Drone Wars 1: H@(k3d

Written By: JD Adler - Jun• 29•13

Mommy, where do drones go when they die?
Nowhere, Edgar, machines don’t have souls.



sipped at his perfectly-too-hot-mocha while leaning on the window
counter, pretended to read the newspaper, and checked out the same
brunette working the veggie food truck on the sidewalk he’d been
not asking out for 3 months. He paused in his stalker behavior to
admire himself in the window reflection. He ran his short, fat
fingers through the mop of curly brown hair on the round head which
sat atop his squat 5’10” frame, turned his head sideways once,
started to feel a little bit positive and then noticed 2 teenage
girls giggling further back in the reflection. Against his own
better judgement, he looked over his shoulder at them, and they
lost it, gales of laughter filled the coffee shop. Edgar just
smiled and nodded his head, then turned back to his paper.

He was about to return to checking out veggie girl, when he noticed the
headline, all the rest was immediately forgotten; Drones on Patrol.
He had to read the article twice, and then confirmed it with a
search on his mobile, before he would accept it as truth. Drones of
all types had been popping up for years, and not just in security
fields. Mail drones, transport drones, fire drones, assembly
drones, you name it there was a drone doing what used to be some
breadwinner’s job. The coffee shop even had a bidet drone, in the
men’s room. Demand was high for machines that would do everything
for us for free and without complaint. Edgar had never liked it,
but had come to accept it as it had creeped up, 1 profession and
convenience at a time. But this, this was just insane. He scanned
the article quickly, again: Per the Attorney General, effective
immediately, all police patrol duties nationwide would be
transferred to drones…Arrests and investigations would still be
done by humans, but the blue and white drones will ticket, detain
and search, utilizing state of the art body scanner and weapon
hardware…resistance or vandalism would be treated as any assault
on an officer…for the benefit of the security of all patriotic,
law abiding Americans. Drone cops will be pulling guns on
citizens and ordering them to submit to a search! This is fuckin’
crazy! 3 days, that’s all we’ve got. What the hell can we possibly
do? This is beyond any simple protest hack, we need to actually do
something to prevent this. They’ll have the entire country under
the thumb of a mindless, soulless army.

Edgar realized that he had been mumbling to himself out-loud because people were staring. He just nodded awkwardly at them, scooped up his stuff,and stumbled out the door in a 225 pound chubby blur of horizontal stripes and blue jeans. Heather will know what to


place was his favorite. It
smelled like strawberries and chocolate, and she hung a
kaleidoscope of sheer cloths from the ceiling that made the light
soft and cheerful. Edgar smiled every time he entered. The floor
was dusty hardwood, if you could find it between pillows and
oddments, and assorted dropped papers and objects. She would boast
about her mother referring to her as a “heathercain”, considering
the inherent chaos in her character a mark of pride. He stood in
the doorway he had opened with the key she gave him and called out
to her while knocking, “Heather? Hello? Heather? It’s me. Edgar.
You’re- friend, Edgar. Hello?”
Even with the key, he could not accept the idea he was welcome. He heard her before seeing her. The staccato rhythm of her feat on the ceiling as she skipped the hallway. He could hear the echoes of her singing as she reached the top of the spiral, black iron stairwell. The lilting high notes of her voice brought him the rest of the way into the house, locking the door behind. As she bounced down the stairs, 1 foot then the other, he could hear the tiny bells on her sash ringing and see the edge of her tie dyed sarong as she floated into view. Her smile made his heart warm and large, as she paused by the rail so her
guest could look at her. Chestnut hair was pulled back into a bun,
except for a few strands on either side framing her slender face
and long, narrow, hooked nose. She smiled so sweetly, it didn’t
bother Edgar at all that she was missing 2 teeth on the bottom left
and 1 above them. “Hi, Eddie. Good morning.” Her speaking voice
reminded most people of a kazoo, but it was music to him.

“Hi.” He exhaled.

She came into the living room and dropped onto the flower print couch, “Are you going to come in and sit or just stand there like a moron?”
He shook his head and looked around “Um, I was going
to go with moron for a few more minutes if you don’t mind.”

“Whatever makes you happy. Is that an actual newspaper?”
“Yes, actually, that’s what brought me here this early.”
“You found the last print newspaper?”
“Seriously, look at today’s headline.”

He thrust it towards her. She took the paper, read the headline, sat
up, “What the-?” She kept reading. Edgar opened her laptop laying
on the coffee table, the regular laptop not the encrypted jaun, and
he began pulling up other articles to answer the questions he knew
she would have, because they were his questions too. It would be 20
minutes before they had silently digested enough data to start
discussing. And then they just started talking in a rushed tumble
of excitement/anger/enthusiasm/hostility yet somehow they were able
to hear each other as well.
“I can’t believe they’re doing this.”
“I know! Such blatant fascist crap.”
“Do they really think they can
just roll over us with their automatons of death and we’ll do
“This is totally typical of the civil rights crushing,
misogynistic, patriarchal, fear-mongering, military-industrial
banking complex that runs this national corporation we call a
They both started laughing at that and then just sat there for a moment. Finally, she got up and headed for the kitchen, “I need coffee, how about you?”
“Sure I could use a 3rd cup.” She looked at him across the room, through the cloth draped,wooden window frame that separated the rooms.
“3 days isn’t much time to stage a significant protest, they played this well. We’ll have to work fast.”
“Protest my ass.” Edgar stood up, throwing some
imaginary object on the ground in defiance, causing his belly to
vibrate “We been protesting and pranking and messing with people
for decades, and what do we got? Hmm? A reputation, that’s what.
Anonymous wears stupid masks and jacks up websites.” Heather
found the air-quotes confusing “Big deal. Name a single thing we
wanted the corporate state to stop doing that they actually
stopped? Can you?”
Making her way back into the living room, she waved a finger admonishingly, “Well, We did stop a few internet security laws form getting passed.”
“That didn’t come back later as something else? When did that happen?” She sighed and slumped into the couch. Edgar was finding it difficult to keep his angry political anarchist focus while looking at her.
She seemed unaware of his distraction, “I don’t know, I guess your right. But its a long war on an existential battlefield. You can’t expect instant gratification.”
He sighed at that, “Well, that may be true, I don’t know. What I do know is that they are really building these things
now. Not just the police drones. While millions are unemployed,
they clean our homes and build our products, hell they even do our
learning for us,” he waved dramatically at the computer. “We are
entirely dependent on them and now they will police us, too? It’s
gone too far. We must make our stand now, before its too late.”

“What do you want to do, big man?”
Edgar attempted to stand up a little straighter, “For starters I want you to call me that more often. In fact, I think that should be my nick name from now o-“
“Edgar!” He deflated, visibly, and joined her on the couch, “I
don’t know. I was hoping you would have an idea.”
“Me? ” She sat forward at this, “Is it my turn to defeat the evil empire? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was Friday already. Let me see what I have in my little black book of heroic schemes…”
“Okay, okay. I get it. But seriously, if someone’s going to do something about the menace of drones its going to be us. Right? I mean, ya know, ‘We are Anonymous’ and all that.”
“Yes, well, that sounds all cool and shit, but we still have the whole ‘what’ and ‘how’ details.”
“Indeed.” Edgar leaned forward, scooped some weed off the table,
and packed into the bowl. Heather went into the back into the
kitchen and poured 2 cups of coffee. The rich smell of dark
columbian beans filled the apartment.
“Let’s think it through logically. The problem is the drones. The drones are running on an AI. They all have independent power sources and hard drives, making it difficult to attack them all at once.”
Edgar exhaled “But they are networked.”
Sitting back down, she set the coffees on the table, put her feet up, folded her hands behind her head, and stared at the ceiling. “They are networked for communications.Which could be a vulnerability.”
Edgar passed the bowl to her and asked, “What would happen if they couldn’t communicate?”
Heather got the lighter lit and then held the bowl by her mouth while she explained, “They would just carry out last coding. Which would
probably mean that most drones would only have minor disruptions.”
“Hmmm.” Heather dropped the bowl and lighter onto the table
and jumped up, “Oh! Oh! I know, we could use the network to carry a
shut down code that released at a prearranged time.”
“Like a trojan virus time bomb!”
“Can you write that code?”
She passed back, and let the smoke roll out her mouth as she spoke, “Hell, most of it is written already. I can take pieces of several
different viruses, worms, and trojan horses and just add some code
for the time delay element. I should be able to do that in less
than 48 hours. Is Oscar busy?”
“No he’s free.”


was the nickname they had given to the Independent SuperComputer for Anarchist’s Revolution, or ISCAR. Their group, which included about 8 computer geeks altogether, had built it in Heather’s basement by networking together several smaller machines they had built. Not only was its hardware faster and more complex than anything on the market, but the operating system was entirely of their own design. Any connections made to the internet were routed and re-routed through so many random servers per second that tracing them was impossible and even then such a cyber enemy would be facing an unknown coding languageon unfamiliar hardware.
Heather sat at her kitchen table drinking coffee, interfacing with Oscar via blue tooth. It had been 36 hours and she was almost done with the code. All that was left was figuring out how to insert it into the government communications network that the drones run on. Breaking into a lab and hooking up a USB drive like some old movie was not going to cut it. “Maybe we could give them a gift, like the real Trojan horse.” Heather suggested.
Edgar laughed, “Yeah we could push a big wooden drone up
to city hall in the middle of the night, and when they bring it
inside the next morning, poof, out pops a computer virus.” They
both laughed for several minutes. The kind of laugh when your
exhausted and worried and overworked and really anything is funny
because you’re just about at you’re breaking point. Finally running
out of giggles, she sighed and looked at him, “We really should
have figured this part out before you did all that work.”
“No, no we’ll come up with something. Everything is hackable. Right?” Edgar looked to her for support through bleary eyes.
“That’s right. And we’re hackers.” She offered her “My Little Kitty” coffee mug in toast. He clinked her mug with his Calvin and Hobbes mug, “Good hackers, too.”
“Well, bad hackers, but good at it.”
“We’re on the side of good, I think. It’s those control freak technocrats with their soulless drones who are the bad guys.”
“Yeah!” She shook her fist at the invisible enemy. “Yeah!” “And we’re going to stop them, because we’re good guys.” She added in a fit of a redundant enthusiasm.
“That’s right.”
“Like heroes, and shit.”
“That’s us in a nutshell.”
“Just as soon as we figure out how.”
Sigh, “Yes.”
“So,” Heather returned to her logic mode, “we have a bunch of
independent machines, connected by a closed, secure comm network,
and we want to feed a message into that network from outside,
without detection. How can that be done?”
“We need a machine that has access. We need to grab a machine, inject our message into its hard drive so that it will then send it into the network at the next update.”
“You want to kidnap a police drone?” She looked at
him like he had suggested going to the moon.
“Why a police drone? Can’t it be a cleaning drone or something? Aren’t they on the same comm network?”
“Are they?”
“I think so. And even if they aren’t, if millions of drones go offline at once, that sort of weakness in a system might cause them to pause on bringing cop drones online.”
“Maybe we should grab an industrial drone, so if your wrong and the
networks are separate it will still shut down something serious.”
“I don’t know, if all the rich people’s cleaning drones suddenly
shut down and inconvenienced them it might get more of a result
than 1 company’s products offline for a week.”
“Good point.” She reached for her coffee and then almost knocked it over spinning around and grabbing his arm, “Oh, oh, oh! I got it! It’s so obvious! The transport drones. Public, private, whatever, they all
tap into the same NavNet for road updates and whatnot.”
“Which also connects to everyone’s personal maps and calendars and all that crap. And, and! You know what else? They all feed into the same
satellite network. That’ll shut down the whole country in minutes!”

“Yeah! And then they’ll really know we’re the good guys.” Her
sarcasm was hardly subtle, but Edgar didn’t care.
“Nobody’s going to be thanking us, but if we tear this automated society away from the handful of people who control it now and return it to the people, it’ll be a good thing.”
“The Anti-Populist Revolution?”
“Indeed. Alright, You’ve still got more coding to do. I’ll call the
crew together and figure out how to grab and interface with a
transport drone. But we wont actually grab anything yet. We need to
have everything ready and do it 1, 2, 3.”
“Yes, sir, Captain Big Man.” She grinned at him over her shoulder as he walked upstairs to make phone calls.


even transport drones, are not easy to capture, as it turns out. There were 5 of them on the crew: Edgar, Heather, Johnny Thumbs, Stevie Cartwright, Ellen 3 Nipples, and Kevin the Dog. Johnny was the security hacker.He could cut into a CCTV and set it on a loop in seconds without the suggestion of footprints. Standing about 5’6″, balding except for a band of brown hair around the back, he got his nickname in high school. He’d put his thumbs into 1 of those chinese finger traps after drinking several Long Island Ice Tea’s and was unable to escape the rest of the night. His friends laughed and laughed as he jumped around in the middle of the room jerking his thumbs away
from each other and screaming, “My thumbs! My thumbs!” Stevie knew
robots, he used to build them for the military before he saw the
results of his work during the Saudi civil war. That’s where he met
Ellen who was programming the robots he built. She grew up with
Heather and Johnny. It was Johnny who gave her nickname. They were
a strange looking couple. He a 6′ tall Mexican and her a tiny,
blonde Jewish girl barely reaching 4’5″. Kevin the Dog was a
chocolate lab they found abandoned a week after leaving the
military and coming home, named after a friend lost to the most
recent war.
Edgar and Ellen waited outside the Red Shoe Inn under the flickering yellow parking lot lights just after sundown, watching traffic pass by, waiting for a taxi. The Inn wasn’t an inn at all, just a bar Ellen liked to visit with her friends. The exterior, a 1 story, square, cement building, with a stucco exterior and a few trees scattered about the lot recklessly, was entirely unremarkable. Inside was an entirely different story she preferred keeping separate from her daytime life. It was early still, so there were few patrons or employees present, still she was nervous. “I don’t understand why we are using a place I
frequent, and during normal traffic hours. Shouldn’t we be doing
this at, like 4am, in the middle of nowhere.”
“We’re hiding in plain sight. There is nothing suspicious about us being here, now, because you do ‘frequent’ this place” he made those air quotes that annoyed her so much, “and these are normal hours. As long as you do your job once we get in the cab, there is no reason for the law to ever look twice at us.”
“I’ll do my job,” She did not like being challenged on her skill set, “you just do yours.”
At that moment an auto-cab responded to Edgar’s wild, vigorous waving and pulled up alongside them. Shaped like an arrowhead, the narrow front compartment housed the robot hardware sitting over the electric
engine. Slightly to the fore of the engine sits the single front
wheel. The wider, rear compartment of this vehicle holds 2
passengers, which rest over, inside, and partially forward of the 2
rear wheels. The entire silver exterior is covered in alternating
sensors; half being solar power collectors, the other half being
proximity sensors. The rear door slid out of their way, and they
slid into the firm, pleather, bucket seat. The robot’s head spun
about and faced them. Edgar was surprised, as he was every time, to
hear it’s blaring, foreign tones, “Hello, how are you doing? Where
would you like to be going today?”
Edgar leaned over to Ellen, “Why do you suppose they all sound Indian?”
The robot corrected him, “My accent is Pakistani, in point of fact. My fellow transport drones’ interfaces and I are sharing this particular dialect because the person who invented this design was Pakistani. It is the voice of her son which you are hearing. Where would you like to be going?”
“Um, Penn’s Landing, please.”
“Very well. I will be taking you there immediately.” The door slid shut with a hiss, the lock clicked into place, the head spun around on its robot neck, whoosh, the vehicle leaned slightly, and they turned a long slow arc out of the lot and onto the road. The electric engine made barely a hum.
Ellen pulled her laptop out of her bag, popped it open, and fired
up her interface program. The vehicle slowed and stopped in the
middle of the road. “Okay, well that’s sort of good.”
“Just relax.”
Lights and whirring sounds began to emanate from the front of the
cab. “There is being an error in our navigation systems. Please
forgive us. We will return to being on our way very soon.”
Edgar tried to reassure the mechanism, “It’s alright, um, cabbie, we have everything under control.”
“This vehicle is not equipped with a manual override”
Ellen laughed, “It is now.”
A few seconds later, the vehicle began to move again. She steered them down severalblocks and into an alleyway. The rest of the crew were already there, waiting, bicycles leaning against the wall between the
dumpster and the back door of the old, closed public library that
used be there. The dumpster served the retail warehouse across the
street. Kevin the Dog had already found someone’s leftover lunch
that hadn’t quite made it into the dumpster and was enjoying
himself immensely. Johnny was sitting on the ground, squat legs
crossed, tablet on his lap jacked into a portable hard-drive, he
had already interfaced with every security camera on their route
and looped the recording so that they never appeared on any of it.
Since they were spending so much time in this alley, he was
rerunning last night’s security show of a bum MMF 3-some. They
rolled up, came to a stop. The doors opened. Ellen took a moment to
smile at her man and then returned to her monitor. Edgar never took
his eyes off, appearing far less relaxed than she.
“Error. Attempting system override.” The drone continued its efforts to
reassert control.
“The drone is fighting me. Don’t worry, I can take a simple trans-bot.”
“Well can you turn off the annoying audio.”
“No she cannot.” a clear, deep, NE Caucasian American accent came from the front of the vehicle.
“Did the robot’s voice just change?” Edgar looked at Ellen. The robot head spun around and looked at both of them. It spoke again in the new voice.
“By interfacing with this vehicle’s hard drive you have potentially
violated section 1703 and 3205 of the corporate espionage code
and/or section 3728 of the anti-terrorism code. You will be
detained and authorities contacted. That is all.” The doors closed
and locked again.
“It isn’t sending any message to anybody. Just give me a minute on the rest.” The seats began to tingle. The tingle began as a tickle and became more intense as seconds passed.
“Its trying to electrocute us, but I’m preventing it from sending enough power through at any 1 time. So its building the charge up slowly. Which is really, very clever for such a simple machine. You have to be impressed with the level of problem solving skills for an AI at this lev-”
“Oh all right. Hang on. We’ll be out soon. Surprised you can feel it
“Was that a fat joke? Did you just make a fat joke while
we are being electrocuted?”
“Oh its just a mild charge. And besides, there’s always time for fat jokes.” She turned to look at him, “You know if you would just go cycling with me every other day, like I ask, there wouldn’t be any fat jokes.”
“Ellen! could we discuss your projected body image issues some other time.”
“I do not project. You know that’s like the kid who says people pick on him because they’re jealous. You know who they grow up to be? Lex
“Could you please focus?”
“I can do better than that.” She pushed the enter button and the lights all turned off. The doors unlocked and opened. An audible hiss poured out of its electrodes and then it just became quiet. “Now, on to the actual job we’re here for.”
Edgar jumped out as soon as the doors slid aside. Heather helped Ellen gather up her equipment.
Stevie reached under the front wheel well, pressed a few buttons, and the entire plastic body rose a foot off the chaises, providing easier access to the engine and mainframe. He turned to the group, “Alright, it’s going to take a few minutes for me to gain access to the central
processor, link into this drone’s comm center, and then access the
main network. So get your stuff ready in the meantime because we
wont have a lot of time to screw around once I do.” Stevie grabbed
his tablet and bag of tools and ducked under the vehicle. Edgar
joined Johnny watching the security cams. In addition to looping
the footage on them, he was also keeping an eye on nearby cameras
to see if anybody was coming. The girls, reluctantly joined them.

“Wow, that is a fascinating smell you’ve discovered.”
“I didn’t discover it, it existed as an indigenous specious before I arrived. Don’t turn me into the nasal Columbus.”
“Nasal Columbus?”
“It could be a thing.”
“I think you’re hypothesis may be flawed.”
“I defy you to demonstrate their cannot be a corollary to Columbus for odors.”
“How would this symbolic corollary go about exploiting the odors?
Or sailing off in search of the route around the round odor world,
for that matter?”
“I think you’re being a bit literal. The core
point is that-”
“Ready!” Stevie rolled out from beneath the
“Oh thank god.” Both girls said at the same time. The boys
looked at each other and shrugged. Edgar rolled over and up onto
his knees, then stood up and ran over to the vehicle. Heather and
Ellen were already there getting the laptop set up and plugged into
the cord Stevie had left extending out from underneath. The other
end of the cord plugged directly into the robot’s central
processor. Heather sat down and began to open her interface
software. She skipped passed all the primary files and systems,
knowing the security protocols would be too severe for her to
overcome swiftly. She wound her way deep into the bowels of the
system, found the most minor of systems, barely protected and
slipped inside. That code let her piggy back into another system,
and another, and an hour later she was into a system that needed
constant updates, the traffic reports. She found the code that the
auto-transport and the network used to recognize each other, and
added a simple goto command, sending it in search of the ANY1 file
when given the proper password. Then she downloaded the trojan
virus into the memory files labeled as ANY1. The next time,
according to the plan, when the network gave its password so it
could provide the vehicle with the normal updates, the virus file
would also upload and activate to the network and then spread to
every other computer being updated. Then she added some more data
to convince the vehicle it had spent all this time in a grocery
store parking lot waiting for them to return, rather than in an
alley being hacked. After they disconnected, Edgar and Ellen got
back in the vehicle an she piloted it to the grocery store. Every
one else left on their bikes, with Johnny remaining so he could
properly cover their tracks. In the parking lot, she returned
control to the vehicle. It appeared to have no memory of the
“Welcome back. Was you shopping successful?”
“Um, yes, we are having everything shipped to our home though because we have somewhere to be tonight. Could you drop us off at our friends house on 4th and Patterson?”
“Of course, sir.”


the next morning would have been
awesome for Edgar and his crew, if there had been any. It turned
out that Heather had been right about all of the drones being on
the same comm network. Not just the vehicles, all of them. When the
update went out at 4am every drone in the western world received
the same trojan time virus. At 8am EST they all shut down. Every
machine with an AI based on the drones and connected to the comm
network had received the shutdown order and obeyed. Transports,
security, media, labor devices, comm tech, banking tech, market
trading tech, military tech, all just became dormant. You couldn’t
order a cup of coffee or flush a toilet, if it was automated and
received network updates. Which they all were. People panicked.
Product sat in warehouses, dirty dishes sat in sinks, dust remained
on shelves, traffic did not rush, phones would not auto dial,
television could not blather, the world of automated services fell
silent. After discovering his mobile devices and television and
networked laptop were all dead, Edgar rolled out of bed and
shuffled over to the window. He smiled to see people milling around
on foot, talking to each other, and looking around lost. They were
confused and angry, sure, but at least they were interacting with
each other. There was not a single vehicle on the street or in the
air. The street cameras all had their lights off. He turned to grab
his phone and call Heather, then stopped himself and laughed.
Even I am trained like some Pavlovian dog. Ah well, I can
break it. It’ll certainly be worth it. We did it! We really did it!
We didn’t just harass Big Brother, we actually scored a
He knew they would fix it eventually, but he
was going to enjoy this in the meantime.
He reached into his nightstand, pulled out the pre-packed bowl of weed and a lighter, took a long slow victory pull, enjoying the warm skunky flavor as it filled his throat and lungs, and then let it slowly pour out of his mouth and nose like an overweight, Caucasian, green dragon.
“Ah, yes, Ja-provide. To victory and freedom, and… stuff.”
Setting the pipe down, he headed for the shower. Turning it on, he
put his hand in to adjust the temp, “They all laughed when I asked
for a manual shower. Whose laughing now? Bwa-bwa-bwahahaha. Okay,
its probably weird that I’m talking to myself about the shower
By the time he got out of the shower, the television had
turned itself on and was broadcasting an emergency text message on
all channels while playing the most irritating buzzing sound. The
text read simply, “Emergency: Automated Systems have been disabled
by national enemies. Devices with manual controls can be enabled by
plugging in a keyboard and typing #0101#. More info to follow as
available. This message will repeat until device is turned off.
Emergency: Automat-” He turned it off and sat on the edge of the
bed, smiled slightly to himself. I’m a national enemy?
Cool. What happened to enemy of the state? Man works hard, does a
job well, still can’t get the proper recognition.

He quickly got dressed, grabbed some cold pizza from the fridge, and
headed out the door for Heather’s place. He took his phone but left
it off for now. Even if they do get it back up soon, he didn’t want
to be back on the grid right away. When he arrived, Kevin the Dog
was laying on his favorite spot, the boys were playing video games
in the main room, and the girls were drinking Mai Ties in the
kitchen. He closed the door behind him and shouted, “Fellow rebels,
I promised you victory and victory we have achieved!” As he held
his fists up in triumph his belly rolls shook, as if cheering him
on. They all paused, looked at him, mumbled something that sounded
like, “yeah” and then returned to what they were doing. “Aww,
c’mon, you’ve got to be more enthusiastic than that, we just shut
down the network. We achieved our goal, more than our goal, we
struck a serious blow last night.”
Stevie turned his head slightly, but never actually took his eyes off the monitor, “It was cool and all, but let’s not get it twisted, they already have it back up,less then 5 hours.”
“Where? What? The emergency single runs on its link because its an emergency single, kept separate, and it took 5 hours to get that running. What else have they fixed?”
“I see traffic.”
“Manual override vehicles. The manual control world is
reasserting itself. That was our point, right? Lack of human,
civilian control is dangerous. Lack of individual control of that
individual’s life is dangerous. That societal control is an
illusion to justify tyranny. With all of this down, simply by
attacking the NavNet, we have shown how deeply the government
machine has infected every part of our lives. My electronic tooth
brush wouldn’t work this morning. Why is my tooth brush on the
Ellen clucked her teeth, “They’re going to respond Edgar.
They wont just let this lay.”
“Against who? With what? We are Anonymous, and they are offline.” As if on cue, grey shapes flew past the windows, rattling the frames. They all rushed towards the unknown object, jumping onto the couch and yanking the flimsy drapes aside. Outside, floating above every building and on every street corner, was a grey, 3 sided, drone bearing the markings of the US Army. A row of lights and sensors lined each of the 2′ long edges, and in the center of each face, in the middle of the
official seal, there was a portal for tools to extend from the
“Well,” Edgar mused, “I don’t think they’re on the same
network as the civilian stuff.”
Stevie laughed, “No, I’d say not, but at least they don’t know who we are.”
“Why do you think that?”
Johnny pulled himself away from the window and headed back to the game. “We’re still free.”
“For now. But not having come after us yet isn’t the same as not having our ID. They just may not have gotten to us.”
“Way to be an optimist.”
“I’m just being a realist. Right now they are just trying to maintain order. Give them 48 hours to get a grip on things, then they’ll focus on looking for us.”
Heather walked into the kitchen, “Well, then, maybe we
shouldn’t give them that 48 hours.”
Edgar perked up, “Now that is an interesting idea.”

Colonel Neva

marched down the corridor of the Pentagon to the offices of the Assistant Director of the National Security Agency, per his orders. They had interrupted a software update to his cybernetic systems to demand his immediate presence, which was unusual in itself. As was the request to meet with the NSA, a liaison office that mostly stood empty as he understood it. He wasn’t concerned about missing
anything substantive in the update, but the unusual nature of the
request had him curious. Colonel Alan Francis Neva was the first,
and currently only, cybernetic soldier in the US Army. After taking
severe damage during the battle for Riyadh, they had decided to
experiment on him by replacing body parts with technology. It seems
the military organ donor card is more comprehensive. Now his right
arm, left leg, spleen, left lung, right eye, and the cerebellum,
which is the back part of the brain controlling voluntary movement
and balance, are all robotic. Plus they also took the time to add a
thin layer of bullet proof armor beneath his skin at the chest and
head. Which was nice but very uncomfortable in the cold. Col. Neva
entered the plain, grey, square office with only a metal folding
table in the middle around which stood 2 male officers and 1 plain
clothes asian male, and 1 plain clothes african female, and shut
the door behind him.
He faced the General, a caucasian man, 6′ tall, probably 70 years old but in excellent health, and saluted. The general returned the salute, “At ease, Colonel. I’m General Aiken, This is Colonel North,” He gestured to the thin, cross eyed officer to his left, whose face was pock marked with acne scars and pile of grey hair appeared to have landed on his head by accident.
“And these 2 are from the NSA. You can call them Agent Jane and
Agent Joe.” From the look on their faces, it was clear he had just
invented those monikers. At 5’11”, Jane was tall and slender, her
hair cut to short, tight, reddish curls that seemed to match the
red line in the frame of her narrow black eyeglasses, and the thin
red stripe that ran down the sleeve of her black jacket and the
side of her matching black skirt, cut just slightly up the back.
Joe, on the other hand, was a short, 5’5″, squat, man with a
traditional side part and loud, plaid tie, dark blue suit. They
nodded to Neva, he nodded back. Agent Jane spoke first, “Now that
we’re all friends, let’s get down to business. In the light of what
happened today, we have a lot of work to do.”
Neva looked around, confused, “Excuse me, I’ve been in update cycle since 4am. What happened today?”
“Oh. General, do you want to brief you man?”
“Colonel, some time last night a computer virus was launched
against the civilian NavNet which, short version, resulted in
crashing all the automated devices in America that connect to the
primary network for updates every morning.”
“The civilian network only?”
“Exactly. Which is devastating, but also means we are the
only organization capable of providing security services for this
“What about Posse Comitatus?”
Agent Joe chimed in, “The PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and the NDAA of 2012 allow for emergencies. Which this qualifies, I think. Riots and unrest have already started. Not mention our foreign enemies mobilizations. But that’s not why you are here, we have the National Guard handling local security.”
“You want me to pursue the terrorists.”
Agent Jane jumped back in, “That’s right. This committee is a task force set up by the anti-terrorism committees in congress. They told us to do something and we are putting you in charge of the investigation.”

Colonel North took a step towards him, “Not only are you super
cyber guy, but you also have experience running investigations for
CID before the war.”
“Of course. I wont let you down. What do we have on the enemy so far?”
“Not a lot.” Agent Joe waved him towards
the table, we he could now see was actually a monitor displaying a
map, “We do know it originated in Philadelphia, and we have this
list of hackers living in Philly.”

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