[identity profile] snoop-doggett.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Bytecode (You Are Still In The Matrix Remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] thedeadparrot
Summary: Five times House unplugged and thought he was somewhere else.
Fandom: House
Pairing(s): House/Stacy, House/Wilson
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: House and the other various characters do not belong to me. They belong to David Shore, Bat Hat Harry, etc.
Original story: Variations by [livejournal.com profile] queenzulu
Notes: Big thanks go out to [livejournal.com profile] savemoony and [livejournal.com profile] leiascully for audiencing. This is a cyberpunk AU. Just warning y'all.


Bytecode (You Are Still In The Matrix Remix)


"We have to go," his father said, his eyes tired and sad, his hand resting lightly on the handle of his gun. "Start packing."

Greg timed his response to his father's irritation, waiting just long enough to piss him off, but not long enough to get the long suffering sigh and the look of disappointment.

It was the fourth bunker they'd had to stay in for the last four months, and Greg couldn't even remember which state they were in. All the bunkers looked the same on the inside, dirt floors, metal walls, and they all felt the same, cold and echoing. Topside was different everywhere. Empty desert, crowded forests, endless grasslands. But he didn't see it often enough for it to matter.

The government was laying down new cable, even more enhanced fiber optics for the national network, and his father had been assigned to protect the crews as they worked. (Never knew who might want to carve potholes on the American information superhighway. The Chinese, maybe, or the Indians. Information was power and no one had ever believed it like they all did now.) Greg was just along for the ride, as his father followed them across the country.

It wasn't much, this whole thing, wasn't anything, but when he plugged in, the new cable was a bright neon blue in the Stream, and when he rode through it, the information parted for him like water.

When he unplugged, he never could remember where he was.


House lived in a clockwork hospital, each dose timed to keep him asleep for exactly the right amount of time. A routine of pills and arguments, though it was just meat, and meat didn't matter much, not anymore.

They let him plug in when he wanted to, a jack easily accessible from the bed, letting him back into his real home, where he really lived. His leg didn't hurt while he rode through the wires (the cables laid down when he was a kid are dull and dingy now, dark and faded like a T-shirt left out in the sun), and it was better that way. So much better. (He'd been inside a patient when the pain first hit, not realizing what was happening until he pulled out and felt it all at once, his body already twisting and pulling into a ball.)

The technology turned off the pain receptors, but it left some limited awareness of the outside world, the moving things at the edges of his consciousness. He learned to tell them apart; Stacy clear silver, like stainless steel, Wilson dark brown, like earth. He'd unplug in the mornings to find them sleeping in a chair by his bedside, waiting. He never understood why.

When Stacy brought him home, he plugged in, lying down on the bed, sliding the jack into his wrist, riding the Stream until Stacy's bright silver faded into a dark, forest green.

He unplugged to a dark room, a throb in his thigh, and a ceiling that looked too strange and too familiar.


"Adam Quong is seizing," Cameron said.

House unplugged to the bright sunlight of midday streaming through the windows, hurting his eyes. "What have we got him on?" he asked, tongue heavy and unfamiliar in his mouth. Was inside for too long. Does weird things to your body.

"Prednisone," Cameron said, "and he's crashing." She eyed him carefully, sizing him up, and House hated that, being looked at, watched.

"It's not Crohn's," House said. His brain raced ahead, proposing and rejecting tests, procedures, treatments, eager to get back in. Different network, same idea. Plugged into the nanites that would scour Quong's systems, searching and recording every stray twitch of his internal organs.

"We should take him off the prednisone--" Cameron started, a quick wave her hand, showing off the metal plating on the inside of her wrist, the cradle for the jack that could (would) take her inside (a body, the Stream).

"Too soon." House rolled to his feet. A second later he landed hard against his desk, his leg collapsing under him. Stupid. Stupid. The mind is willing. The body is weak.

Cameron rushed forward, arms out. "Are you--?" Still hadn't gotten his balance back from unplugging. Hadn't remembered the nerve damage and missing muscle tissue. (And he didn't understand how Dr. Jacobs managed to fuck up that procedure, way back when, but he did.)

"Shut up," House said. "Get moving." He followed her, snarling, aching once again for the cool feel of the Stream.


It tastes

like blue, like the

feel of ice down the back

of his neck.

The world assembling the

world parsed and compiled to binary

around him.

He sees the sound of water running, the

stream of the Stream, and it bends for him,

moves for him. It blooms like a flower

and he moves moves moves feels no pain and moves moves moves.

Information sounds like the feel of a machine humming under your fingers vibrating vibrating vibrating.

Body is useless, empty. Mind is full, full. Jump from socket to socket, server to server, ride ride ride

jump jump jump. Piggy-back across packets.

A prick at his ear, just a tingle (not there not there), a warning, too long inside,

can't stay can't stay.

He unplugs

to an empty apartment

surprised and not at all.

j 0x01

He pulled out not knowing what time of day it was, the room dark around him, his arm useless at his side. It always felt numb after unplugging, deprived of sensation. The pain in his leg came back in waves, a slow slide of sensation. The air smelled humid, like fresh rain, like dirty puddles on asphalt.

He twisted, bumping the body next to him. It was Wilson, unplugging himself for a moment, his pupils tiny in the dim light (the brain fooled while in the Stream, thinking that it was bright, that it could see). "Okay?" Wilson asked.

"No," House said, because he was on the bed, staring at the wall (peach and ugly; he should have that repainted some day), because he was feeling and breathing and hurting, because he wasn't in the Stream. "Being annoyed by oncologists."

"Hmm," Wilson said, distracted, plugging back in, but not before pulling House closer to him, tucking his face into the crook of House's neck, his fingers curled over House's hip.

House closed his eyes for a moment, letting his mind sink back into his body, letting it rest for a moment.

He still didn't trust unplugging next to Wilson. (The real world was never what you wanted it to be.)

But plugging in (riding through sun-yellow wires in the Stream, a hand steady and solid at the edges of his awareness, a presence that felt like the taste of chocolate), was getting easier every time.


(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 02:22 pm (UTC)
zulu: Hugh Laurie as House, with text: seeker after truth (house - truth seeker)
From: [personal profile] zulu

This is so cool. This is seriously amazing. I mean: cyperpunk AU! Who'd'a thunk it? I never would have imagined it, but I love it muchly. IT'S LIKE YOU SEKRITLY KNOW ME. *eyes you*

The imagery! The funky matrixy bits! The binary code section titles! And this:

When Stacy brought him home, he plugged in, lying down on the bed, sliding the jack into his wrist, riding the Stream until the Stacy's bright silver faded into a dark, forest green.

He unplugged to a dark room, a throb in his thigh, and a ceiling that looked too strange and too familiar.


Now, I have a suspicion about who you are, mystery writer, but I am not sure that you (the person I think you are) are even signed up for the remix. So maybe you are not you, but some other you. I shall go away and think on this, and perhaps return with more guesses.

And squee. Always more squee.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-28 05:55 pm (UTC)
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (house - pie filling)
From: [personal profile] zulu
And again: the structure of this! The way the fourth one is prose poetry, getting high versus riding the Stream. And, considering what [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry said, I wouldn't be surprised that the Stream is addictive, and that's why the last section isn't as human-romantic as mine. Rather, it is House/Stream romantic, which has its own beauty, because I bet he's a genius (better-than-anyone-else) at manipulating the information. And the worldbuilding that's there, right from the very first section, and your use of colours! I could read this novel, I really could.

At this point I have absolutely no idea who you are, but I shall guess [livejournal.com profile] kass_rachel and risk being wrong.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:29 pm (UTC)
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (house - vexed)
From: [personal profile] zulu

How much do I love you? I figured this out yesterday, as soon as you started asking me why I thought [livejournal.com profile] kass_rachel had written it. That's when suspicion FINALLY SET IN, after oh I don't know, MONTHS OF YOU LYING TO ME, no wonder you didn't want me to beta for you! "Oh, it's in a fandom I don't think you know." "Oh, I've already posted it, so." OH, MY ASS. And the way you kept trying to get me to guess which one you'd written! I should have had my puzzler niggling well before I did!

You are indeed a crafty one. And sly like a fox that has become dean of slyness at Oxford University. And the story is amazing and I want a DVD commentary of it now now now now now.


(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:33 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (flying)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com

Uh, thanks! I know I've been flat-out lying to you about this for like weeks and months and such, but I really am so thrilled that you liked it and the strange, whacked out world I created.

I can totally talk about/explain some of the other things in greater detail in my somewhat planned DVD commentary, but you did hit on some of my favorite parts of writing this.

Also, there is no way I'd be able to write this novel, knowing me, but I did like being able to get glimpses into this universe.

And yeah, I was all nervous and stuff, because I thought that maybe you wouldn't like it, but I'm so thrilled you did!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deelaundry.livejournal.com
DVD commentary! Yes, please!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
ext_25882: (Eclipse)
From: [identity profile] nightdog-barks.livejournal.com
Wow. This is just fantastic.

House crossed with William Gibson crossed with Neal Stephenson. Wow again. Very well done and very impressive. Powerful and evocative. Stop me before I use up all my superlatives.

And I too think I actually might know who you are.


(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:37 pm (UTC)
ext_25882: (Bird Magpie)
From: [identity profile] nightdog-barks.livejournal.com

I WAS RIGHT! Hee. And I strongly second [livejournal.com profile] queenzulu's req for a DVD commentary, because that would be made of awesome.

As are you, seriously.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:46 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (blind)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Thank you! I've always wanted to write a cyberpunk AU for something, and remix was just the perfect opportunity.

And yeah, Gibson and Stephenson were a big influence on this, for obvious reasons. I've always liked the way Gibson described the Matrix.

I am quite amused that you picked up on the fact that I wrote it. I figured it would be obvious.

Also, I will write up that commentary! There's just so much I want to talk about.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 06:13 am (UTC)
kerravonsen: Gregory House: "I'm sure this goes against everything you've been taught, but right and wrong do exist." (House-right-wrong)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen
Oh my. A funhouse mirror painted in bytecode. Totally impressed.

I salute you.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:48 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (stop and thank you)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Thank you! That's totally the way that I would want it described as, a reflection of the original, just twisted a little.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 08:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] housepiglet.livejournal.com
Wow. Tremendous writing! Original and bizarre, with a strange dreamlike quality to it.

Piggy-back across packets.

I *love* the rhythm and sound of that. You made me say it out loud :)

Thank you for a great piece of writing.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 05:01 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (blur)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Thanks! I was definitely going for a dreamlike quality to it all, a sort of dissonance in reality.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-24 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topaz-eyes.livejournal.com
Brilliant premise! Love the distinctions between virtual life and real life, until it feels like they're one and the same. Excellent!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 05:03 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (Default)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-26 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deelaundry.livejournal.com
It's AU but totally true to character: House so would love to be in the Stream. Purely mental, speed, and power, and no pesky people to get in his way. Yes. And you've managed to convey a lot about this universe in a very short space, which is wonderful.

It's very interesting to me that the last drabble doesn't capture the romance of the last drabble of zulu's original. I think it's primarily because House very clearly doesn't want to be there - he wants to be in the Stream. That's not a complaint about this fic; just an observation of where the feeling evoked is different from the original.

I wonder how Wilson experiences the Stream.


(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 05:08 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (bono hmmm...)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Thank you! He totally would like the Stream, and I'm glad the world managed to come across, I was trying to pack it all in there to match the stripped down style of the original.

I realized that I kind of wrote myself into a corner with the last one, in the sense that I was equating all sorts of random things until I couldn't quite convey the idea of the original, but I still like the way it came out at the end.

And I like to think that Wilson experiences the Stream from outside of the Stream if that makes any sense. House likes moving through the Stream, hunting down the information he wants, but Wilson likes letting it flow past him, picking out the bits he's interested in.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deelaundry.livejournal.com
Wilson likes letting it flow past him, picking out the bits he's interested in.

That makes a lot of sense. I wonder if Wilson is also into virtual communities, using the Stream to connect to others. And always of course, with some part of his mind tracking House, watching him have his fun.

Excellent remix; I like it more each time I read it.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] housepiglet.livejournal.com
Many congrat's again, [livejournal.com profile] thedeadparrot *g* I'm having great fun here finally seeing who wrote what. I loved this :)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-10-04 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nieded.livejournal.com
Heeeyyy, so I just saw this rec'd at HHoW. I loved the way you described Stacy as stainless steel and Wilson as earth. Both very apt and unique descriptions. Just really neat.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-14 05:50 pm (UTC)
ext_2314: (going places)
From: [identity profile] thedeadparrot.livejournal.com
Sorry this is so late, but thanks! It was fun coming up with the colors for this thing. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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