Bullfrog’s War

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.’

5 Comments

  1. SimonJM

    Very nice to see a potentially beneficent AI for once – just try and keep what we did to its namesake from it .. 😉

  2. SimonJM

    Nice to see a potentially beneficent AI for once … just keep all data on what we did to its namesake from it … 😉

  3. cmh8133

    A nice AI is a nice change.

  4. Jae

    Genuinely fresh view on an overly-worn theme. Excellent.

  5. Adam Gerencser

    Wow, great SF stuff, Jack. I’m most ‘tevreden’ with this reading experience.

    On the AI note, though, just imagine the stream of personalised flash stories the Overmind will generate for each user according to their personal proclivities… give it another 2-3 decades?

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