... and the world wept; some in fear, some with joy,
to see the mighty Empire tear itself apart.
The Trumpites and Patriots did not so much as launch the first act of the Narcissi War,
as incite it through their infighting.
Such conflict by its very nature became violent
for such is the way of Empires founded on blood.
The fire bombing of a North Carolina Republican Party Headquarters
was seen as a warning to the Nazi traitors within the Republican Party
to stop their treasonous interference, or else.
The Patriots were the first to take up the call,
seeing the fire bombing as an inspired act and a call to arms.
The Trumpites were drawn into the fray by their new prophet
who drew to himself the angry and disaffected.
Within weeks of the great triumph their world began to fray
and where else could they turn but to arms.
For an empire where each household has more weapons
than an average old world village,
any armed response only escalates ...
Presidential Campaign Rally
"Damn brave of 'em!" Agent Scott offhanded to his Jaeger International, Security team partner. Mulligan nodded distractedly in response while maintaining her surveillance of the group of journalists being harassed by the crowd. It was becoming the norm for the press to become targets of abuse as Donald Goldwater named them as the enemies to his followers.
“Yep it doesnt get more unamerican to attack people just doing their job ...”
“What dont yah mean upholding their 1st Amendment Right to free speech!” Scott added sarcastically. Mulligan harrumphed at him in that tone of hers that said careful, eyes are on us.
The Trumpite Rally hadnt even started and the crowd was already rowdy and aggresive, checking out everyone in their midst for traitors and subversives.
Scott manoeuvred them closer to the huddle of journos starting to look for a way out of the chaos.
All around the group the glares and abuse of the faithful threatened death, torture and retaliation for the condemnation of their prophet who had come to raise them up from the blasphemy of blacks, hispanics, gays and leftists who threatened the America they saw as having been taken away from them.
None of the faithful paid much attention to Scott or Mulligan, they were too focused on hurling abuse at the fake press who had begun to force their way toward the nearest exit.
It may also have been because they both wore offensive T shirts.
His read on the front -
I'm a medically retired Marine
and on the back just one four letter word -
Hers was more polite on the front -
I'm a Paramedic, nobody died
but, more threatening on the back -
The Trumpites kept giving them the thumbs up, if only they knew who they really were!
"Are you getting this Dan Coutu?"
"Sure thing Scott McRae! What a feast for the data nerds this'll be."
McRae switched from his vid-link to Coutu in Ontario back to his live feed from the teams at the Trumpite Convention. The large wall screen in his Wollongong Office of JI - Jaeger International, showed a stream of face recognition analyses in progress. Every few seconds one face would be redflagged, then moved across screen to a Priority Surveillance Folder. These were then fed to the relevant team at the Convention.
McRae was the face of the Analysis Section, the nerds that wrote the programs lived in some Tech Arcadia in a JI complex out west with miles of sand dunes for security. McRae watched the teams Ok the RedFlag notifications then turned back to the other operators in the Comm Centre. The scan of the crowd was complete, so now track and acquire took over. It was early days but it appeared they had the gist of the situation and the direction the Trumpites were taking this mammoth con of the electoral system.
McRae clicked on his headset, “all yours Dan, we’re done here!”
“Thanks Scotty, we’ll see what the teams come up with, chat soon.” Coutu turned from the vid-link, “Rod, Fran, take this Redflag and nail it please, I want to know everything he does for the rest of his life!”
Rod adjusted his hearing aids and Fran her glasses where their comm-links were located and tapped
They watched Beers prowling along the back row of the group of patriots forming up to hurl abuse at the journalists. The disgraced head of Fox News didn’t usually show up in person at these celebrations of the faithful but now he was a Trumpite adviser this was a chance too good to be true.
Rod led the way through the crowd and as soon as they were close enough Fran got herself in his way. He was good natured enough in his apology and she kissed his cheek to thank him. Her nannite lipstick immediately dissolved into his skin leaving a layer a reactive particles sufficient for a new generation of JI tracking tech to transfer data for years or until detected and jammed by just the right micro frequency. Still, probably good for a few months at least mused Coutu as the nannites responded to the signals from Rods cell phone come data transceiver and started to relay data to his JI North America office.
“Gotcha sucker, mumbled Rod under his breath as the two of them angled away from the growing anger of the Patriots and their disregard for the freedom of the press.
“Damned if I know how he does this stuff,” Fran whistled in admiration as she read the incoming data on her wrist eTrack health monitor. Beers heart rate was up, cortisol levels very unhealthy, and the traces of caffeine and medications well... She shook her head at the implications. Rod looked over her shoulder as she explained the readings.
“Really? Ah well, one less to deal to worry about soon enough he said matter of factly.
“You’re always so much fun to hang out with,” she added dryly.
Rod smiled his quirky smile that meant he really wasn’t joking but don’t quote him cause I’ll deny everything.
“Let’s clear off and check out the range,” he added as if referring to going shooting to let off some steam. Fran nodded and this time she led them through the growing turmoil of the patriots as they let off their kind of steam.
Dan Coutu monitored the three JI teams as they dodged and weaved their way through the growing chaos of the Trumpite rally. Rod Scott and Fran Mulligan had cleared the area completely and were heading for debrief. All their targets had been tagged and the data flow was being streamed back to Coutu's office in real time by the data-drones holding position above the teams.
These were registered with local Law Enforcement and left alone by everyone else because they operated at heights above annoyance level and below aircraft transit. A narrow height band but an effective one for JI drones to relay from comm dead zones to the JI Sat network.
Coutu reconnected his link to Scott McRae, “all yours Ringmaster, hope the Brains trust doesn’t short out over this one‽”
McRae scoffed, “smart arse! Anyway you should have the boss with you tomorrow or this evening your time, and then perhaps we underlings can benefit from your accumulated wisdom ...”
Coutu gave him the finger and signed off. They were good mates and as Canucks and Aussies weren’t too far apart in their sensibilities, they'd soon warmed to each others style of flattering banter. Yanks and Euros on the other hand just couldn’t catch on, let alone keep up. That was why Old Man Parrish had put the JI North American Offices in Canada.
McRae turned to his Analysis Officer. Belinda Leonard shrugged back at him.
“If that questioning gaze of yours means what it usually does, then nope, got no idea. Is Goldwater merely conning everyone with his rhetoric, does he believe it, is it merely the biggest scam the USA has ever fallen for?" She shrugged at him.
"You get me the data and we’ll crunch the numbers as to investments, appointments, personnel transfers, opinion polls and and trends, but don’t expect me to make a call on this in anyway what so ever!”
McRae smiled sheepishly and shook is head. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” he sang, “but yeah I doubt if even Parrish and his wizkid AI have got any idea of what's going on with this bloke!” McRae pointed with his thumb at the wall screen and the scenes from the Trumpite Rally winding down and people pouring out of the stadium.
Leonard nodded and headed back to her workstation. Tom Newson, McRae’s assistant, got up from his station and handed him an ePad. Newson was monitoring the Trump-News-Channel angle of this debacle.
McRae gave him his “well?” look. “Really dunno boss‽ The Republicans created Donald Goldwater with all their anti Obama slurring and the Tea Party shenanigans. All the trends show him making a motza out of this, if it is a scam and not a real attempt at the Presidency!”
McRae shook his head, “which ever way it goes its not going to be pretty ...”
Harold Parrish looked up from his ePad and smiled as the cabin display announced they would soon be re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and would be switching to LaserCommLink during the descent. Harold loved this part of the 2 hour Skylon Shuttle flight from Sydney to Washington. The buffeting that was felt always brought him to hyper-vigilance as the plasma of re-entry coated the Skylon with instant death, yet here he sat with other members of the 1% of privileged Humanity who could afford to travel this way.
He turned back to his ePad and resumed typing in his notes for the meeting with Coutu. He didn’t have to travel in person, VR conferencing was more than sufficient, but he preferred eye to eye contact with his managers for Decisionering meetings. It was a foible of his that he was well aware of, and made it a trademark as well. Harold Parrish was renowned for the hard decisions that had brought JI success in the Security world, and also for doing so face to face when lives were at stake.
The auto correct changed his Oz spelling to US standard. “Bloody operating system” he swore as he realised it had automatically adapted to arriving in US air space.
He tapped on the JI Icon, top left of screen, opened the prefs window and tapped reset. The screen flickered and all his settings returned as well as telling the OS company he’d done so. It was tedious this way but it reminded the developers he had control and he could bump out their input at any point. Most of his staff just used the auto retain setting, but he enjoyed this little act of “up yours” that it afforded him. He didnt use the JI OS on commercial ePads, and he didnt use JI ePads except in secure environments. Some data was too secret.
He was boss and he didn’t mind how often he had to remind the rest of the world, well at least that was how his eldest described his father.
Harold tapped on the Charts icon and the data reset itself to the visual format he’d selected. A timeline appeared showing all the US presidents back to Lincoln with colours indicating political intentions. It was obvious when set out this way. Every time there was a reforming President, the reactionaries put up an extremist candidate at the next election. Lincoln, JFK and Obama were the big three with LBJ and his Big Society being favoured by many in making him a great reformer.
Clinton and the economy also ranked in there. Yep the pattern was clear.
He flicked off the file to Coutu for his analysis and input. It wasn’t who was going to be elected that was important to Harold and JI, it was the reactions of the inherently violent groups in US society that they had been contracted to monitor and pre-empt. It was what they excelled in. Strategic data analysis and Tactical societal response was Harolds term for JI’s protocols.
The Cabin Screen showed a Skylon icon shrouded in an orange glow as they past the halfway point of re-entry. All their interactions with the world now past through a single high intensity LaserLink that functioned through the plasma field. That fact that JI Research had pioneered this tech as part of its own secure communications development had turned out to be a good little earner.
Coutu responded. He was just landing at WIS - Washington International Spaceport, and Harold was cleared to transfer immediately to the JI shuttle to Ontario. Harold smirked at his comments on the Presidents File. “Smart Arse” he said out loud as he took in the edits Coutu had done and the comment that even though Donald Goldwater was usually compared to Barry Trumps failed bid for the presidency, hence his adherents being called Trumpites; Donald Goldwater was most similar to McGovern, the Left’s failed extremist candidate.
Coutu had added a data file that added the crime stats for various high risk jurisdictions. There were a few obvious patterns. “A good lead there,” Harold mused as the Cabin Screen announced they were approaching WIS. Once they added in current trends and predictions they should be able to identify potential hotspots and perpetrator groups.
Harold switched off the ePad and inserted it into the inside pocket of his traveling jacket and smiled.
Coutu was waiting for him at the WIS reception lounge. They shook hands amiably, but Harold tilted his head and frowned at Coutu. “Righto Dan, what’s up mate?”
Coutu smirked and shook his head, “once, just once I wish you’d let me have my moment of revelation, without you reading my face and pre-empting me.” Dan turned and indicated the exit that led to the JI shuttle
“Sorry Dan, I’ll try and remember that next time, now what’s got your knickers in a knot?”
Dan held the door for Harold and waited till it closed behind him. They walked quickly down the corridor and up the extended ramp to the forward cabin door on the transonic MBB
They took their seats in the usual office lounge such JI aircraft were fitted out with. They waited till the cabin door clunked closed then Dan handed across an ePad.
Harold tapped open the file and made that series of lip movements and compressions that told everyone he was digesting difficult information.
“That bad eh?” “Yes!” was Coutu’s simple affirmative. “We’ve managed to contain any further incursions and have begun designing a Backtracker that should be camouflaged to their system!”
Harold nodded, “we’ll have to nail this first time, if they discover our methodology we’ll lose years of advantage.” “... But if we crack it ...”
Harold looked up at Coutu and the obvious excitement written all over his face. “... And you’re ready for me to test it I gather ?” “Yes boss we are !”
Harold leant forward in anticipation of the explanations of Coutu’s team and their fencing with the Russian hackers.
Dan tapped the table top display and then the only icon on the screen. Harold quickly read through the history of the observation phase of the hackers activities and then the analysis phase.
“Ah yes, excellent analysis, spot on. They weren’t very creative were they, probably not expecting a detailed response but merely being fire walled. ... And so a Trojan Horse or in this case a Putin Horse?”
Dan chuckled and nodded. “We get into their system hiding within the data stream they are directing back to their server. It sits there as part of their data pile and slowly releases Spore micro-routines as you developed so famously as the core of JI counter Insurgency.”
Harold waved the historical reference aside. Dan was onto a new direction here and it would be up to Harold to look for everything that could go wrong including using a tried and true JI methodology.
Harold felt the aircraft taxiing and waited. He closed his eyes as the Shuttle lifted off, relishing that moment of transition from ground to sky the he never tired of.
He opened his eyes to Dan’s appreciative smile. Dan reached across and tapped on an icon at the top of the list of the open folder. An algorithm architecture diagram opened and Harold leant forward as if diving physically into eSpace to personally build the coding.
“Risky, especially this sub-linkage ...” he commented as he expanded the view scale of the screen and highlighted the coding he was examining. “But I like it! It makes the whole process appear completely new and different. Yes ...” Harold paused squinting then.
Coutu watched as Harold Parrish, coding genius and insightful risk connoisseur disappeared down the rabbit hole into where ever it was genius went when it was creating. Dan sat back and waited. He checked the cabin screen, 1200km/hr, 12km high and arriving at the JI airfield.
Harold sat back and let out a long contented smile, “that should stick it right up em,” he intoned in as strong an Aussie accent as he could conjure. He indicated with his left hand at the table screen and Dan took his time expanding and contracting various sections of the graphic.
“Very clever Boss. I love it. Some FBI tell tales, a couple of CIA and nothing of ours at all. If we lose it we don’t own it though!” and he looked up at Harold who shrugged.
“It’ll fall apart into more spores as the main release finishes, nothing left but a rotting mess after this has its way with them.”
Dan smirked at the imagery and pointed at some random sections, “and these?”
Harold smirked this time, “a few Trumpite telltales I scavenged from various sites. Nothing specific but just the sort of byte dust that would be left by careless hackers.” Dan nodded in appreciation of the way this would look if ever found by Putin’s netski’s.
“So, which one of our wiz kids thought this up?”
“One of our associates actually, Paul Vixie over at Farsight Security. He’s gonna love what you did with this!” Dan saw Harold’s expression and nodded, “yeah I know only you and I know what happened here, but Paul’ll see the effect of this and appreciate the bonus he gets via that lottery win he’ll have next month.”
Harold laughed, “I think we’ll all be getting a bonus for this, we just have to make sure we clear all stocks from Russian investments slowly and carefully over the next few days before this trashes Putin’s empire!”
“Onto it boss,” and Coutu began contacting the various JI offices to advise on stocktaking procedures.” Harold sank into the lounge and let his mind play with all the things that could go wrong with this countermeasure and what could be done to prevent too much damage.”
“Alright, alright! Settle down, settle down everyone !” Harold Parrish scanned the room trying to read the messages that the avatars of this Strategy Group were presenting him with.
He was in his office in the Jaeger–Ontario offices, his VR headset presenting him as he was. He never used an avatar, too much to do. He knew everyone in this Strategy Group and allowed himself a smile at the avatars that came and went with those that used them.
‘Enough naval gazing,’ he chastised himself ...
“Righto‽ I don’t want your hates, your hunches, hubris or hypothesis! I want clear, concise trends and predictions with all the data laid out that produced them.” The avatars nodded and agreed although Neddie Seagoon did mumble rhubarb under his breath just a little too much.
The avatars were like a 21stC Nerd-Collective Arthurian Round table and yes there was an Arthur-Lancelot-Galahad figure that often changed during meetings to represent confidence or doubt. Today though there was a mixture of Superheroes, historical VIPs and from his own team back in Wollongong, Aunty Jack and Lawrence Hargrave.
“I’ve selected from your submissions so far those appropriate for AIME to collate.” Harold thumbed his remote and a holo screen rose up out of the floor of the VR conference room with an infographic with the trend lines and links to data and examples.
There was a round of applause and calls of bravo from the audience as the Group congratulated Harold on this latest example of improvements to the Jaeger AI algorithms.
Harold took a bow and relished the moment from his peers. He was their boss, but everyone here was his equal in the Jaeger Technocracy. He would have preferred to hold these meeting in person but they were spread around the globe and this was how it had to be.
“First up with the highest rating is the ‘Economy Stupid’ from our US office.” Captain America stood and took a bow on their behalf. Harold hadn’t based this VR office on Google office approaches as rumor had it, more of a Hundertwasser version of The Round Table.
“What we need here is for every money trail to be back tracked till every evasion, false trail, swept track and blind canyon is panned for byte dust. I want every miniscule element of evidence collated before you let go of any money trail!”
No one commented but Harold could see the data files flowing into AIME via his permalink and this team were his best.
“Next up is ‘Lies and Tribulations’ ...” and so Harold continued down through the list of creatively titled Trend Lines, describing his suggestions on how to prepare the data so AIME could create credible predictions using his HariSeldon algorithm.
“Okay folks, that raps up todays jaunt through the entrails of US politics. So far AIME has red lined only one Prediction and that is simply ‘Expectations’.” Harold let that sink in.
“We are charged with passing on anything that prevents any violence, anywhere and AIME gives the highest probability, to an assassination attempt by a disillusioned right wing extremist with an unfulfilled messiah complex. The more the new administration steps away from the promises made during the election the more likely this becomes.” Again he let this sink in.
“What I predict is that trend lines will begin to reinforce each other and linkup producing mega-trends. That is most likely to provide the guidance we need for security intervention.”
Harold nodded to each of the avatars and let out a long slow breath as they disappeared leaving him alone in the VR Conference Room. AIME appeared as Amy from Dr Who, in the form she had after taking in the Time Vortex.
“AIME, analysis of conference.” Harold settled back and listened intently as the voice of Time Lord Amy described the responses of his teams and how it reinforced the way their data was affecting their offices. Why he’d let his son program this version of AIME with his most revered scifi female character ever was beyond him, still he could change it any time. Time, being the essence that is!