You're playing your favourite online game when you accidentally click outside the game's borders on one of those annoying little ads. But this one is different. It doesn't have any obnoxious, punch-you-in-the-face wording, nor any slightly... interesting (for lack of a better word)... blinking pictures. It's just a black background with a strange symbol in white.
You hurriedly press your browser's back button before the stupid ad can bring up another page. While waiting for the game to re-load, a pop-up window appears, completely dominating your monitor. Like the ad, it's black with the same strange symbol. You click where the little 'x' button should be, but nothing happens.
The computer is being slow. Stupid thing.
You then notice that it seems to be overheating. Its fans are going at full capacity, and it sounds like it's in agony, if computers can be in agony.
The screen goes black.
Just as you're wondering what the heck to do, the fans shut off and the screen opens back onto your game like nothing happened. You're starting to wonder if that whole thing even happened, when you look more closely at the game itself.
The game's main character had been replaced with what looks like...
It's pure black, with what seems to be a mixture of brilliant white light, electricity, and fire forming its eyes, horns, teeth, and a mane. It flickers, jumps, and flows, sometimes crackling and sending out little hissing arcs.
The horse is grinning creepily.
Then you notice its back.
The same symbol from the ad and pop-up.
It turns it head and looks straight at you.
The next thing you're aware of is a strange low buzzing sound that seems to fluctuate in intensity and volume. You slowly open your eyes and sit up.
You're not in front of your computer anymore. You're in some sort of lab, with computers— dead computers— everywhere. Their black screens seem to be staring at you through the gloom. The lights are off, and yet there's a pervasive source of light coming from somewhere.
Okay. That's not creepy at all.
You look around, trying to locate the source of that irritating buzzing. Standing up, you begin to investigate the room further. Then one of the screens flickers to life and shuts off again. The same symbol begins to glow on the screen, and then there's a flash of brilliant blue-white light. When you can finally see again, that weird horse thing is standing right in front of you. But it doesn't seem to be... all there. Like it's not a real, physical form. From its hooves comes the same hissing energy as its mane and horns. Just as you're registering this, it starts moving away, and you realize that the buzzing was it laughing. As it walks away, the screens flicker and pulse madly, as if in greeting. The lights come on dimly, giving you just enough light to see. The strange creature heads for the door and stops just outside. Its grin deepens as it looks back, and the door slams shut.
You run after it, but you're just a bit late. The door seems to have locked itself and there's no telling when that thing will be back. You don't even know where you are... You sit down and lean back against the wall, wondering how the heck you're going to get out of this mess.
After a few minutes of panic and/or self-pity, you stand up again, deciding you can't do much else but explore a bit.
You wander around, poking into anything that looks vaguely interesting. You try a few of the computers, but despite the fact that they're running fine, all their files have been wiped. You can access the main file storage, but everything you open has no content. Weird.
After several attempts at quite a few of the terminals, you're getting nowhere. So you begin looking for something else, anything else.
You find it, in the form of an old bundle of papers wedged behind one of the terminals' monitors. You carefully draw it out, taking care that it doesn't just disintegrate into dust. Apart from rustling dryly, the pages survive the ordeal. The pages seem to have been printed out in a hurry. The first few are fine, but then whatever wiped the file system seems to have started messing with these files. It seems to be some sort of confidential journal. You bring them out into the screen's feeble light and begin to read.
The project was cleared and given the go-ahead today. This is the best possible news.
We have had this technology in the works for years now, decades even. It's our greatest hope in this endless war. If this project is successful, we need never fear the Sitar again.
The project, officially called ProjectRESET (Retrieval of Enemy System and Espionage Technology), has three main functions:
1) Infiltrate enemy files and relay information back to base
2) Make changes and EdIT information, (EdIT, Evasive delivery of Information Tool, is a secondary virus that makes changes, instead of just wiping them), or deleting bits and pieces of data here and there
3) Eventually corrupt all computer systems and essentially take them over
We are still in the planning stages, as wE have yet to figure out things like how we are going to introduce the viral AI to enemy hardware, or even what its base functions will be, apart from the aforementioned.
But when it is complete, RESET will most definitely help us win the war.
Some progress has been made. Laying out general ideas. EdIT is nearly complete, but RESET is taking much longer than expected. Not much else to report.
Hit a dead end. All systems should be working fine, but there have been minor malfunctions.
Found the problem. It seems that some of EdIT's code escaped and began doing exactly what it was programmed to do. We do not believe that it was transmitting information to the Sitar, as it would need RESET to do that, but this is still a troubling problem. This issue must be addressed, and soon.
There's been no time to record anything, we've been making so much progress. RESET is now almost complete. It hAs shown a surprising amount of intelligence. It seems to actually feed on the files it resets, which has lead us to believe that it's more than a simple AI. It can easily beat any of our staff at any game, provided it doesn't 'eat' the game's file first. EdIT is still a
rudimentary aDvANced AI at best.
We have come up with a way to deliver RESET. EdIT (it insist on its official name being EdIT and not EDIT) will infiltrate enemy ships and bases, find a computer bank, and interface with it. Depending on the mission, EdIT will:a) Deliver RESET and find a hiding spot until RESET is finished,
b) Transfer its own AI into the computer and make changes,
c) Deliver RESET and its own AI and wreak havoc
EdIT helps RESET move to computers that are not connected to the main network. Once the mission is complete, EdIT will retrieve RESET from the databases and send out a specially encrypted beacon. This is the homecall. It signals that the retrieval team should be ready for pickup. EdIT will get to an open location and wait.
The most dangerous parts of any mission will be delivery and retrieval. With practice, this will become a smooth operation. We hope.
We've had some strange disturbances in the file system. RESET was in EdIT at the time in the simulation chamber, so the missing files couldn't possibly have been 'eaten' by either of them. From what I'm told, the files weren't that important. But it's still troubling.
There seems to be no source of these disruptions. All our attempts to find the problem have found nothing.
The MaLfun(tioNS have continued, and we lost almost all power to the lab this morning. After the blackout, we restarted all systems, though that wouldn't do much if any of RESET or EdIT's code had escaped. They're specifically designed to create their own little bubbles of cyberspace to hide in and avoid detection or eradication. How they do this is highly classified and extremely complicated, and I won't go into it here.
But if it was some other virus, that will have gotten rid of it, with any luck.
No more incident$ today.
Nothing else to report.
Preparing for the first test run. We have obtained some information that places the next Sitar raid within a week's time. We must be ready by that time, or we will have lost our one and only chance for a test. So mUcH work to do.
The raid is today. The mission is as follows:
1) Be dropped off by a fighter pilot (the pilot was specially selected for this mission)
2) Find a comPUt3r bank
3) Locate ra1d information and any strategical plans and store these
4) Make small changes in the supply list
5) Send out the homecall and await instructions for the rendezvous site. The same pilot will pick them up
This had better go well, or all our months of research will be for nothing. We have one chance, as EdIT is instructed to selfdestruct if caught, and if it comes back with nothing, our government has instructed us to destroy them, as they're far too dangerous to keep.
The raid went off without a hitch. We gained some valuable information concerning the size of the Sitar fleet, their attack plans, and many other things. ProjectRESET is a complete success. Both AIs seem very pleased with themselves, smug even. I suppose they do deserve quite a bit of recognition.
I'd better get to our celebration party now.
RESET has gone missing. It's not in EdIT, and EdIT apparently has no idea where it went. I doubt this highly, but if we attempt to extract any information from it, that would not end well. EdIT is very defensive of its privacy and would probably end up lashing out.
We'll just have to wait.
RESET came back today, after being gone for six days. Maybe this has something to do with the missing files a few weeks ago. I'm starting to get very suspicious. Things are going wrong.
Nothing odd has happened, and though everyone agrees it was weird that RESET disappeared, there's no evidence to link that with the system disruptions. Consequentially, no one is doing anything about it, though I'm not sure what they'd do anyway.
I'm very concerned for the safety of everyone working on this project.
Going on the data EdIT retrieved from its first mission, the order for another mission to begin was given today. I fought it as hard as I could, but the benefits were deemed to outweigh the risks. Mission two is in three days. I hope I can find proof and stop it in time...
Still nothing. This is p0intle5S. There would be notHiNg left when RESET was finished; that's its whole reason for existing. I can't prove anything, so the mission will go as planned. I have a horrible feeling this will end very badly...
The fighter pilot just left with EdIT and RESET aboard. Something is about to go horribly wrong, I just know it...
We just lost contact with our pilot. Before the connection cut out, we heard some very disturbing noises. I hate not being able to do anything.
We're receiving a transmission from EdIT as we speak. The data is completely garbled— no, wait, what's that?
It's a homecall.
According to EdIT, their fighter was attacked, but it managed to make it to the Sitar ship. It and RESET are awaiting pickup.
This feels so wrong.
We couldn't get a pilot on such short notice, and they all seem to be attempting to defend this base anyway. But that didn't deter EdIT.
It commandeered a Sitar ship and flew it back.
Under any other circumstances, this would have been a huge accomplishment, but it just unnerves me even more. I have to go and see what the heck happened to this mission.
This is epic. His face~
I can't believe how epic you made him look, Kaz.