Daria was heading back to Lawndale, a place she hadn't been since she left this dump to move on with her life nearly a decade and a half ago.
  It seemed like a peaceful place as much as it always had, development had continued and the suburban town had become a small city in it's own right mixing with the urban sprawl which seemed to stretch from the coast to the mountains and from Boston almost all the way to Alabama.
  She was and adult of 32 years now and being that it was in the middle of winter the sky had become grey and a heavy snow had begun falling decreasing visibility drastically.  
  While her car wasn't the most powerful it was comfortable and that's all that really mattered, especially on nights like this when it seemed almost peaceful and serene.
  It reminded her of some of the nights when things were actually peaceful in her childhood, not that there were many, she reveled in silence and the clarity of thought it brought.
  There was a sign up ahead “welcome to Lawndale... just another miserable hell hole in the middle of eastern America" she thought in her mind. 
  Following the streets she planned to meet up with her old friend Jane and her brother Trent who's band Mystic Spiral were having a reunion at one of the local bars which had somehow remained since long before Daria had moved there that fateful summer at the end of the last millennium.

	As she rang the doorbell she was greeted by the familiar face of her mother, her father having passed away a few years before of a heart attack due to the stress he tended to put himself through, that was the last time she came here, back four years ago.
	Things hadn't changed much at all in the last decade or so, the city was bigger, people were more exploitative, her mother had retired shortly after her father's death and was currently in her late fifties.
	It was hard on everyone really, her sister ran off shortly afterward to god knows where and Daria isolated for a while publishing a critically acclaimed book, not that it mattered much as it wasn't even for something she wrote herself, rather it was just to earn a paycheck for a book based on a movie that her publisher thought she should write, she didn't think it was all that good but hey it payed right?.
	She was still working on her first actual original story and that was part of why she came here, she wanted to catch up with Jane, the most creative person she'd ever met to see if that might get some creative ideas flowing again, not to mention she really needed a good fun time again.

	Daria sat down with her mother accepting the hot cup of tea which had been made shortly before hand, the wearing of age clearly evident on her mother's face, reaching near sixty had that affect on you she guessed.
	Daria and her mother talked for a good long while in front of the warm fire, going over what had happened since they had moved to Lawndale, all the changes since then, where they had gone in their lives, you know the usual catching up, and remembering the good times that had been had when Jake was still around.
	The house seemed empty really but it was nice to see one's parents sometimes, even if you didn't quite understand their motivations growing up they still cared for you and deserve at least that much.
	Daria awoke with a start, she had fallen asleep in the chair and had a blanket draped around her, thinking internally she figured her mother was still her mother deep down and that would never change, still the house was really eery at night so she on instinct headed upstairs to find her room was much the same as it always had been apparently her mother hadn't reconfigured it into the office like she always planned which was actually really nice to know now.

	Daria awoke in her old bed to sunlight hitting her eyes through the windows, apparently the curtains were no longer pulled and she had been too tired to notice last night, she went back downstairs to find that her mother had left her a note.
	'Decided to let you sleep in, went for a run, will be back in a little while, if you find this there's food in the fridge from the other night, help yourself -Helen.'
	Figuring it was fine she pulled one of the containers of leftovers out of the fridge that looked particularly appetizing and heated it up in the microwave then sat down to eat breakfast, her mother came back around ten and after talking for a bit longer Daria bid farewell to her mother and headed out to meet up with her old friend Jane.
	After reaching the dilapidated part of the city that many people used to call the artist's block she walked into the agreed upon place which had been turned into a cybercafe and sat down pulling her tablet out of her bag and connecting it to the little keyboard inside she powered it up and began to go through her email, there wasn't much there other than the usual spam so she looked around, not much had changed since she had last been here but back then it had just been a place that served really good pizza, getting her lunch as she waited for Jane apparently that was still true.
	She looked at her tablet and silently cursed to herself, apparently it had locked up but as she was about to restart it something on the screen stopped her, it had turned black and text was moving down it.
	On the Screen was a message and a set of coordinates, her writers instinct intrigued she put them into her phone and it gave a location not too far from there, but what really got her attention was the message.

'Daria, come to the following coordinates, (coordinate x, coordinate y), I have something to show you which is why I called you here in the first place but it's something I can't let other people know about, it's my greatest work, sorry for jacking your tablet like this J,L.'

	Now she knew something was off, this wasn't like Jane at all, sure she knew how to use a computer, and sure she did graphical art but hacking?
	No this wasn't the Jane lane she knew from fourteen years ago, the same one who couldn't make it to her father's funeral because she had gone off the grid and was unreachable (she figured it would happen eventually), so she packed everything and paid for her pizza then quickly walked to the location shown on her phone.
	As her phone beeped showing she had arrived at her destination she looked around, it was just a boarded up building, or so she thought. 
	Turning the door knob it slowly creaked open and she quickly moved inside, it was dusty and looked like It hadn't had anyone living there in years, definitely very spooky, it made her house seem almost warm and inviting by comparison.
	There was a glowing light coming from the stairwell going to the basement which again as very eery but she decided to investigate anyway, this was probably just one of Jane's pranks but as she stepped into the room what she saw caught her off guard.  
	The room was full of massive computing servers and glowing monitors showing code streaming down them. 
	Inthe center was a set of chairs with what looked like motorcycle helmets in them and sitting in one was a woman with a fit but skinny frame long black hair, and a pale complexion. 
	She looked familiar, suddenly daria realized who it was with a start and spoke up, “Jane?!" her eyes widening at the thought that her old friend may be trapped inside that thing.  Suddenly the text stopped and the helmet lifted, “Daria, hey glad you could make it, how are you doing?"
She was greeted with a silent stare as Daria was still trying to take everything in, "crazy right? Sorry for not making it to your dad's funeral, but I was busy working on this, this is going to change everything" definitely not the Jane she knew, crazy artist, maybe but this was a bit much.

“What is all this?" Daria managed to get out, her mind reaching out for answers, Jane spoke again “this my friend is the greatest work of art ever created, an entire world where you can make whatever you want, and feel like a god while your at it." 

Daria just continued to stare listening carefully“it's hard to explain really, here why don't you take a seat and join me?" she patted the chair next to where she was sitting and Daria figured she had noting to lose so she sat down, Jane took off her glasses and sat them on the table next to the chair then sat down next to her.

“Are you ready for the greatest ride of your life Daria?" Daria just looked concerned almost worried but nodded feeling that it couldn't be all that bad, especially after everything she had been through the last few years.

	Jane sat down in the chair next to her and pushed a button on a keyboard then both helmets came down, next the chair restrained Daria causing her to panic for a moment not liking the idea of being restrained. 
	Her panic rapidly increased when she felt something cold and metallic pressing into her skull, in fact a bunch of cold metal things were and the pressure was fairly uncomfortable, suddenly there was a buzzing all over her body like it had gone numb and she suddenly began gasping for air or what she thought was air anyway, she wasn't sure what was going on anymore.
	She opened her eyes to find herself sitting under a large oak tree atop a grassy hill overlooking a town she didn't recognize, the clouds seemed to stretch off into the distance then he looked next to her and what she saw next freaked her out, an almost pixelated figure appeared and began to draw into focus, or what she thought was drawing into focus as everything else around her already was.  
	The figure became clear and it was Jane or something like Jane anyway, it didn't look completely real, it spoke up “welcome Daria, to the greatest canvas ever invented!" 
	Daria was astonished, this was almost like something out of some of the science fiction books she had read when researching a writer for college, she had picked Cyberpunk as a topic for a term paper for her writing classes.
	reading them she found that the idea intrigued her with how much the worlds she read about were like darker anti-versions of the world she was in, with maybe a small leap in technology that was believable even at the time the books were written.
 this however, she never expected to see something like this become a reality, and her friend Jane was at the center of it? It as certainly unusual.

	Jane began explaining what had transpired since she and Jane had left Lawndale fourteen years before, apparently Jane had done well with her art and several wealthy people had paid a lot for it, Mystic spiral had actually gotten a short lived record contract, and her family had become part of a commune out in the south western desert after Jane had gotten fed up with them and shown them how to live sustainably.
	But most of all over the last eight or so years Jane had been working on this. 
	Using the money she had made to invest in several major technology companies and even having Helen help her with some of the legal paperwork, so the technology could be created to allow this, the greatest artistic canvas ever created, an entire digital world, a blank slate from which she could create anything she desired with the greatest ease simply by picturing it in her mind.
	Here she was an artistic god where anything she wanted could exist with the blink of an eye. 
	It really did seem simple for Jane to create stuff just by thinking about it, after some urging Daria gave it a try but all she managed to conjure up was something that looked like it was created by Pablo Picasso, lines, oddly shaped bits, far from the extremely realistic but almost pastel like world she was standing in.
	Jane laughed but gave her an approving smirk, apparently Daria could be just as creative as Jane, though while Jane's talents were visual hers were of the written word, something she'd always been good at and they had admired each others talents finding the other one an inspiration for their continued efforts. 
	After sitting under the tree for a while Jane motioned Daria to follow her, leading her into the town Daria had seen that this world was far more complex than she originally imagined, there were people here, actual living people, or so she thought at first, but upon closer inspection they seemed as pastel as the world around her, not as almost real as she and Jane looked, Jane simply explained that these were NPC's or Virtual People as she called them.

	Daria was fairly stunned, this entire world Jane had created in just eight years, a world full of life, with actual artificial intelligences, and she had decided to share it with her, Daria suddenly started to feel sick, her stomach was tight and her mind felt dizzy, seeing her friend Jane quickly ran over to her and sat her down in a chair then everything faded and came back into focus, the helmet had lifted and Jane was standing over her.
	“Daria! Daria wake up!, are you alright?"
Daria tried to clear her head and yawned “what happened?"
“you fainted" Jane said matter of factly "I've grown so used to it I forgot to make sure you took breaks, it's really taxing on the electrolytes and if you are low it can make you feel a bit like having low blood sugar" nodding in understanding Jane handed her a bottle of Gatorade and sat her down in the pair of comfortable couch like chairs in the next room.

They sat there for a while and Jane had brought up some reruns of sick sad world for them to watch, just like old times, or at least that's what Daria wanted to think to ground herself in reality, but this was far from old times, this was pure science fiction, completely weird, but at the same time, something she was glad to know about. They sat there reminiscing about all the stuff they did as teenagers back before the millennium, remembering what a jerk tom was and how it almost ruined their friendship, and talking a bit more about what they had done since then.

“You know Jane I wrote a best selling book a few years back" she smirked and spoke as she walked over to her book shelf handing Daria a book “I know I was the first in line to pick up a copy, but you didn't really write that did you?" Daria sighed “no you got me, it was for a contract, in reality I'm working on the book I want to write and that's part of why I came here, I always seem to feel inspired around you and the art you create, though right now I'm more stunned than anything, I'm sure I probably fared better than anyone else would have in my position."  

Jane smirked then offered Daria the guest room upstairs.

	As Daria settled in for the night she reflected on everything that had happened, it was a lot to take in and she wasn't quite ready though a few things had her thinking, how had Jane gotten into her tablet, as the light came through the second story window she came down to find Jane hooked back into the device she called the Mind's eye, and tapped Jane's shoulder bringing her out of it.
	“Daria, hey did you sleep well?" Jane was smirking again, obviously having this much freedom was giving her some kind of thrill, almost like how someone would describe a madman, shaking off the feeling Daria sat down in the chair next to her, “Let's talk in there, I want to ask you some stuff that I don't think you could really explain out here."
With a few taps on the keyboard they were back in, the familiar feeling of being numb returning to her before transitioning to the Construct Jane had created, they were sitting in the lounge of a small inn which they were looking around in the night before, Daria had taken precautions this time and made sure to get plenty of electrolytes before coming down to see Jane. 

Daria inquired how Jane was able to log into Daria's tablet from within this world and Jane looked at her funny until she realized what she was talking about, raising her hands in defeat she decided to show Daria how to access cyberspace, which was something even Jane was still trying to understand, even more she wondered how it would change with more than one person accessing the information this way. 

Jane led Daria over to the cave on the edge of the town, there was a sign stating that no one was to enter and the villagers seemed to keep their distance, Jane explained that it was to keep the villagers from escaping into the internet and led Daria through what looked like a glowing portal, stepping through it Daria felt disconnected for a moment, the feeling was unsettling like her body had just disappeared, as if for a brief moment she was concious of non existence then existance again. 

The feeling was eery, a complete lack of feeling anything and then she was in a whole different world.

	As Daria tried to come to grips with what's going on she looked forward to see something that looked kind of like Jane standing in front of her, this version of Jane however was different, it was glowing and looked tougher, military combat boots, red jacket, black pants and black jeans with a black beret. 
	She looked at Daria for a moment and brought up some kind of floating window which showed what she looked like to Jane, a kind of 2D variation of herself.  
	“This is your initial representation of yourself, what you think of yourself like in your mind, like with the art stuff you can change what you look like, just focus on what you want there and the system will safe it." 
	It didn't take long for Daria to change herself, she looked like she did back in high school, green jacket but a bit longer to look like a short trench coat, black long sleeve shirt underneath, and a black skirt with black knee high socks and combat boots, it had been a while but she liked how she looked, it was empowering to just be able to change one's self like that. 
	Finally Daria put a kind of futuristic glasses on her self, after all this was cyberspace right? A consensual hallucination of the data flowing into the computer they were using and accessing directly with their minds.

	Daria smirked from behind her futuristic glasses which seemed to glow a little bit, “alright Jane, show me what this place can do." 
	It was strange, here to learn anything, you could read it like normal but you could also absorb the information, something else Daria noted, was that time seemed different here, like things were moving many times faster than the outside world, but she also quickly found she became exhausted more quickly too.
	Then Jane went across the local network to where Daria's tablet had been logged in, there was an image of something and then she had Daria touch it, it was soft and damp, almost like touching a shallow pool of water, and suddenly her mind was filled with thoughts, but not normal thoughts, more like a kind of telepathy seeing what her tablet was thinking, it didn't take long for her to post a message the same way Jane had, and stepping out of the virtual world she saw it on the screen, Jane walked up behind her with a knowing smirk.
	Daria had figured out why Jane was so excited, this was something incredible, but it was also too powerful to be in the wrong hands, that's why Jane was so secretive and used such unusual methods to bring her here, it wasn't safe, and if anyone found out the implications were well and truly frightening, if things like this could be done so easily then the brain really was untapped potential and the world wasn't prepared for anything like this to be used against it, it was completely defenseless. 
	After heading to the cybercafe to pick up a pizza Jane had ordered she and Jane had lunch discussing just what could and couldn't be done, but as far as Daria could figure out the only limitations were caused by the technology holding the world they were in, while the world's design was one Jane picked herself for reasons of familiarity and what she thought was beautiful, it wasn't cities or massive data clusters, it was villages and forests and grassy hills with mountains in the distance, and it was well and truly amazing and her friend had been true to her word, the greatest work of art ever created, a new world.