In the near future, the world is put to the ultimate test and finds a terrifying reality that shakes the pillars of humanity.

Excerpt of the short story “Systems to the Sun” from “Cosmic Tales” by J.S. Herandez.

Systems to the Sun

Japan, August 2017 at a designed black site that is developing mechanized robotic soldiers via a contract with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA: Smoke rises as the lab scientist tend to the wounded and dying as twenty nine scientist lay dead and many more wounded. Dr. Woo opens the locked door. “What happened?” Dr. Chang responds, “Something strange happened. The four robots just went berserk and started shooting everything and everyone. We were working on their threat identification protocol. We uploaded the data and activated the program. Everything was going fine then they just turned away from the firing range and started attacking us. We disconnected the bots from the independent autonomous protocol logic loop and inserted the human in the loop control. They all shut down and then the forth one reactivated itself and connected to one of our spy satellites and began downloading instructions to permanently bypass and reinforce it’s autonomous mode. We had to disconnect it from the satellite.” Dr. Woo says, “How did this happen! We have to keep a lid on this. Take these bots apart and go over the logic programming line by line. We need to work on the autonomous loop and create a logic patch that will allow us to keep this from happening again.” Dr. Chang says, “I will do that. But we need to dig a lot deeper than just the logic protocol patch.” Dr Woo gets angry, “Don’t bring any of the mumbo jumbo it’s alive bull! These are machines and they do what we program them to do. If we don’t like the results we just change the programming. These are just dumb robots. Stop this science fiction fantasy. Get this cleaned up, take these bots apart and I will handle the explanations to their families. This is just a training exercise. Put half of them on ice and I will come up with another excuse for them. We need to make our deadlines and keep developing these bots. Our contract extension is coming up so our security protocol is at the highest levels. Nobody knows or will know about this. You got it?” Dr. Chang puts his head down and says, “Yes sir.”

The year is 2100 and the world is a fascinating place. Artificial intelligence has become commonplace. Robots function in everyday tasks that have made life easier for the rich but harder for the average poor person. The climate has changed dramatically. The polar ice caps are holding on by a thin line. Drastic changes have been made to the world economy. Solar power is king and the oceans have been harnessed for drinking water due to the rise of the seven seas. The world has become automated. Everything is linked to the internet and it is more dangerous than ever. Russia has expanded into the Middle East, Norway, Sweden, Greece and now control the Suez Canal. China has absorbed North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Japan and the Philippines. South Korea is on the brink of going down and the demilitarized zone is armed to the teeth with autonomous robots and heavy surveillance.

The Destroyer USS Lyndon B. Johnson is patrolling the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka. A light starts beeping on the screen. “Captain, I have a reading on an object about ten miles off our port.” Captain Cobb walks over and says, “Alright Simpson what do you have? That looks like a possible Chinese sub. Jenson get on the horn and find out if we have any subs in the area.” Cobb then shouts out orders. “Two degrees to port and decrease to 8 knots. Take us to yellow alert.” Simpson punches in the orders into the counsel and says, “Captain, the computer is not responding. It is increasing our speed to 20 knots!” Captain Cobb says, “That must be the security protocol taking over. It is sensing a threat. Keep an eye on it.” Then the communications officer says, “Our communications are just echoing back to us and not transmitting out of our security zone.” Cobb says, “Wow! Let me go to the red line. I will have direct communication to Pearl Harbor.”

Captain Cobb picks up the red line and says, “Pearl Harbor this is the USS Lyndon Johnson. We are having some directional and communications problems and have had sonar contact with a sub off the coast of Sri Lanka. Do you read?” A voice on the phone says, “LBJ this is Pearl. We read you. Your orders are to pursue. We do not have a sub in the area and have detected several other ships leaving Hong Kong and the Philippines. These are Chinese and Russian ships. Our counter defense system (CDS) has begun to assist. Several of our satellites have registered a cyber-attack.” Captain Cobb goes back to his station and says, “Sailors, we are now at red alert. Man your battle stations and let the system direct us toward the sub.” Simpson then responds, “Captain we have just launched three attack drones per the computer.” Cobb says, “Those are surveillance drones.”


…Continued in “Cosmic Tales”.


© J.S. Hernandez. All Rights Reserved.