I shiver, once.... For a split second,
I'm no longer just watching the Tallies...

I'm one of them.

*Typical English-to-Pashto software translation.

I'm all right, Captain... Been holding my breath. A little light-headed...
No effects from the gas... I think I'm gonna be okay.
Good to hear.
How's the sniper?
Got an ETA for that?
Lieutenant Miller...
Follow me....
Miller, what's your status?
What happened?
Where's my rifle?
I don't remember surrendering.
Your prisoner?
I'm beyond food.
Where's my rifle?
Listen - I don't know how you slipped through our perimeter, but we're evacuating the combat zone in a few minutes.
I'm not going anywhere.
You can run behind me, or I'll carry you again. You got about sixty seconds to....
You're a prisoner of war now.
Your rights under the Geneva Convention will be read to you when we return to base.
That's okay. I don't remember asking you.
Here. You look like you haven't eaten in a while. This'll boost your energy.
Delirious. Possibly wounded. Needs medical attention.
Roger that.
Okay Miller, we've got a signal lock on your helmet.
Woo yeah! Killer Miller, The Stone Cold "C"!
Get your Spectacle on.
We love you, Celicia!
Roger copy. Spectacle activated.
Love you too, dawgs.
You should be able to see through every active bot in a one klick radius. Shuffled survey, radial sweep.
Use voice command to focus on your current position.
Roger that. I'm looking at myself. All systems go.
It's freaky... Like seeing yourself as a character in a third person shooter.
I think you mean first person shooter, lieutenant.
All right, Miller. Scope out to aerial. You'll see your position with two escape routes, one in red, one in blue.
Roger that. Which one do I take?
Whichever one we can secure first.
Five minutes.
Easter Bunny's coming around for a second pass. When I give the word, we lay down laser cover and you're gonna haul ass. Six-oh second window.

No BS, Miller - Can you handle that?
Yes sir. I can handle that.

In fact... I've got a real good feeling about this.
Don't get too happy, Lieutenant. You've got over 100 Tallies swarming on your position.
What is it, Miller?
We're fighting an enemy who doesn't even wear helmets.... Isn't that weird?
Uh... never really gave it much thought, Miller. Stand by.
Miller, are you there?
Heads up, Lieutenant. We got another situation developing.
Shoot me..
What are they doing, Lieutenant?
Another AI fuckup?
Aww shit.
Oh jesus... Lieutenant... who is this woman?
Uh... Captain Markov? You read me?
All right. Time to get to the bottom of this.
* "!" = alveo-palatal click, similar to that used in the Khoessan languages of Africa; adapted to oral computer navigation language (readiness signal)
ID device, serial: hotel bravo sierra 874132-niner-651- niner-0305 zulu alpha. //Hut!*
* "//" = Lateral click, as in urging on a horse.
She's dying, Lieutenant.
Who are you?
This was to be her final night. Her night of glory.
We didn't bring her this far so that you could take that away from her.
Her eyes and ears. Her army. Her family.
How many of you in this "family?"
Talking. Girls' voices, sounds like...
Dunno, Captain. I thought she was just a crazy BMO* who'd straggled into the combat zone... But now I'm picking up serious JDFR** here...
  * Black Moving Object (Gulf War slang for veiled Muslim woman.)
** Just Doesn't Feel Right
You shouldn't have interfered....
Who's "we,"
Five hundred? A thousand?
Significantly more than you can cope with, Lieutenant.
Or what?
You'll shoot me?
Go ahead then....
I want to be her.
It's not enough just to look at her...
I have to pull out...
And at that moment, an invisible sun emerges... engulfing me, suffusing me, with its warmth...
Her eyes are lenses... focusing the sunlight into a solar beam which pierces through me....
i'm burning up....
oh god..
Suddenly I understand why she's a celebrity...
her gaze causes an achingly sweet spot in my stomach to glow white hot...
have to escape her gaze....
The developers of SpiderNet had foreseen the possibility of charismatic terrorists forming cults of personality --the so-called "Ché Guevara Effect" -- and they'd built safeguards into the system to prevent just this very thing from occurring....
Somehow, outside the scope of Greater SpiderNet Awareness... she'd gathered a massive audience unto herself...
Which, normally, they did.
She was a new kind of celebrity, famous yet invisible...
But, for those safeguards to work, the terrorist-celebrities had to match certain "danger" profiles, while their audiences had to behave in stereotypical, mathematically predictable ways.
A dark star.
But this was a unique event.
She shouldn't have been able to do this.
A conspiratorial audience, who hadn't generated the usual heat and light of fanfare...
i close my naked eye, and look into the Spectacle....
We'll see about...
Good thing I had the situation under control.

The Spiders: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.0

electric sheep comix
Roger Captain, I'm there.
Here, I mean...
Lieutenant: five hundred gold snitches have peeled off the perimeter swarm and are heading your way.
We don't know who's controlling them, so let's assume bad.
Is that good or bad?
Most likely. It would be damn hard for any civvies to spoof military AI like this....
But if it is an enemy hack, they might be trying to signal your location to the Tallies.
Here they come.......
Victory! We is accomplishment your rifle found!*
Taking you there now!*
    Following us!*    
Following us now!
Thank you, sisters.
They're connected to the sniper somehow...