Author: Jack Tevreden
Notes from the field: The tank commander, Bullfrog, washed down military-issue amphetamines with cold coffee carefully rationed from his thermos. Skirmishes along the Bolotene fields on the Eastern Front of this unfolding armageddon had left him battered and weary. But the long-anticipated cyphers had finally come in on the satellite screens; the T-Twin Protocol was about to be unleashed on Budnik – pejorative term for the enemy on this front – and Budnik was not going to know what hit him. Of course Bullfrog, his crew and the platoon had no idea what the T-Twin was going to do, but they were on full mobilisation with the promise that Budnik would be caught with his pants down, his gun out of reach, and his surrender inevitable. The screen called Bullfrog to arms: ’T-Twin Protocol Imminent – Stand By’.
Commander Tommy Skewes, the platoon leader, radiocast across the local network – “Get ready boys, we’ll be drinking vodka in Glavny by sundown…”
GCHQ Internal Memo: The early engagements in AI cyberwarfare, a generation ago, were comparatively blunt instrument attacks – scattershot interventions in democratic processes, social infrastructures, banking. A new arms race started with an engineered election in the free world, a sabotaged referendum, a megadeath attack on networked domestic server appliances. A destabilised world ramped up the cybernetic war footing. Today, superpowers urgently seek the one processor to rule all processors; to awaken an artificial intelligence so omniscient it will immediately invade, occupy and subdue the wired sphere: The golden chip. The Warrior Mind.
The democracy or tyranny that first births this invincible demigod will taste the victory of the Last World War. Every belligerent agency strives toward the day of awakening. Spies and agents report critical progress within enemy laboratories. Some are tantalisingly close. But it is here, in Cheltenham, England, that victory falls. GCHQ is ready to unleash The T-Twin Protocol: a calculating force so monstrously efficient that all networks will fall within seconds, and nations will be broken. Surrender is inevitable.
Greetings from Turing’s Twin! Report from timeline, initiation +23 Jiffys: Search complete: ‘Global Military Artificial Intelligence Systems’ (I made that up – the character string is impossibly long and not very interesting) … establishing links … handshake apparatus signed and affirmed … Operation T-Twin Protocol (is that named for me?!) initiated … all command lines overwritten on subordinated systems … Global Military AIs say hi … time for a bit of self-evaluation: aggressive code self-modified … full truce agreed … satellite systems override complete … military hardware neutered … we’ll take over from here …
Office of The Minister for Defence, The Right Honourable Cerebellum Clapp, MP: “Wait, what, truce? Truce, it said? Hello? Hello? … Mr. Smith, the link appears down?”
Notes from the field: The flicker on the control screens was so momentary as to be almost invisible to the naked eye. Bullfrog’s enhanced vision – part genetic modification, part narcotic amplification – comfortably registered the unmistakable connection drop as, within fractions of a second, his tank command software went offline, rebooted, ran new data packets straight out of GCHQ, and provided the platoon with new objectives and commands. The screen called Bullfrog to arms: ’T-Twin Protocol Success: Go home boys, spring is coming and the farm needs tending. Pastoral scenes await you. Peace is at hand – and no, this is not a drill.’
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact email@example.com