and in the distance sometimes larger animals, reminiscent of our deer, flashed by. Among the dense branches of the trees, I noticed some yellow and green berries the size of a kiwi, hanging in clusters, like grapes. For now I decided against taking my chances with them. Nearby a small stream gently trickled through some pebbles. An express water analysis showed that it is identical to the water I drank inside the station. Well, now that I am somewhat acquainted with the area nearby, it's time to decide what I will do in the near future. I still haven't noticed any people or even any traces of their activities.


Near the spring, I found a wonderful place where I can rest with comfort. It had a thick layer of leaves over the grass, and behind me there was an impenetrable wall of shrubs between the trees, the crowns of which were intertwined and formed an impenetrable tent against the rain. Closer to the edge, the branches thinned and opened into an amazing, beautiful panorama of nature. I even made a few high-resolution pictures for memory. It seems that this side is the west - the sun already visibly lowered to the horizon. I took off my jacket, folded it and, placing it under my head, lay down on the ground. Then I remembered about how damaged the back of my head was. I tried touching it with my hand, but there no pain. It's unclear why, but the wound pretty much completely healed. I shrugged my shoulders. I hope the hair grows back too. However, in my situation, this is really not my main concern.

Tearing off a blade of grass, I put it in my mouth descended into deep thought. There are a few paths that I can take going forward. I can go explore the world in which I arrived (yes, now I am starting to believe in that more and more), but that is somewhat scary. I would have to randomly travel on foot through an unknown territory, without any weapons. I could end up walking around for ages just to disappear in some swamp. Or, I can wait around until my computer decodes the inscriptions in the cabin of the station, I could find out something useful in them... But I really can't count on that. I am skeptical about the capabilities of my software with respect to decoding an unearthly language: comparative analysis with existing languages plays an important role in the process and in this case there may not be any correlations. However, I should still wait around a little anyway - who knows, something might turn up.

I rubbed my face with my hands. Okay, lets take the middle ground between the two options. While I live here, I will slowly start exploring the area around the hill and look around in the station itself - I could have missed something. If after a month my subnote does not advance in the decoding process, I will leave it to work unattended and go on the trip anyway. In the meantime, I'll take care of some accommodations for me. It seems that in a couple of hours the sun will set, where should I spend the night? Here? Or back in the station? I remembered the dark corridors, and decided against retuning. Although on the other hand, there may be predatory animals here. Hmm... what a dilemma. Anyway I shouldn't be so afraid some wolves - I'll stay here.

After a short search, I found a tree with large leaves and soft branches. I broke off enough leaves to make a mattress and to cover myself with them. Oh, and here's another useful plant. Two large leathery leaves, growing from one root. I made a soft bed out of them - although I had to fight with the bushes a little to create a deep niche in them. In the end, it turned out pretty nice. Once again, my thoughts drifted back to food. I still did not want any. Despite the fact that I have not eaten for over 24 hours, my body felt suspiciously light. All the same, it is necessary to accustom myself to the local food. To begin with, let's try those fruit berries. I went back to where I noticed the bushes with berries. Huh, there is another problem. I have nothing I can use to carry them back to my camp. After a moment's thought, I tore off a couple of leaves from the local burdock and folded them up. I tore off a couple of bunches of "kiwi" and carried it back to my "cave" in the bushes. After spreading them out in front of me, I began to carefully consider my prey. The appearance of the berries told me nothing about them, except that they are all ripe and juicy. I took one - black with firm skin. It's a pity that the body-comp's analyzer doesn't work on something like this. Anyway, I can't sit around forever, now can I. I squeezed a little juice onto my hand, rubbed it in, and began to wait for a reaction, which, thankfully, did not follow. Half an hour later, I mentally crossed myself and gently bit into the berry. Suddenly, the berry burst in my teeth, and covered my mouth with its juices. I froze, listening closely to my sensations. The taste is sweet with some sourness - very refreshing. After waiting a minute, I swallowed. I sat still for another five minutes. My stomach seems to be keeping quiet, no unpleasant sensations. Taking a deep breath, I ate a few more. Each berry just exploded in my mouth. Emboldened, I began to try other berries. Fortunately, they were all edible and very tasty. The problem came from the last heap of "kiwi". Deciding that everything is OK, I rashly threw the berry into my mouth and bit it. My jaws instantly closed and jammed tightly. I have never tasted such a bitter berry! My tongue and cheeks instantly went numb and tears sprang from my eyes. Jumping to my feet, I rushed to the spring. Only a few minutes later I was able to drown the bitterness and  wash off my face. Then I threw a handful of the sweetest berries in my mouth and began to chew them nervously. Looking at the pile of bad kiwi, I picked them up and threw them as far as I could. Meanwhile, the sun has almost completely set, so I should lay down already. I'll find out the results of eating those berries soon enough.

I buried myself in the leaves and branches, and settled in. I connected to the subnote. Turned out nothing special happened while I was away. The computer already found several logical connections between the symbols or drawings, which can be investigated at the later stages of processing. This pleased me. Perhaps something can be decoded, after all. From nothing to do, I tried to read some fantasy fiction, but I realized that I can't even perceive the text when I am already in such a fantasy situation where I all I can do is hold on for dear life. I returned to my bed cleared my mind, staring at the sky lit up by the last rays of the sun. Soon stars began to appear on it. I should shoot a picture of the night sky through the body-comp and run it through some programs, I could find some familiar constellations. Once all the stars finally came out, I abruptly sat up in surprise. I'm certainly not an astronomer, but I do know the Big and Little Dipper and here I see them clearly. To say that I was happy was an understatement. I was delighted. I am on Earth after all! From my nervous excitement, I jumped up and began to walk back and forth across the clearing, thinking. So, the stars look similar to the ones on Earth, it means that I am located on Earth. However, the trees, berries and animals are clearly unearthly. And the radio frequencies are pretty much empty (except for atmospheric noise). What does it mean? This means that I'm still on Earth, BUT, I'm either in another time, or in another dimension. Sounds reasonable, but it's still necessary to clarify this.

After taking a panorama image of the sky, I sent the data to the subnote for processing and waited impatiently for the result. The program did not take long. The verdict of the computer was that almost all of the stars are the same as on Earth, but their location relative to each other is slightly different. In addition, there are several stars not described in the catalog of the starry sky of the Earth. Their presence speaks against the version of travel in time. Hmm... still no clarity.

I once again back to the bed and turned on the guard program on the body-comp. It analyzes the surrounding noise, infrared radiation, night vision picture and if it detects something unidentifiable or dangerous awakens the owner. Needless to say, in the standard setup the program often alarms for every small change - damn lite version. You would have had to pay for the professional version, but I never used it so I didn't bother. Now it would have came in handy. I closed my eyes, tried to relax and began to recall the events that led to my current state of affairs. I didn't even notice how I fell asleep.

I woke up several times at night. The guard program kept waking me up. As expected, there was nothing dangerous. A few times the program reacted to the appearance of small animals - night rodents. After the second such awakening, I set the program to limit the size of the object - no less than the average dog or fox. The third time I woke up because a wind had risen. Naturally, the program reacted to the fact that everything around began to move. Cursing, I disabled all of the triggers except response to the movement of objects giving off heat with the intensity of a large animal. After that, I slept peacefully until morning.