Dick Moove: Detective At Law
Dick Moove is a Melbourne-based private detective whose dearth of experience is offset by finely-tuned detection instincts, a natural tendency toward voyeurism, and general enjoyment of sitting in vehicles, right out there on the street with his finger on the pulse of all the shit people do at night.
A software engineer specialising in VR user experience is hired to debug design elements in a virtual reality environment known as the Substrate.
The Substrate is accessible by tuning to the level of consciousness between theta and gamma, attained by stimulating both sides of the mind magnetically to resonate with each frequency, creating a lucid dream like state.
The Substrate itself is a shared virtual environment built by programmers, housed on "quantum cloud" servers, populated with developers, plugged in beta testers and AI. Visually, its scenery and inhabitants range from Fight Club to Tron. The Substrate world is identified by its varying styles of rotoscope animation, like a strange dream, the effect of digital data being reproduced and rendered via the subconscious.
Because the Substrate has not yet gone live, its maps (some built to ape real world locations while others are green screen scifi/fantasy worlds) are mostly empty, giving the entire world an abandoned, too quiet feel.
In creating the Substrate, its designers have begun to weave together an internet of thought, where human and AI minds can interact, on servers spliced into the quantum fabric of spacetime. As he explores this world, the engineer begins to suspect that the mental dimension being populated by this new digital infrastructure may have existed prior to the Substrate, and appears to be occupied by another form of mind, not human or AI.
A guy is at first perturbed, then enthralled by a newfound ability to see though things.
On the verge of graduating with his engineering degree, a young man is called back to his small mountain town by his father, the head of a world first scientific project to drill deep into the Earth using a vertical network of natural caverns.
While flying in, he sees a large explosion, originating from the drill site. On arrival he and the pilot find most of the town decimated, encountering pockets of citizens who tell them that something came out of the hole before the explosion.
Venturing into the crater, they encounter beings who tell the pair that they originate from a civilisation with a claim on the Earth that predates mankind’s.
They warn them to leave, seal up the hole, and tell others never to return.