In the “dark time” after the 12-12 attacks the American government went through a crisis, but one that it was able to quickly move past.
The "dark time", as historians now write about it, reached it's crisis point when the mentallt unhinged President was effectively taken prisioner by the Vice President and group of his advisors. They were convinced that "Fist" was the product of China's Red Cyber Armies which had waged a number of information battles in support of China's aggressive economic expansion.
The basis for this was nothing more than the fact that the the partial Chinese Government ownership wholesaler who provided goods to the auction site John Kim used to send coded messages to the isolated plotters. Beyond this there was the government, and the super spy computer Vision, inability to learn anything about "Fist". The Vice President concluded that only the North Koreans and Chinese could so effectively avaid detection. Though this view had merit as a historical possibility, the Pentagon did not see it as grounds for nuclear war whereas the Vice President did. And the Vice President was holding the President in seclusion.
If the public knew of the extent of the Vision program and the degree to which every electronic message and transaction was intercepted, sstored, and analyzed their would have been more cooncern about the extent of "The Plot." Even today it is fully hard to understand how a plot to overthrow the elected government could have been carried out without Vision detecting and informing those near the Vice President who possessed access to Vision's threat manifests.
But already at this point the procedures by which Vision defined a threat were beyond the mind of any human, and though no records have survived it seems obvious that Vision's analysis programs must have been fully informed of all communications surronding the President. We can only conclude that the Vice Presidents circle was flagged as a threat and the plot which removed him was shielded from detection.
What ever the precise details a group of Generals killed the entire seniour government in a night known as the strike. A nation still morning a mass suicide attack by a mysterious group of terrorist woke one morning to be under martial law
A few Generals who did not commit suicide presented their case to the nation in court. Though they were found guilty they carried the public. People were traumatised by a terrorist attack were still not in the mood for nuclear war.
The Speaker of the House proved to be an effective consensus maker for the former-President’s party and did not stand in the special election he called, which was won by the opposition.
The attacks did not hurt the US Economy for long, or the economy of the world, booming despite continued threat from global warming, in fact the challenges of rising sea levels and temperature, along with new epidemics and draughts, forced nations to invest in new technology for efficiencies which only accelerated the long-trem boom the world had enjoyed for most of the 21st Century.
And after the attacks no group calling itself Fist" emerged to try and gain politically.
But security was shaken.
The new Administration was determined to extend the range and depth of Vision hoping to somehow learn what “Fist” was.
This had become much harder for the sudden emergence in popular culture of a fad cult around the organisation and the suicide attacker “Speetwater.” At one point Vision registered 3,456 music and art groups with some form of Internet presence with names including either words 'Sweetwater' or 'Fist' within the United States alone.
A small yet verbal part to the Internet population became convinced of Sweetwater’s innocence and posted thousands of text, video, and audio arguments.
Fist had a cloud of noise cover. Text searchs on terms now required extensive algorythmic review sometimes taking hours simply to conclude that the message possed an undetermined threat level requiring long term tracking. In one year the messages tagged for further review would have taken the then existing Vision's capitiy a thousand years to finish, with another thousand years collecting every year.
Vision started to begin every threat manifest with's it's limitations as the greatest single threat to America and her interests.
Senior researchers working on Vision argued about the philosophical nature of Vision's insistence that it be strengthened and expanded.
To these few expert's aware of the Vision program it was interesting that along all the thousands of human's killed by "Fist" on 12-12 Vision itself would “die” for a short period as the chaos of the government, law enforcement, and Internet under mass virus attack infiltrated it and ultimately made it come apart for a few seconds.
It would be only expected for a ration entity to what to insure its own survival, but Vision was a network of programs and content and did not, as far as anyone could tell, have an interest.
Vision's 'determination' to become more robust could be a logical result of programs designed to reduce risk, or the survival erge of an emerging 'being.' But Vision was by then too complex for any human to understand.
But nobody in the Office of Information of the new administration questioned the need to strengthen Vision and expand it. Government accepted Vision's recommendation that considerations of cost would only cause problems and delays and therefore was not bidding, rather Vision produced recommendations and selected providers, stating prices so attractive large companies would stop all other development for decades to pursue. Its selected the mostly the older, most established, and most security approved with which it had the best working relations. Anything small would not be considered, and all work would be done in the most secure conditions, behind 10 layers of firewalls assigned by computer both all by different producers and randomly assigned. If one developed a fault the channel would be replaced and robots would replace the walls according to a program, the robots would then be destroyed along with the computers which had assigned the firewalls, therefore no human knew which companies firewalls were used to protect which gateways.
Staff inside would be assigned work scheduled to make it impossible for them to understand anything about the larger picture of what they were doing, and management was forbidden to discuss specifics of projects with staff. A part of vision would guide the development projects with the intention of making it impossible for even those involved to decode its plans.
But we know a bit more now.
One of Vision’s earliest builders was British IT firm Freedom, now owned by an Indian Company but still operated in the UK as it had been for over 60 years. Freedom had build much of the Framework Vision used to connect elements made by other companies and this framework had proven so secure that Vision had no evidence ever that anything about itself had ever been detected by anyone. No part of its internal structure and protocols had even been copied by Vision.
Therefore Freedom was tasked to expand and strengthen this frame for the order of magnitude growth Vision was scheduled for.
Freedom employed about one hundred staff in a secure facility in Cambridge.
The first phase of the project was planned to take four years, and in the first the senior management was delighted to see all milestones meet, though it could not be sure what they were its clients in the American government were all telling it that Vision was assigning their objects as meet.
Then in the second year things started to go wrong. Milestones were being regularly missed and quality levels were dropping. Freedom’s management was given permission to extend their visibility in to the secured area. They were appalled to find higher levels of absenteeism, theft, total downtime and even graffiti. Soon a much larger than normal flood of resignation came in, despite the expanded wages and reduced work hours of being on the Vision project. These incentives had only masked the problem, and allowed it to grow, but by the third year the staff was the least productive in the company. A disturbing pattern of strange rituals was observed, digital borders would have the letter “DSSC” written on them. There was evidence that certain people’s plants were being killed destroyed and petty theft was ten times as reported as in the other departments.
At first the management attributed the problem to the stress of the environment and with Vsiion’s permission moved the staff. This did see the return to productive levels after a half year learning curve, but then in the second year the same patterns of discontent showed themselves again. Worst the condition had spread to their entire organisation, with sick leave, down time and resignations along with disciplinary actions and terminations increasing.
Soon the entire project was impossibly behind schedule. The company actively recruited new staff but the rigid profiling and security checks demanded by Vision made this difficult. The Office of Information became so concerned that the order, upon the conclusion of Vision, to schedule a series of trials of the new framework to determine if there was any chance the project could finish successfully at all.
Over three months SSMF (Super Secure Messaging Framework) was tested in a number of secret facilities in the United States. After these trials Vision cancelled the contract with Freedom, paying 40% of the remaining revenue as stipulated by contract. Both parties managed to secure the information of Freedoms efforts the failure for the public and from the staff of Freedom, but the company would collapse in two more years and be sold by its Indian parent in pieces to other organisations.
Only years later would some kind of outline of what happened become visible.
Fist was made up more of computer viruses than people, and it would be better to think of it as an Organism contain humans and software rather than an organisation. The nature of both of these was so hidden it was impossible to tell. But Vision would at one point determine that the virus was created by someone in an earlier Fist cell, broken decades before.
The virus was a long dormant. It was first developed for the Ape smartphone OS long before the attacks of 12-12. It remained dormant for years, reading an infected smartphones text messaging and looking to the Internet to see if it could find any vulnerability, or hidden order to attack.
Millions of such machines were attacked. A few decades before a crawler had found a Presentation put together by Freedom still mentioning its work with the Office of Homeland Security which would become the Office of Information and it was inferred that Freedom had build a larger part of the software used by the American government, though it is unlikely anyone in Fist knew about Vision. It is even possible that all of this was discovered and concluded by a computer program no smarter than a smartphone birthday message.
After 12-12 the high concentration of statements about Fist triggered the millions of infected applications to not only spread, listen and wait, but to see if they were in any system with any association to Freedom. In fact several years earlier a staff member of their HR outsourcing service had picked up the virus in a pub and brought their device to work, where it had jumped on to the companies Application Infrastructure, snuck through its minimal security arrangement and learned discover that it was in a computer used to process Freedoms bi-annual evaluations.
It then set the spinner levels.
Spinners had been developed in the early decades of the 21st Century. Just as the first information workers to get PCs were discovered to be such poor spellers it was necessary to install spelling checks on all computers, later generations proved to be unable to control the “tone” of their writing. Companies would want to control the amounts of negativism or positivism certain correspondences reflected, planning and managing their level of emotional nuance.
Thus spinners become normal parts of all text systems. Spinners would check for the emotional level of a document, scoring it on hostility, friendliness, ambivalence, and hundreds of other emotional dimensions that could model the feeling communicated in a message.
These could be set so that employees did not communicate an emotional tonE not accepted by the company. Spanners might recommend changes to the author, prevent sending unacceptable communications, or even change the message without the sender or even receiver knowing.
In a decade spinners had become so common it was normal practice to set their levels all the zero as a default and apply the no exist changes to each message. This was how the system that managed the evaluations for staff at Freedom was set. Then the virus set the spinner to make all the messages more negative.
Complicating this the management of Freedom had forgotten about the evaluation process, using it for nothing and caught up in the IT boom unleashed by 12-12 attacks. But middle managers still performed them. In a rather British way the evaluations had been planned to be objective by being blind. Evaluators were in different departs of the company and had not work connections with the employees they evaluated. Evaluations would be conducted away from the employees work sight.
After being trigger by Internet traffic the virus first tried to form a better picture of Freedom, following simple but well designed programs it took about a year to identify the highest security level staff and first targeted them as it had been programmed to. Just before the Vision work began the information concerning the projects staff, along with all other security cleared staff in the evaluation database, became more negative. As the continual process of bi-annual evaluations took place more and more employees found themselves in degrading sessions where they would be informed by a perfect stranger that their managers and colleagues held a far lower opinion of them then they had let on. And the evaluators, ignorant of any pattern in these, believed they were talking to “bad apples”, in typical British tradition these evaluators assumed a condescending yet insulting ton and the staff, returning to work with the people who they now believed had betrayed them kept their disappointment and anger to themselves.
And as the year progressed more and more of the staff became convinced that manager who seemed friendly and approving actually felt they were deficient, unmotivated, incompetent, and lazy.
As Freedom began to move staff assignments around this triggered an expansion of spinner level to lower the evaluations of all employees, and then all evaluations of applicants which used the same HR system.
When senior management of Freedom finally reviewed the evaluations it saw it simply as evidence that moral was collapsing, mistaking the cause for a symptom. It would only be a subroutine in Vision which would note the sudden and structured drop of evaluation levels, causing Vision to alert the Office of Information and quickly determine if the situation could be resolved.
As a result of this Vision’s subsystems concluded that only Vision was secure enough to upgrade itself, and it began a process of architecting its own solutions and passing these on to AI programs within itself to develop.
Thus Vision became master of its own growth.
Accept that Fist remained.