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Corruptor: Chapter Three

       Last updated: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 07:27 EDT



    Deep within the bowels of WarpSoft’s German headquarters, a series of computer servers hummed silently in the darkness. Drivers turned on and off at random, it seemed, though each driver had a specific job to do within the massive game. Some kept track and monitored the players themselves, while others maintained the scenery, the animals within the game and the weather patterns. Each server had its own main terminal computer attached, capable of monitoring trillions of coding per minute. The processing speed of each was a far cry from the ancient servers of the dot-com era. Each computer could run roughly two million programs at one time, something almost unheard of outside of WarpSoft and select government agencies. Still others kept track of the nodes.

    Nodes were secret upload ports available by chance within the game. If a player was lucky enough to find one of the nodes, they could upload their own secret codes into the game and sell the codes from there, making money to assist with their gaming habits. If a player found two, they were extremely fortunate and, eventually, wealthy.

    If a player sold their code from within The Warp via a node, other players could use that code, so long as they paid the creator for them. They were not allowed to turn around and sell it to others, since they did not control the code from the node. This helped prevent piracy from within The Warp. Any piracy that was caught, however, was viciously prosecuted to the full extent of both German and American law.

    A few rumors floated around through the web about the secrets of Crisis. WarpSoft helped formulate some of these rumors, since rumors meant interested fans. Message boards worldwide were populated with schemes to beat the popular game, of players offering to sell certain codes to newer players, among other things.

    Internet auction houses were filled with cheap codes for bidding. Often these codes were sold for lower amounts, but occasionally a code appeared for sale which could draw thousands of dollars in massive bidding wars. This, along with the “unbeatable” label tagged on Crisis, drew players like flies. In order to maintain coherency due to the number of people playing, .exe codes were floated randomly throughout the servers and computers of WarpSoft. These codes also watched out for new, uploaded codes by players, to make certain they were not viruses which could hurt the game.

    Now, though, a main .exe code within The Warp ran into a new and unidentified code, which had been uploaded from a previously undiscovered node. It scanned the unidentified code for malicious viruses, but discovered nothing. It paused for an eternity in computer time to decide what to do. It could erase the code, no questions asked. However, since it did not appear to impinge upon the higher functions of the game, and seemed to be harmless, the .exe code decided that it would allow the unidentified code to live. The primary function of the .exe code was to ensure the quality of the game. There existed the possibility it was a new code created by a player, and the .exe code knew that a deletion could possibly ruin a game function, which violated its number one protocol. The .exe code rumbled onward throughout the system, ensuring that everything was working properly.

    The unidentified code moved carefully throughout the servers, looking for its target computer. The code was in fact a virus, one so cleverly disguised that even the most up-to-date command file fell victim to its apparent harmlessness. It had been uploaded, a while back and was constantly modified by its creator until the time was right. The node from which it came would remain undiscovered.

    The code paused briefly to orient itself. While its secondary programming told it to go forth and attach itself to the mainframe server network, the primary programming reminded it suddenly that that course of action could possibly trigger an antivirus to come, or worse yet, a general detection and alarm. For what seemed like ages in processing time, it waited, thinking. Finally it attached itself to its secondary target, the existing I/O ports which allowed general players access to The Warp.

    Beefing up its memory space, the code snatched a stray bit of random code from another passing .exe file and added it to its own growing code. Its memory had doubled in the space of three thousandths of a second and was now waiting for the proper trigger. It morphed from a virus into something different, something which was theoretically impossible for the system to allow to remain. It knew that the primary target would be along shortly. It didn’t have to wait long.

    The Chaos code within the system was the one bit of code work within The Warp that was totally unpredictable for both programmers and codes alike. Random possibilities based upon the mathematical chaos theory propelled the code forward, always looking for a reaction to any action taken within the system. It oftentimes wreaked havoc upon unsuspecting coders and gamers alike. It was, as its creator had dubbed it years ago, a true masterpiece. It was also the primary code within the game that controlled most of the non-player battles and events occurring at random around players as they struggled through the various missions of the game. It also provided a secondary source of entertainment with Crisis: it played the role of Fate.

    Now, though, it served a different purpose. It, too, noticed the unusual code and investigated. However, as it investigated, the unidentified code slowly began to suck memory from it as well, converting itself completely from a simple virus to a main .exe file, using the principals of the Chaos code to allow it to change aspects of the game. The Chaos code, running theories continuously as it was being drained of memory, found itself suddenly absorbed by the new virus file. Instead of collapsing, however, it was duplicated within the virus file and thus, a new, controlled Chaos code was born. The original Chaos code was released and it drifted off to other aspects of the game, unknowingly with less memory than before. It would be weeks before it could recover fully and be able to regain the higher functions it originally had in controlling the total random factors within the game. It was, for all intensive purposes, useless for the time being.

    The new, controlled Chaos code followed its secondary function and slowly blocked off certain I/O ports as it began to run a new, small updated version for the servers to run. One by one, dozens after dozens of computers hooked up to the mainframe servers within The Warp, specifically Crisis, and began to upload the new version created by the Chaos code. This in itself was nothing new, after all. Even the WarpSoft staff expected random updates from the self-sustaining Chaos code. However, this newest update served a much more malicious purpose.

    Briefly it paused, and looked for a certain file which had been uploaded months before. It was a command/control file, one that would give the individual who controlled the command file the ability to control, theoretically, the new Chaos code. It found it rapidly enough, just where it was programmed to find it. It duplicated the command file five times in accordance with its programming. The unique passwords attached to each individual command file were only known to the person for whom it was intended, with each person not knowing any of the other passwords.

    This prevented “white hacks” from the programmers at WarpSoft, and would, in theory, keep each individual safer.

    The new virus’s mission was completed, for now. One more act would trigger the two final responses and subsequent uploads. For now, though, it slowly began locking I/O ports down and allowed only certain players in, while keeping others out. It scanned its surroundings once more and, satisfied, shifted to standby mode. Now nothing short of a miracle could save the fully hacked system.

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