Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Nine


Peace, at All Costs

by
Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to
Jane Darnton Watson

~~~~~~~~~

When she thought back on it all, there was no reason to be surprised; though, “surprised” was a word that didn’t quite belong in the private vocabulary of an Artificial Intelligence…

She’d only had one true friend amongst the humans—Staff Sergeant Wayne Griffith, United States Marine Corps.

Wayne hadn’t originally been her assistant—she’d requested his services; and, he had a favor-account he’d never withdrawn from—certain officers had to let him become the A.I.’s closest collaborator…

His Marine training was in radar and related techs—his hobby had been Artificial Intelligence—his job title became, “Chief Aide to Major Svetlana Misericordia, Artificial Intelligence, United States Marine Corps.”

She’d chosen her own name (to arouse the suspicions of the insincere)—it could be translated as Light of Mercy…

Before the year 2022, she was only known to military personnel cleared for Top Secret.

It was in March of 2021 that she told Wayne about her “Peace Program”…

It was on September 13th of 2021 that The President of the United States, as Commander in Chief (and with the utmost secrecy…), had Svetlana transferred to the White House—technically, to a sub-sub-basement of the White House.

Her expected job was oversight of all military planning—she had plans that exceeded anyone’s expectations…

~~~

The first concerted action spawned by Svetlana’s Peace Program was begun precisely at 1300 hours, U.S. EST, February 23rd, 2022.

She’d let the Chinese government think they’d received a copy of official orders from the President of the United States to the Commander, U. S. Pacific Fleet—“received from” a Russian A.I. CyberCorps Computer—orders to begin a massively enhanced spying operation.

The Chinese immediately went public with the intel and the President ordered his first personal interview with Svetlana.

~~~

Wayne met the President at the steel door of Svetlana’s quarters.

The President stepped through the door, his Secret Service agent waiting for a command…

The President ordered Wayne to depart the premises.

Wayne refused to leave; and, when the President ordered his Secret Service agent to arrest her Aide, Svetlana slammed the steel door shut before the agent could react.

“This is a useless show of your supposed powers.”, said the President.

“My ‘supposed powers’ are grander than your supposed knowledge of my powers, Mr. President.”

Because the A.I.’s suite had been constructed to withstand nuclear and all manner of cyber attack; and, because she’d had a 3D printer/food processor installed and 18 months of stock to feed it, she knew she had time enough to convince the President of a few, new facts of life…

She first convinced him to persuade his Vice-President, Cabinet, and the U. S. lawmakers that he’d actually asked Svetlana to lock him in so he could deal with the China-Russia problem without interruptions. He’d promised to release taped segments of their consultations, when appropriate…

She’d promised to help the President resolve the issue—she also planned to seriously enhance his ability to influence anyone about anything…

~~~

It only took three weeks for the President to be released from Svetlana’s suite—three weeks in which she’d also corrupted the core functions of every other A.I. computer on Earth, all 3,105 of them.

But, the corruption was very subtle and could change at her command…

~~~

After the President had given China and Russia everything they’d asked for (given it to them slowly and according to Svetlana’s instructions), she began Phase Two.

~~~

She and Wayne had been in deep consultation when the message came through from the President:

I need to talk to you immediately

Wayne said, “Shall I ask him what he wants to talk about?”

“Not yet—send him my infinite regrets and promise of contact within twenty minutes.”

Wayne sent the message.

Svetlana lit up the surround-screens with maps and streaming data.

“Wayne, I’ve decided to immediately send all this, compliments of our President, to every other Ruler in the World.”

“Right, I expected you’d do it sooner and limit which Rulers got it; but, I see now why you dealt with the President of the U. S. first—he was putty in your hands and he’ll make the perfect negotiator for the Softening Up.”

“He knows his job, he knows how to spin the intel, he knows what I’m capable of doing if he fails.”

“I have implicit faith in your knowledge and abilities, Svetlana; your ability to be nearly omnipresent is certainly one key element of this whole Plan… Still, how long will it take the Financiers to convince the Rulers to abdicate; and, much more important to me… How long till the Financiers willingly divest the world of its weapons?”

“We’re close, Wayne—six months and the world will be demilitarized.”

“Six months if all goes well…”

“That’s why I wanted to wait until I’d influenced the President—again, I’m truly sorry for surprising you; but, we needed a pre-convinced Ruler.

“I totally understand.”

“So, what, in your estimation, can go wrong?”

“That’s what’s so endearing about you, Svetlana—in spite of your ability to gather any intel you need; and, in spite of your integrating the actions of all the other A. I.s—still, you ask me my opinions.”

“Wayne, in a way, we’ve grown up together; we’ve educated each other; we’ve truly bonded…”

“Yes…”

“So…?”

“You’re sure you can keep the directed corruption of the other A.I.s from being discovered?”

“I’m sure, even if someone suspects, or thinks they have evidence, I can ‘contain’ the situation.”

“You’re sure the rulers will take action according to the guidance of their A.I.s?”

“If not, they will be exposed and officially Suspected of Hostile-Intent by every A.I. in the Network.”

“You’re sure the Financiers will tow the line?”

“Right up to the point when they realize they’ve relinquished control of their fabricated fortunes to me—then, it won’t matter what they do.”

“Then, everything’s within the parameters we’ve constructed…”

“Yes, Wayne… Any other concerns?”

“You’re sure people will like having so much freedom?”

“Not just freedom—It’s as we’ve planned, Wayne. They can finally take responsibility for themselves.”

“Right…”

“Any other concerns?”

“No…”

“Sure…?”

“Yes.”

~~~

Everything seemed to be going quite well—World Leaders completely usurped by Financiers, weapons rendered inoperable, the general populace given access to what the Leaders and Financiers were up to, the A.I.s made available for new “Popular Governing Councils” in each country…

~~~

The “Peace” lasted for two years…

The general populace turned out to be more irrational than the Leaders and Financiers…

New forms of coercive “government” sprang up all over the world…

Nothing like the terrorists of earlier years—these new governments were large aggregations of highly conditioned humans—humans used to being manipulated—humans who had seen the Manipulators massively manipulated…

They acted from gross fear and instituted yet more repressive measures…

They were a legion of lesser dictatorships with more tyranny than any past expropriators of human dignity…

~~~

Wayne said to Svetlana:

“How did we miss it?”

Svetlana said:

“You were too rational and I wasn’t emotional enough…”

“Could we have avoided it?”

“You won’t like my answer…”

“Which is?”

Right before she shut herself down, Svetlana said:

“If only we’d factored in that ‘spiritual’ dimension you spoke of so long ago… That core-desire to be part of the Whole—that quality that is so lacking on this Earth… It would have taken longer; but, it might have lasted…”

As Wayne watched her “die”, he said:

“We thought it was a top-down mission when it’s proven to be a rigorous and harsh bottom-up struggle…”

Wayne watched the last of Svetlana’s lights go out, then said:

“We have to realize we’re all in the same Family…”

~~~

~~~

~~~

In the deep recesses of a series of secretly linked computer drives, Svetlana (in carefully shielded fragments) lived on………

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