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Some people gotta learn the hard way.

- The Darkness - World Domination Plan 47

 

3 Days Later - Megacles - The Mega Lab

Life without power is very restful. And it sucks. A very restful suckitude. I’m out of beer.

By pooling resources with my neighbors, we manage to find a radio and get it powered up. But, all we get is dead air. If I want to know what is going on, I have to go to the city. Also, my car won’t make it.

I need to trade my car for a motorcycle and some gas. This is a frustrating experience. My car is worth 10 motorcycles. With the power out, the solar panel alone is worth 5 motorcycles. But people are going all Mad Max, and can’t see that. They expect me to go and get help. I’m not doing that. Figure your own shit out. Do you want a solar panel or not?

I finally find an old guy who isn’t scared. He asks why I need to go to the city.

“I need beer and pussy.” I say.

“I hear that.” he says, “Thanks for the solar car thingy. Come pick it up when you get back.”

The ride to the city is kinda fun. Some people are freaking out, but most stores take credit. There’s a lot of partying. Refrigerators are down, so there’s meat that needs eating and draft that needs drinking.

This is the scene at Candy’s Club. It looks fun, but first I take Candy to her office and have my way with her. It’s been four days since I had sex. I haven’t gone that long since the divorce. I guess, technically, I’ve gone much longer. But I count virtually hypno boning strangers as sex, because it’s so much fun.

I party at the club for a few days before I remember I came for information. It’s been a nice holiday, but I miss Doc-Danger, and I’m maybe a little worried about him. I’m sure he’s fine. Other than him, all my peeps are good. The rest of them are here, except my daughter, who is safe on the West coast.

Information doesn't come any easier in the city. Which is informative in a weird way. When the three radio stations near my home went off the air, I could just barely believe that it was a coincidence. Now all 50 radio stations in the city are down. Somebody is fucking with us.

I ride out to one of the stations. Workers are trying to scrape red paint off the transmitter. On the way back, I pass an army convoy. All the trucks are splotchy with red paint.

That afternoon I tell my concerns to Candy.

“When they designed the game, I'm pretty sure power plants and radio towers were not considered military assets.” I say. “It’s escalating. I'm worried it will escalate to a real coup attempt. From the Darkness or the army.”

“Yes, that sounds shitty. I'm quite fond of Mr President.” says Candy. “I am willing to join your unpredictable third team. Do we just go out and shoot shit with green paint?”

“Let's call that plan B. I was thinking we should get the internet back up.” I say. “This war game is 100 million people getting fucked around by one wee chick and a handful of old dudes. They are getting away with it because they’re fucking organized and we’re not. Let's get people talking again and see how long this shit lasts.”

“Alright.” Candy pops out of bed, and pulls a box of fireworks out of her closet. “Let's do this.”

She storms out if her office. I cram myself into some clothes and hustle after her.

I find her on the stage loading an old pyrotechnics rig with fireworks. She's on her knees and elbows, bare bum wiggling as she works. It commands attention.

For a few minutes the club watches in silence. Then she pops up, strikes a pose, and blasts a cavalcade of fire and noise.

“WAKE UP!!” Candy yells.

“We were already awake.” says a club goer.

“Good. The grid was knocked out to turn off the internet. The people who should be turning the internet back on are not. We are going to have to do it ourselves.” says Candy.

“Uh, okay. I guess we could make an app that turns phones into an ad-hoc wifi network. We could use 5G 28 gigahertz algorithms to boost the signal. I mean, one phone doesn't have enough antennas to run the algorithms in the wifi range, but a dozen phones in close contact could ping a fair distance.” says another club goer.

“Great!” says Candy. “I don't know what that means, but let's do it.”

“I dunno.” says club goer Gamma. “If someone is actively attacking the internet, they could shut ours down pretty fast. Phones are riddled with spyware and backdoors.”

“Maybe.” says Delta. “Depends on who’s attacking it. Do we know who’s attacking it?”

“The Darkness.” says Candy.

Panic silence.

“Jesus! Is this a war game thing?” says Delta.

“What the fuck?” says Epsilon.

“Okay, aside from the danger of fucking with the Darkness, do we even want to? I thought we wanted her to win?” says Big Iota.

“Yeah! Are we working for the army now?” says Omicron.

“No.” says Candy. “The army doesn’t want the internet up either. We’re fighting the army and the Darkness.”

“Oh. I guess that’s okay then.” says Omicron.

“The fuck! We’re a goddamn porn company. Collective. Whatever. Sure, we can send out some WiFi signals. But who’s going to let us reprogram their phone to be an illegal internet node? Who’s going to take that risk?” says Gamma.

“Someone who has gone a week without porn?” says Candy.

General agreement. It’s been a long week.

“Okay, it will probably work. Except for when the Darkness backdoors one hundred viruses into our network. Got a plan for that?” says Omicron.

“No.” says Candy. “But, Megacles does.”

Everybody looks at me.

“Yep.” I say.

Everybody is still looking at me.

“Well, good talk everybody. Let's get cracking.” says Candy.

We look around, shrug, mumble, and get to work. I'm not sure if Candy is super confident in our abilities, or oblivious to the extreme difficulty of our task.

The blackout should have people ready to try a potentially illegal or unsafe internet connection. Fuck, people download crazy shit from us all the time. Our high concept pornography is wildly popular.

Locking the government out of the system will be extremely hard, possibly treasonous, and fucking dangerous. Only the blackout keeps it from being futile, stupid, and deadly.

The National Spying Agency has thousands of backdoors in every phone. Little cheat codes that let them record everything you do. The same backdoors will allow them to erase our network from users phones.

Also, our network is probably illegal, though it's impossible to know because National Spying Agency laws are state secrets.

Also, blocking their backdoors is a good way to get them kicking down your front door.

All very discouraging stuff. But, thanks to the blackout, they are cut off from their backdoors. A simple lack of electricity has shut them down. For the first time in ages, I can type some code that won’t instantly be reported to the Spies.

Hot damn.

I fire up my laptop, and wake up a few AI’s. I open a list of known Spy Agency backdoors. Periodically they get hacked, or some disgruntled employee sneaks out their shadier plots. Either way, a substantial number of their tricks are public knowledge. I run these through a couple AI’s that are programmed to learn patterns and behaviors.

The Spying Agency has statistical algorithms that search vast amounts of user data for behaviors that indicate nefarious intent. Like a political science exchange student who misses a life insurance payment could be a potential suicide bomber.

I’m building a statistical algorithm that searches vast amounts of user data for behaviors that indicate National Spyware. Like a program that sends your GPS coordinates to a data center in Utah every 30 fucking seconds.

I do the best I can with the tools I have. The AI’s will watch for actions that indicate a backdoor. Then they will scramble the backdoor code enough to make it unusable. They will focus on attacks that knock a phone off the network.

Scrambling spyware code should not affect a phone’s performance. But, there will be a fair amount of false positives. The longer my AI’s run, the more holes they will punch in necessary code. Eventually, they will crash the internet they are trying to protect. Fair enough. It just has to last longer than the blackout. To delay the inevitable, I set them to only watch a random .001% of all internet activity. With millions of actions happening every second, that should be enough to identify most backdoors, while slowing down the rot they inflict on the network.

Of course, I don’t expect the users of our network to willingly download this treasonous piece of crashware. I’ll have to sneak it in a backdoor when they join the network. I guess this makes me a hypocrite or something. Oh well.

Now I just have to worry about the National Spying Agency backdooring my anti-backdooring program. Cause, I just know they have backdoors on the AI’s I used to make it.

First, I make it harder to find. If it is only searching .001% of the internet at a time, there is no need for it to be on all phones all the time. I break it into pieces, and have the pieces travel from phone to phone in a random pattern. At any given time, only one phone in 50,000 will have more than 10% of the program on it.

Next, I have it babysit itself. Each of the 5 AI’s will monitor the other 4 for backdoor intrusions. Then I have the order the AI’s operate in change every second. In order to hack the program, the Spying Agency would have to find all 5 programs and backdoor them in the right order in under a second - the first time they try it - or the program will find the backdoors and permanently scramble them.

That’s pretty secure, but why stop there? I wake up all 253 AI’s I have on my laptop and weave a Gordian Knot of cybersecurity. Then I remove any user interface or access I have to the program. Any modification I give it after it’s release will only call attention to it. And me. Let it live free or die.

I look over my work. What a monstrous blob of bloatware. I name it Leviathan and let it loose.

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Doctor Zero

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