A flash of light, distant thunder. Some tall storehouse
    collapsing. Panik - stricken shoppers run around like headless
    chicken. And indeed, some of the bodies don't have a head worth
    speaking of. Mechanic shrieking can be heard whenever the guns
    seize to fire. Whenever it has to reload. Right now, it is
    leaving another building in complete chaos and devastation.
    It, in this case, is a remote controlled device moving on chain
    tracks. Spectators would perhaps call it a robot, but there are
    no spectators alive to wonder about the nature of the intruder.

        Suddenly an amplifier voice breaks the white noise. The
    ground around the intruder explodes as shells and rockets are
    fired on it. The attempt to return the fire fails as it has to
    give in to the armor piercing bombardment.

        Colonel Wilbur Smith wipes his forehead with a gesture of
    relief, then talks to his men: "Okay, that's the last one. How
    many casualties?" The reply comes in crackling over the radio:
    "62 of us, several hundred civilians".


        "Speed", the tiny man behind the terminal says, "the name's
    Jake Speed." But his visitor does not seem impressed. "Really?
    Last time I was around, you called yourself Joe Indian, right?"
    "That's the past, man. Godda keep up with the pace of modern
    time, right?" - "Anyway, Mr, erm, Speed, are you willing to
    help us?" - "Help? Why, if the money's right, I'm of course
    willing to help you." Smith looked really annoyed now. "You
    know, there once was a time when we used to arrest scum like
    you..." But Speed interrups him with a bright smile "Easy, Mr.
    Military Man, or you won't hear a single word from me!"
    That obviolously was too much, as Smiths suddenly bursts forward,
    lifting Speed off his feet: "Listen up, you sukker! 62 of my men
    died yesterday, along with 465 civilians. You're gonna tell me
    what I want to know right now, or I'll throw you out of that
    window!" That obviously shattered Speed's conficence. "Okay,
    okay, settle down. I'll tell ya."

        "You see, your computer specialists have been trying to
    uncover some secret computer or network. The reason they had no
    success in finding that hidden mainframe is that it is not hidden
    at all. It's even got an IP address." Disbelief echoes in Smith's
    face: "You are telling me I can access this thing from
    everywhere? Even from here?" - "Yeah, that's right, perhaps you
    want to write down the IP address? It's"
    Hastily, Smith writes it down on a slip of paper, carelessly
    torn out of some printout. "Any domain name?" - "Negative. At
    least, I can't make out one right now." - "Never mind, log on to
    it!" Speed types a few keys, then the screen blinks in red and

        Connection closed by foreign host.

        "No luck", Speed laments with a shrug, "we could try some
    ancient services..." - "Ancient services?", Smith echoes with a
    desoriented look, "What's that supposed to mean?" - "Yeah, really
    ancient ones. You've probably never heared of http, or telnet for
    that matter..." Impatient shrug: "Try it out!" - "You know, mosts
    sysops nowadays don't know these at all, so you sometimes can
    sneak in there..."

        $ telnet

        beavis (Genix Sys IX R 4)
        Connection closed by foreign host.

        A slap makes the monitor tremble: "Shit, that one's as tight
    as a nun's pussy." - "But we've got the hostname, right?" - "Yeah,
    but what good will it do us?" - "We'll see ... anyway, do you
    know when Genix Sys9R4 was popular?" Speed frowns, then scratches
    his nonexistent beard, finally coming to a conclusion. "Around
    the turn of the century, perhaps 2005. But I really can't
    remember what kind of operating system this Genix is ... I'll
    have a look around the 'Net."

        Speed's database queries leave Smith with some time to think.
    Why would someone commit random raids, without visible motive?
    From a 20 year old computer? Random acts of senseless violence...
    Over 500 people slaughtered... Why?

        Speed interrupted him: "First results coming in!"

        search word "genix"
        UNIX derived operating system developed for artificial
        intelligence research. Release 1 distributed in 2002 by the
        University of Bern. Latest release R12 still available at Bern
        University, since 2015. Development stopped in 2017.

        "Artificial intelligence, eh?", Smith mumbles...


        The table had been covered by a big white cloth, hiding some
    strange object. "So, Dr. Lang, what is it you want to show me?",
    Smith asks impatiently. With a brisk smile, Dr. Land pulls the
    cloth away and uncovers a small metallic object, "This is a
    so-called MD, mobile detonator. We call it a 'turtle', though".
    Curiously, Smith pats the object that indeed resembles a turtle.
    "Detonator, huh?" - "Yes, a unit such as this one usually carries
    1.5 pounds of explosives. Look here!" With this, he types
    commands on a keyboard.

        > move to exit

        Slowly, the turtle starts to crawl towards the door, but not
    in a direct line but trying to take cover under the table while

        > move to person B ; detonate

        Smith's jaw drops as the turtle changes course and starts
    crawling towards him. By reaching the tip of his left shoe, a
    metallic click echoes through the room. "This one is disarmed, of
    course", Lang remarkes as Smith's face slowly returns to a normal
    colour. "You see, 15 of these beasts disappeared last night."


        Determinded to annoy, shockinly contentless music pours down
    on the visitors of Eastside's mall. People moving in large groups,
    yet independant from each other, they look like sheep to the
    steady eye of the surveillance cameras. These cameras connect to
    a ring of fibre optic cable, which is in turn connected to the
    mall's main security computer. All data collected within the mall,
    wheter bills, check card numbers or digital pictures, are stored
    on a large disk. There, they can be accessed by any person in
    posession of the correct access codes. Not everyone of those is
    supposed to have them. And not even everyone of those is a

        Online pictures of the target site makes manuevering the
    units much easier. The last unit is supposed to reach its
    destination in 24 seconds. 12 units report arrival at destination.

        13, 14, 15 units report arrival at destination. Commince
    countdown. Two, One, Zero.


        Miss Agatha Robinson, aged 35, had lived an ordinary life.
    Working as a secretary for Fujin Electronics she never had dared
    to drop off the mainstream in her life, yet she always knew she'd
    do something really out of the oridinary - somewhen.

        When the shelf came blazing apart, all her life - everything
    she is ever was, she ever could have been - got extinguished in
    a single flash of pain. She was forgotten before all of her
    body parts reached the floor. Another sheep slaughtered.


        Smith sadly shakes his head as the reports slowly pour in.
    Another 86 citizens murdered. Slamming the door of the car shut
    does not help much. "Do you now have the credit to pay me for my
    expences?", Speed asks with a grin as Smith enters the room.
    "Yeah, but only if you got new stuff for me!", Smith declares
    calm but determined, which makes Speed grin even more. "You're a
    big businessman, aren't you? Anyway, I've got the sukka isolated.
    I know the physical cable id it's connected to the 'net with. Go
    find the provider and disconnect the asshole. Come again when you
    need my assistance."

        Without saying a word, Smith grabs the printout from Speed's
    hands and drops the credit form on the table. "People say good-bye
    to each other, where I come from", Speed shouts as Smith slams
    the door shut. Smith grumbles. If only he'd people as good as
    this one, he wouldn't have to deal with such assholes.


        0459.40h. According to the schedule, beavis's connection will
    vanish in another 20 seconds. Two fully featured task teams have
    taken their positions and are waiting for the command to go raid
    the house.

        After storming in through all possible and impossible
    entrances, the forces find themselves alone in the house, alone
    with a humming computer tower and a blanked screen. The screen
    comes back to life.

        $ monitor -channel 97 &
        inetd: connection breakdown. intervention needed.

        "Now he knows he's off duty", Smith announces with a satisfied
    grin. "So what do we have here ?" Pausing several time to check
    the printout, he types ps -t console, then kill 3226.


        As the troops move back out of the house, Smith starts
    searching the desk for a clue about what channel 97 could be.
    And indeed, he discovers an old listing of TV channels that
    names channel 97 as a pay-channel for official press releases and
    objective news coverage.

        With a horrified suspicion, he tunes a television to channel
    97. Suddenly it all makes sense.

        The operator of this machine had underestimated the abilities
    of this particular operating system. And he had left it running
    for years and years. Perhaps he died somewhere years ago, or got
    busted and sits in jail. Anyway, his machine stayed tuned to
    channel 97 even when the original program got discontinued.



	written by Tom Eicher, all rights reserved.